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Grand Pacific Drive Top 10 Family-friendly Stops to Kiama

by Kida
Written on Revised on

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We have decided to go on a family day trip along the Grand Pacific Drive with our 4 months old baby this time. Travelling from Sydney, we will start our road trip from Royal National Park, and our destination today is Kiama Blowhole.

The Grand Pacific Drive is one of the best coastal road trip routes in Australia. You will drive by beautiful beaches, coastal townships, amazing lookouts, and the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge.

In this post, we will share our family’s road trip itineraries from Sydney down to Kiama, covering the top 10 family-friendly stops on the Grand Pacific Drive.

We aim to get the most out of this day trip with a baby-in-tow without missing the highlights of the Grand Pacific Drive.

Grand Pacific Drive Seacliff Bridge Sydney Itinerary Route Top Family Kids Spots Stop Blog Featured

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Where does the Grand Pacific Drive start?

The Grand Pacific Drive starts from Royal National Park, just under an hour south of Sydney. This 140km scenic coastal drive extends all the way down to Shoalhaven passing major coastal cities and towns such as Wollongong, Shellharbour, and Kiama.

Follow the Grand Pacific Drive signage at the entrance of Royal National Park. It’ll take you to a park entrance ticket booth. The entrance fee of $12 per vehicle only applies if you plan to stop inside the national park.

Audley Boatshed

Audley Boatshed has been around since the 1890s. It’s a peaceful little park surrounded by water. You can hire a kayak, aqua-bike, or canoe and paddle around Hacking River or Kangaroo Creek.

This is the first stop on Grand Pacific Drive to make you forget the hustle and bustle of an urban city. It’s surrounded by bushland, nature, and the sound of birds.

They do hourly hires and half-day hires. So you have the flexibility to schedule your day with the amount of time you wish to spend here.

HOT TIP:

Bring $10 cash for a refundable deposit!

Audley Boatshed Royal National Park Lake View Creek Kayak Paddle Boat Hire
Audley Boatshed, Royal National Park

© Photos by Kida

Watamolla & Garie Beach

Nestled within the national park, this is a beautiful stretch of sands with excellent surf only 15 minutes drive from Audley Boatshed. Watamolla beach is a hidden gem, perfect for a family picnic, followed by a dip in the unspoiled calm lagoon.

Further south, Garie road leads you down to Garie beach, it is a little windy, so drive safe! Pack your beach chairs and enjoy the waves. There’s a coastal track that takes you to the secluded picturesque Little Garie Beach if you’re up for it.

Little Garie Beach Royal National Park Sunset Haze
Little Garie Beach, Royal National Park

© Photos by Kida

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Symbio Wildlife Park

Symbio Wildlife Park is a great little detour for the kids to meet Australian native animals. Feed a kangaroo, pat a koala, and enjoy the shows.

Koala at Sydney Taronga Zoo Australia
Pat a Koala at Symbio Wildlife Park

© Photos by Kida

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Sea Cliff Bridge, Stanwell Tops & Bald Hill Lookout

There’s no better place to stop for refreshment than Stanwell Tops. Enjoy this breathtaking view of the ocean and the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge right here. Sea Cliff Bridge stretches 665 meters long and is accessible by public transports.

Stop by the cafe or treat yourself an ice cream. Watch hang gliders take off and soar into the sky. I’ve always been envious of people who can fly.

If you’re interested in skydiving and are ready to in advance, you can get some pretty sweet deals on BookMe.

Stanwell Tops is one of the best spots to go whale watching, by the way. If you’re travelling in winter, be sure to check out our post on the Top 5 whale watching places in Sydney.

© Photos by Kida

The Scarborough Hotel

This restaurant sits directly above the sea and has a large outdoor open sitting area in its backyard. The Scarborough Hotel dates back to the 1880s serving bakery and lunch until the afternoons.

Prices are around the $30 mark. Since you’re right by the water, try their fish and chips! We really enjoyed bringing our baby here for a lunch break.

The Scarborough Hotel Illawarra Wollongong Grand Pacific Drive Sydney
The Scarborough Hotel

© Photos by Kida

Austinmer

The magnificent Seacliff Bridge would take you down to Austinmer. You can’t miss it.

Austinmer is a little coastal town that attracts many tourists in the summer season. The beach is patrolled between September and April, there are boutique shops, rock pools, and parks to keep everyone entertained.

Photo © Visit NSW

If you’re a beach lover, make a detour to Bulli, Bellambi and Corrimal Beach before going back on the Grand Pacific Drive.

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Wollongong

Wollongong is a large coastal city that many people come to for a weekend away. If you’re doing the Grand Pacific Drive as a day trip, there won’t be much time to explore Wollongong.

However, you can get a taste of what this town has to offer by renting a bike and cycle around the Wollongong harbour and Flagstaff Hill Park.

Wollongong Harbour Grand Pacific Drive Sydney Road Trip Getaway
Wollongong Harbour

© Photos by Kida

I did my first ever sky diving here in Wollongong on my birthday. It was one of the most special experiences in my life.

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Nan Tien Temple

Nan Tien Temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere. There is so much to see in this temple, and kids will love the pagodas, Chinese arts, and culture. It is such an interesting and peaceful place for a cultural experience, definitely worth a visit.

Nan Tien Temple Grand Pacific Drive Destination Chinese Pagoda Arts Culture
Nan Tien Temple

© Photos by Kida

Shellharbour & Illawarra

Drive around Lake Illawarra, and stop at Shellharbour village for a break. Shellharbour beach is one of the major attractions down south.

Alternatively, stop by Bombo Beach and take a walk before heading to Kiama. If you’re up for some actions, make a detour out west to Jamberoo Action Park and Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk & Zipline Adventures.

Photo © Visit NSW

Kiama

Last but not least, we’re getting to our last stop for the day – Kiama Blowhole. Kiama is another beautiful coastal town famous for its blowholes. Walk up to the lighthouse, and follow the walking tracks to the blowholes.

There’s usually a crowd patiently waiting for the blowhole to roar, and when it does, you’ll hear the crowd roar like you would in a football game! Toilets and parking are available.

© Photos by Kida

Our Experience & Tips

We definitely fell short on time with the number of destinations to see along the Grand Pacific Drive. Nonetheless, it was a great day trip taking our 4 months old baby out. We took amazing postcardesque photos from Bald Hill, and what a drive on Seacliff Bridge!

Kyra behaved well for most of the trip and napped during our lunch at Scarborough Hotel. However, hopping stop after stop is tiring for a baby, especially when we didn’t stay at each attraction for very long. Her patience was being tested on several occasions. It was a big day. She fell asleep at 7.30 pm and slept through the night like a baby.. well, metaphorically!

HOT TIP:

Next time, we would plan a weekend trip at the minimum. Schedule each stop so we have at least 1.5hrs to explore each place. We are still learning to slow down as new parents, and this day trip to Kiama was a little ambitious with the little one.

We thought we would skip some stops or cut down the time we’ll spend at lunch. But honestly, once you’re on the road trip, time flies. I think we’ll have to do this again to cover the rest of the attractions next time!

Grand Pacific Drive Family Photo Seacliff Bridge Ocean backdrop with baby in carrier
Family Photo Time

© Photos by Kida

Interactive Packing List for Every Vacation

If you need a packing list for things like travel essentials, baby bag, beach vacations, camping, clothing and toiletries, be sure to use The Ultimate Interactive Packing List we’ve compiled for families just like yours.

This packing list is interactive, meaning you can tick them off after you pack to make sure nothing is left behind!


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In the meantime…

Are you doing the Grand Pacific Drive? What are your itineraries?

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