No planes, no security lines, no check-in. Sounds like a dream holiday, right? Just a couple of hours from Sydney and Canberra, Shoalhaven is an aptly named getaway destination just a stone's throw away. And this year is the time to visit, to support fellow Aussies who have had some of the toughest few months imaginable, getting back to business and on their feet again.
If you’ve booked the accommodation, packed your best ‘out of office’ looks and loaded the car with holiday reads. What’s next on the list? Well winery-hopping and Instagramming endless pristine beaches is hungry work, so where are you going to eat while you’re in the region? If you ask us, the best part of trying a new location is sampling all the food, so stop in at some of the South Coast’s unmissable spots. We asked the locals for their tips...
For locally sourced ingredients head to Tallwood, Mollymook, where the focus is on great produce. The menu may change based on what’s in season and locals support locals, with many of the fruit, vegetables and mushrooms organically grown just down the road in Milton. Go for a fancy dinner or drop in for the eclectic breakfast menu. Reassuringly, the responsible, beach-town eatery is also taking steps to minimise their waste.
For low key it’s seriously hard to resist the pastries on display at the Milkwood Bakery in Berry… and why would you? Nestled in the heart of charming Berry, enjoy the baked goods to rival Europe in the satisfyingly calming interior decor, or have lunch outside in the cobbled courtyard. And be sure to take some rustic baguettes on the road for picnics.
For dietary requirements book a table in the window at Cupitt’s Restaurant at Ulladulla, the award-winning venue in the beautiful setting of Cupitt’s Estate winery. Chef Russell Chinn translates his Michelin-starred restaurant experience to this ‘elegantly rustic’ menu. The kitchen team is proud of their ingredients and collaborates with the site’s gardeners to plan the menus ahead, growing its own veg, fruit, herbs and producing cheese and beef. Mostly gluten-free by nature, dishes can be tailored to vegan diners too. While you’re there, go behind the scenes and do a cheese tasting at their very own fromagerie.
For a hands-on experience get stuck in with a Garden-to-Table class at Flavours of the Valley cooking school, at the Wildwood Estate, Kangaroo Valley. Surrounding farms and the close proximity to the coast offer fresh produce including local Shoalhaven oysters. Forage for your ingredients in the estate’s garden and let Chef Toni Moran’s home-taught Italian cooking style make for an unpretentious experience.
For seafood-obsessed drop in and see Jim from Jim Wild’s Oysters. This small, family-run oyster farm is a great spot to pick up some fresh prawns or oysters and enjoy them on the waterfront, or take them away for later.