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Travel Review: Bangalay Luxury Villas, Shoalhaven Heads


Looking for the ultimate family getaway? Bangalay Luxury Villas in Shoalhaven Heads on the NSW South Coast ticks all the boxes for a relaxing, beachside holiday. North Shore Mums Founder Rachel Chappell took her family for a short mid-winter holiday. She shares her luxurious coastal experience at Bangalay… 

When you’ve got children and looking for holiday accommodation, there’s always a long list of “must haves” followed by an equally long list of “nice to haves”. It’s not always easy to find somewhere to stay that makes holidaying a breeze for families.

Well, let me introduce you to the absolutely beautiful Bangalay Luxury Villas on the NSW South Coast that ticks all the boxes. We had the pleasure of staying at Bangalay for a mid-winter two-night getaway, and it was just the break we needed from the hectic pace of life to enjoy quality family time.

Bangalay: Where is it located?

Bangalay is a boutique resort that’s set amongst the idyllic backdrop of pristine coastal national park at Shoalhaven Heads. It’s about a two-hour drive south of Sydney. The scenery gets more and more beautiful as you pass Wollongong rolling green hills next to coastal vistas had me telling the kids to look up from their iPads and take in the stunning scenery for the last 30 minutes of the drive.

The resort is located right by Seven Mile Beach at Shoalhaven Heads. It’s quite literally a 30-second walk to the sand! There’s also a fabulous kids’ playground located opposite the beach entry to the resort, which is great for the kids to have a play. The villas are north-facing and overlook a luscious green golf course.

Accommodation: The luxurious & comfortable Bangalay Villas

Rachel ready for a day of exploring the NSW South Coast from Bangalay

Bangalay has 16 architecturally designed luxury villas, which are the perfect blend of nature and the finer things in life. Depending on the size of your family, choose from a 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom villa. Our family of five (three girls aged 8, 11 and 13 years old) comfortably fit in a 2-bedroom villa, in two king single beds and a fold-out sofa bed in the living room at night. My husband and I had a spacious bedroom with a king bed, luxurious linen, two wardrobes (with drawers), and a smart TV. 

The villas feature everything you need for a comfortable stay.

  • Kitchen well-equipped kitchen with a full-sized fridge, oven, stove, microwave, Nespresso machine (with biodegradable coffee capsules) and all the kitchen items you need to cook a meal.
  • Bathroom  stylish & spacious bathroom with shower, toilet and vanity with lots of white fluffy towels, as well as pool towels, hairdryer and gorgeous Aspar products.
  • Laundry let’s face it, with kids, the washing can pile up quickly! If you want to keep on top of that pile while you’re away, the villas all feature a washing machine, laundry sink neatly tucked away in a cupboard by the kitchen.
  • Bedrooms getting a good night’s sleep is paramount… and let me tell you, the beds, pillows and linen did not disappoint!
  • Living area comfortable sofa bed, large dining table & smart TV with all the entertainment apps you could possibly want, ready to login and enjoy!
  • Portacots & highchairs available on request.

Apart for being practical, the villas are beautifully styled by Bangalay Owner and Interior Designer Michelle Bishop. The elegant interiors create a unique coastal luxe feel.

Set amongst the natural Shoalhaven coastal Bangalay Sand Forest, each of Bangalay’s 16 private luxury villas features golf course or garden views, as well as a fireplace and a sun-filled, north-facing deck, encouraging rest, relaxation and getting back to nature. Bangalay is the perfect blend of nature and the finer things in life.

Other features that make the resort extra comfortable:

  • Free (and fast!) WiFi throughout  handy when you get back from a day of sight-seeing and need some chill-time.
  • Keyless entry to get into the resort & into your villa (no fussing around with keys!).
  • Accessible villas all 2-bedroom villas are accessible villas, allowing those with limited mobility easy or sleeping babies in prams access to ensure you enjoy a relaxing and comfortable stay.
  • Daily room refresh after a day exploring, it’s a treat to return to a perfectly made bed and fresh towels
  • Air-conditioning throughout, ceiling fans and a gas heater (lovely during the winter!) makes for a very comfortable stay, no matter what the season.
  • Easy eating options choose to eat at Bangalay Dining, order in-room dining or prepare your own meals in the fully equipped kitchen.
  • Heated pool open 7am-9pm.

Check Availability at Bangalay

Bangalay Dining

Bangalay Dining

Bangalay Dining

Bangalay Dining is the resort’s restaurant, and we enjoyed several amazing meals there.

On our first night, we decided to indulge in the 6-course tasting menu whilst the kids enjoyed the kids’ meals. And it was truly decadent! It was such a treat to taste so many incredible locally sourced gourmet dishes, and was the nicest meal I’ve had in a very long time!

Eating out with kids isn’t always relaxing, but it was a really enjoyable meal. Despite being a fine dining restaurant, it had a very friendly and casual atmosphere.

Now that my kids are older, “colouring in” doesn’t tend to interest them however, even the colouring absorbed them (and gave my husband and I a peaceful 15 minutes to chat)! Each girl was given a lovely native illustration with a big pot of sharpened pencils. To ensure they remained quiet, we turned it into a competition they could each choose 6 pencils to colour, and the winner would get $15, the 2nd prize $10 and 3rd prize $5. While we don’t normally turn each meal into a competition with cash prizes, the novelty and challenge made us quietly high five ourselves. We figured they’d end up spending their winnings on things they’d probably ask for the next day, so it was money well invested!

The important job of judging the 3 pieces of art…

We had only finished our third tasting plate when the kids finished their dessert and the wonderful thing was that we were able to escort them the 30-second walk along the wooden boardwalk to our villa and set them up with a movie. Of course, you couldn’t do this with younger kids, but with my responsible 13-year-old in charge, a secure villa and us only 50m away, we could enjoy the second half of the Tasting Menu in peace. The simple things make such a difference!

Tasting Menu

Tasting Menu at Bangalay Dining

Tasting Menu at Bangalay Dining

  • Spanner crab on toast | dill | salmon roe | finger lime | oscietra caviar
  • Lake Illawarra mullet | burnt orange | wild leaves | smoked oyster emulsion
  • Beef tartare | pickled quandong | sea greens | egg yolk | brik pastry
  • Grilled pork chop | cauliflower puree | grilled cauliflower blossom | almond
  • Grass fed beef fillet | green beans | garlic | lemon | black barley | pepper berry
  • The Pines yoghurt pannacotta | compressed apples | crumble | strawberry gum

Kids Menu

  • Linguini | butter | cheese | 10
  • Bangalay bolognaise | slow cooked beef | linguini | 12
  • Free range chicken nuggets | chips | salad | 12
  • Steamed fish | green beans | potatoes | 14

Breakfast at Bangalay Dining

The colouring in sheets kept the children entertained during meals

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, so I was delighted that breakfast was included in our stay. The breakfast menu includes a fruit bowl, Sonoma pastry, meal from the breakfast menu, as well as unlimited barista coffee, tea and juice.

You don’t need to be staying at Bangalay to book a table at Bangalay Dining. There were lots of locals ‘in the know’ and other holiday-makers enjoying meals there too.

Bangalay Dining recently made The Australian’s list of Top 10 regional restaurants worth travelling for!

Bangalay Dining, opened in 2019, enjoys must-do status, dishing up relaxed yet high-end home-grown flavours. Chef Simon Evans came on board in late 2020, combing the beachy-bush surrounds – Seven Mile Beach is a mere scramble over the dunes – for ingredients to furnish his menus (including a Saltbush Margarita, served poolside if you wish). Classic coastal simplicity is evident in South Coast Appellation rock oysters served with a finger-lime mignonette; a chicken-liver parfait gets the local treatment with a hit of pickled quandong, alongside the more traditional flavours of quince and fried shallot. Even the affogatos come with a nifty twist in the form of a wattleseed liqueur. Floor-to-ceiling bi-fold windows enhance the airy vibe and outdoor seating overlooks the stunning tree-framed pool and lawns (perfect for sundowners, or a pre-beach breakfast, or post-beach lunch). The fact the trip-worthy restaurant is attached to grown-up, coastal-chic lodgings – Bangalay Luxury Villas – allows diners the joy of a fabulous dinner and then tootling back along the wooden boardwalk to your room for the night, waves crashing in the distance. – The Australian

Best things to do with kids on the South Coast

Visit Hyams Beach for white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters

Visit Hyams Beach for white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters

There’s simply so much to do on the South Coast, you can visit there again and again and still be able to try a few new things! With quiet bays and beaches, kid-friendly eateries and active experiences, there are so many options to keep the whole family having fun!

We visited Hyams Beach, Huskisson and Berry during our two days, but there’s plenty more to do. Here are just a few ideas…

  • Explore the striking aqua blue waters and pristine white sands of Jervis Bay Hyams Beach is particularly popular for those all-important Instagram-worthy pics!
  • Visit Berry, which was named the Top Small Town in NSW 2022. There’s a huge adventure playground (with skate park, BMX park and dedicated scooter zone), a range fabulous homewares shops, and plenty of cafes and restaurants. The Berry Markets are on 1st Sunday of the month.
  • Love beaches? Culburra Beach & Sussex Inlet were finalists in Top Small Town in NSW 2022.
  • Visit the big towns of Nowra or Ulladulla or the tiny towns of Huskisson, Kangaroo Valley and Milton.
  • Go whale watching from May to November there are many tour operators to choose from, or simply find a vantage point from the coastline and see if you can spot any!
  • Visit Tilbury Cove at Culburra Beach – enjoy calm & clear shallow waters and the playground.
  • Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventure  the highest zipline in Australia! This unique eco-wilderness adventure that takes place in the magnificent Illawarra Rainforest.
  • Shoalhaven Zoo an extensive collection of native and exotic animals, set in amongst the most spectacular natural rock formations and bushland, all on the banks of the beautiful Shoalhaven River.
  • Pioneer Village Museum at Kangaroo Valley.
  • Jervis Bay Maritime Museum.
  • Murramarang National Park to find Pebbly Beach.
  • Abseiling session with Nowra Climb or Outdoor Raw.
  • Three Views Walking Track (9.5km) level track that incorporated cliff-edge viewing points.
  • Morton National Park Little Forest is an easy walking track with views of the iconic Pigeon House Mountain Didthul (Balgan).
  • Nowra Aquatic Park – keep cool with the kids with waterslides.

Must-visit playground in Berry

If you’ve got kids, a visit to the new Rotary Nature Play Park at Boongaree is a must. It is quite honestly the BEST playground I’ve taken the kids to in my entire parenthood. Berry is about a 12-minute drive from Bangalay, and the playground is located a couple of streets back from Queen Street.

This incredible inclusive playground has been designed to suit all ages and abilities and is packed with nature and sensory play opportunities, a flying fox, bridges, tunnels, a cubby house, sand and water play areas, climbing nets, slides, accessible play equipment, amenities and even an exercise zone for adults. There’s also a fantastic Learn to Ride area adjacent to the playground perfect for young riders, a Skate Park and Pump Track.

Things to do on a rainy day on the NSW South Coast

Click here for plenty more ideas of things to do around Shoalhaven Heads with kids!

Check Availability at Bangalay

Essential Details: Bangalay Luxury Villas

Disclaimer: Our reviewer was provided with 2 nights accommodation at Bangalay in return for her honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are her own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.

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