Mollymook, somewhere on the Australian Coast. 

My in-laws wanted to get away with their children and grandchildren. They used to have holidays at Mollymook in years gone by. They don’t like to be too far from Sydney for their travel by car, so the area was greatly chosen for that reason. Very generously my mother in-law made the booking. Off we set for the south coast for the weekend. .

I had been to the area before. I like the area enough but I had never been completely sold. Windy conditions for a earlier weekend at Jervis Bay did not make it enjoyable.Rick Stein moving in to Bannisters reignited my interest. Adding to the reignited passion is the refurbishment project Bannisters has undertaken. They have not only painted and redesigned rooms but added penthouses and a second location nearby.

Our visit was primarily to go to dinner at Rick Stein’s at Bannisters. My sister in law and I popped off to have a cocktail one afternoon at Bannisters to enjoy some serenity.  It there hadn’t been a wind roaring into the headland it may of almost been pleasant. If I had a bottomless bank account, Bannisters would be my choice of accommodation for sure. I do have raucous children in tow. If I had booked Mollymook for a weekend and I arrived with two over-energised boys, not sure I would be too popular for long. Yes, yes, they say they welcomes kids, but the truth is they do not. It’s absolutely not the vibe they are going for. This is a 4.5 star hotel. They have recently spent millions on an amazing renovation. It’s a day spa place. they want guests that are zen and peaceful – not amped up and obnoxious. Still, there is no reason why we can’t enjoy the restaurant with a carefully planned babysitter (we packed one in our luggage, as there is not this service readily available)  in the motel.

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People rave about the beach and the area. I am a north coast girl and have never really understood why people love the area so much. The water temperature is greatly what makes the decision for me. 3 degrees in relation to water temperatures makes all the difference in comfort levels. The town has a bowling club and a golf club in nearby Ulladulla. If you’re thinking of other options for dinner, there are not many. Even hot chips are over relatively early. My trusty website for all local information Visitnsw doesn’t even list anything other than Rick Stein.

After a day of walks and a quick swim. My eldest will not go in below a certain temperature and my youngest got too cold to stay in for long. We had gone around to the Bogey hole. This is a natural water hole protected by rocks. It’s a tidal pool and ideal for small children. You can walk from Mollymook beach around the headland or you can park in the car park on Riversdale Avenue. Whilst parking the car we saw a pod of about 10-15 dolphins feeding off the rock shelf. They stayed there for about 40 minutes. I am no wildlife photographer so I didn’t get any shots. Watching them creates a peaceful and calm mind.

Pigeon House Mountain – Didthul has an amazing walk and from the top of the mountain there are magnifcent panoramic views of the Budawan Ranges. This is not something you could attempt with young children. It’s grade 4 bushwalk. ie. the equivalent of walking up a 20 storey building. There are lots of stairs. Older kids – go for it. Allow 4 hours.

Narrawallee Nature Reserve has a fairly straight walk that finishes at Buckley’s Point which gives you views and access to Conjola Beach and Buckley’s Beach. Allow 1 hour. We did try to venture up the coast 10 minutes to do a bushwalk. The wind was wild and on the way into the start of the walk we had seen several red bellied black snakes. As I was carrying my little 12 month old lump, I didn’t fancy seeing a snake, so we aborted mission.

Narrawallee Inlet walk via the mangroves takes you through the Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve. It winds itself through a array of plants and trees ending up at the mouth of the Narrawallee Inlet and this one would be best if the wind is blowing. This walk is slightly longer – allow 3 hours.

The short walk to Granite Falls winds through eucalypt forest dominated by stringy bark, red bloodwood and turpentine trees leading you to spectacular views over Granite Falls. The granite valley views are enchanced by an overhanging lookout platform. Allow 30 minutes for this one. If it is hot, this is the best walk to attempt.

The highlight of our trip was our meal at Rick Stein’s. It is simplistic seafood focusing on the flavour not on fancy presentation. I love the rustic concentration on the food and not the decoration. The food shone as a result and I couldn’t fault it. My father in-law had selected some special wines for the evening (yes, it is BYO) and the sommelier was almost frothing at the mouth with each bottle. The hotel has recently completed both an amazing refurbishment but bought a second property to allow for expansion.

I think nearby Jervis Bay would have more activities if that is what you are after. With small kids what more do you need than a safe beach?  Mollymook is a great weekend escape. My advice is to avoid peak season. It’s a small town and it has not yet had the development required to cope with crowds.  I need coffee in the morning and the option of not cooking when I am away from home, so it may be a few years before I will be back.

If you have been to Mollymook – what are your recommendation’s on things to do and places to go?

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