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W is for Winter, Walks, Whales and Wine

It’s officially whale-watching season. And what better excuse do we need to pair this popular winter past-time with a walk along the coastline, followed by a few glasses of wine. Here are some of the best places to enjoy walks, whale watching and wine in the Sutherland Shire.

CRONULLA

Walk… along the sun-soaked Cronulla Esplanade from Wanda Surf Club to Hungry Point. It’s one of the most popular walks in the Sutherland Shire for a multitude of reasons. For starters, it’s a great place to meet friendly locals, watch surfers paddling into barrelling waves at Shark Island and spread out a blanket to enjoy a picturesque picnic.

Whale watching… The Shire boasts some of NSW’s best whale-watching spots. It’s not uncommon to see them slapping their tails on the metallic surface of the ocean off Oak Park. Or eyeballing surfers as they pootle past Cronulla Point. One of the best ways to spot whales is to observe locals who have paused on their morning walk to point out plumes of mist shooting out of a whale’s spout.

Wine… The Pines Cronulla provides one of the most scenic seaside spaces to look out for whales. Enjoy a Pimms on the breezy patio, settle down for a long leisurely lunch, and drink in those stunning coastal views. You’ve earned it.

ROYAL NATIONAL PARK

Walk… The Coast Track in the Royal National Park is one the most scenic walks in the Sutherland Shire. If you’re fit and up for an adventure, you can tackle the full-day Otford to Bundeena coastal walk in one day. If you want to make a weekend of it, stay at the North Era campground overnight.

Whale watching… There is a roster of great places to stop and gawp out to sea along the coastal track in the Royal National Park. Find a spectacular vantage point from which to observe the so-called humpback highway as these majestic mammals make their way up the coast. The 2023 season is now open with Cronulla Whale Watching in position to spot some of the estimated 40,000 whales passing by the coast. Book now.

Wine… The Coast Track runs along vertiginous sandstone cliffs with panoramic views. Take the hard work out of the experience by indulging in a pack-free guided walk with Life’s An Adventure. Best of all: Australian wines are served at the end of the day’s walk, providing the perfect full stop to the day’s proceedings.

CAPE SOLANDER

Walk… There’s a trail that stretches along the craggy cliffs from Cape Solander through Kamay Botany Bay National Park all the way to Cronulla. The walk passes through groves of eucalypts, over rocky headlands, along rugged beaches and windswept dunes. The 22-kilometre-long trail is popular with hikers, joggers and walkers.

Whale watching… The whale-watching station at Kamay Botany Bay National Park has had an upgrade to cater for the hordes of visitors who visit here during the whale-watching season. Cape Solander is one of the top places to spot whales in NSW as the mammoth mammals pass by extremely close to the coast. You can volunteer to help track the number of whales that migrate past the cape each year.

Wine… Cook at Kurnell is one of Sutherland Shire’s best-kept secrets. The vintage airstream van is also one of the coolest places to kick back and listen to live music, or simply commune with Kurnellians over a cocktail or two. Walk the dog off the leash at nearby Silver Beach, then refuel with burgers and tacos at the beachside bar, which is owned by the well-known Tozzi family.

By Carla Grossetti, an award-winning food and travel writer. Follow Carla’s adventures @food.travel.storieswww.carlagrossetti.com. Feel free to share any whale sightings you have in the Shire with us. You can tag @visitsutherlandshire and @wildaboutwhales on your posts or send us your images and we will share them with the local community and credit you for the image. Email us at tourism@ssc.nsw.gov.au

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Ask a local and they’ll say the sun always shines in the Sutherland Shire, but even when it’s not there is plenty to see and do. From surfing and fishing, walks and cycling to shopping, spa treatments and strolling the art gallery. No matter what the weather, the hardest decision you’ll have is which great activity to choose