Yes, wine and whales! Visit the Shoalhaven and these are two things you will have no trouble finding. Most people are aware of the stunning white sand beaches that line the Shoalhaven coast, and while they are reason enough to jump in the car and head south, wine and whales make this part of NSW pretty irresistible.
We travelled as guests of #Visitshoalhaven on this tour however, all opinions are our own.
How to spend a perfect day in the Shoalhaven
Wine Knot Tours
We recently headed down south to join Wine Knot Tours on their one day Whale and Wine Tour.
Mark our guide arrived right on time to collect us from Bannister’s Pavilion in Mollymook, our base for our weekend in the Shoalhaven.
After a detour to collect three other couples who were travelling with us today, we were on our way to Huskinson to join Jervis Bay Wild out on the water.
Our trip happened just three days after a 1 in a 100-year storm had hit the area. On the 50 minute drive north to the bay Mark filled us in on the region’s challenging year, first the bushfires, then the pandemic and now a horrendous storm that saw power cut and roads blocked.
It was pleasing to see the new growth coverage on the trees near Lake Conjola, one of the worst-hit towns in the region. Mark shared lots of local advice and gave us a great background on the area, perfect if you are not regular visitors.
Whale Watching on Jervis Bay
We have been whale watching in Sydney, but this was our first time out on the water in Jervis Bay. The first thing that strikes us is the sheer cliffs of the Beecroft Peninsular that lead out to Point Perpendicular; they are an impressive sight.
Our two-hour cruise on the Port Venture, a specially designed vessel that has a great set up – stadium seating, means everyone gets a seat with a view. The ship is also fully accessible.
We have been visiting Jervis Bay annually for years but learned a lot of additional facts about the Bay and its history as we made our way out to sea. The team also gave plenty of tips on migrating humpback whales and their calves.
If you are staying in the area for a few days, Jervis Bay Wild also rent kayaks and SUPs.
Sadly thanks to the awful stormy weather that battered the coast in the previous few days the water wasn’t its usual crystal clear self, and the whales were giving it a wide berth – we heard that just two days later they were back frolicking as they passed the bay.
We will head back when we have time to try to capture a shot like the one Jordon took below.
Once back on dry land, we headed back to Milton to our lunch stop.
Just off the main street in Milton, Harvest Bar is a wine bar that makes a mean cocktail. The vibe is very relaxed and rustic with a great soundtrack the day we visited.
Based on local advice we ordered a local beer for Charles and for me, a pretty pink gin concoction was perfect, not too sweet, just a slight hint of rosewater, utterly delicious!
The menu features food perfect for sharing and serving sizes that will help soak up the alcohol. I didn’t manage to snap a photo of the flatbread, but it was very good. Be sure to book if you are visiting for lunch or dinner as Harvest is popular and you will likely miss out if you don’t.
We finished up our tour at Cupitt’s Estate, just 10 minutes from Milton in Ulladulla. We had heard the vineyard, with its picturesque setting, is a local favourite and it was evident on our Friday afternoon visit that this was the place to celebrate the end of the week.
This family-owned winery established in 2007 also has a craft brewery, fromagerie and onsite accommodation! The estate has 3 hectares of vines with an emphasis on Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and employs European style methods to create most of their wines.
We were there for a wine and cheese tasting on the lawn that included a cheese board each, and four taster size pours of their wines. We were served two whites, a Riesling and a Viognier which was my favourite, and two reds, Rosies Rose, which was lovely and dry and Little Red, a blend of Pinot Noir, Barbera and Nebbiolo which was perfect for Friday afternoon drinking.
Make sure you book in advance if you plan to pop in
We had a fantastic day out with Wine Knot tours, and while you could do a similar itinerary alone, the local knowledge and a designated driver are well worth the investment.
Wine Knot offers a range of full-day wine tours that take in several of the coast’s best wineries, food trail tours, or a combination of both. They can also arrange packages with accommodation for your group or event.
Save the whales and wine for another day