This spring, getting outdoors feels even more restorative than usual. Be it a remote area for quiet contemplation or a colourful oasis in the midst of an urban environment, here are five great options for adventure and outdoor activities in the Sutherland Shire.
Kite Surfing @ Kurnell
Covid-19 has seen an uptick in activities such as kite surfing, surf foiling and kite foiling as Sutherland Shire residents who cut back on travel time exchanged their train commute with time spent floating above the chop of the waves. In a northerly wind, Kurnell is one of the best places in Sydney to harness the power of the wind. Prokite has a set-up located a 'whirlybird rewind' (read: spin and a flip) from the Kurnell peninsula and aimed at those who love extreme water sports and want to experience the thrill of kitesurfing or foiling. The colourful kites are now a fixture off the coast of Kurnell in windy weather and it's worth venturing to the southern Sydney beach to see some of the more advanced kiters scudding across the water and doing figure eights in the sky. Visit prokite.com.au to book a session with an expert. Check out the Prokite Highlight reel here and email James Grundy at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a session.
Mill Creek Mountain Bike Trails
The Mill Creek Mountain Bike Trail is the perfect place to let yourself go while being bounced along in rugged bushland. While the track route that carves through the Lucas Heights Conservation Area is still very much a work in progress, a small group of trailblazers and volunteers from Sutherland Shire Council Bushcare have been busy building on the Menai network while maintaining the current loop, which extends to about eight kilometres. Download the map to find Methane Alley, which rolls into Toxic Flows and the fast-flowing Creek Dash. There's also a section called Twisties, which features a series of wooden bridges along the way to Black Hawk Down and Pump Action, which attracts hardcore MTBers as well as beginners. See the Mill Creek MTB Facebook page for more details.
Deep Sea Fishing with Sydney Premium Charters
For those new to deep sea fishing, a guided trip out to sea onboard a charter boat is the safest way to explore the depths of the ocean. Set off at daybreak from Cronulla Marina with Sydney Premium Charters and return from mid-morning onwards or leave around 12.30 pm for a four-hour jaunt off the coast. Together, skippers Michael Abbott and Malcolm Steen have been navigating fisher folk around the Sutherland Shire's waterways for about 30 years. While the morning sessions on Cindy Bett are aimed at hardcore fishos, the afternoon sessions onboard Game Fisher cater more towards families and novice anglers. In summer, the boats trawl for mahi mahi, kingfish, bonito, marlin and Australian salmon off the coast anywhere from Wattamolla to Wedding Cake Rock and Marley Beach. To book a deep sea fishing trip in the Sutherland Shire, visit Sydneypremiumcharters.com.au
Scuba Diving in the Sutherland Shire
There are a few sites off the coast in the Sutherland Shire where you will regularly see divers walking backwards into the inky seas shouldering scuba tanks, regulators swinging around their necks. Whether you have a newly minted PADI diving certificate or are experimenting with a day dive, there are quite a few top spots to enjoy the discombobulating feeling of breathing underwater. Give your dive buddy the thumbs up at: Oak Park, which has vibrant coral gardens and abundant marine life; the Monument and the Steps, Kurnell, where you are likely to see weedy sea dragons; and Shiprock, in Port Hacking, which offers divers a large deep wall lined with an array of vibrant corals and sponges, overhangs and swim-through caverns. View our Sutherland Shire dive overview video here or contact Abyss Scuba Diving and St George Underwater to learn more about diving in the Sutherland Shire.
Enjoy a two-day hike from Otford to Bundeena
The two-day 26-kilometre walk from Otford Lookout to Bundeena is best enjoyed over a few days, allowing hikers plenty of time to stop for happy snaps. The hike -- ranked as one of the best walks in the Sutherland Shire -- meanders through the clefts of sandstone cliffs that look out over cobalt blue seas, where whales are often sighted between the months of May and November. Highlights include the wildflowers that carpet the headlands in summer and the Indigenous rock carvings located along the Jibbon Loop. The northern section of the walk stretches for about 18 km to North Era, where you will need to book a site at North Era Campground if you want to stay overnight. The second section of the walk covers about eight kilometres and takes about three hours. Alternatively, if you want someone else to look after the logistics of your Royal National Park Walk book a trip with Life's An Adventure.
Carla Grossetti is an award-winning local journalist. Follow her food and travel adventures at @food.travel.stories on Instagram. To read more of Carla's stories, visit www.carlagrossetti.com
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522 Kingsway (Corner of Jackson Avenue), Miranda
T: 1800 004 321
Gerrale Street, Cronulla
Old Princes Highway, Engadine
20-38 Gerrale Street, Cronulla
T: 02 9710 0333
20 - 26 The Kingsway, Cronulla
T: 02 9527 3100
1 Kingsway, Cronulla
T: 02 8536 3600
1229-1233 Princes Highway, Engadine
T: 02 9520 8166
2 Seabreeze Lane, Bundeena
T: 0419 254 981
104 President Avenue, Caringbah
T: 02 9710 0333
Cnr Rawson Avenue & Pitt Street, Loftus
T: 02 9542 3646