The coast line of New South Wales is undeniably stunning but sometimes the familiarity of it all means we stop taking in the details. I spend most weekends down at the coast over Spring, Summer and Autumn before Winter ruins the dream. My summer memories are filled with the joy of zipping down Clyde Mountain to switch off and enjoy my family's coast house at Catalina - a place that feels like a second home. Spending my late teens and majority of my 20's living up in Queensland, Newcastle and Sydney, my heart would pine for the south coast, for the familiar beaches and ocean view from our special spot up on the hill overlooking the water.
Over the weekend rather than rolling into Batemans Bay like usual, I turned left at the junction and went north up to Ulladulla. I have had some great little trips to Ulladulla but have never fallen in love with the place. This weekend completely changed my mind.
For something worlds away from typical coast accommodation, book a stay at Ulladulla Guest House. Driving into the entrance of the guest house an instant sense of calm sits in the air, it feels like another world. It is truly beautiful. The excessive palm trees are completely out of place but deliciously tranquil, offering a sense of tropical paradise only a couple of short hours from home.
The guest house has an old charm, broken into two levels with art works on every wall and an old school bar, sitting room and dining area. The rooms are comfortable and look over the pool, which is surrounded by greenery and feels a million miles from anywhere. Ullaulla Guest house is a giant step away from a beach shack and bounds apart from a typical hotel; it is serene, a little quirky, homely yet beautiful. If your looking to switch off and forget who you are for a weekend, this is the place to stay.
Bannisters By The Sea is a must-visit. The location is breathtaking, tucked at the bottom of a step drive way sitting on a headland with unbeatable ocean views. The pool bar is fresh and relaxing with a fresh, nautical meets vibe, featuring beautiful lighting, pops of yellow, white timber and a stunning infinity pool. Enjoy the Bannister Breeze Cocktail for a light option or opt for an espresso martini. The Pool Bar has a great, casual menu or you can book at Rick Steins just a few stairs up.
Rick Steins restaurant is impeccable. The menu is overflowing with unexpected seafood options, enjoy the opportunity to get creative and try the vast and varying range of entrees and mains. The wines are great, the Spanish Verdeljo is perfect with the light, seafood flavours. The indoor/outdoor feel is just right and creates a laid back feel despite the fine dining on offer. This combination is precisely what coastal dining is about - a relaxed take on the finer things in life. There is a lot of soul in this space, with all the elements coming together perfectly - the view, the interior, the styling details, the staff and the delicious menu. It is perfect.
The beaches of Ulladulla are all beautiful and most offer good surf, shelter from the wind and plenty of room to get that 'secluded-beach-in the-middle-of-nowhere' feeling. Just south of town is Rennies Beach which sits below a stack of impressive cliffs and so is only accessible by a steep flight of stairs. The rocky headland provides shelter from the wind and is beautifully striking against the soft blue waves rolling in.
Rennies is perfect for getting away, gaining some perspective and getting lost in the white sand and clear water. Add this beach to your favourites!
I was surprised to discover some of the hidden gems of Ulldulla which I have so often dismissed. I feel refreshed, relaxed and centered after my little weekend away and also inspired by the gorgeous scenery waiting right at our finger tips. It is nice to know that there are little pieces of paradise all around us; no matter how close to home, it is absolutely possible to feel a million miles away.