ESCAPE TO NATURE IN THE SUTHERLAND SHIRE

Escape to Nature in the Sutherland Shire

There was a time when most visitors to the Sutherland Shire planned their adventures around spending the day at the beach. But Sydney’s southern suburbs are also a hub for activities such as hiking, biking and kayaking, all activities that have made the destination even more of a drawcard. Break up your nature escape in the Shire with pit stops at local cafes, and some downtime to relax, restore and rejuvenate.

Friday

2pm Start your weekend early by checking into Rydges Cronulla on Friday afternoon to start your two-day adventure. The recently revitalised hotel offers a peaceful introduction to a weekend in the Shire and you can drift to and from the beach by foot.

3pm Head to Chain Reaction to hire a bike and ride to the Captain Book Bridge and back along the bike track that runs from Sea Level to the Woolooware Shared Pathway. Stop at the bird hide overlooking Botany Bay where shorebirds migrate to and from each year.

5pm Want to restore a bit of equilibrium to your mind and body? Head to Recoverie Cronulla where you can indulge in some hot and cold contrast therapy while connecting with the local community. You can also restore and recharge by donning NormaTec compression boots or enjoying a Zerogravity flotation bed and soft lumbar message that will help you destress. There’s even a private suite that provides exclusive access to an ice bath and sauna.

7pm The Alley draws crowds for its live music on a Friday night. It’s strung with lanterns and promises a healthy meal ahead of a wholesome weekend. The unfussy décor and great views also make the rooftop terrace a prime perch. Stick with the healthy theme and order the white poached chicken salad and a mocktail.

9pm Fall asleep to a soothing Pacific Ocean soundtrack.

Saturday

8am Head to Flour in Caringbah South where the best seat in the house is watching baker Damian Martin and his brigade preparing baked treats in the glass-walled dough room. Fuel your adventures with a croissant and cinnamon scroll and order the seeded white sourdough to go. It’s one of the best new eating experiences in the Shire.

10am Catch the ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena or drive through the Royal National Park for a beach kayak tour, aimed at everyone from beginners to experienced paddlers. You can go on a self-guided kayak tour or engage a guide from Bundeena Kayaks who can take you on an Eco Tour to experience the beautiful natural attractions.

Noon Tuck into a sweet corn and black bean burger at Vinegar and Brown Paper and then pop into JEAN General Store. The boutique hardware and general store in Bundeena is owned by interior designer Kelly Ross who hosts regular workshops (from painting to miso-making) designed to soothe the soul.

2pm There are many great places to stay in Bundeena from humble beach shacks to luxurious holiday homes. If you have a car, you can base yourself at Simpson Cottage and set off to explore the many caves, waterfalls and swimming holes in the Royal National Park. There’s also an art trail, held once a month, and rock carvings at the eastern end of Jibbon Beach which are accessible on the Jibbon Loop Track. You can also tackle sections of the iconic Coast Track which stretches from Bundeena to Otford.

Sunday 

9.30am Follow @beachyogacronulla on Instagram to see what time the slow-flow class is scheduled for on a Sunday morning. The weather-dependant classes are held at the northern end of Shelly Beach in Cronulla and cost $15 per person.

10am Continue the restore and rejuvenate theme with a Relax Express spa treatment at Endota Spa, just a hop, skip and a jump from South Cronulla beach.

Noon Entry to Hazelhurst Arts Centre is free. Check out the latest exhibition and then cocoon yourself in the adjoining Hazelhurst Café, which has a seasonal menu and lovely outdoor tables. Finish your healthy weekend off with a blow-out of naked seafood sushi, country ravioli or the BBQ pita with baba ghanoush and a glass of fizz.

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