Local's Guide to the Sutherland Shire

BEST OF THE Shire

Duration: Two days 
Transport: Car and public transport
Highlights: Beaches & Waterways, National Parks

Sutherland Shire, in Sydney’s south, is bursting at the seams with attractions, from the Royal National Park and glorious beaches to top rate eateries and places to stay. You can spend several days exploring ‘The Shire’ as it’s know, but we’ve done the hard work for you with this two-day itinerary. Pick and choose or change the order - whatever you do, we know you'll love the Sutherland Shire.

Day 1

Morning

Make your way by car or train to vibrant Cronulla this morning then catch the oldest commuter ferry operating in Australia for a 20-minute journey to Bundeena. After a coffee at a local cafe, like Driftwood Cafe, it’s time for a scenic bushwalk through the Royal National Park. An easy option is the Jibbon Loop Track, which has impressive Aboriginal rock carvings. Another option is to join a guided walk with Sydney Coast Walks.

You could carry on from here along The Coast Track. Expect dramatic coastal scenery, prolific birdlife, and migrating wales from June to November. Other park highlights include Wedding Cake Rock and the idyllic lagoon and picnic grounds at Wattamolla

Another option is to hire a kayak or a paddleboard from Bundeena Kayaks located at pretty Bonnie Vale Beach. There’s a National Park campground here too, which is one of the most idyllic places to pitch a tent or park your caravan. 

Afternoon

By now you've probably worked up an appetite so catch the ferry back to Cronulla and enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants or cafes. There are plenty of options depending on your hankering, see here for some inspiration. 

Afterwards stretch out on the golden sand, take a dip in any of our beaches or waterways, or explore the coastline on foot along the Cronulla Coast Walk. It takes in surf clubs, beaches, rock pools, parks and panoramic lookouts.

Other afternoon options include a visit to the E.G Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens in Caringbah, or the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre in Gymea. If you've timed your visit right, you can enjoy a craft beer at the Shark Island Brewing Company in Kirrawee. Their cellar door is open from 2pm to 7.30pm Thursdays and Fridays and from 12pm to 5pm on Saturdays.

Options for dinner are endless and it is possible to 'eat your way around the world' without leaving the Sutherland Shire. There are also many little bars and nightspots if you don't want the day to end. Once you're ready to call it a night, head back to your accommodation and get ready for day two.

Day 2

Morning

Sutherland Shire plays a significant role in Australia's European history thanks to Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook, who landed in Kurnell in 1770. Read more in Our Story.

See where he and his crew came ashore and retrace their steps at Captain Cook’s Landing Place in Kamay Botany Bay National Park.  Nearby is Cape Solander, one of Sydney’s best whale-watching spots.   

Afternoon

In keeping with the theme of history, step back in time and into the world class Sydney Tramway Museum at Loftus. You can easily spend a couple of hours among the heritage trams and memorabilia, plus you can ride a tram every Sunday and Wednesday, and on most public holidays. 

Alternatively, just five minutes drive past Loftus is Audley. Situated just inside the Royal National Park, this is the perfect place for a picnic on the grass near the Audley Dance Hall and Café. Hire a rowing boat, a canoe, or an aqua-bike from Audley Boatshed and paddle along the Hacking River in the reflections of gum trees clinging to a towering escarpment. The Boatshed also rents mountain bikes that are perfect for the 10km each-way ride along Lady Carrington Drive, a scenic bush road that follows the waterway. 

This really is the perfect way to finish your two-day visit in the Sutherland Shire.


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