We all need a little escape from the daily grind once in a while. And a voyage into the great outdoors is one of the best ways to recharge and unwind. For those moments when a short day trip just won't cut it, we've compiled a list of our favourite overnight adventures. These are all experiences where you can channel your inner nomad and retreat into the unspoilt Shoalhaven wilderness. Get ready to reset your circadian rhythms and spend some quality time with Mother Nature.
1. Bushwalking & Camping in Booderee National Park
A popular place for outdoor lovers to tune into nature, Booderee National Park is filled with plenty of walking trails that will keep the heart pumping the entire day, making it an ideal destination in the cooler months. Close to the sparkling white sands at Murrays Beach, the 2.5 hour Munyunga Waraga Dhugan Loop Walk is a great way to experience the beauty of Booderee including its diverse wildlife and rich Aboriginal heritage. Alongside spectacular panoramic views over Jervis Bay, you might also catch a glimpse of sea birds, penguins, seals, dolphins and whales from Governor Head Lookout. For those who are keen for a more challenging bushwalk, head out along the tracks that wind around St Georges Headland. The Steamers Beach Loop Walk begins at Steamers Beach carpark and is a 16km trip that takes about 6 hours, with plenty of additional side trails worth exploring along the way. Make sure to stop at Brooks Lookout, Kittys Point, Kittys Beach and Whiting Beach. After an adventure-filled day of exploring Booderee on foot, head back to the nearby camping area of Cave Beach - an awesome surf spot that's often filled with local kangaroos. Or rest your head under the stars for the evening at Green Patch or Bristol Point.
2. Kayaking & Canoeing in Kangaroo Valley
Both beginners and seasoned paddlers can venture out along the waterways of picturesque Kangaroo Valley. Surrounded by lush bushland, the area is best discovered during an extended paddling expedition with an overnight stay. Venture out on your own if you're experienced or you can book a tour with Kangaroo Valley Kayaks or Kangaroo Valley Safaris. The Bendeela to Tallowa Dam journey is a great 6-hour trip and is perfect for a 2-day voyage. Take off from Bendeela Reserve and spend day 1 paddling into the northern reaches of Morton National Park. Lovely overnight camping spots can be found around the beautiful tree-covered banks of Beehive Point or Acacia Flat which boasts stunning 240-degree water views. Both campsites are excellent swimming spots, filled with an abundance of local wildlife and perfect places to wake up for a sunrise before venturing back out the next morning. Onwards from here, it's an easy 3 hour paddle to Tallowa Dam, where you can also stop for a nice picnic at historic Yarrunga Creek along the way. Our kayaking and canoeing guide has plenty of information and inspiration for many other trips around the region.
3. Climb & Camp along the Shoalhaven River
Swap the water for a land-based adventure and embark upon an adrenaline pumping rock climbing overnighter along the banks of the Shoalhaven River. The area is a climbing mecca, with around 2000 sport climbs located within a 10-minute drive of Nowra's city centre. Climb Nowra offers guided tours with experienced instructors or opt for an epic "cliffnic" with Outdoor Raw. It's a dining experience to remember, where you can enjoy a picnic filled with a delicious selection local produce, wine and beer while suspended off the edge of a Shoalhaven clifftop! There are many local hotspots nearby, all beautifully carved out by the Shoalhaven River, for anyone who wants to create their own DIY climbing experience. The riverbank also provides ample camping opportunities to relax after a tiring day of scaling cliff faces. Spend the night at Grady's Retreat, with over 500 metres of direct access to the river or settle in at the sustainable bush camping destination of Coolendel before tackling some more difficult crags on the second day of your adventure.
4. Majestic Murramarang
Immerse yourself in a bush to beach adventure over a multi-day hiking trip through Murramarang National Park. An extensive South Coast Walking Trail project in the area is in development but in the meantime, you can head off on a DIY adventure along the many existing, smaller tracks. Begin the journey at Pretty Beach and set forth on the coastal Pretty Beach to Snake Bay Walking Track. This is a challenging day walk that can only be done at low tide and in calm weather, so make sure to check conditions and set off well prepared. The beautiful landscape will captivate you along the way as you traverse through lush, coastal forest, unspoilt beaches and along rock platforms. The national park is an excellent place to take on the 100 Beach Challenge, with Singing Stones Beach, O'Hara Island Beach South and Dawsons Islands Beach all providing excellent opportunities to cool off in the water after working up a sweat. Retire under the stars and amongst the kangaroos at Pebbly Beach Campground or if you'd prefer to have a proper roof over your head then opt for the charming and rustic Pebbly Beach Shacks. The inland walk of Pretty Beach to Durras Mountain is another Murramarang highlight and a nice way to return to your starting point along a different trail.
5. Yadboro State Forest Expedition
Base yourself at pet-friendly Yadboro Flat for the weekend and really escape into the wild. This totally off-grid camping area is located in Yadboro State Forest near the Clyde River and is an excellent home camp for those wanting to discover the Budawangs region of mighty Morton National Park. (Just make sure that you don't enter Morton if you're travelling with the pooch!) The Castle is a spectacular day walk to one of the most iconic peaks of the region. This trek is not for the faint-hearted and only recommended for experienced bushwalkers - the epic 800m ascent is well worth the challenge though as you look out towards 360-degree views from the summit. This overnight adventure is great for anyone who wants to get the blood flowing and heart-rate pumping. Visit in the cooler months for a more pleasant climb. You can also take advantage of the less crowded campsites and even cook some freshly caught bass over an open campfire.
6. Recharge Mind, Body and Soul on a Guided Trek
If you're a keen adventurer but have never done a solo overnight mission before, then consider a guided escape with the experts at Region X. They offer the ultimate nature tours that including cycling, kayaking, wildlife encounters and multi-day hikes. One of our favourite Region X trips is the soul refreshing Spirit Earth Walk, a fantastic opportunity to connect with nature and your inner self. It's not just any old hike - your days are filled with sunrise yoga, barefoot walks, meditation and specialised training into how humans can really establish a deeper connection with our great outdoors. The 3-day walk guides visitors through Murramarang National Park's stunning beaches and headlands, prodiving the perfect backdrop for a spiritual journey. For some more inspiration on amazing guided adventure tours in the Shoalhaven, make sure to check out Creative Escapes and their stand up paddleboarding overnighters, Big Nature Adventures' incredible climbing and abseiling expeditions and Into the Wild's epic wildlife tours of Jervis Bay.