It becomes immediately apparent when driving down the New South Wales South Coast that you will have the choice of two soundtracks during your adventure: waves crashing onto the rocks and sand of uncrowded beaches or ultimate silence with occasional pops of birds and rustling tree branches in forests and National Parks.
The wealth of natural charm means simply walking the coast line is an activity you can spend a whole day doing as you bounce between green headlands, beaches and residential streets that continuously offer scenic views and an ocean breeze; numerous coastal walks stretch of the South Coast.
The uncrowded outdoors are undoubtedly a main attraction for the area but as we discovered, the passion of local business owners to operate exciting, affordable and unique activities are the true standout of the region. Whilst the NSW South Coast is long and expansive, even a short voyage will have you venturing into riveting territory full of adventure.
Region X’s Pigeon House Mountain Hike
Named Pigeon House Mountain by Captain Cook in 1770 as he sailed the coast north to Sydney, the local Aboriginal people knew it to be Didthol which translates to “woman’s breast”. This stunning and unique peak is a 30 minute drive from Milton that will have you travelling along unsealed roads with charred trees on either side of you.
Region X is a outdoor tours company that hosts walks, hikes and canoeing adventures all along the South Coast. Offering everything from half-day trips to five day-journey’s, owner Josh is a local in the area who is experienced and informative. We were also joined by Adrian who runs his own Kokoda hiking company and is another of Region X’s tour guides. Both shared a love of the outdoors and a yearning to pass on their love of exploring. Whilst we didn’t require it, some of Region X’s expeditions offer transfers and pickups from Sydney.
The Pigeon House Mountain Hike is a three to four hour return hike that can be broken down into three sections. The first is a continuous incline along an eroded track that will have you climb 250m in altitude over the next 1km of walking. At times, the first ascent is tiring but both Josh and Adrian will be supportive and have you laughing and talking and before you know it you will reach the top of this section where there are nice spots for you rest and re-hydrate. The views from this granite rock shelf are calming and make you anticipate how great they will be once you reach the top.
The next kilometer is mostly flat and you will venture through dry and wet temperate forest. The final section is an ascent on a series of ladders and steps 60m up the side of the rocky tip.
And then the view greets you. Continuous canyons and valleys are carpeted in dense forest flow out to the horizon in every direction. Josh supplies a mix of fruit and nuts for you to enjoy as you relax and take in the surrounds.
Our descent took place as the sun was beginning to set which naturally made for some stunning scenes.
For more information on Region X and all of their guided tours and adventures you can head HERE.
Coastal Paddle Surf (Mollymook)
Located just north of Mollymook at the Narrawallee Inlet, Coast Paddle Surf is a company set up by local surfer and qualified ocean lifeguard Adrian. Like any new skill, there is a learning curve to finding your balance when standing up on the board but Adrian is patient and supportive and soon enough you will acquire the confidence and skill to move from your knees to your feet and venture around the inlet.
The Narrawallee Inlet is a curving waterway that flows through a network of coastal forests, all whilst maintaining a glassy and clear water quality so you can see fish and the formations in the sand bed beneath you.
Adrian offers tours that range from learn to surf type of itineraries to catching waves out in the ocean. All these come with his guidance and tips but you can also rent gear through him for your own adventures. As well as these, Coastal Paddle Surf also runs a range of yoga and fitness classes out on the water.
The waterway is luminous and calming. Choirs of birds are heard either side of you as the only other noise you’ll hear is the soft and rhythmic splashing of your paddle as you glide on the waterway.
For more information on Coastal Paddle Surf you can head HERE.
Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (Albion Park)
If there is one thing that you will walk away from this museum thinking about, it is the pure and sincere passion of all the volunteers at the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society in the Illawarra. The staff is made up of ex-pilots, ex-air force and aircraft enthusiasts who donate their time to run tours and restore historical aircraft to their former glory.
Started in 1979 by a group of enthusiasts, the museum and society now stretches between two hangars, 408 members and 70 licensed aircraft engineers. Military aircraft and passenger planes from all eras of service adorn the showroom floor with the majority allowing you to approach and even enter. But it is one of their newest (and largest) pieces that is truly impressive.
In what is a pretty cool sight, a Boeing 747 is parked so the tail hangs over the parking lot outside. The HARS hosts tours of this decommissioned plane that let you take part in a wing-walking experience. A complete run down of the wings, engines, location of fuel tanks and the rest of the airport is offered as you walk the stretch of the wing and have your photo taken.
Also offered is a cockpit experience where you spend an hour up the front of the plane with a former pilot who will power on all the electronics in the plane and give you a thorough hands on run-through of operating the aircraft. From reading the radar, learning call signs, planning your course and starting/moving the aircraft – the entire cockpit is at your finger tips. This rare opportunity was an eye opening overload of the skill that is required to maneuver these machines. A personal highlight was turning on the seatbelt light throughout the airplane and hearing the well-known bell of the notification run throughout the cabin behind you.
For more information on the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society and their cockpit and wing walk experiences you can head HERE.
All drone content was captured with the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom and you can read Lachlan’s review of the drone by heading HERE.
The writer traveled as a guest of Destination NSW. You can research more experiences and activities along the NSW South Coast by heading HERE.