A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Published July 7th 2014
Hit the beach
From the unspoilt south coast to the famous beaches of the state's north, NSW is home to an array of wonderful beach holiday locations. Here are five of the best.
Yamba I know most people would include Byron Bay on their list of the best coastal holiday spots in NSW, but that's probably part of the reason why Byron is so crowded these days. I chose to look a little further south to the family holiday hotspot of Yamba. It's less busy than Byron and doesn't attract anywhere near as many smelly hippies.
Yamba is ideal for a family beach holiday. There's a host of pristine beaches to explore, so surfing, swimming and snorkelling will take up plenty of your time. Accommodation options include everything from luxurious resorts to budget caravan parks, while there's no shortage of restaurants to sample.
Besides, Yamba was named "the best town in Australia" by Australian Traveller Magazine in 2009. If that doesn't convince you this is a place worth visiting, nothing will.
Forster Forster is one of those places where there seems to be sparkling turquoise water just about everywhere you look. From the moment you cross the distinctive bridge that links Forster and nearby Tuncurry, the sight of the sparkling water around and below hits you like a slap in the face.
Like every other town on this list, water sports dominate any Forster holiday. You can go fishing on Wallis Lake, take the family to Pebbly Beach, or enjoy a long stroll along One Mile Beach. Climb to the summit of Cape Hawke for some impressive coastal views, or simply take all the time you want to explore the scenery of Booti Booti National Park.
When you've finally exhausted everything Forster has to offer, head north and explore the countless towns and beautiful becahes dotted all the way up the north coast.
Nelson Bay This popular weekend getaway spot has long been the destination of choice for jaded Sydneysiders. A relaxed atmosphere, white sandy beaches and water everywhere you look - it's not a bad antidote to the concrete jungle which is a part of everyday life for many of us.
If you want kid-friendly beaches with safe, calm waters, you'll find what you're looking for right here. If big waves are more your scene, you'll find those too just a few minutes away. Diving and snorkelling in the area is famously spectacular, while the nearby Stockton sand dunes are a whole lot of fun to explore when you tire of aquatic pursuits.
Nelson Bay can get packed during peak periods but if you can find the time to visit on any odd weekend, you won't regret making the trip.
Home to some of the whitest sand in the world, Jervis Bay is a place of peaceful natural beauty. Unspoilt is a word that gets thrown around a fair bit in any article to do with nature, but it certainly applies to this beautiful section of the NSW south coast.
Famous for the Marine Park that shares the same name, Jervis Bay is perfect for whale or dolphin watching cruises, spectacular scuba diving and some impressive snorkelling. Away from the water, you can explore one of a number of nearby national parks. Booderee National Park, with its coastal beauty and Aboriginal history, is a great spot to pitch a tent for a few nights.
Add in some delicious local produce, boutique shopping, art galleries and a thriving cafe scene, and you've got a coastal destination that should be on anyone's bucket list.
Just because it's tucked away on the far south coast of NSW doesn't mean Merimbula should be overlooked. This sleepy seaside town has the one thing the south coast is most famous for - that beautiful sapphire tone the ocean takes on in the sunlight - and it has it in abundance. Bass and Flinders first explored the region in 1797 and were taken aback by its natural beauty, a feeling which visitors to Merimbula have been experiencing ever since.
From fishing to kite surfing, the best fun to be had in Merimbula is on the water. But there's much more to this area than watersports, such as the fresh local seafood or the town's annual jazz festival.
From national parks and wilderness walks to art galleries and mountain biking, you'll find plenty of ways to fill your time in Merimbula. No wonder it's referred to as "the jewel of the Sapphire Coast".