If you’re feeling the stress of city living and are in need of a short break away, you won’t find a more relaxing environment than the south coast of NSW. For those looking for a quick road trip, Wollongong and Kiama offer great solutions to recharging the batteries.

After more of an adventure? Keep on driving a few hours further down and you’ll stumble across Merimbula – the definition of relaxation.

1. Wollongong

90km – 1hr 20 min

A mere 90kms from Sydney CBD, Wollongong takes coastal city living to a whole new level. With plenty of natural beauty, great food and outstanding coffee, the region also has some fairly extreme sports on offer to help you clear your mind. Check them out here!

On the way down, take the road through the national park and stop in at Wattamolla Beach. With soft sand, blue water, plenty of shade and barbeque stations around the vicinity, swim, cook and take in the serene landscape at your own pace. Take a wander around the bushland walkways or go exploring through the lagoon and experience the area’s famous Wattamolla Falls.

Related:  Take a plunge and set your foot on the Gong’s mesmerising coastline (Wollongong, NSW)

Alternatively, opt for a picnic at the iconic Wollongong Head Lighthouse. Standing at over 25 metres tall, this bad boy was constructed in 1936 and looks out towards the Tasman Sea. The views from here are top notch, making it the perfect vantage point to scope out the waves at North Beach, the northern coastline and the National Park.

The perfect place to sit back, reflect and just escape reality, many come to Berkeley’s Nan Tien Temple to practice meditation and tai-chi, and it’s easy to see why . A calm wave of serenity hits you as you enter the front gates of the Buddhist sanctuary and inhale the fresh air from its gardens. Surrounded by beautiful shrines and temples, this place has an extremely peaceful and harmonious feel to it – exactly the change of pace you need!

For those that are thinking of a solo short break, check out this guide to the benefits of travelling alone.

2. Kiama

120km – 1 hr 40 min

A little further down the Princes Highway lies the small township of Kiama. Known for its gorgeous beach scenery and coastal walks, this place is a hugely popular weekend location for Sydneysiders, especially in the warmer months.

If you haven’t heard of the legendary Kiama Blowhole, you’re missing out. The largest blowhole in the world sprouts strong plumes of water over 60 metres into the air every time the seas come in.

It’s estimated that nearly one million people visit Kiama’s Blowhole every year.

The area’s coastal walks provide fantastic views for those wanting to get a little exercise into their sightseeing. Depending on your schedule there’s three different paths for you to discover. If you start off at Minnamurra River and make your way to Blowhole Point, you’ll be able to take in the magnificent Bombo Beach and Cathedral Rocks. This trek will take you roughly three hours to complete, so we recommend you start off nice and early.

Alternatively, the second option kicks off at Blowhole Point and takes you down to Kiama Heights. This will take you 90 minutes and allows you to trek by a handful of beaches including Storm Bay, Surf Beach and Loves Bay. The third begins at Kiama Heights and takes you down through to Gerringong, past the breathtaking Werri Lagoon and Werri Beach. This one’s a little longer (roughly two hours) but oh so worth it!

No stop to Kiama would be complete without a visit to Budderoo National Park. Not only is it one of the most beautiful parks in the country, but it features a 4.2km walk that takes you past forest, rivers, waterfalls and creeks, allowing you to truly soak up everything this beautiful landscape has to offer.

3. Merimbula

525km – 5 hr 40 min

Thinking of heading down the south coast even further? A good old fashioned road trip to Merimbula could be exactly you’re looking for.