48 hrs in the Shire: Where to eat, sleep & play

From bushwalks to brunch, this itinerary is a guaranteed feast for the senses.

There’s a reason why residents of The Shire are known for rarely venturing beyond their own backyard. A plethora of beaches, a buzzing cafe culture and the treasures of the Royal National Park are just a few of the major drawcards. Home to an abundance of passionate local business owners, there are plenty of Shire-owned delights to sample from curated homewares and local breweries through to delicious restaurants and a weekly farmers market. So get ready to explore all the Sutherland Shire has to offer, with this ultimate 48-hour guide.


6 pm: Make yourself at home at Rydes Cronulla Beachside 
Check into Rydges Cronulla located smack bang in the middle of the action and just minutes from the sands of North Cronulla Beach. Opt for an ocean view room if you’d like to maximize your coastal stay.

7 pm: Drinks and dinner at Papa J’s 
Pop next door to The Shire’s very own art deco cocktail bar. You’ll be treated to swish old-school tunes whilst feasting on a delish small plate menu featuring treats like burrata, kingfish ceviche and crispy duck pancakes. As for the drinks – prepare to be spoilt with an extensive menu (including an entire page dedicated to martinis) that utilises plenty of Aussie spirits and even a handful from The Shire itself. Our top suggestions? Come to Papa’s, Yuzu Voodoo, Clarified Apple, Clarified Strawberry and the Brookies Slow Davidson Plum.


8 am: Shop for goodies at the Shire Farmers’ Market
Rise bright and early and head on over to the Shire Farmers’ market to forage for goodies to snack on throughout the day. Snag a coffee from Whimsy & Co before doing the rounds. Be sure to stop at Farmgate To Plate for a bacon and egg roll before collecting some pastries from Sonoma and fresh Kombucha from Loquacious for the next leg of your adventure. Finally, pick up local honey, jams, cider and natural wine to take home and enjoy later.

11 am: Explore the Royal National Park
Just a ten-minute drive from the markets, you’ll find the entrance to The Royal National Park, the second oldest national park in the world. There is so much to do here you would need an entire week to do it justice so choose your activity wisely! Keen walkers will be thrilled with the swathe of day hikes on offer that range from 30 minutes (try the Honeymoon Track) to three hours (the Curra Moors Loop track is our pick for bush and coastal views). If walking isn’t your thing, take to the water and hire a rowboat or kayak from The Boatshed (Open Tues – Sun 10am-5pm). The Hacking River is very peaceful around Audley so minimal experience is necessary.

1:30 pm: Lunch at Audley Dance Hall & Cafe
Having worked up a sizeable hunger, you can head on over to Audley Dance Hall & Cafe and take your pick from their moreish home-cooked menu. Enjoy being nestled in the middle of the national park whilst you feast the afternoon away.

3 pm: Pop into Hazelhurst Art Centre
On your way back to base, be sure to pop in at Hazelhurst Art Centre. Hazelhurst hosts a number of renowned exhibitions including the annual Archibald Prize and Art Express amongst other unique curations. A perfect dash of culture to finish off the day. If you have any space left in your tummy be sure to stop in at the cafe for a scone, house-made iced tea or even a French rosé.

5 pm: Enjoy a brew at Sunday Road Brewing
A couple of minutes from Hazelhurst you’ll find Sunday Road Brewing, a 100% locally owned and independent brewery. There are plenty of fresh brews on tap here and the interior is rather chic, making this a very pleasant place to spend an evening. If you’re keen to stay the whole night long, Sunday Road hosts a different food truck each Friday and Saturday night, details of which you can find on their Instagram. A guaranteed good time.

7 pm: Watch the sunset after a busy day
There’s no better place to be when dusk descends than Cronulla Park. Popular with locals, the park is ideal for people watching, with plenty of places to lay down a picnic rug. Grab a wood-fired pizza from Queen Margherita, some fish and chips from South Beach Seafood Co or the ultimate poke bowl from the new Fish Bowl. If you’re keen to walk it off, you can take a post-dinner stroll along Cronulla’s much-loved esplanade.


8 amBreakfast at Rushi
This petite cafe is located within the Chain Reaction Bike store and is a bit of a cult classic with Shire residents. With a subtle Japanese influence to their menu, you’ll find a selection of breaky and lunch options packed with flavour. You can’t go past their famous Yariman roll (the best scrambled eggs you’ll ever have!), ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb ice cream and fresh homemade sushi. But it doesn’t stop there. The beverage menu is filled with just as many gems including the mint slice latte.

10 am: Take in Cronulla Mall
Spend the morning wandering Cronulla’s outdoor mall and shopping local. You’ll find a huge selection of books at The Best Little Bookshop In Town, gorgeous sustainable clothing brands and homewares at We Are Mindful, unique fashion at We Are Roar and plenty of local brews at BottlO’Brien’s.

12 pm: Indulge in a seafood platter
It wouldn’t be a trip to the shire without a seafood lunch so head on over to Sealevel for a platter of the good stuff. You’ll be treated to panoramic views of the ocean alongside the freshest seafood going around.

3 pm: Make time for an afternoon swim
Finish the afternoon off with a post-lunch dip. Just minutes from Sealevel you’ll find one of The Shire’s most popular ocean pools, Cronulla Beach Rock Pool. If you’re a fan of the waves opt for the patrolled North Cronulla beach and if you’re keen for something a little more private, jump in the car and head to the incredibly scenic Salmon Haul.

5 pm: Wind down with a Sunday sesh at Next Door
For your last little taste of local hospitality, mosey on over to Next Door for their adored Sunday sessions. The perfect place to round out a relaxing weekend, you can expect live music, cocktail specials, delicious share plates, and a golden afternoon soaking up some ocean views.

By Shire Scout.

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