Immerse yourself in wondrous creativity - our region is bursting with culture
Many of our towns and villages are bustling enclaves of art and culture. With communities set amongst inspiring natural habitats including unspoilt beaches, rugged bushland and green, rolling hills, movers and shakers in the national art scene have been honing their craft here for many generations. Our plentiful museums and galleries offer glimpses into both past and contemporary culture. The great outdoors is an excellent place to get the lay of the land whilst wandering through street art and colonial architecture. And with many special events scattered all year-round, we guarantee that you'll find something to indulge your creative spirit. Download your very own Art & Culture Guide to make your holiday planning a breeze.
Galleries & Studios
The natural beauty of our home has inspired many artists, see their creations and places of work firsthand. Iconic Australian painter, Arthur Boyd was so captivated by the Shoalhaven landscape, that he donated his famous homestead and studio, Bundanon Trust, to the Australian people. Visit on a Sunday for an excellent day trip, where you can be treated to a guided tour of the property and grounds, beautifully nestled alongside the Shoalhaven River. An assortment of works by the Boyd family are displayed here in addition to pieces from many other well-known Australian artists such as Sir Sidney Nolan, John Perceval and Brett Whiteley. For some of our best touring collections, make sure to check out our artistic hub, Shoalhaven Regional Gallery in Nowra or head to some of our more quaint and intimate gallery spaces such as The Studio Gallery in Callala. We have a very rich Indigenous history in our region and visitors can learn all about this heritage through our beautiful Aboriginal art. Striking artworks are displayed at Giriwa Garuwanga Art Gallery in Ulladulla or the Bidjigal Aboriginal Art and Crafts Gallery at Huskisson.
Events & Festivals
Fabulous, colourful festivals and markets are some of the best ways to connect with local artists and the community. Catch an event and stay for a culture-filled long weekend, we've got amazing things happening all year-round! Our winter festival line up is filled with epic events such as Culburra Beach's Burradise, where live music and a wonderful arts program lights up this seaside hamlet and Milton-Ulladulla's StoryFest celebrates literature, film and all things storytelling. When the weather warms up in Spring, plan a visit to coincide with the glorious Shoalhaven River Festival, a party by the water where the surrounds of Nowra Bridge transform with tonnes of food and music alongside some very fun watersports. Usher in the beginning of Summer at Fairgrounds, where Berry Showground becomes an awesome 2-day music festival that oozes 1970s vibes. There's gourmet eats, vintage markets, a fantastic line-up of indie and rock bands as well as workshops galore for both kids and parents. Each Autumn, Ulladulla's Blessing of the Fleet Festival is a must see during the Easter school holidays, where the colourful street parade will absolutely captivate all the little ones. Check out our year-long events calendar for more information.
Immerse yourself in incredible artworks amongst the glory of Mother Nature. A day of exploring art and culture doesn't necessarily mean you have to stay indoors! Pop on your walking shoes and make your way around the streets of Nowra, with many of the CBD's buildings showcasing amazing street art murals painted by world-renowned graffiti artists such as Adnate and Smug. You might also notice that a number of our public amenties feature paintings and murals from local artists. We think that you'll love our tongue in cheek "Toilet Mural Trail", which has brightened up our local parks and reserves with new creative life. Our towns have eye candy everywhere! If you look down during a stroll through Milton's town centre, you'll find five wonderful mosaics that are part of a local community project. Some seaside artworks include the beautiful Aboriginal Carved Poles by Jerrinja Elder, Uncle Noel Wellington around Callala and Culburra Beaches and the One Track for All and Coomee Nulunga cultural walks also highlight Indigenous culture, illustrated stories and more carved sculptures by local elders. Our lovely gardens will also appeal to all the green thumbs, with amazing topiaries at Merribee Historic Garden Estate and the stunning Sculpture at Petana show during Milton-Ulladulla's annual Escape ARTFest every October.
From historical exhibits to maritime collections and antique machines, it's always fun to explore another era whilst you're on holiday. We’ve got an array of interesting museums for you to learn something new and revel in the past. Australia’s Naval Aviation history is brilliantly showcased at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at HMAS Albatross. Located inside a very cool hangar-style building, it's even equipped with its very own flight simulator, a must try during your visit! Along the shores of sparkling Jervis Bay, the Maritime Museum exhibits a rich local Aboriginal history, captivating shipwrecks and maritime battles. You'll also find the iconic Lady Denman Ferry here, which was built in Huskisson way back in 1911 and has retired along the bay. A great place for children to learn more about our colonial history is at the Kangaroo Valley Pioneer Village Musuem, where the 150-year-old farm's buildings and grounds will transport them back to a simpler time.
Craft & Artisan
Come and celebrate the hands of the local artisan and pick up a unique souvenir. Our community of makers are producing refreshingly modern works in addition to the tradtionally cute and kitsch pieces that ooze retro nanna charm. In Nowra, The Artisan Collective is the perfect creative pitstop, displaying a huge selection of handmade products as well as running their very own hands-on workshops. By the water in Greenwell Point, you'll find the lovely Point Gallery and Craft, picturesquely located right near the oyster farms of beautiful Crookhaven River. You can shop a collection of unique ceramics, leatherwork and mosaics here. For those who'd like to get the chance to actualy meet our local makers, pay a visit to Kangaroo Valley Woodcrafts and Kangaroo Valley Leadlights stores - where you might catch a glimpse of some talented creatives at work. Nestled in the rolling hills near Milton, you can also visit Yatte Yattah Pottery, which is the studio of local potter Kee Staps.
Explore our country towns filled with old-world charm, history and architecture. Our region displays a combination of rich Aboriginal culture, dating back tens of thousands of years. In addition, you'll also find an assortment of colonial buildings that display our European past. Some of the oldest buildings can be found at Jindyandy Mill and Coolangatta Estate, where Alexander Berry first settled in 1822. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Shoalhaven history is by embarking upon a town heritage walk in Berry, Kangaroo Valley, Nowra or Milton. You'll wander through streets that boast archictecture dating back to the 1800s, with highlights such as the School of Arts in both Berry and Nowra. As you meander through our villages, you'll pass showgrounds with gorgeous grandstands, courthouses, and heritage homes like Meroogal. And out towards the coast, our seaside hamlets feature quintessential Australian beach cottages in all their fibro glory. Photographer Max Dupain's famous 'Sunbaker' image was actually shot right here at Culburra Beach in the 1930s.
Music & Performing Arts
Add some entertainment to your trip with live music and performances from local and international acts. Our largest and busiest venue, the state-of-the-art Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre hosts a myriad of Australian and international shows and performances - click here to find out more about all their current events. If you're a fan of musicals then we highly recommend catching a show by our local theatre troupes, the Nowra Players and Albatross Musical Theatre Co. You can watch their perfomances at the Entertainment Centre and Nowra Players Theatre in Bomaderry. These performances are always a fun night out filled with plentiful songs, dances and frequent belly laughs! If live music is more your jam, then head to the historic Milton Theatre. This gorgeous venue was built in the 1920s, oozes tonnes of old-school charm and is located right in the middle of town. It's a favourite pitstop for many well known artists so make sure to check their events schedule to find out what's currently on. Our local dining venues also host a bunch of local musicians so if you feel like grabbing a bite and lazing back to some relaxing, live tunes then head to Mountain Ridge Wines, Harvest Bar and Cupitt's Winery.
Workshops & Talks
Channel your creative self and delve into a new artistic pursuit while relaxing in the Shoalhaven. Ever heard of kokodama? It's the Japanese art of displaying potted plants in a ball of soil that's covered with moss, allowing an ornamental plant to grow. This wonderful idea is just one of the many workshops you can partake in at The Mud Shed in Bomaderry, allowing you to really hone in on your creative spirit. For an incredible cultural experience, the lovely Deidre of Bugiya Naway Buradja offers a traditional basket weaving class in Jervis Bay. And anyone who'd like to satisfy their sweet tooth can head to The Chocolate Cottages in Milton or the Treat Factory in Berry for a delicious chocolate making masterclass. A creative workshop is a fantastic way to take a moment during your stay and really treat yourself to some 'me time'. It allows you to retract from the craziness of everyday life and channel your mindful self as you do something fun and hands-on. Group workshops are a great way of doing something a bit different with your friends and if you're travelling with kids, there are some wonderful clowning, drama and theatre courses at Livewire Studios in Ulladulla that will spark their wild imaginations.