Population 64296

Shellharbour was a thriving port in the 1830s when development could not keep up with demand. The first shops did not appear until the 1850s and the courthouse and gaol were erected in 1877. Prior to this the local constable had to tie felons to a tree. Today the town is an attractive holiday resort close to Lake Illawarra and one of the oldest settlements on the South Coast.

Visitor Information

Cnr Addison and Wentworth sts; (02) 4221 6169

Nearby national parks

  • Budderoo National Park

    Small but spectacular, Budderoo National Park in the Southern Highlands is notable for its outstanding Minnamurra Rainforest Centre,...more

  • Royal National Park

    Royal National Park, Australia’s oldest national park, has a rich cultural heritage, both European and Indigenous. It combines...more

  • Georges River National Park

    On the south-west outskirts of Sydney this national park, a picturesque retreat on the lower reaches of the Georges River, is popular with...more

Nearby towns

  • Kiama NSW

    This popular holiday town, hosting one million visitors each year, is best known as the home of the Kiama Blowhole. The rocky coastline,...more

  • Jamberoo

    One of the most picturesque areas of the New South Wales coast, Jamberoo was once tropical forest. The town is surrounded by nature reserves...more

  • Wollongong

    As a major iron and steel producer, Wollongong has an undeserved reputation for being an unattractive industrial city. In fact, Wollongong...more

In Town

Illawarra Light Railway Museum The museum offers tram rides, displays of steam trains and vintage carriages and a miniature railway. The ticket office and kiosk are in an original 1890s rail terminus and the volunteer staff are knowledgeable. Open Tues, Thurs and Sat. Steam-train rides 2nd Sun each month and Sun during public holiday weekends. Russell St.

Historical walk: take in the historical buildings of the town, beginning at the Steampacket Inn, parts of which date back to 1856. Contact visitor centre for more information.

Snorkelling and scuba diving: at Bushranger's Bay; details from visitor centre or Shellharbour Scuba Centre; (02) 4296 4266.


Lake Illawarra This large tidal estuary was once a valuable source of food for the Wadi Wadi people. It is home to waterbirds such as black swans, pelicans and royal spoonbills, and has picnic and barbecue areas. The lake is excellent for boating, swimming, waterskiing, windsurfing, fishing and prawning. 7 km N.

Blackbutt Forest Reserve: remnant of coastal plain forest in urban area. Walking trails offer views of Lake Illawarra and Illawarra Escarpment; 2 km W.

Killalea Recreation Park: foreshore picnic area with an ideal beach for surfing, diving, snorkelling and fishing; 3 km S.

Bass Point Aquatic and Marine Reserve: top spot for scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing and surfing, with a nice picnic area on the shore; 5 km SE.

Tongarra Museum: shows area's history through photographs, maps and sketches; 11 km W.

Crooked River Wines: specialty is Chardonnay White Port, with gorgeous restaurant also on-site; 20 km S.

Eco-friendly activities around town

Futureworld Eco-Technology Centre 17 km

This smallish museum in Miller Street is definitely worth a look for those interested in the future of sustainable transport, power, water use and other conundrums of modern living. There are hands-on displays.... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Relish on Addison

A short wander up the hill from the harbour, Relish on Addison is a family-owned treasure in Shellharbour. The menu is hugely varied, offering perhaps local prawns with chilli squid rings or a vermicelli salad with snow... Find out more

Nearby breweries

Five Islands Brewing Company 19 km

Started by local Illawarra rugby league legend Michael Bolt in 2001, the Five Islands Brewing Company has travelled a markedly different course to most other craft-beer enterprises. FIBC began life as a beachside bar and... Find out more

Campsites around town

Killalea camping area 4 km

This is a well-equipped camping ground in prime position behind Mystics Beach. There are walking tracks, fishing spots and a golf course nearby; alternative accommodation is available in the form of a bunkhouse with 40... Find out more

Carrington Falls camping area 20 km

This small camping area can get crowded in peak periods, so think twice if you’ve got a campervan or trailer. You’ll find it on Carrington Falls Access Rd, off Jamberoo Mountain Rd, 8 km east of Robertson.... Find out more

Corrimal Beach Tourist Park 22 km

Located on gorgeous Corrimal Beach, 5 km north of Wollongong, Corrimal Beach Tourist Park offers everything from tent sites through to standard, beachside and mountain-view spa cabins. Facilities include laundry, camp... Find out more

Bendeela Recreation Area 39 km

In picturesque Kangaroo Valley, 20 km north of Nowra and 8 km west of Kangaroo Valley village, Bendeela is a hidden gem in a treasure chest of natural beauty. Camp in a secluded, shady grove next to the Kangaroo Riverand... Find out more

North Era camping area (walk-in and bush camping) 48 km

On the stunning 26 km Coast Track (2 days, medium difficulty), this is a walk-in bush campsite with 12 sites. You’ll need to be self-sufficient; bring food and drinking water with you. Wood fires are not permitted.... Find out more

Starlights Trail camping area (walk-in and bush camping) 50 km

This is essentially a bush-camping site by the Nattai River, reached via the 12 km return Starlights Trail, which begins and ends in the carpark at the end of Wattle Ridge Rd. It’s a strenuous walk for experienced,... Find out more

Kingfisher Pool camping area (walk-in camping) 51 km

On the Bullawaring Track in the middle of the park, this campsite is a fair walk in. It’s only for self-sufficient campers carrying decent maps. Note: fires prohibited; gas/fuel stove only.... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Windang Beach Tourist Park 5 km

This is a council-owned, popular beachside holiday park located on the south side of Wollongong, next to Lake Illawarra. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies at these times.... Find out more

Big4 Easts Beach Holiday Park 12 km

This is a fabulous, large and well laid out beachfront park with very good amenities and facilities, including TV cables to all ensuite sites. The East family is a prominent owner of several New South Wales caravan parks... Find out more

Seven Mile Beach Holiday Park 22 km

Swim at the beach or sit back, relax and watch TV at this large, fabulous beachside park. It has great facilities, including ensuite sites with full Austar TV hook-up. It also has excellent amenities and is in a... Find out more

Corrimal Beach Tourist Park 22 km

A council-owned beachside park on the north side of Wollongong, this place has good amenities and is a popular holiday destination. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Bulli Beach Tourist Park 27 km

This popular, council-owned holiday park adjoins a patrolled beach with beach pools. In a quiet area, this place will appeal to families or those just spending a few peaceful days out of the holiday season.... Find out more

Shoalhaven Heads Tourist Park 32 km

Holiday Haven caravan parks are great parks, owned and operated by the Shoalhaven Heads Council. This large, award-winning riverfront park has very good facilities. It is just a short walk through to the beach and a... Find out more

Mountain View Village 32 km

This is a large, quality park with great amenities and very good facilities, including tennis courts, mini golf course and a very popular 500-metre walking track with eight gym stations. Ask about the courtesy bus that... Find out more

Crookhaven Heads Tourist Park 38 km

This is a large council holiday park located on the southern headland of the Crookhaven River, north of Culburra. It has ocean views, good facilities and is close to both deepwater and estuarine fishing spots. Bookings... Find out more

Shoalhaven Caravan Village 40 km

This is a large, owner-operated riverfront park just 1 km east of Nowra and easily reached from the Princes Highway. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Mittagong Caravan Park 41 km

The caravan park is 1 km north of the town centre. There is a well-stocked shop and easy access to the Hume Freeway. This is one of only two parks in this area of the central highlands. The park can get very busy, so... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Joylaine Beach House

Joylaine is a luxurious, self-catering beach house sleeping six, centrally located in Shellharbour. The owners have thought of absolutely everything, offering three large bedrooms, a fully self-contained kitchen and a... Find out more

Seascape Beach House

Located in a lovingly restored 100-year-old house, Seascape Beach House is an ideal venue for a group holiday, whether it is a family gathering or a group of friends. There are four spacious bedrooms and separate lounge,... Find out more

What's on around town

Craft market: Shellharbour Public School, Mary St; 2nd Sun each month.

Gamefishing Tournament: Feb.

City Festival: 3-day local sports extravaganza; Mar.

Festival in the Forest: Sept.

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