Stanwell Park Accommodation + Holiday Guide
The Stanwell Park Accommodation and Holiday guide is a local’s tour of this absolute gem on the south coast. A paradise on the edge of the Royal National Park with spanning views over the coastline. The beach is cradled between headlands and has two creeks running behind it. Possibly named after Stanwell, London (meaning Stone Well referring to the rocky terrain of the London town) it was originally known as ‘Little Bulli’.
There is no wonder that this pristine beach is the most photographed in Australia. With visitor’s marveling at its clear water and clean sand. Beyond swimming, surfing and playing in the sand your eyes are regularly drawn to the skies. There hang-gliders and para-gliders use the thermal winds to gracefully drift by.
Stanwell Park Accommodation: History
The area is internationally acclaimed for hang-gliding and paragliding. Considered the birth place of modern aviation with Lawrence Hargrave carrying out is first experiments with the box kite in the area. Hargrave managed to lift himself 6 feet off the ground using for box kites. His invention of curved surfaces to give lift was adopted by all future aeronautical designers. This work gave impetus to the development of the Aeroplane.
The earliest inhabits of the coast were the Wodi Wodi Aboriginal clan of the Tharawal people. The first European settlers arrived 1824 with the grant of land Matthew Gibbons of a 1000 acres known as ‘Little Bulli’.
Stanwell Park even has a bit of a bush ranging glory. Convict John Paid was hired to work on ‘Little Bulli’ instead using he used it as a base for his gang of bush rangers. They terrorized the local area and right up to Appin known at ‘Wolloo Jack’ he was sentenced to death in 1829.
Rich is aboriginal and European history and incredible natural wonders. The stunning beach with a quiet, peaceful atmosphere Stanwell Park is a place of absolute pleasure along the south coast.
Stanwell Park Accommodation: Where to Stay
Caravans/Camping: Part of the bliss of town is its village like atmosphere which means that Stanwell Park accommodation difficult to find. Meaning that the closest camping areas are in Lilyvale inside the Royal National Park or Coledale on the beach. If you are after a caravan park then Bulli is the closest place to park a van or book a camping spot.
Holiday Homes: When it comes to Stanwell Park accommodation holiday homes really are your best bet as you can enjoy the village like a local. We manage the The Peace House and The Stanwell Beach Arthouse.
Hotels/Retreats: Helensburgh Hotel is about 10 minutes away and offers room above the pub. Tumbling Waters Retreat offers a selection of room’s ideal for a romantic couples getaway.
Stanwell Park Accommodation: Things to Do
Take a drive: Through the Royal National park along Lawrence Hargrave Drive and curve the coast and feast your eyes on the open ocean along the Sea Cliff Bridge.
Bushwalking: For a thigh busting taste of wilderness try the Wodi Wodi with a beautiful views at the end. You can start at the Wodi Wodi track entrance to do the Mt Mitchell Lookout to Stanwell Park walk which is 4km. See the kids section below for some family friendly walks.
Railway viaduct: One of the village's most famous attractions is the curved railway viaduct over Stanwell Creek Gorge. Built in the 1910s, problems with the old railway route forced the construction of a new track higher up the mountainside. 65 m above the creek bed. Surrounded by profuse rain forest vegetation and containing an estimated five million bricks, it is the largest railway viaduct in Australia.
Sri Venkateswara Hindu Temple: Australia's first Hindu Temple opened on 30 June 1985. It is located in Temple Street on a 2.6 hectare site. This site was chosen because it fitted the Hindu requirements. A peaceful spot, close to water, elevated, in the bush and on virgin soil. Indian architect Janakiramana Sthapati designed the temple, his family have been temple architects since the sixth century.
Stanwell Park Accommodation: What to do with Kids
Bushwalking: Kelly Falls Picnic area in the Garawarra State Conservation Reserve offers free walking trails that are accessed off Lawrence Hargrave Drive on the way to Helensburgh. The Goat Train is a 3km walk with some steep hard ascent but will keep the kids entertained, it can be accessed from Stanwell Park Railway Station (Western Platform)
Glow Worms: The Helensburgh history Railway – Glow Worm Tunnel is accessible from the Helensburgh train station and follows and open passageway along an abandoned railway line passing an old Helensburgh Railway Station. Take a torch and sturdy footwear that can handle a bit of water.
Symbio Wildlife Park: If you have a brood of little ones or overseas visitors wanting to pet a Koala or get up close with a Kangaroo – then just 25 minutes from Wollongong is Symbio Wildlife Park. A small well designed Zoo that is the perfect place to take in some wildlife, enjoy a picnic and get close to the animals. The best part is that this could easily be a whole day excursion or a quick visit that leaves your afternoon free to do other things.
Horse Riding: is popular in the area with Otford Farm and Darkes Forest Riding Range offering trail rides for both beginners and seasoned riders.
Pick Apples: Visit Glenbernie orchard to pick your own apples, try some cider and purchase something unique from the farm shop.
Stanwell Park Accommodation: What to Bring
- Sunglasses and sunblock: Always a must as you are likely to spend the whole day out and about in the sun.
- Large brimmed hat: Don't end the day with a red face and painful sunburn.
- Water bottle: Reduce plastic and be prepared for where ever the day takes you.
- Beach Towels: You often can't take towels from hotels or holiday homes to the beach so it’s best to bring your own.
- Camera: I know every ones uses their phones now. But the beach and coastline are breathtaking so take some shots you might actually want to frame. Otherwise Instagram the hell out of everything.
- Comfortable shoes: Include a cool pair of sandals for wandering around, thongs for the beach, hiking boots and runners. A thigh busting run along the coast will earn you all the cake you want to eat.
- Swimsuits galore: more than one pair so you can shake it up a bit and let them dry out between swims.
- Beach toys: Stanwell Park beach has a wide expanse of sand for the kids to build a whole fort if they want to.
- Books: There is a book shop at Thirroul and then there isn't a book shop in sight until you hit Wollongong so bring your own. Otherwise the Vinnie’s in Helensburgh can be a place to score a good second hand book.
Stanwell Park Accommodation: Getting around
By car from Sydney CBD it will take you about 1 hour and 17 minutes.
From Parramatta about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
On the train from Sydney Central you are looking about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Stanwell Park train station is located on the south side of Lawrence Hargrave Drive and walk down Railway Crescent.
From Canberra along the Federal Hwy and taking the Picton exit will take 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Stanwell Park Accommodation: Where to Eat
Stanwell Park Cafes
LOAF Kitchen – is both a family and pooch friendly café with a front paved seating area and a back garden. The food is fresh and tasty and the sun drenched front seating looking up at the escarpment is a winner.
Hargrave Café – set on a sunny corner site this quirky café offers healthy, reasonably priced food that appeals to young and old. The iced coffee and hot chocolate are well rated as is the coffee. They are constantly changing up their offerings of baked goods and local products.
The Palms Café – is an institution in Stanwell Park with a local couple running the café continuously for 16 years. There is also a gift shop and native nursery to explore so set aside an afternoon to idle away on a long lunch and a spot of shopping.
The Stanwell Beach Kiosk – has mixed reviews but if you are after a meal that is close to the water and the kids playground then it’s a good choice.
Stanwell Park Restaurants
Tumbling Waters - offers a chefs menu and drinks package on Saturday night for non-guest diners it is essential that you book and prepay. From all accounts the food and the views are divine.
Uluwatu Blue – offers fresh and feisty Mexican food with a coastal twist, the Burrito bowl is a favorite.
Stanwell Park Accommodation: Surf Life Saving Beach Patrol
Stanwell Park Beach is patrolled form late September to March check the Wollongong council websites for specific times.
Stanwell Park Accommodation: Things to know
Supermarket: Coles Walker Street Helensburgh
Butcher: Helensburgh Butcher Walker Street or Christian’s Premium Meats
Chemist: Helensburgh Pharmacy Parkes Street
Pizza Delivery: Renzettis Lawrence Hargrave Drive Stanwell Park
Medical Centre: Stanwell Park Family Practice – Stanwell Avenue
Stanwell Park Accommodation: Image Credits
Image 1: @lexilees3 on Instagram
Image 2: emeraldaqua.com.au The Peace House Stanwell
Image 3 - @visitwollongong on Instagram
Image 4 - Photographer: frank mckenna | Source: Unsplash
Image 5 - Photographer: S O C I A L . C U T | Source: Unsplash
Image 6 - @oz_bush_and_4x4 on Instagram
Image 7 - @uluwatablue on Instagram
Image 8 - @blackorange10
Image 9 - emeraldaqua.com.au – The Stanwell Beach Arthouse