A Weekend on the South East Coast, NSW
The South Coast region of New South Wales is known for its unspoilt environment and, in true Australian fashion, offers a diversity of experiences regardless of your penchant for coastal, forest or country getaways.
In March, a few friends and I decided to head after a brief discussion at dinner, to commemorate a year of adventure and spontaneity.
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While you could drive up, an early flight is ideal depending on your location, to make the most of a short trip. We boarded a plane from Melbourne to Sydney at 6am so we could explore Bondi, the popular surrounding suburb of Sydney, before making our way down.
A 20 minute drive up north from Sydney Airport to Bondi was the perfect start to a NSW road trip. We wandered along past Icebergs, a trendy waterfront restaurant, with that swimming pool you've seen all over Instagram. Bondi Beach is a must for visitors, whether you're up for a swim, coastal walk, or sun-baking.
Make sure to visit:
Speedos Cafe - North Bondi
Speedos is a favourite among locals and visitors, serving modern Australian cuisine - think superfood smoothies, pitaya bowls, raw treats and burgers. Make sure you get in early - the coastal views and relaxed atmosphere makes it a popular spot, and there are plenty of vegan options.
Royal National Park
Spanning 16,000 hectares, this heritage-listed national park boasts incredible views engulfed in forest, walking tracks, and naturally-formed figure 8 pools. The air is fresh, the area is rich with wildlife, and the roads are long and windy - all a great setting for a peaceful drive with the windows down. Even better if you're all yelling the words to your favourite songs and find everything hysterical.
At the southern tip of the Royal National Park, you have Otford, a village located in a valley, with residences along the hillside. Otford Lookout is one of those places you have to stare at for a really long time to take it in. With nothing but nature and the ocean around you, who couldn't be happy?
Another moment to pinch yourself in. A small coastal town, Callala Beach, is known for its - you guessed it - stunning beaches and beach culture. The water was unbelievably clear, the weather was hot, and we were all in good spirits playing in the water like children. We spent a few hours here on day two, before settling down along the waterfront for lunch. I highly recommend making the pit stop, as it was one of the highlights of the trip.
The second half of day two was spent looking for op shops. The best ones in the area were closed on Saturdays, but we managed to find a few other good ones. You come a shopping a must in every city - $3 culotte jumpsuit? Don't mind if I do!
Back 2 Earth Farm Stay - Berry
The core reason we made our way up to NSW was because we'd been seeing Back 2 Earth all over Instagram, and had to experience it for ourselves.
Back 2 Earth is an organic farm stay, located on a 5 acre property surrounded by the hills of Berry and the beautiful countryside. Jenny and Mark, the owners, were incredibly welcoming and grow all of their own organic fruits and vegetables on the farm. Most of their animals (alpacas, sheep, horses, goats, rabbits, ducks - you name it) were rescued animals and now enjoy the farm as a forever home. We were able to feed and play with them, as well as enjoy the raw vegan cuisine (something you can opt in for). Parfaits were served for breakfast, while rice paper rolls, burgers and treats were up for dinner.
On the last night, we sat on the balcony in the crisp air and watched the stars. It was the first time I'd really seen the Milky Way, and words cannot describe the sight. We also pointed out a few constellations and saw faint flashes of light from Uranus as it peeked near a mountaintop.
10/10 would recommend.