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Shellharbour, Illawarra Map
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Fast Facts

Distance & Driving times from major cities
Sydney to Shellharbour
106 kms - 1:10 hours
Wollongong to Shellharbour
25 kms - 20 min
Canberra to Shellharbour
215 kms - 2:20 hours
Melbourne to Shellharbour
795kms - 9:00 hours
Closest Capital City:
Sydney NSW 106kms
Closest Airport:
Sydney International Airport
Activities: Picnicing, Surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, prawning, bush walking, bird watching, golf, canoeing, shopping.
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Shellharbour Featured Holiday Accommodation Properties
Shellharbour Tourism Information

About Shellharbour

Shellharbour is a lovely coastal village located between Wollongong and Kiama approximately 106 kms south of Sydney and 25 km from the centre of Wollongong. Sometimes spelt Shell Harbour it was named because of the vast quantity of shells on the shores.

Shellharbour offers visitors sandy beaches, rolling green pastures, a small shopping centre, pub, and post office.

Water sports are amongst Shellharbour’s main recreational activities. There are fabulous surfing beaches as well as sandy family beaches around the Shellharbour area. Lake Illawarra also provides numerous water sport activities including sailing, fishing, water skiing, wind surfing, canoeing, and boating. Shellharbour is well known for its scuba diving and snorkeling in its Marine Aquatic Reserve.

Shellharbour was originally 'Yerrowah' by local Aborigines who used it as a meeting place. In 1796 explorers George Bass and Matthew Flinders became the first Europeans to set foot in the area. In 1803 Captain Issac Nicholls shipped the first cattle into the district looking for relief from the drought in Sydney. In the 1820’s a port was established in Shellharbour by the cedar cutters. The cedar was floated out on wooden rafts to ships, which waited off the coast.

Places to Visit

Bass Point Reserve
Bass Point Reserve offers some excellent fishing opportunities. The reserve also offers several good picnic spots and BBQ facilities

Blackbutt Forest Reserve
Blackbutt Forest Reserve located to the north of Shellharbour is 100 hectares of coastal forest offering ideal bush walks along several tracks as well as picnic areas. As you walk along the tracks you are lead through forests melaleuca, blackbutt, stringybark, grey box, and red gum.

Shellharbour is well known for the Norfolk Pine trees planted in 1895. The rock baths were established at the same time as the pines to help attract visitors to the area.

Historic Buildings
The oldest sandstone building in Shellharbour is Stella Maris (1861) in Wentworth Street. The oldest building is located at the intersection with Addison St is the general store (1857). Other buildings of interest include Allen's Store (1868), the courthouse and gaol (1877), the council chambers (1865), Wesleyan Chapel (1865) and 'Aronda' (1900), originally a school residence.

Killalea State Recreation Area
One of the most beautiful areas in the Illawarra Killalea State Recreation Area offers visitors beautiful unspoilt beaches, and coastal wetlands. It is a favourite with surfers who frequent the surf at Minnamurra and Killalea Beaches. Killalea is also a good spot to snorkel, scuba dive or fish.

Macquarie Pass National Park
The Macquarie Pass National Park is located on the Illawarra Highway at Albion Park. The park ranges from steep densely timbered ridges to rainforest gullies. There are two walking tracks (the Cascades Rainforest Walk and the Glenview Track) offering some fantastic bush walking, The Cascades Rainforest Walk is two kms and will take you to the ‘Cascades’ where the water falls from a height of 20 metres. Whilst the Glenview Track crosses a creek which plunges over the Cascades 400 metres downstream.

Picnic Island
On the western side of Windang Bridge a pathway leads across to Picnic Island. Around 150 bird species inhabit the island making Picnic Island the ideal place for bird watchers. The island also offers 250-metre bush walk and lookout.

Railway Museum
The Illawarra Railway Museum located in Tongarra Road, Albion Park has several nineteenth-century steam engines trams and carriages on display. The museum offers train rides around the 1-km bush land track on the second Sunday of each month. There are picnic and barbecue facilities also available.


Shellharbour has a very mild coastal climate with temperatures averaging 17 degrees Celsius in the winter and 27 degrees Celsius in the summer. The main rainfall occurs between February and June.

Getting there

By Car
Shellharbour is easily located by car from both Sydney and Canberra. It is just over a 1 hour drive from Sydney via the F6 freeway. Canberra is about 2.5 hours drive via the Hume Highway to Moss Vale then the Illawarra Highway.

By Train
Trains depart approximately every hour from Central Station in Sydney for the Illawarra and South Coast. For timetables please visit the CityRail website at

By Coach
Coaches travel through Shellharbour connecting with Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra on a daily basis. For more information on coach services visit, or

By Air
The closest domestic commercial airport to Shellharbour is the Illawarra Regional Airport located at Albion Park Rail. Commercial flights operate weekdays from Melbourne. Sydney International Airport is located just over 1 hours drive from Shellharbour.


Shellharbour offers a wide range of accommodation including motels, hotels, guesthouses, villas, self contained apartments, cottages and beach houses and charming bed & breakfasts.

More Information

For more information about Shellharbour visit:
Shellharbour Tourism -

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