It’s truthful to say that there are many fantastic perks to working a journey web site. We get to see and do some superb issues all within the identify of ‘work’.
However once we have been requested to be ambassadors for South Coast Experiences—a superb firm that curates among the finest issues to do on the gorgeous South Coast area of NSW, we have been stoked.
South Coast Experiences has entry to native producers and corporations, and might create stand-alone experiences or entire itineraries, in addition to concepts for lodging and native occasions.
Try our video of our time on the gorgeous South Coast:
In our new ambassadorial capability, we travelled all the way down to Kiama, Gerringong and the Shoalhaven for a few nights to take a look at among the issues guests can rise up to on this beautiful a part of the state.
Right here’s what we discovered.
Our first port of name—simply previous Kiama—is to Two Figs Vineyard that sits excessive on the hills with unbelievable views out throughout the waterways of the Shoalhaven.
We didn’t realise that there was such a thriving wine area right here on the coast so near Sydney (we’re solely a few hours south of Sydney), however Two Figs has been making wine since 2003. And there are fairly just a few different wineries dotted across the area.
We discover our desk searching on the superb views that Two Figs’ cellar door has. We’re subsequent to the open hearth, which cuts by way of the chilly air of late June and provides that additional stage of consolation to the place.
This cellar door, with its gorgeous excessive ceilings and flooding pure gentle, was the wine-making shed.
We work our method by way of the Premium Wine tasting menu with the assistance of our new pal David, who explains all the small print of the wines we’re attempting.
The wines are all dangerously drinkable, specifically the sparking NV Brut Cuvee that’s filled with apple and citrus notes, the Chardonnay, which is flinty and flippantly oaked, and the well-rounded and balanced Sienna Cabernet Shiraz, named after the homeowners’ daughter.
David’s ok to allow us to have a attempt of the Two Figs Shiraz to point out us the distinction between it and their Syrah, ostensibly the identical grape however very totally different wines; fruit-forward vs extra savoury, peppery and dry.
The tasting formally finishes with a style of the superb Barrel Choose, which adjustments from classic to classic relying on what grapes have grown one of the best that season. The winemaker chooses one of the best parcels of fruit to enter French and American oak barrels for as much as two years.
Whereas we work our method by way of a bit extra of the beneficiant cheese platter earlier than us, David additionally affords us a style of among the fortified wines they make right here.
Consequently, we stroll away from the gorgeous Two Figs Vineyard with bottles of Chardonnay, Sienna and the White Fort sticky.
Our subsequent job is to test into our lodging, not removed from Two Figs Vineyard.
The Lilypad is a brilliantly designed tiny home set overlooking a small pond on Willow Springs Farm simply outdoors Broughton Village.
Tiny however completely shaped, the Lilypad has all the things you want for a brief keep on the South Coast.
Two tales—with a mezzanine studying nook—large home windows and trifold doorways enable loads of gentle and surroundings into the tiny home.
Inside is the cozy lounge with an enormous sensible TV mounted above the kitchen, which has fuel hobs, a microwave and fridge, and out of doors on the deck is a small fuel barbecue if you wish to cook dinner extra.
The kitchen leads by way of a hidden sliding door to the toilet with its giant bathe. The bathroom is a composting bathroom, which requires sawdust and enzyme therapy and does take a little bit of getting used to.
By one other sliding door is the bed room on the again. It’s small, however that’s the concept, and it’s nonetheless sufficiently big to deal with a snug queen-size mattress.
Fully off the grid, the Lilypad makes use of solar energy and battery storage. Nevertheless, there’s nonetheless reverse-cycle air-con, good wifi and extra energy factors than you could possibly probably want and even usb factors both facet of the mattress.
Within the backyard outdoors can be a hearth pit that’s well-stocked and straightforward to make use of. Homeowners Sam and Charlie kindly construct the hearth pit so that you can use on the primary day too, so all it’s a must to do is gentle it.
Though you’re on a farm, off the grid and surrounded by inexperienced hills, bushes and water, you’re nonetheless fairly near all the things.
In actual fact, you’re inside eyeshot (and sometimes earshot of the primary highway because it peeps by way of throughout a far opening within the hillside you’re tucked into.
However when you’re ensconced within the tiny home and its stunning environment, it’s the one reminder that you simply’re not in the course of a gorgeous nowhere that’s surrounded by nature, calm ponds and the chirp of frogs and birdlife.
As soon as we’re checked in, we hop again within the automobile and 5 minutes down the highway to Gerringong to Soul Clay Studios.
We’re studying the right way to use a potter’s wheel!
Marcus and Zeynep Testoni began Soul Clay Studios in 2021 once they determined to show Zeynep’s pottery passion into one thing way more.
After making a tree change to Gerroa from Sydney (Marcus used to show Tourism and Occasions at TAFE and Zeynep was a deputy principal at a college), then being compelled to upsize from their storage to this area, the Testonis have created not solely a spot for guests to come back and be taught pottery but in addition for native artists to work, show and promote their craft.
After our instructor Jemma offers us a fast demo, we’re let free on our personal wheels.
It’s not solely a lot tougher than it seems, it’s additionally a lot extra enjoyable that you simply’d ever count on—even in the event you thought it was going to be enjoyable to start with.
Jemma and Marcus information us by way of the method (and sometimes get us out of hassle) till we’ve made six ‘pots’ every. We then get to decide on three every that we need to hold and we get to squish the others.
The squished ones are recycled to be used in future lessons and the waste sludge we’ve created whereas we’ve labored the clay go right into a intelligent reabsorption course of in order that there’s as little waste as doable.
In actual fact, the one plumbed-in water right here is within the bogs. All of the water used with the clay is recycled.
Our pots will undergo a three-to-four-week kilning and glazing course of, and so they’ll be prepared for us to gather.
We’ve beloved having alternative to get our arms on clay and take a look at utilizing the wheel. We each had a few fairly profitable outcomes—because of Jemma and Marcus!
That is a lot enjoyable and undoubtedly a factor to do as a pair, but in addition with family and friends—it’s additionally widespread with hens’ nights too!
We arrive again at our Lilypad trying ahead to some dinner (though we’ve loved the cheese board laid on for us at Soul Clay Studios).
Ready for us is a package deal from The Valley Desk—a home-delivery service for freshly-cooked connoisseur meals.
Proprietor-chef Angie cooks a variety of luxurious meals and delivers them to your door able to be reheated or completed.
In our field can be tomorrow’s breakfast hamper, however for this night we tuck into an enormous portion of hen maryland slow-cooked in a tagine with chunky greens and olives, steamed rice and a salad with a dressing Angie additionally makes.
Though we’re drained from the day’s enjoyable, we will’t depart the hearth pit untested. We’re so glad it’s simple to gentle as a result of the night’s drawn up fairly chilly and windy.
We hunker down across the vibrant flames and watch the embers spark into the air and land with a sizzle on the quiet floor of the pond.
We’re up early this morning—not solely to benefit from the superb breakfast unfold that Angie has despatched us, but in addition for a little bit of pampering.
Breakfast, by the way in which, contains some scrumptious home-roasted granola and splendidly wealthy native honey yoghurt, chia pudding with fruit and shaved coconut, sourdough and Angie’s lime marmalade.
This could hold us going.
Quickly there’s a knock on the door and our subsequent expertise is prepared: Jodie from South Coast Cell Therapeutic massage is right here!
Bringing her experience—in addition to her huge cozy moveable therapeutic massage desk—over the pond from SoCal, Jodie places collectively soothing therapeutic therapeutic massage programmes for us in our personal tiny residence.
In actual fact there’s solely area for one therapeutic massage desk right here on the Lilypad. However Jodie works on each of us individually, bringing all her gear together with her together with a sizzling towel steamer and zen bell chimes.
We’ve by no means had an at-home therapeutic massage therapy earlier than, however this has proven us the sunshine. It’s so good to have the ability to calm down within the consolation of your house earlier than, throughout and after your therapeutic massage moderately than having all that good work ruined by stress of attending to and from a spa.
You additionally don’t have to fret about having going-out garments tousled by therapeutic massage oils!
We spend an expensive hour every below the agency but soothing arms of Jodie and she or he removes all of the tight muscle knots and stiff joints from our our bodies.
All too quickly, we shake ourselves from our reverie and hop again within the automobile. We’re off to a brewery!
Again in Gerringong—not removed from Soul Clay Studios in reality—is Stoic Brewery.
Began in 2018 by father-and-son duo Steve and Andrew Prosser, Stoic has rapidly developed into an outstanding brewery that the entire Prosser clan is now concerned with.
In actual fact, as we strategy the entrance door, we’re greeted by the bubbling Ashley—‘the daughter’ as she explains, although she’s in reality accountable for advertising and marketing.
We additionally meet Stoic’s head brewer, the charming Jono Beazley, and earlier than we all know it, we’re heading into the guts of the brewery for a tour of the entire facility.
Jono takes us to the grain retailer and explains in regards to the 4 important substances of beer: grain, water, yeast and hops.
It’s an actual peep-behind-the-curtain tour with no course of left unexamined and it’s so fascinating. We even get to see a demo of the brewery’s new favorite toy: the canning machine. Should you haven’t seen one in motion, take it from us, it’s satisfying to look at!
As soon as we’ve seen all of the elements of the brewery (together with the brand new cafe and espresso machine providing espresso service seven days every week), Jono and Ash take us to the beer fridge and ask us to decide on 4 beers to style.
Upstairs within the model new mezzanine with large home windows trying west on the escarpment and the sundown, the 4 of us sit all the way down to discover the brews we’ve picked.
As we drink, Jono guides us by way of the beers, from their conception, brewing course of and flavours to the art work on the labels.
Ash additionally offers us extra fascinating insights into how the brewery works and the way her household have all grow to be so embroiled within the enterprise—even her mum, who doesn’t actually drink beer (she does just like the Imperial Stout although).
Throughout the week, issues are fairly quiet right here, which makes it a greater time for guided excursions, however over the weekend, issues actually kick off at Stoic and from Thursday to Sunday, the kitchen opens working out world-beating burgers and fried hen to make Kentucky locals cry.
You’ll be able to guide a variety of tasting experiences, from a fundamental tasting paddle of 4 beers on the bar to the tour of the brewery and in-depth guided tasting we’ve performed, however it’s a good suggestion to guide forward if you wish to do that.
They cater to small personal excursions (like our two-person one) proper as much as giant company teams.
As for the beers, they’re all glorious.
We tried the Straight from the Bine 2023 recent hop pale ale, American IPA, Imperial Lemon Meringue Tart Bitter and the 9.9% monster that’s the Imperial Stout, and I’d select all of them once more in a heartbeat.
It’s a gray wet day we stroll again into from the cosiness and beeriness of the brewery, and we’re hungry for a chew to eat.
On a tip-off from Jodie earlier immediately, which can be confirmed by Ash and Jono, we’re heading to Kiama to take a look at the farmers’ market on the seashore.
Each Wednesday between 3-6pm, on Coronation Park, just about on the sand of Kiama Surf Seaside, is what have to be one of the best view a market can have.
High suggestions from our new native buddies: hold a watch out for Yulli, an area legend promoting nice fruit and veg, The Pines Kiama for sensational gelato (additionally they have a bricks-and-mortar store on the town too) and most significantly, the Ola Chola meals truck.
As you possibly can see, Ola Chola does just a few issues together with empanadas and paella, however it’s the smash burgers they try this we’re considering. Christina’s glad together with her cheese burger however my Viking burger wins for me with its wealthy and spicy sauce.
They don’t final lengthy!
Once more, this night, we come again to the Lilypad to seek out our dinner supply (in addition to tomorrow’s breakfast) ready for us. This time it’s from Dine In By Brooke.
Operating her Wollongong-based cell personal chef enterprise, Brooke Silk’s scrumptious meals turns our stunning tiny home within the South Coast into our personal private restaurant for the night.
We’ve got a two-course dinner beginning with a plateful of delicate recent kingfish sashimi with a light-weight Thai-style inexperienced curry sauce and zingy chilli jam.
Our major is a gigantic quantity of wealthy tender lamb shoulder (we even have left-overs for tomorrows dinner!), which has been cooked for 18 hours. This comes with a crimson wine jus, a creamy truffled potato mash, smokey carrots, broccolini and a roasted heirloom beetroot salad.
We settle in and watch the rain pepper the pond, glad to be cosy in our tiny home on such a blustery moist evening.
We’re up early once more this morning to get pleasure from breakfast earlier than our final expertise begins and to benefit from the breakfast hamper that Brooke additionally despatched.
We get pleasure from wealthy blueberry and chocolate chip muffins, recent fruit and croissants stuffed with thick slices of crumbly mature cheddar that melts to a satisfying puddle within the microwave. What a strategy to begin our final day right here.
Quickly after breakfast, we’ve one other customer. This time it’s Jess, our personal yoga teacher from Hope Springs Yoga based mostly in Gerringong.
I say ‘our teacher’—I imply Christina’s teacher.
Sadly, because of the area, I have the ability to participate this time and though it’s not raining anymore, it’s nonetheless to chilly to do yoga outdoors by the pond. I’m okay although, thanks.
Jess leads Christina by way of her mild but therapeutic stretching type of yoga, utilizing of straps to increase and maximise stretches and a collection of achievable but efficient poses.
They’re utilizing the studying nook upstairs because the studio, which works properly with its elevated views over the close by lake.
What a strategy to finish the journey!
Fortunately, we don’t simply have recollections to remind us of this time away although. In addition to all these superb experiences, South Coast Experiences have labored with the beneficiant craftspeople and producers of the realm and have put collectively a goodie bag for us.
These tributes showcase among the different issues right here within the South Coast that we didn’t have time to discover this journey.
– A collection of candles and bathtub oils by Willowvale Street to reinforce a romantic keep. Made in Gerringong in a purpose-built barn overlooking the hills to the ocean. This stunning vary affords a collection of merchandise which might be discovered on-line.
Willowvale Street additionally run profitable workshops to get pleasure from within the barn.
– A collection of treats which might be scrumptious and good for you from Conscious Treats. Made by native Gerringong wellness coach, these containers of tasty morsels are good as a decadent snack stuffed with goodness to maintain you.
You’ll be able to see right here: peanut butter and caramel slices, peppermint and chia seed slices, coconut tough slices and bliss balls.
– A bag of scrumptious domestically blended looseleaf breakfast tea from The Berry Tea Store, an exquisite store to go to within the stunning city of Berry and revel in a variety of satisfying teas.
All too quickly it’s time to depart and we trundle down the Princes Freeway north to Sydney. However not earlier than we pop into Gerringong and take a look at the seashore. The tide’s out and sea pool right here is simple to get to. We poke round in just a few rock swimming pools and benefit from the sea air for some time.
We’re each feeling so fulfilled and relaxed after our fantastic time within the South Coast.
I suppose the one query now could be: have you ever completed packing but?