A Slice of Paradise on the NSW South Coast
Heading south and trying to plan a perfect weekend in Mollymook? Below we share our advice for what to see, do and eat in Mollymook and Milton. This weekend getaway plan will give you ideas for exploring Ulladulla, and Huskisson too!
We recently spent some time exploring the wine and whales of the Shoalhaven and found an abundance of fabulous food and so many stunning views we booked a return visit. Today, we share our favourites, everything you need to know to plan a perfect weekend in Mollymook.
- Where is Mollymook?
- Our Shoalhaven Attractions Map
- Our Top Things to do in the Shoalhaven
- Explore the waters of the bay with Jervis Bay Wild
- Spend an afternoon wining and dining at Cupitt’s Winery
- Learn more about Aboriginal Culture with Djiriba Waagura
- Take the Gondwana Coast Fossil Walk
- Start working your way through the 100 Beach Challenge
- Do some window shopping in Milton
- Head out for a bushwalk
- More options
- Where to Stay in Mollymook
- Where to eat in Mollymook and Milton
Where is Mollymook?
Mollymook is in the Shoalhaven Region on NSW South Coast, about 3 hours south of Sydney and a similar distance from Canberra. It sits on the southern side of Jervis Bay, surrounded by white sand beaches and lush green dairy country. Perfect surroundings for a weekend of relaxation.
Our Shoalhaven Attractions Map
We spent three days and two nights based in Mollymook and taking in the sights between Huskinson and Ulladulla. Highlighted on this map are the places we ate, drank, slept and explored.
Our Top Things to do in the Shoalhaven
We have been visiting the Shoalhaven region for many years, usually staying near Booderee National Park, the small town of Berry or at Seven Mile Beach in Gerroa. This time, however, we chose Mollymook as our base. Each of these spots offers a unique type of holiday.
While Mollymook is the perfect destination for a do-nothing holiday, there are some great things to do nearby while you are here. Our biggest tip; don’t over plan, leave time to sit on one or more of the stunning white sand beaches and chill out in some of the cool bars that have popped up.
Explore the waters of the bay with Jervis Bay Wild
Jervis Bay is renowned for its crystal clear waters and attracts lots of marine life, so spending some time out on the water is a no brainer. You can get active and rent a kayak or go diving, or you could be lazy like us and head out on the Port Venture.
We took a whale-watching cruise on a chilly winter morning earlier this year and had a fantastic day out. The staff made sure everyone was comfortable and gave a great commentary on both the bay and the whale migration.
Jervis Bay Wild also offers dolphin cruises, and another trip called the Jervis Bay Passage Cruise, which includes a sail past Hyams Beach before getting up close to Point Perpendicular. This is one of the best spots in New South Wales to see marine life up close.
Spend an afternoon wining and dining at Cupitt’s Winery
With views like the one below, it’s easy to see why an afternoon here slips away. This family-run winery also has an onsite fromagerie and brewery and produces sourdough, pickles and sauces, meaning even any non-wine lovers will probably find something they like.
While there is an award-winning restaurant on-site, we arrived late afternoon and only a little peckish, so we settled on a wine and cheese tasting. They served us three portions of cheese and three matching wines.
The brewery produces both craft ales and lager and you can order beer tasting flights instead if that is more your thing. At weekends there is usually some live music and I promise it is very hard to tear yourself away!
Learn more about Aboriginal Culture with Djiriba Waagura
If you have some spare time on Saturday morning, we think you should join Ray on the Timbery Cultural Bush Walk.
This two-and-a-half hour cultural experience was informative and enjoyable, we could not recommend it more highly. It has to be the best Aboriginal owned and guided tour we have ever done and it’s so well priced (only $40)
The tour started with an inclusive traditional smoking ceremony, and while we have been part of these before, this was the first time we had a detailed explanation to us, and they invited us to take part.
Next up was a walk through the surrounding bushland where Ray showed us native foods and encouraged us to taste them.
We learned about the way plants are used for medicinal purposes and discussed traditional fire practices, something that we were all interested in learning more about after the fires which had recently destroyed so much of the NSW south coast.
At the end of the walk, there was a short, fun cultural performance that included didgeridoo and dance performance.
Where: Dent St entry to the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum.
When: Saturday 9:30am – 12pm
Price guide: $40
Bookings: Phone 4441-5675 or email r.timbery_at_outlook.com
Take the Gondwana Coast Fossil Walk
This award-winning short guided walk along the Ulladulla Harbour last 2 hours with lots of fantastic facts about the fossils here that date back many thousands of years shared by the passionate guides.
Where: The Fossil Display Centre is at 275 Green St, Ulladulla
Price guide: $10
Bookings: Ulladulla Visitor’s Centre (02) 44448819
Start working your way through the 100 Beach Challenge
While guidebooks and websites always refer to Hyams Beach’s claims to have the whitest sand in the world, the Shoalhaven actually has lots of equally stunning beaches. To encourage you to visit them, Shoalhaven Tourism has come up with the 100 Beach Challenge (PDF).
Download the app to your phone or print out the PDF copy from the link above and start working your way through the list. I am only at 28, so lots of return trips ahead!
Do some window shopping in Milton
You drive through Milton on your way to Mollymook, and I am sure on sight you will plan to head back and explore.
We picked up some birthday gifts and some lovely skincare products. There is a good range of homeware, clothing and cafes along the main street and surrounding streets, easily enough to keep the average shopper busy for a couple of hours.
Head out for a bushwalk
The most popular hike near Mollymook is the track up to Pigeon House Mountain, but sadly Morton National Park, home to the mountain and another great walk in the area, Granite Falls, was badly damaged by the summer 2020 fires and is currently closed.
Instead, this time we enjoyed the coastal walk from Mollymook to the Narrawallee Beach, where we took the feature image at the top of the page. There is also a short 500m walk on Bannister Head that has lovely views over Mollymook Beach.
Other options we didn’t get to this time:
- Enjoying a round of golf at Mollymook Golf Course
- Kayaking at nearby Lake Conjola or Burrell Lake
- Taking a swim in the Mollymook Bogey Hole – not really an August activity!
Where to Stay in Mollymook
We got lucky on this recent visit and, because of a bit of a hotel mix up, ended up having to change hotels halfway through our visit. Normally this sort of hiccup is annoying; we enjoyed getting to try yet another Bannister experience.
Bannisters Pavilion Mollymook
We spent our first night in Bannisters Pavilion in the main street of Mollymook. Unlike its famous sister property, Bannisters by the Sea, there are no ocean views here, but the hotel’s design and rooftop bar make up for that. It features relaxed styling and plenty of light. We immediately felt comfortable in the space.
Our Classic Room was spacious; the high ceilings added to the feeling of luxury. The extremely comfortable king-size bed gave a great night’s rest. There was also plenty of room for bags; one of my pet hates is not having enough space to open two cases in a room.
They stocked the generous-sized bathroom with Kevin Murphy products, which I love, and a large bath.
Our balcony overlooking the street below provided little in the way of a view, but the natural light from the floor to ceiling windows was lovely. We had read complaints about street noise, but I am a light sleeper and heard nothing. However, if you have the option, request a room at the back for a bushland aspect.
As the day ends, we suggest you head upstairs to the pool bar. It’s a brilliant spot to watch the sky change colour. The bar offers a casual dining menu with plenty of share plate options. We went with salt and pepper calamari and the southern fried cauliflower with a serve of flatbread. It was all excellent, and we could have happily worked our way through half a dozen other dishes if we had had a few more days here.
The Pavilion also has dog-friendly rooms and interconnecting rooms for groups travelling together.
Tip: A free shuttle bus will take guests from here to Bannisters by the Sea for meals or spa treatments. Read current travellers’ reviews and see what they say.
Where: 87 Tallwood Ave, Mollymook Beach
Price guide: $$$
Bannisters By the Sea
The poster child in the Bannisters group, this property has it all, location, stylish design and Rick Stein’s restaurant. For most people, this is a special occasion choice, and the view and facilities lived up to that expectation for us.
We enjoyed a dinner and breakfast here, our first post-COVID hotel breakfast. Obviously, the buffet is gone, but we didn’t miss it. There were some fruit and yoghurt jars and then the opportunity to order whatever you wanted from the short menu.
There is no reason to venture far from the hotel when your view and the pool look as good as they do here; it’s easy to stay put. There is a track down to the beach (quite a hill), but the pool was good enough for us! The property also boasts an excellent spa, but unfortunately, it was not on our agenda for this visit. Read more reviews of Bannisters By the Sea.
Where: 191 Mitchell Pde, Mollymook
Price guide: $$$$
Ricks Place Beach House Bannisters Point
We moved to Ricks Beach House for our last night because of an overbooking at the hotel, I have to admit at first I was a bit miffed, but this turned out to be great luck.
This restored 1965 beach house is just a short walk from Bannisters By the Sea. It’s perfect for a family or two couples with a good-sized second bedroom and bathroom, small kitchen and comfortable living and dining room. The photo of Rick and his partner sitting on the dresser did really make you feel you had popped in to stay with him.
The Beach house is two-story, and you can book either the whole thing giving you 6 bedrooms – space for 10 guests or just one floor. We were on the ground floor. I am sure the views from the top level are amazing.
There is a large outdoor jacuzzi in the yard that is shared by both floors. The property is pet friendly (for an extra fee).
Where: Cliff Avenue, Mollymook.
Price guide: $$$$
Self Contained Options
If you prefer fully self-contained accommodation, look at these apartments all right by Mollymook Beach.
- Mollymook Cove Apartments – studios to 2 bedroom apartments with views.
- Aquarius Apartments Mollymook – 1 and 2 bedroom apartments with views
- Breakers Apartments – one bedroom apartments 150m from the beach
- Beachfront One, Mollymook – 3 bedroom apartment 50m from the beach
Where to eat in Mollymook and Milton
This is almost something you don’t really need to worry about because everything we ate was great, but in these times restaurants, particularly on weekends need to be booked in advance, so it’s a good idea to plan. Winging it might work mid-week out of holiday periods, but at other times we highly recommend booking at least your dinners.
Harvest Bar – Milton
We had a late lunch here along with a beautiful cocktail – ok so perhaps a couple of cocktails 😉
The menu features lots of share plates and good drinking food like Karaağa chicken, Buffalo wings, and arancini.
Where: 4/23 Wason St, Milton
When: Wed & Thurs evenings, Fri-Sunday lunch til midnight
Price guide: $$
Bookings: online or phone (02) 4444 8757
Rick Stein – Mollymook
Rick’s restaurant is often the reason people consider a visit to Mollymook in the first place. We have all his books and never miss his travel shows, so we were really looking forward to our meal here.
I am pleased to say the seafood dishes were fantastic. The staff were so attentive and the experience overall one I would love to repeat.
Where: Bannisters by the Sea
When: Lunch Fri-Sun, Dinner 7 days.
Price guide: $$$ mains $36 and up
Bookings: online or phone (02) 4454 7400
The Guild – Milton
We dined at The Guild the night after our Rick Stein experience, and it surprised me to find I enjoyed the food here even more. Stefano, the owner, helped us choose the most delicious wine from a very extensive and impressive list.
The menu was degustation style and featured local seafood, pasta and a delicious lamb dish. The desserts here are the best we had on our visit. Apologies for the less than amazing photos, the light was not the best, and the wine was very good!
Where: 3/65 Princes Hwy, Milton
When: 4.30pm-8.30pm closed Sunday and Monday.
Price guide: $$
Bookings: online or phone (02) 4454 5143
The Ruse – Ulladulla
Located overlooking Ulladulla Harbour, the Ruse offers fabulous cocktails, great Central American flavours and perfect south coast sunsets.
We arrived late afternoon and enjoyed the lunch tasting menu and a cocktail each, and Charles added a Mexican beer. We wished there had been a taxi available as we would have left the car at home. It would have been great to kick on here, but taxis are in very short supply, and we gave up after an hour of trying.
If you are looking for a place to catch up with friends, have a chat and share some interesting fresh and tasty food the Ruse is ideal.
Where: 5/84 Princes Hwy, Ulladulla
When: 5pm-10.30pm (closed Sunday and Monday)
Milkhaus – Milton
Just a few minutes from the heart of Milton is the very popular Milkhaus. We visited just after breakfast to buy some goodies to take home. They sell a variety of locally produced goods, including the delicious Lake Conjola lemon cordial that we snapped up.
Along the way, we passed several farms, and these cows were very vocal completely stealing our attention and demanding we stop and say hi 🙂 The cafe menu looked fantastic, and I can see why it’s so popular. Much of the food is made using items grown on their farm. There are also some friendly chickens in the backyard. Make sure you book, so you don’t miss out.
Where: 170 Woodstock Rd, Woodstock
When: 9am-2pm (closed Wednesday)
Pilgrim – Milton
Sydneysiders may be familiar with Pilgrims cafes in Cronulla and Bronte, but the Milton cafe is the original.
The menu features hearty breakfast dishes, interesting juice and smoothie combinations, and at lunchtime big tasty burgers. The single O coffee was our favourite in Milton.
Where: 8/9, 97 Princes Hwy, Milton
When: 9am-3pm (8am on weekends)
If you are staying in the area longer than a few days, pop into the Shoalhaven Visitors Centre at Ulladulla for ideas to fill the rest of your week. The staff are accommodating, and there is so much to do in the area you will have your itinerary filled in no time at all.
We had also written about Jervis Bay before and listed lots more things you can do while you are in the area.
Save these ideas for a weekend in Mollymook to Pinterest