Shoalhaven jumps in winter

The whales are jumping in Shoalhaven.

From once-in-a-lifetime encounters swimming with majestic humpback whales, to award-winning winery adventures, and cosy accommodation with in-house fine dining, Shoalhaven is the ultimate destination for travellers looking for a unique escape this winter. Just two hours from Sydney and Canberra!

From May to November each year, the Shoalhaven coast comes alive with the annual whale migration. The Shoalhaven, with its restful bays is a favoured spot for whales and their calves to take a break as they travel along the ‘Humpback Highway’, making the Shoalhaven one of the best spots for a guaranteed sighting or up-close encounter.

Whether you are after a rejuvenating, refreshing break, an activity-packed family holiday or a quiet, romantic escape, our region offers it all. The Shoalhaven is bordered by the mountains, coastal plains and 109 magnificent beaches, and includes 49 towns and villages.

From Sydney, it is an easy two hours’ drive 160 kilometres south. And from Canberra, it is a two and a half hour’s drive north of around 200 kilometres. Shoalhaven was recently named one of the 100 Most Loved Destinations in the World in 2021 by travel data company Destination Think!

Book a whale watching eco-cruise with Jervis Bay Wild or Dolphin Watch to get up close with humpback whales, or try a ‘Swim with the Whales’ experience with Dive Jervis Bay or Woebegone Freedive, two of only a few licensed to do so in Australia. A unique way to have an in-water experience with the humpbacks. Travellers who have embarked on a swim with whales’ experience have described it as ‘life-changing’ and ‘unforgettable’ with curious whales often coming over for a closer look at swimmers; and with small capacity charters, it is a boutique and intimate experience you’re not soon to forget.

“Shoalhaven has some of the best whale watching experiences along the east coast, with a season that lasts from May to November. There is a huge variety of experiences including eco cruises inside Jervis Bay along white sand beaches and in calm, clear waters. Pair that with the rugged coastline combined with the green rolling hills of the south coast and nine cellar doors make for an excellent cosy stay,” said Shoalhaven City Council Tourism Manager Coralie Bell, Tourism Manager, Shoalhaven City Council.

For the lovers of wine, the Shoalhaven’s temperate climate and lush soil produces some of the world’s most highly acclaimed drops. The region is home to nine cellars doors including award-winning Silos Estate, Mountain Ridge Wines, Coolangatta Estate, and Cupitt’s Estate. Those looking for something unique can choose from a range of activities and locations including High Tea in a giant teacup to horseback rides through the vines, meeting miniature animals as you sip and perching up with a wine upon a hill overlooking 360 views of the Shoalhaven River or Kangaroo Valley escarpment.

Shoalhaven Wine Coast president Brett Richardson said the area is well-known for its diversity of wines.

“The Shoalhaven Wine Coast is now a well-established wine region that offers visitors a diverse range of delicious award winning wines, premium dining options and unique visitor experiences,” he said.

“The wineries in our region offer everything from cellar door tastings to fine dining, boutique accommodation and high teas; fromageries and breweries; historic buildings and the most amazing views you can imagine”.

The winter weather makes you want to savour mouthwatering local produce in relaxing and cosy surrounds which is available at one of the Shoalhaven’s many opulent dine-in accommodation offerings.

From luxury accommodation pods and a farm to table menu at Cupitt’s Estate; pair an overnight stay with ocean view rooms and fine dining at Bannisters Pavilion or Bannister’s By the Sea featuring Rick Stein’s award-winning seafood restaurant; enjoy the rustic beauty of Mountain Ridge Wines family run farm-stay and locally sourced menu featuring monthly market dinners; unique outdoor safari tents and a three course bush tucker meal await at Paperbark Camp; sustainable gourmet eats and a coastal view at Bangalay Dining and Villas on Seven Mile Beach; and casual dining meets charming 18th century accommodation at Coolangatta Estate.

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