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Welcome to the Shoalhaven

Where is the Shoalhaven?

The Shoalhaven City is located on the eastern seaboard of Australia within the state of New South Wales. Nowra, the administrative centre of Shoalhaven, is 160km south of Sydney within a coastal area of 4,560 square kilometres which stretches from the rural township of Berry in the north to some 85 kilometres south of the harbourside township of Ulladulla. The region is bounded by the Illawarra Escarpment to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Its topography combines mountainous terrain, flat coastal plain, bays, inlets, lakes and rivers.

The Shoalhaven’s beautiful natural environment plays a central role in the quality of life of the local community. The region’s temperate coastal climate, rich array of native flora and fauna, many natural attractions, thriving commercial and retail sectors and abundance of raw materials make the Shoalhaven an appealing place to live and work.

Shoalhaven is 49 towns and villages

Blessed with perhaps the most scenically beautiful landscapes on the east coast of Australia, the Shoalhaven region stretches from the lush rainforests of the Kangaroo Valley and the quaint country town of Berry in the north, along many miles of exquisite beaches, and on to Durras in the South.

From Sydney, it’s an easy two hours drive 160 kilometres south.

From Canberra, it’s a two and a half hour drive north to Sutton Forest and then through Kangaroo Valley for a trip of approximately 200 kilometres. Or through Bungendore, Tarago and Nerriga it is about two hours on tar sealed roads all the way. 

Travel to and through the region is easy with many options available including car, coach, train and plane. Our nearest commecial airports are Sydney, Canberra, Illawarra or Moruya. You can catch a train from Sydney to Bomaderry, trains run multiple times a day.

Mature & Productive Economy

The Shoalhaven has a mature but growing economic base. With broad diversity in many value adding sectors such as aircraft maintenance and overhaul, general manufacturing and logistics, the economic base is supported by domestic and international trade. Government administration and services are strong as is education, health and the construction industry. Many localities are also highly oriented to tourism and retail.

Population growth, based on in-migration from metropolitan areas, continues to grow the labour force and provide extension to existing and new businesses. A skilled workforce supports the business base and utilises the resources of local training facilities of the University of Wollongong and TAFE NSW.

Shoalhaven City Council has an active Economic Development Office, working at the strategic and operational level to grow the economy and encourage expansion and diversification across all sectors. This website contains economic and demographic information for Shoalhaven, for more information please contact the Shoalhaven City Council Economic Development Office.

Nowra - Bomaderry

Nowra is located 160km south of Sydney and with its twin-town of Bomaderry, Nowra has an estimated population of 37,000. It is the commercial centre of the City of Shoalhaven local government area.

The Nowra region, south of Bomaderry Creek was inhabited by the Wodi-Wodi tribe of the Yuin nation while north of Bomaderry Creek was inhabited by the Dharawal Aboriginal people prior to European arrival. Around 1824, ex-convict Mary Reibey applied for a land grant in the Burrier area, on the southern side of the Shoalhaven River. The Nowra township was officially recognised in 1852. Less than ten years later, in 1861, a postal service was established. Also in that year, the racehorse 'Archer', trained in Nowra by Etienne de Mestre, won the first Melbourne Cup. By 1885, Nowra was declared a town.

Milton - Ulladulla

Ulladulla is a coastal town on the Princes Highway approximately 230km south of Sydney. Ulladulla has close links with the nearby historic settlement of Milton and many services are shared between these towns. With a population of around 16,000, Milton-Ulladulla is the second largest settlement within Shoalhaven.

The name Ulladulla is an Aboriginal word meaning "safe harbour". The first white Settler was Rev Thomas Kendall in 1828 who started cedar cutting at Narrawallee Creek near Milton.

Things to Do

Water-lovers have so much choice with a wealth of lakes and inlets, great surf beaches, excellent tidal and beach fishing, boating and watersports. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy some excellent bushwalks with an abundance of native flora and fauna to discover. Rich in local culture, the Shoalhaven’s many annual food, wine and arts festivals and events have become popular reasons to getaway. A wander through our colourful weekend markets is also a popular pastime, often after a leisurely Sunday brunch.

Foodies love the range of fresh produce farmed and harvested locally including delectable seafood, market garden produce, wine, dairy, coffee and olive oil. And the many cafes, bistros, takeaways and restaurants ensure you’re never short of places to enjoy it all. For those that love a good drop, the region offers 20 vineyards, and 11 cellar doors, as well as wine tasting tours for weekenders.

Weather & Climate

The Shoalhaven’s temperate climate is comfortable all year round, with balmy sea breezes to cool in summer and clean crisp air for long country walks in winter. Today's weather forecast for Nowra and Ulladulla are provided by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.