Life can be exhausting when you’re a famous Instagram influencer being flown to Sydney to celebrate WorldPride! After much pouting, posing, and voguing on the vibrant city’s party scene, Matt Fistonich was sent to New South Wales’ most laid-back destination, Ulladulla, for a well-earned break.

Ulladulla is a charming South Coastal Region of New South Wales, located a three-hour easy drive from central Sydney. Ulladulla is synonymous with having a wealth of beautiful beaches, a picturesque harbour, and an abundance of fantastically fresh seafood. “It’s a place where time seems to tick a little slower,” some well-informed Sydneysiders tell us before we depart. “It’s like the Coromandel for Aucklanders. It’s where your parents took you as a kid when they needed an easy, relaxed holiday.”


Like the Coromandel, Ulladulla has updated over the years, now offering plenty of discerning accommodation and dining options while keeping its serene qualities intact. Endless curves of sand, striking swathes of green, oyster shacks, marine reserves, and enchanting towns remain at your fingertips.

The drive to Ulladulla is a breeze, even for someone who was nervous, having never driven in Australia before. We are staying at Cupitt’s Estate (, a family-owned vineyard complete with an award-winning on-site restaurant, winery, Brewery, and fromagerie. Surrounded by paddocks and forests as far as the eye can see, the restaurant’s deck is perfect for lunch, morning coffee, or an evening glass of wine.

The scenic grounds of Cupitt's Winery, Ulladulla in the Shoalhaven region.
The scenic grounds of Cupitt’s Winery, Ulladulla, in the Shoalhaven region.

We were lucky enough to stay in Cupitt’s Estate’s King Bath Villas, which feature a deluxe king bath on the balcony – the ultimate way to soak in the surrounding views. Situated on a hilltop overlooking the eucalypt tree line perched atop the rolling green hills of the Estate, this luxury accommodation experience is uniquely contemporary and effortlessly stunning.

The villa includes a warm contemporary rustic lounge, a fully stocked kitchenette, a blissful bedroom, and a luxurious bathroom with all the amenities you would expect from a high-quality hotel.

That night we will feast at Rick Stein at Bannisters Mollymook ( The celebrity chef has always been synonymous with seafood, and his restaurant at Bannisters Mollymook has been helping to reinforce that reputation for over ten years. Perched high up on a breath-taking sweep of south coast headland, we can hear the waves crashing below as we indulge in stunningly sweet Grilled Shark Bay Scallops with coriander and hazelnut butter, marinated fresh raw tuna with passionfruit and chilli, and Eastern Rock Lobster Thermidor. This is the statement meal of the trip and befits a special romantic occasion or sophisticated celebration.

Bannisters Pavilion, Mollymook Beach-Mandatory credit Bannisters Hotel
Australian and Mediterranean-influenced meals on the menu at Bannisters Pavilion, Mollymook Beach on the South Coast.

We will return to the Bannisters Mollymook resort the next day to experience their ‘Spa by the Sea’, which offers guests a space to unwind and restore body and mind. That clifftop setting and clean, modern, quiet surroundings add to the harmonious feeling of tranquillity. A Tension Release massage utilising a blend of Australian Kunzea, Clove, and Peppermint oils leaves us feeling rejuvenated after partying hard at WorldPride.

Ulladulla also offers more adventurous options for enjoying the natural beauty of the area. Pam Burridge’s Surf School (, located at Mollymook beach, offers the opportunity to be taught to surf by a world champion. Pam was the first woman in Australia to become a full-time professional surfer and has devoted herself to the pursuit of excellence in her chosen sport. Her teaching technique soon has Matt standing up on his very first lesson, but paddleboard lessons and hire are available for those lacking Matt’s core strength.

Pam Burridge’s Surf School
Pam Burridge’s Surf School

All this activity leaves us thirsty for evening drinks, and locals recommend cocktails and tapas at The Ruse (, which also offers live music and DJs, Friday through Sunday. The Ruse has a spectacular view over the harbour and some naughtily-named, colourful cocktails. It’s not long before we’ve ordered a Big Daiq Energy and Legend of the Smoky Python and are chowing down on Watermelon Tostada and Campechano. It’s clear, The Ruse possesses a reliable recipe for a fun night.

We mix up breakfasts between the great coffee at Oceanvibe Cafe ( and the hearty whole foods of The Tree House Cafe ( Cupitt’s Estate also offers a fantastic breakfast tray with local yogurt, granola, and freshly baked bread – ideal for days when you feel too lazy to leave the sanctuary of your villa.

Once Sydney has given you all it’s got, Ulladulla is a great relaxing way to complete your holiday. Leaving Matt refreshed and ready to pose for Instagram again!

The express Magazine team were guests of Destination NSW. Ulladulla is one of the many great New South Wales destinations to check out next time you cross the pond. For more information and inspiration, check out