Blessed with the trifecta of beautiful beaches, idyllic rivers and national parks to explore, the Sutherland Shire in Sydney’s south is heating up to be the place to visit this summer. With the only beach in Sydney accessible by train, a wave of delicious eateries and activities for everyone, we have found the best places you can eat, drink and play in Sydney’s secret southern suburbs.
Fast becoming Sydney’s new beachside foodie hot spot, Cronulla has something for everyone. Start your day with a coffee from Barefoot on the Beach, located right on the Esplanade, or grab a table at the busy HAM. If you can find the laneway legends at Blackwood Pantry, you’re in for some of Sydney’s best coffee and artisan foods. Vegans and vegetarians are covered at Pilgrims and nearby Heart & Soul Cafe.
Wine and Dine
If you’re looking for a delicious dinner venue in Cronulla, don’t pass up a meal at waterfront establishment Sealevel Restaurant & Bar or popular Italian trattoria Giro Osteria before heading to local bar The Blind Bear for a late-night tipple.
If fine dining is more your style, you can’t beat the views at Cronulla’s Summer Salt, which will have you feasting on fresh seafood while practically sitting in the sand (not really, but you’re close enough!). Also not to be missed is new restaurant Jensens, run by the same owner; a fantastic addition to the Shire food scene.
See the Sights
The Cronulla Beach Walk follows more than four kilometres of the Shire’s coastline south from Wanda Surf Lifesaving Club to Bass and Flinders Point, where the Hacking River meets the Tasman Sea. Join the trail anywhere along the Esplanade to get the full experience of stunning water views, ocean pools and playgrounds along the way.
If you’d prefer to be on the water, you can catch a river cruise or experience the hourly Cronulla to Bundeena ferry service aboard the oldest commuter ferry operating to a timetable in Australia. Walking distance from the train station, this cute little ferry grants you access to the sleepy town of Bundeena, home to the second oldest national park in the world, the Royal National Park.
While there, you can go for a bushwalk or hire a kayak from Bundeena Kayaks for an hour or two. If you’re more of a floral fan, you can go to the Camellia Gardens in Caringbah, the only garden of its kind in the state. Stop by the Teahouse for the popular high tea.
Take in the Culture
Wander the ever-changing free exhibitions at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre in Gymea or participate in your own art course or workshop before experiencing the delicious creations made in the onsite Hazelhurst Café.
For the history buffs, why not take a trip down memory lane and spend a day at the Sydney Tramway Museum where you can take a tram ride along the former railway line between Sutherland and the Royal National Park before exploring the museum filled with historic trams and other forms of transport from the 1800s.
If you’re interested in going further back in Australia’s history, head to Kurnell and follow the Burrawang Walk to find Captain Cook’s Landing Place, which tells the story of the first meeting of European and Aboriginal culture in 1770.
Shop till You Drop
Westfield Miranda is your one-stop-shop for your favourite fashion brands to local artists like Mulga and the Emerging Designer Market pop-ups showcasing their wares. You will also find the kid-friendly trampoline park Sky Zone perfect for family fun.
The Sutherland Shire is located 30 kilometres south (a 40-minute drive) of Sydney’s CBD. If you’re travelling from Sydney city there are direct trains to Cronulla on the T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line from the following stations: Kings Cross, Martin Place, Town Hall and Central.