I work hard. Just like you. There's long nights, very early mornings, and quite often weekends too. So we need downtime right? I'm talking no-phones-allowed, hand-me-a-book, paint-my-nails kinda time. Whilst I wish I could fly to Bali for some precious space away from work stress, it's just not feasible to do all that regularly. So how about something a little closer to home?
Just 2 hours south of Sydney lies Shoalhaven - a beautiful area of unspoilt coastline that demands your exploration for the weekend.
It's filled with beautiful villages, homewares stores, cafes, amazing scenery and is home to my all-time favourite beach...i'll come onto that next.
Just recently I visited for 2 nights, and came back to Sydney feeling completely refreshed - it's amazing how such a different place can actually be on your doorstep.
Top 5 Things to Do:
Grab a tray of fresh oysters + watch the waves
Well-known oyster farmer Anthony Munn is the owner of King Tide Oysters in Shoalhaven - home to some of the freshest oysters you will ever try. Grab a tray straight from his oyster farm, and drive the few minutes to the waters edge for the perfect DIY lunch.
Try a Cooking Class in Kangaroo Valley
These guys are offering up not just cooking classes, but whole food experiences. Start off the class by heading out into the kitchen garden and selecting your own fresh and veggies to cook with. So keen.
Explore the unspoilt beaches
Shoalhaven is home to more than 100 beaches, so there's plenty of space to get your feet sandy in a serene spot. Check out the Shoalhaven 100 Beach Challenge and start ticking them off your list.Some of my faves are Greenfield and Orion, but HYAMS beach tops the list. This beach is said to have the WHITEST SAND IN THE WORLD.No joke. It squeaks underfoot and is breathtakingly beautiful. If you have the chance, head there on a weekday when there's no one around for utter relaxation.
Shop the markets
There are heaps of markets in Shoalhaven - from produce to artisan crafts, you can shop like the locals most days of the week. I love the Vincential Village Produce Market for wholefoods and local art, and the monthly Cupitt's Growers Market for homegrown fruits and veggies. Check out all the markets right here.
Hang out in Huskisson
There's some cute designer homewares stores and cafes here - its an awesome place to kick-back for the afternoon, or rent bikes and ride the trail along Jervis Bay. Incidentally, this is where I bought my reclaimed Indian coffee table that gets a lot of love on Instagram (for those of you who asked!) - check out Few and Far.
Places to Eat:
Little Rae General Store
This has to be my fave food-stop, least because the interiors are just...goals. The menu is small but delicious and fresh. Order the green brekkie bowl (pictured below) and while you wait browse the beautiful linens, ceramics and homewares on offer.
Breakfast here is a must-do if you're in the area. Situated in a super-cool old Cheese Factory, Milk Haus is a wholefoods café that aims to deliver fresh, simple food - free of toxins, preservatives & anything artificial.
I don't think I can go a few days without some Asian-inspired food. I'm all 'bout that chilli and fish sauce guys. This restaurant in Berry has an organic kitchen garden which provides a lot of the herbs and veggies showcased in the dishes. Yum.
SOUTH on Albany
For some award-winning dining, this restaurant (and it's delightful owners who are a wife-and-husband wonder duo) is the place to go. With an emphasis on fresh local produce and the best service in town, you can feel the passion from the moment you step in the door. The anchovy starter is a winner, and carrot salad tastes like it was pulled from the soil an hour earlier...which it probably was, given they too have a kitchen garden on-site. LOVE.
Berry Sourdough Cafe + Store
This place bakes the delicious sourdough you'll find on pretty much every cafe's menu for a 30km radius. There's a reason why...it's incredibly delicious. Their menu is awesome too if you fancy a bit more than toast. From perfectly blushing tuna to marinated fresh prawns, they pride themselves on sourcing ingredients from those suppliers who share their commitment to quality and sustainability. The coffee here is great to boot.
There's heaps of choice on my usual go-to's: Air B&B, Stayz and Booking.com.
My favourite place (if you prefer a glam) is:
The Byres, Far Meadow.
It's just a 10-minute drive to both the historic Berry village and the gorgeous beach at Shoalhaven Heads. It has beautiful grounds that stretch down to adjoining paddocks, so you can watch a beautiful sunset from your own garden, and then retire to the outdoor jacuzzi (with outdoor fire) for a night under the stars. Finish it off with some soul-chats next to the indoor log fire, and the best night's sleep ever in your choice of 3 double rooms. Winning.
If you prefer a closer experience nature, try:
Camping at Green Patch Beach, and watch the wallaby's fill the beach at sunset. Exactly where you'll find me this Sunday.
MAKE YOUR VISIT A SOCIAL ONE
If it didn't go on Instagram, it never happened. Pack up the car, take heaps of photos and tag away.
Web | http://shoalhaven.com.au/
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/visitshoalhaven
Twitter | https://twitter.com/visitshoalhaven
Instagram | @visitshoalhaven