When the hustle and bustle of this close-knit city life gets beneath your skin, an escape down to the picturesque coastal town of Gerringong is the perfect remedy. A two-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney, Gerringong is the perfect place to spend a weekend that is somehow both jam-packed with things to do and relaxing at the same time. Here is an ideal way to make the most of 48 hours in this coastal secret:
There is nothing more perfect for a fresh south coast morning than a round of golf on one of the most scenic courses on the east coast. It’s not for the faint-hearted – it has its fair share of hills and there is a good chance of a few water-logged golf balls – but it offers unparalleled panoramic views of the coast and the staff will go out of their way to make sure you have a memorable time.
Werri Beach is the gem of Gerringong. With its clear turquoise water and white sand stretching for miles, it’s popular with locals and visitors alike. With so much space, it’s easy to get a spot all to yourself, and with impressive surf it would be a waste not to give a board a try! When you’re exhausted from frolicking in the sea, head across the road to Werri Beach Fish & Chip shop, for delicious, fresh seafood and unpretentious meals. Take your beer-battered fish and chips – or if you’re a little bit fancy, wholemeal lentil burger – back across the road and watch the waves crash while you eat your lunch.
Named after the heritage listed rail siding next to the building, which was used to export cheese products to the UK nearly a century ago, The Siding is a locally-owned distillery and brewery set up in the town’s rustic old dairy farm. They make their own distilled whiskey, rum and vodka (named 151 after the latitude of the town) as well as locally sourced craft beers and wine, with a few German artisan labels thrown into the mix. They host open and private tastings, along with private masterclasses that are sure to teach you a thing or two about what goes on in a distillery.
Cronin’s Hotel is the most iconic establishment in the Gerringong area. Owned by local talent and rugby league football legend Mick Cronin, the grill offers generous portions of unpretentious, home-cooked pub grub that is the perfect feed to go along with a pint after a busy day. The crowd is a mix of locals and tourists, but everyone is friendly and accommodating and it’s a splendid, laid-back atmosphere to enjoy any night of the week.
Gerringong sits in the perfect location to explore several of the coastal walks this part of NSW has to offer. The Werri Beach to Kiama walk will take you to some of the most spectacular landmarks on the coast. It’s 11 kilometers one-way, and for those who don’t feel like the trek back will appreciate the shuttle buses that run the stretch. The walk will take you along the rugged cliff tops, with stunning ocean views and if the season permits, spot a whale or two. There are checkpoints marking every kilometre, explaining the history and geology of the area. When you finish the walk you’ll be a Kiama Blowhole – a scene that will make the sweat worth it!
Start at Mountain Ridge, set upon a hill overlooking the Gerringong region. On the smaller side but with equal parts rustic charm and overall quaintness, you can taste the wines while looking over the vineyards where they grow. If you’re lucky, they’ll have plenty of their homemade schnapps on hand, along with some frozen lemonade for a homemade slushie that will break up all those wine tannins.
Next stop is Coolangatta Estate. The estate was the first European settlement in the south coast, and Coolangatta is the Aboriginal word for ‘fine view’, which the winery definitely boasts. They offer tastings of several wines grown completely on their estate, along with locally sourced jam, mustards, cheeses, cured meats and other delicious titbits. Enjoy these goodies in front of the open fire in the cooler months, or outside on their verandah in the sunshine in the summer months.
Attached to the winery is Alexander’s Grill, which serves fresh local fare paired with the wines made on the estate. Enjoy a delectable lunch of garlic, butter and lemon oysters or a warm halloumi and zucchini salad, to name a few.
Head back into town and have a window shop along the main street. Gerringong is small, and all of it’s beautiful boutique stores are conveniently located in the same street. Shop for homemade home decor, furniture, jewellery, flowers, hand-poured candled and clothes from one of the locally owned establishments. Try Natural Necessity Surf Shop for original surfwear and all kinds of surfing accessories you’ll need if you plan to take on Werri Beach, or try Corner D’Or for a unique vintage find!
A converted – you guessed it – school, The Schoolhouse is nowadays a quirky, homey café serving up completely homemade and comforting food. Their high tea is miles apart from fancy, small portioned pretentious food found in fancy hotels, but generous, rich cakes, sandwiches and scones. Their teas are all home-ground nearby and offer a fresh taste of the countryside you just can’t get from a box, and their coffee will provide a refreshing caffeine boost before the drive back to Sydney.