With kilometres of wide, open beaches, hundred’s of bush walking tracks and not to mention a premiership-winning rugby team, the Sutherland Shire in Sydney’s south covers a huge area of Sydney. To find out where to the locals go to break out a sweat, we chatted to Shire born and bred Natalie Babic about her favourite spots.
Best healthy brunch spot: Blackwood Pantry
5/33 Surf Lane, Cronulla
“This café is a favourite amongst all my girlfriends and it’s the perfect Sunday morning brunch spot. Every time I go to Blackwood Pastry, I order the Coconut Hotcakes and I’m still yet to regret my decision.”
Best beach: Salmon Haul
Gowie Street, Cronulla
“All of Cronulla’s beaches are beautiful (the best in Sydney/the world, if you ask me…) but I love Salmon Haul because it’s slightly hidden, so you need to know where to go to find it! Greenhills is also a favourite as it can be less busy in summer and has more spots on the sand to choose from. Plus, you can take your dog there so it’s win-win in my eyes.”
Best coffee: White Horse
137 Flora Street, Sutherland
“There’s always a line of people at White Horse because the coffee is really, really good. I take my coffee seriously so for me to say it’s the best in The Shire, is a big thing.”
Best bush walk: Coastal Walk, Royal National Park
“I’ve done this walk so many times and still, I’m amazed by just how stunning it is. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of the incredible stretches of beaches and cliffs. I normally just do the one-day walk so will start at Otford and finish at Wattamolla, which is the perfect swimming spot after a day of adventuring.”
Best kayaking spot: The Woronora River
The Woronora river holds a special place in my heart as a friend’s family once owned The Boatshed when I was growing up so I have a lot of memories down there. Paddle down the river, away from the bridge and you’ll find plenty of stunning swimming spots.
Best boot camp: MeFit
“Training a 5:30am is easy when a) it’s down on Cronulla beach and b) Mike is your trainer. He’s beyond nice, knows what he’s doing and gets you fit, fast (because that’s the point, right?). From friends to even my parents, Mike at MeFit has now trained basically everyone I know.”
Best place to walk your dog: Cronulla Esplanade
“I swear my dog Sizzle is in doggy heaven whenever we do the Esplanade walk because she’s got doggy friends everywhere. The path runs along Cronulla’s beaches, from Wanda down to Bass & Flinders, and we are usually stopped about 50 times with people wanting to pat her. She lives a tough life.”
Best healthy lunch spot: Pilgrims
“If there’s one thing you have to do when you visit The Shire, it’s to have a Bliss Burger from vegetarian restaurant, Pilgrims. It’s one of those things you eat and then think, ‘I could eat this every day and never, ever get sick of it’. They also do incredible juices – I love the orange, strawberry and mango ‘Crystals’ juice – so make sure you check them out as well.”
Best bike riding spot: Lady Carrington Drive, Royal National Park
When I was little, my dad would take me bike riding at Lady Carrington Drive and now, I take my friends riding there. The track is a super easy ride but it’s just so damn pretty. It’s the perfect Sunday activity, especially on those glorious Sydney winters days.