Local's guide: Nowra and Berry

Hungry Duck Berry Berry NSW my nrma local guides
Hungry Duck Berry Berry NSW my nrma local guides

Follow the rolling green hills to the towns of Berry and Nowra on the NSW South Coast for a relaxing and rewarding weekend getaway.

  • Silos Restaurant
  • Berry boutiques
  • Berry Markets
  • Art galleries
  • Barren Grounds Nature Reserve

Surrounded by dairy farms, Berry and Nowra offer plenty of delights for people looking for a break within easy driving distance of Sydney. Berry, filled with antique shops, boutiques, galleries and cute cafes, is a two hour drive south of the NSW capital. You’ll find Nowra a further 20 minutes down the road, on the banks of the Shoalhaven River.

Where to eat

Winner of a Good Food Guide chef's hat recently, South on Albany in the heart of Berry is fast establishing itself as on one of the South Coast's finest restaurants; the lovingly curated menu changes weekly and is sourced from local farms and vineyards. Or for another local favourite, enjoy country cooking overlooking the vineyards at Silos Restaurant. Chef and co owner Andrew Hickie has cooked for Oprah, Bruce Springsteen and Ellen De Generes.

For coffee, head to the Bookshop Cafe which has long wooden tables and shelves filled with second hand books or check out Milkwood Bakery for takeaway cakes, breads, pastries and amazing coffee. You can't leave Berry without grabbing a cinnamon donut from The Famous Berry Donut Van, which has been operating for more than half a century, or if you'd rather a milkshake or banana split, head to the The Dairy Bar on the original Berry Central Creamery site at The Treat Factory.

In Nowra, check out boutique cafe and cocktail bar Bottlerocket Bar & Cafe, which is decorated with retro chandeliers, French oak wine barrels and cosy sofas, and has live music on Thursday and Saturday nights. Another local favourite is The Butterfactory Restaurant, a five minute drive out of town at Pyree. Dine on modern Australian cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients in the refurbished 19th century building.

What to see

Nature lovers will find plenty of activities in the region. A highlight is Gosang’s Tunnel at Point Perpendicular. Follow the walking track from Abrahams Bosom Reserve in Currarong and crawl through the rocks for about 20 metres before emerging at an impressive sea cliff cave. There’s a lovely picnic area at Bomaderry Creek, where after a barbecue lunch you can take a leisurely hike through a sandstone gorge admiring the spotted gums, rocky overhangs and caves. The Barren Grounds Nature Reserve is home to The Drawing Room Rocks, where nature has carved the stone into the shape of tables and chairs. It takes a bit of effort to climb up to the Instagram worthy spot, but once there, the views over farmland towards the ocean are spectacular. Berry also has some wonderful art galleries to peruse. See the works of local artists at Muir House Gallery – you can even see them at work on the fourth Sunday of every month. Flying Pig Precinct and Precinct Galleries both show contemporary Australian art, craft and design, incorporating sculpture, textiles, prints and glass.

Where to shop

If possible, time your visit to coincide with Berry Country Fair, also known as Berry Markets, on the first Sunday of every month (except February). There are about 200 stalls offering handmade products, arts and crafts, leather goods, books, plants and clothes. Berry Flea Markets are also on the third Sunday of every month at Great Southern Hotel. The main street of Berry, Queen Street, is lined with clothing boutiques, homewares, antique and gift shops and galleries. The colourful Goldfish Toy Shop is packed full of dolls, puzzles and games from all over the world. Maison & More also sells sculptures, bird baths and homewares from countries near and far, while Broughton Antiques offers a range of porcelain products, jewellery and Victorian and Edwardian furniture. In Nowra, Kate Inglish Designs is great for personalised gifts and toys for children and babies, including knitted beanies, musical jewellery boxes and wooden doll’s prams. Surfies will love Aquatique, a family run business selling men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and sporting goods such as bodyboards and skateboards, as well as watches and other accessories.

Where to stay

Don’t mind roughing it a bit? Try bush camping at Coolendel, set on bushland surrounded by Morton National Park (30 km west of Nowra), or stay in the bunkhouse or a cabin. Spend your days swimming, canoeing and fishing in the Shoalhaven River, mountain biking and bushwalking – and don’t forget to keep an eye out for wildlife such as wombats, kangaroos, wallabies, goannas, yellow tailed black cockatoos and kookaburras. Refurbished in 2017, The Berry Inn, behind the heritage listed former Commercial Bank building built in the 1880s, has stables that have been converted into five rooms with high vaulted ceilings on the upper floors.

Get more out of your getaway

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