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Road Trip to the New South Wales South Coast

Updated on June 29, 2014
The Sea Cliff Bridge at dusk on Lawrence Hargrave Drive near Coalcliff on the NSW South Coast in Australia
The Sea Cliff Bridge at dusk on Lawrence Hargrave Drive near Coalcliff on the NSW South Coast in Australia | Source

The NSW South Coast

A few of my readers might have already read my previous hub about my day trip to a town called Kiama and the southern hemisphere's largest Buddhist temple.

However, the beautiful South Coast of NSW actually has a lot more to offer than just a blowhole and a temple, as this hub will now explain.

Stretching over a distance of least 250 KM from Helensberg to Batemans Bay, this region is a land of contrasts - you have the coastline along the Tasman Sea (which in essence is the extension of the Pacific Ocean between Australia and New Zealand) followed dramatic rises in elevation on land (going as high as 700 m over sea level in a matter of 15 km from the shore.

Anyone living in Sydney (or even Canberra, which is pretty close from Batemans Bay) will agree that the first stop during a day trip to the South Coast (apart from Kiama and Wollongong) would be Robertson, the Macquarie Pass and the famous Sea-Cliff Bridge.

This is exactly what I did back in May-June 2014 when I traveled with a friend for a day-trip to essentially show her the basics of the NSW South Coast (as she was new to Sydney) and the following sub-sections would explain each leg in detail.

Macquarie Pass and Robertson's Pie Shop

As we drove from Sydney's famous St Marys Cathedral on a sunny Sunday morning after the weekly service, we decided to drive to Robertson to eat pies (which is a hardcore staple in Australia's diet). You can get pies anywhere but this particular place, called the Robertson Pie Shop (named after the town in which its located) is famous among holiday goers and road trippers (apart from the locals) who regular stop here to grab a bite and coffee and walk along the endless hectares of greenery.

To get here from Sydney/Wollongong and the Princess Highway, you need to take the Illawarra Highway at Albion Park and drive through a 10 km long treacherous mountain road named the Macquarie Pass - probably the most winding road in this part of the country (apart from what one would see in the Australian Alps) . As you hurtle westbound on the Illawarra Highway at 100 KPM (62 MPH), the pass appears suddenly with little warning and one needs to come to a screeching slow down to around 40-60 KPH as they make their way up along the pass. The narrow road has a series of hairpins (including two which require heavy vehicles to reverse and make way for oncoming traffic if needed.

As you make your way to the highlands on the other side of the dark tree-lined pass (which also has a long walking track), you're greeted with spectacular views of the distant sea and the hills and you just cannot imagine how beautiful it all looks.

Coming to the Robertson Pie Shop, you can get your pies in a giant pizza-sized size or a small cup-cake sized serving in almost any flavour conceivable (including Vegetarian and Curry Chicken!).

While at Robertson, you can decide to either visit the Jamberoo Theme Park (and drive along the Jamberoo Mountain Road) and visit the Illawarra Fly Tree Top (featured on the Travel and Living Channel), visit the town center of Robertson (where you can eat cheese) or return towards Wollongong/Sydney.

Helpful Links:

Robertson Pie Shop: http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/country-nsw/southern-highlands/robertson/attractions/robertson-pie-shop

Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk: http://www.illawarrafly.com/

Jamberoo Theme Park: http://www.jamberoo.net/



View towards the Tasman Sea from the top of Macquarie Pass near Robertson
View towards the Tasman Sea from the top of Macquarie Pass near Robertson | Source
Front side of the Robertson Pie Shop on the Illawarra Highway, Robertson (NSW)
Front side of the Robertson Pie Shop on the Illawarra Highway, Robertson (NSW) | Source
An articulated truck negotiating (or is stuck) at the most challenging hairpin of the Macquarie Pass on the Illawarra Highway (Articulated trucks beyond a certain length are no longer allowed on the Macquarie Pass - they need to use Picton Road)
An articulated truck negotiating (or is stuck) at the most challenging hairpin of the Macquarie Pass on the Illawarra Highway (Articulated trucks beyond a certain length are no longer allowed on the Macquarie Pass - they need to use Picton Road) | Source

The Sea Cliff Bridge

Built and opened for traffic in 2007-2008, the Sea Cliff Bridge was essentially constructed as a faster bypass around Coal Cliff on the Lawrence Hargrave Scenic Drive/ Princess Highway.

Since its inauguration, the Sea Cliff bridge has become a major attraction along the Lawrence Hargrave Scenic Route and as such the first stops that come to anyone's mind who're planning on visiting NSW's South Coast for the first time.

To get to this spectacular bridge and if you're driving south from Sydney, you need to take the exit to Lawrence Hargrave Drive off the M1-Princess Motorway near Helensberg and Otford and drive down the mountains for roughly 25 mins before the bridge appears suddenly.

The sight is particularly beautiful at sunrise or sunset (refer to the picture above which was taken during sunset) and the bridge has more or less become a favored location for filming for both movies and TV by international production houses including those from Hollywood and Bollywood.

The bridge is flanked by a pedestrian walkway throughout its 1.5 km (Approx) length and is constructed in two sections. Parking is available towards the southern end of the bridge (There's limited parking available at a distance towards the northern end too but this would mean a longer walk to the bridge).

Just like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sea Cliff bridge is also noted for couples locking locks along its guard-rails as a symbol of their bond and as you walk along it, you can see a lot of locks along the length of the bridge (especially towards the southern end).

Even if you don't wish to walk along Sea Cliff Bridge, driving on it is an equal pleasure especially if you're driving a super car or a convertible as at a limit of 70 KPH (45 MPH), one can certainly explore a bit of cornering on this twisting snake-like marvel of architecture.



The Sea-Cliff Bridge on Lawrence Hargrave Drive on the NSW South Coast in Australia
The Sea-Cliff Bridge on Lawrence Hargrave Drive on the NSW South Coast in Australia | Source

Conclusion

So there you have it, my top travel tips for the NSW South Coast if you're just planning on covering the important bits of it in one day - something which is definitely not impossible if you start early and are prepared to finish at sunset.

Hope my articles serve as an inspiration (and enticement) for anyone planning on visiting the country I've called home since February 2004 and am happy to provide further travel tips should you need any :)

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    • Hackslap profile image
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      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      thanks for your feedback ardhen!

    • ardhendudey profile image

      Ardhendu Dey 3 years ago from Jamshedpur

      Liked the hub a lot. Will definitely wish to have the picturesque view of the sea cliff bridge during sunset. Loved the photos too. Superb hub.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for your feedback guys!

    • FWwrites-of-man profile image

      FWwrites-of-man 3 years ago

      Now THIS is a road trip. Wonder-full! (How amazing that you found and followed me after I’ve been dormant for such a long time. You’ve inspired me to update my Hubs - if not to go further and actually find time from my newspaper work to create new Hubs). Thank you, Hackslap.

    • wordswithlove profile image

      Neetu M 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Thank you for the informative hub with lovely photos, Hackslap! If I ever make it to Australia, I shall try to keep these in mind!

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for the feedback Suzanne ..Yes this was quite an interesting trip to say the least and the drive up (or down) Macquarie Pass is hair raising if you decide to drive your car at speed like a rally circuit .... The pies are delicious at Roberson!

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Sounds like you had some fun writing this hub! I will have to check out Robertson's Pie Shop if I'm in the area, sometimes it can be hard to get decent pies like you used to. The silly truck stuck in the hairpin turn was a good snapshot, looking forward to more and voted awesome!

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 3 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Thanks for all the great information and beautiful photos. I didn't explore much of the NSW coast during my epic journey around Australia in 2007, but will definitely have to come back and check it out.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      No probs StBrian.. glad you enjoyed the hub

    • stbrians profile image

      Meshack Bwoyele Keya 3 years ago from Vihiga County,Western Kenya

      You have associated me in your trip. Thanks for the involvement and following

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for your feedback teaches12345..well you're more than welcome to visit :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Thanks for the tour of this area. Maybe some day I will make it over there.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      @vkwok ..yeah mate drop in ..

      @annart .. Australia's truly God's own country ..there's simply so much to see here that merely spending a week or two's certainly not enough .. cheers for your feedback!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Spectacular photos, Hackslap, and certainly an inspiration to see this area. There are so many wonderful areas in Australia, you could spend a lifetime visiting and still not see them all! I love it.

      Looking forward to reading the next one. Ann

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Nice hub, Hackslap, and awesome pictures. I think I'll consider going through there if I ever decide to take a road trip.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Ok Hackslap I see that now regarding the pics thanks. Yes, I'll try to get down there one day. By the number of cars parked in front, those pies are good.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for your comment rebel... yup the pies are to die for at that shop!

    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 3 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      Amazing photos, Hackslaps. The scenic sights look like a lot of fun. I'm sure the pies in "Robertson Pie Shop" are delicious.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Cheers for the feedback Jodah .you've gotta come down south mate and try the pies if nothing else :).. ..actually I've put up two pics of the Sea Cliff Bridge ... one on top near the introduction and one near the sub-section where I've written about the bridge ..the pic on top was taken by me via Instagram ..and the one below (The aerial shot) was found on Google ... hence my reference to the above pic as I like promoting my Instagram account too :D

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wonderful hub showcasing the South Coast of NSW, Hackslap. I am Aussie and I haven't been there yet, but the Robertson Pie Shop alone is enough reason. I am a true pie connoisseur. The photos are stunning ( in your text regarding the Sea-Cliff Bridge, you say "refer to the picture above...", but it is in fact below). Well done though, voted up.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for your feedback sheila ...yes please do visit! :)

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      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      Thanks for the tour. One of these days I hope to make over to that part of the world and this sounds like a great place to visit.

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      You've gotta eat the pies from the pie shop Dana...hope you do manage to drop by here :)

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Cheers for the feedback MG!

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 3 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      Your pictures are absolutely breathtaking and this sounds like a wonderful place to visit if I ever have the opportunity to do some traveling. And that pie sounds delicious.

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore

      It's a wonderful post creating a beautiful picture

    • Hackslap profile image
      Author

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for your comment DDE ..yes it is an amazing place to visit . drop by sometime!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Beautiful photos. Sounds a wonderful place to visit the views are extraordinary! Voted up, useful interesting and I shared.