Never fear as the months get cooler, there are so many unique spots to warm up in this beautiful region. One of the best ways to keep warm and cosy is by settling yourself in front of a roasting fire. There's something about the smell of burning wood and glowing embers that's just oh so romantic. So grab a bevvy or a bite to eat and perch yourself in front of one of the top 13 fireplaces in the Shoalhaven.
1. The Lookout Cafe, Cambewarra Mountain
Cambewarra Mountain Lookout, a popular tourist attraction since 1909, boasts spectacular views of the beautiful Shoalhaven. Its glass-front cafe shares that same amazing view and features a toasty-warm combustion wood fire. Grab a gourmet hot chocolate and bask in the comfort of a wicker chair in front of the fireplace. Maybe even feast on some fluffy homemade scones while watching the rainbow lorikeets feed outside too. Bring your pooch down to The Lookout Cafe for a free puppychino on Dog's Breakfast Saturdays or sample the delicious tapas menu available every Friday night.
2. Milk Haus Wholefood Canteen
Grab a seat in front of the fireplace at Milk Haus Wholefood Canteen while chowing down on some yummy local fare. The kitchen uses only the freshest of ingredients, sourced from local farmers or Milk Haus' own on-site gardens. The menu is fresh, edgy and modern, offering up some excellent vegetarian and gluten-free options. The concrete building, which was once a cheese factory, features tall cathedral ceilings and exposed beams. A rustic, decorative wreath nests above the black combustion fireplace which is tucked away in the corner. Curl up on the leather ottoman with a warm blanket and a mug of steaming chai and wash those winter blues away.
3. The Gunyah Restaurant and Paperbark Camp
Glamping enthusiasts will be pleased to know that there are two fires at this unique accommodation option in Jervis Bay. A crackling outdoor bonfire soars in the winter months and is the perfect place to toast marshmallows under whimsical fairy lights. Stay in the luxurious African safari tents at Paperbark and dine at the Gunyah Restaurant which is also equipped with a wood-effect gas fire.
4. The Heads Hotel
Sample a craft beer and share a homemade pizza in front of large combustion fireplaces at the Heads Hotel. Yes, that's right - fireplaces. There are two of them at this location as well! The Heads Hotel is a pub, restaurant, beer garden, children's playground and live entertainment venue, all in one hit! It also has incredible views of the river mouth at Shoalhaven Heads. Sink into the comfy cushioned lounges in front of the fireplace in the bistro or pull up a pew near the burning embers in the front bar.
5. Cupitt's Winery
A place that oozes French provincial charm but is tucked away in country Milton. Cupitt's is both elegant and rustic at the same. The venue is a boutique winery, microbrewery, fromagerie, restaurant and an accommodation option too. You don't even need to leave the property to have a variety of different experiences! Multiple fireplaces seem to be quite the trend down in the Shoalhaven, with Cupitt's also boasting two open stone fireplaces. One in the historic cellar door building and another next to the restaurant. Sit around on the comfy white lounges and rustic stools and warm up while sampling the award-winning Dusty Dog Shiraz.
6. Bannisters Pavilion
Order a coffee, beer or cocktail and ease into a snug couch near the gas fireplace at Bannisters Pavilion. This stylish fire sits in the lobby of one of the Shoalhaven's finest hotels. We recommend taking a sunset stroll along Mollymook beach before dining at the rooftop bar-and-grill. All Bannisters guests who are staying in penthouse suites will also have access to their own private in-room fireplaces. So luxurious!
7. Mountain Ridge Wines
Winter is all about warming up with red wine and fireplaces and Mountain Ridge is the perfect, cosy spot to escape the cold. Located just outside of historic Berry, this welcoming, family-run vineyard offers up stunning views of Coolangatta and Cambewarra Mountains. It truly is a special place to soak up just how beautiful the Shoalhaven landscape is. The restaurant is open for both breakfast and lunch, serving up yummy winter dishes like buttermilk pancakes and slow cooked lamb. Take a tour of the cellar door before settling down in front of the fireplace, featuring an amazing bottle wall hearth. Art lovers will also be excited to know that Mountain Ridge has a lovely gallery within its restaurant space, featuring rotating exhibitions from local artists. They also host workshops and even incorporate some artworks into their wine labels!
8. Silos Restaurant
Have dinner at Silos Restaurant's near the roaring fireplace - lined with metal discs from ploughs that once worked this historical 1870s property. Order a hearty winter meal, like the Angus beef cheeks paired with Tarago Truffles. Complete the wine and dine experience with a Silos Estate Duck Nuts Shiraz while looking out onto views of mountains, grapevines and grazing alpacas.
9. Figbird Cafe and Deli
A white French combustion fire is the centrepiece at Figbird Cafe and Deli. Throughout the day, you can laze by the fire with some organic coffee and homemade cake. When the sun goes down, opt for a warm and romantic candlelit dinner. The Mediterranean menu is decadent and tasty, including dishes like scallops wrapped in truffle-infused prosciutto. BYO your favourite beverage, Figbird won't even charge you corkage!
10. Coolangatta Estate
The 194-year-old Coolangatta Estate houses Alexander's Grill, an appetising restaurant filled with yummy local produce. Wood thrown into a flaming metal chamber heats the lunchtime marquee and red-hot coals are placed under metal grills to cook some of the food. The main building features a huge, open fireplace made from 150-year-old sandstone bricks.
11. Greendale's Café
Greendale's is a wonderful, country café situated within Jindyandy Mill in Pyree and is an excellent venue for anyone travelling with kids. Venture down here for a nice family brunch amongst all the rustic vintage furniture and sip on a warm hot chocolate in front of the fireplace. We really don't want to pull you away from the warmth inside but if the weather is nice then we highly recommend taking a walk on the café's grounds. The surrounding greenery is stunning and there's plenty of outdoor seating and kids toys scattered about to keep the little ones entertained.
12. The Friendly Inn Hotel
The historic Friendly Inn Hotel in Kangaroo Valley is an excellent pit stop to refuel and defrost. This Shoalhaven pub's comforting, open fireplace is well used, with a trail of black soot running up the red brick wall above the mantel. If you enjoy the brisk winter air, head outside to the massive beer garden, check out the chicken houses and partake in a cheerful game of pétanque. The Friendly Inn Hotel also hosts its annual charity bonfire every June long weekend.
13. The Little Snapper
The Little Snapper is a bustling foodie hub at Culburra Beach, with tasty local produce, on point cocktails and a warm hearth. The owner and chef, Scott Mason hails from Sydney's finest, including Bistro Moncur and Bambini Trust Restaurant & Wine Room. Be sure to try the local Blackfish, and keep your eyes peeled for specialty nights and daily happy hours! While you are there, pop down to Culburra Beach for a surf check and to spot the seals from the panoramic lookout at Penguin Head.