NSW Top Tourism Town Finalist

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Top Town: population over 5,000 residents

09:00 Mon 29 April - till - 17:00 Mon 13 May.

Members of the public may lodge only one vote for one town in each category. See Terms & Conditions.


Shellharbour is a coastal paradise and the gateway to the NSW South Coast. The perfect destination along a scenic road trip, located just over an hour’s easy drive south of Sydney and 2.5 hours from Canberra. Shellharbour is also well connected for interstate travellers, with direct flights from Melbourne and Brisbane via Link Airways to Shellharbour Airport, who can then collect a hire car and explore the coast by road. 

Whether you are craving a relaxing drive, just taking in the scenery and recharging the batteries (your own hopefully and not the car!) or an action filled, jam-packed journey where you take in all the area has to offer, we have all bases covered. So pick your person, pack your bags and hit the road!

Shellharbour is blessed with a beautiful location between the majestic Illawarra Escarpment and the pristine blue expansion of the Tasman Sea. There are lakes, lagoons, islands, legendary surf beaches and a whole aquatic playground to be explored. 

Just as couples come to connect with each other, take the time also to connect with country.  Shellharbour is on Dharawal Country, land of the Wodi Wodi people, come and learn the stories and experience the culture based on the traditions of the Dharawal and Yuin Nation with a tour or workshop with local company Gumaraa Aboriginal Experiences. Hear the stories of the land from the water with a Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Shellharbour’s Indigenous SUP Tour.

Killalea Regional Park is a very special place. A much-loved location by locals and visitors alike, it is home to “The Farm”. A national surfing reserve and world class surfing spot that was also just voted the second-best beach in the country. It has a rich cultural history, both First Nations and European and is the perfect place to sit together on the picnic blanket and take in the stunning scenery. It was curious travelling surfers in the mid-sixties who uncovered this once hidden beach and they had to shell out a few coins to the friendly local famer to open his gate and let them cross his paddocks to go surfing, which is how The Farm came to get its name. 

If you are a couple that just want to get back to nature, you can explore rare littoral rainforests and swim under waterfalls along the trails of Macquarie Pass National Park. Bass Point is home to an aquatic reserve Bushrangers Bay, which is known for its excellent snorkeling and diving. You may even be lucky enough to see a resident weedy sea dragon, play hide and seek with Sydney’s pygmy pipe horse or cruise with a grey nurse shark.

For the duo that a looking for a bit more action and adventure, we have it all. You can skydive where the surf meets the sky and land right on the beach or if you prefer to stay inside the flying machines, maybe take a joy flight on a helicopter or scenic or acrobatic flight on the “Blue Thunder”. At the HARS Aviation Museum you can go on board the "Connie" the Super Constellation, the airline of the 1950's. You can also take a tour and wing walk on the Qantas Boeing 747-400 or sit in the cockpit of an F-111 bomber jet.

There’s plenty of on land adrenaline action too like, indoor go-karting, laser tag, smash lab, BMX, bicycling and mountain biking, roller skating, golf (and mini golf) and we are just a short drive from Jamberoo Action Park and The Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures. 

Shellharbour is quickly gaining a reputation as the South Coast’s must-visit boating and lifestyle destination, especially with the jewel in the crown, the Waterfront Shell Cove and Shellharbour Marina. During migration season (May-November), whale watching tours are a must and there are several dining options for a romantic waterfront dinner for two…and a maybe cheeky cocktail as well. 

Explore our coastal village with cafes, restaurants, day spas, boutiques and maybe take in a show at the local theatre. For those looking for some serious retail therapy, the city centre is home to Stockland Shellharbour and is a mecca for dining and entertainment. 

When it comes time to park up the RV or caravan for your stay, the NRMA Beachside Holiday Park is the ideal spot. As the name suggests it is located right on the beach and has direct access to Shellharbour South Beach, with an ocean pool just next door. The Holiday Park is pet friendly if your pooch is travelling as your “third wheel” and is just short stroll to the village where there is an array of dining options.

Whether you just stay a night or stay a while…we look forward to welcoming you to beautiful Shellharbour very soon.


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The road trip has begun! Head South along the Grand Pacific Drive, which will just take your breath away set against the dramatic escarpment and stunning coastline.  En-route along the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge, head further south winding your way through all the coastal villages until you arrive at the gorgeous Shellharbour Village.


Arriving at the NRMA Shellharbour Beachside Holiday Park, you will be keen to park the van and hit the waves as soon as possible. Follow the local’s lead and paddle straight out in front of the holiday park to take one of Shellharbour’s favourite breaks, Bombie.

After enjoying a surf, it’s off to explore this village which is giving off laid-back vibes, just what’s in order! Wander past the ocean pool, named after local legend Olympic swimmer Beverley Whitfield and make a mental note to take in some early morning laps during your stay.

A meander up Addison Street, browsing through the village boutiques will lead you to the art-deco Ocean Beach Hotel at the end of the street, the perfect place to enjoy lunch and watch fishermen feeding the pelicans across at the boat harbour.

 If you are keen to learn about the cultural history of the area, download the “Tread Shellharbour” app where you can learn all about the Wodi Wodi people, who are the First Nations custodians of the Dharawal land on which you are visiting.  It’s full of amazing facts, such as that 17,000 years before the Egyptians built the pyramids, First Nations People were using Bass Point as a camping ground.

Bass Point Reserve is a 72-hectare coastal jewel which contains one of the few littoral rainforest areas in the Illawarra. Recognised as one of the most important archaeological sites on the NSW coast, Bass Point is listed on the Australian Heritage Commission register for both its Aboriginal and European Values. Explore the area and take the self-guided Indigenous tour.

Bushrangers Bay is then calling! This pristine protected aquatic reserve is an excellent spot for snorkelling amongst the diverse marine habitat including the resident grey nurse sharks, who casually glide by as you explore this incredible underwater world.

Feeling sun kissed and salty, head back to the holiday park for sunset drinks and nibbles overlooking beautiful Shellharbour South Beach. Sample some local brew from Bass Point Brewing Company before getting ready to head out to the award-winning restaurant, Relish on Addison and enjoy their contemporary Australian menu from the balcony with views out towards the harbour.



Shellharbour City is a vibrant, dynamic coastal city located just over one hours drive South of Sydney. On Dharawal Country, the traditional custodians of the land are the Wodi Wodi people. 

The gateway to the NSW South Coast, Shellharbour is a well-connected city with a developing regional airport that currently links the Illawarra and surrounding regions to Melbourne and Brisbane. The new Shell Cove Harbour and Shellharbour Marina also create a significant connection to the ‘blue highway’ between metropolitan NSW to the north and regional NSW to the south.


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