Shellharbour Area

A best-kept secret

You might not be familiar with this small coastal enclave just south of Wollongong, but there’s plenty about Shellharbour that’s worthy of attention. Like the excellent snorkelling and diving in a magical aquatic reserve, iconic surf breaks like the famed Mystics, a tranquil lake and river where you can test your SUP or kayaking skills, or a batch of activities that will get your adrenaline flowing.


Beaches & water sports

Relax on white sand beaches all along the stunning coastline. Shellharbour is home to one of Australia’s few National Surfing Reserves at Killalea. Catch a wave at two iconic breaks, The Farm at Killalea Beach and Mystics at Minnamurra Beach.

Sun rising over The Farm in Killalea State Park in Shellharbour Area, South Coast

The Farm, Killalea State Park

The area is also known for its excellent snorkelling and diving. Visit Bushrangers Bay Aquatic Reserve, where underwater cliffs are teeming with marine life. Shellharbour Scuba Centre runs regular tours. At Bass Point Reserve, divers can explore shipwrecks off the coast, the first dating back to 1879. 

Enjoy the serenity of Lake Illawarra by learning to stand-up paddleboard with an accredited instructor. For a special SUP experience join a sunrise or night tour. Drop a line in and try your luck at fishing or grab your bike (or hire one) and enjoy the scenic coastal cycleways.


Things to do

Lace up your hiking boots and explore rare littoral rainforests, waterfalls and hidden beaches on the Cascades and Clover Hill trails in the Macquarie Pass National Park. Bass Point Reserve is a place of significant cultural and natural heritage, which you can explore on a self-guided indigenous walk.

The delightful seaside town of Shellharbour Village is perfect for a beach holiday with cafes, restaurants, specialty shops and a splendid golf course, the picturesque The Links Shell Cove. Nearby, the Calderwood Valley Golf Course is on the edge of the beautiful cliffs of the Illawarra Escarpment. 

Links Shell Cove Golf Course - Img Credit: Scott Campbell

Links Shell Cove Golf Course - Credit: Scott Campbell

A short drive west is Albion Park. Visit the HARS Aviation Museum, where you can sit in the pilot’s seat of an F-111 fighter jet or walk the wing of the record-breaking Qantas 747-400. The town is also home to Australia’s largest air show, Wings Over Illawarra, held each May at Shellharbour Airport.

Crowds enjoying the 2018 Wings Over Illawarra event at the Illawarra Regional Airport, Albion Park Rail

Wings Over Illawarra - Credit: Mark Jessop

Take a ride in carriages from the golden age of rail travel, hop on a steam or diesel train, and circle the grounds on a miniature train at the Illawarra Light Railway Museum. For an unforgettable experience, try a scenic joy flight with Touchdown Helicopters to get a bird’s eye view of Shellharbour from the sky.

There’s plenty for the kids as well. Zip around the track in a go-kart or challenge your friends to laser tag at C1 Speed Indoor Karting, then put on your skates and have fun rolling around the region’s only skating rink at Oak Flats.


Getting there

Just getting to the Shellharbour area from Sydney is exhilarating, a 120 km/two-hour journey south on the epic Grand Pacific Drive. Take in national parks, wild coastal scenery and the thrilling Sea Cliff Bridge. Having your own transportation is ideal, as plenty of attractions await en route. There are also flights available to Shellharbour Airport.

Plan your trip