The village of Sussex Inlet in the Shoalhaven region on the NSW South Coast, Australia 3 hours south of Sydney and East of Canberra, is surrounded by the water of the inlet and its canals where it takes its name, the South Pacific Ocean, St Georges Basin and Swan Lake, making it the ultimate destination for those that love the water. The main section of the town itself is located on an island due to the canals that surround it.
Due to the various water conditions that are available, watersports can be enjoyed by every age and interest group in and around Sussex Inlet, so whether you are looking for the calmer waters found in the inlet to SUP or kayak; the vast windy chop of the basin for sailing and boating; or the waves of the coast to surf, you will find the perfect spot to enjoy your preferred water activity.
Surf the Waves at Sussex Inlet
Sussex Inlet may be the quiet underdog to the surf spots of Mollymook, Ulladulla and Black Rock, yet its reefs and beaches provide a great array of surf conditions for both the novice and pro with the reefs and rocks of the northern end of Sussex Inlet Beach providing a decent swell, and the calmer waters found towards Cudmirrah and Berrera making the perfect location for the greener groms.
Sussex Inlet is also home to some surfing legends, including Brian Cregan, who was big on the scene during surfing's heyday in the 70s, to go on to open and run the Sussex Inlet institution that is Ocean & Earth, a pioneer in the creation of surfing hardware, and must visit for any visiting keen surfers.
If you are looking for a place to learn to surf whilst holidaying in Sussex Inlet, local Jerry Brown who owns and runs Jervis Bay Surf School offers private and group surf lessons from nearby Berrara Beach or in Jervis Bay.
Kayak or SUP in the Inlet
Sussex Inlet has a variety of locations perfect for kayaking and standup paddleboarding, so just choose your conditions and off you go!
The inlet with its stunning clear aqua waters, is our favourite spot for a kayak or SUP, with loads of access along its shores from down past the Haven to the north of town. If you didn't bring a craft with you, don't worry, as Pelican Shores Cafe & Marina and Sussex Inlet Marine Centre both found on the shores of the inlet in town have kayaks and SUPs for hire. We recommend sticking to the southern end of the inlet towards the Haven where the boating speed limit is 4 knots per hour.
The best spot for the kids, beginners, or anyone who wants to avoid the action of the passing boats is Berrara Creek starting from Berrara Lagoon which is just ten minutes away from Sussex Inlet and Haven Holiday Resort. The calm waters here are great for a paddle and a swim on warm days, and you can bring a picnic and paddle up to the scenic Fisherman's Rock picnic area. Sussex Inlet Stand Up Paddle has SUP board hire and provides lessons for those wanting to try standup paddleboarding for the first time as well as offers tours, but as there is no shop front, hire is by appointment only so you will have to book ahead of time.
Swan Lake is another brilliant spot for a large range of watersports and has some protected zones that are perfect for SUPs and kayaks with shallow sections with lower boating speed restrictions.
Sail Swan Lake or St Georges Basin
Swan Lake is a mere five-minute drive to the west of the town of Sussex Inlet and is the best spot for recreational sailing all year round. The Sussex Inlet & Basin Yacht Club operates during their sailing season from November to May at St Georges Basin and offers socially competitive sailing and hosts a regatta in February each year.
Boating is one of the most popular water-based activities for visitors and locals in Sussex, and you will be hard-pressed to find a local without one being surrounded by so much water. Whether you are headed out for a cruise, or to find somewhere to cast a line, there are ample spots to launch the boat and enjoy a day on the water.
St. Georges Basin is the go-to for many thrill seekers due to the absence of speed restrictions, and it is also a fabulous place for fishing off the boat. Boats can be launched from town to access St. Georges Basin and the ocean.
Boat ramps can be found at Nielson Lane (the closest one to St Georges Basin), Chris Creek/Jacob Ellmoos Reserve, Lions Park (largest boat ramp with double slipway), Riverside (South Sussex at the end of Sussex Road), and two are located at Swan Lake (larger one located at Ski Beach, Cudmirrah, and a smaller one suitable for light crafts such as canoes in Swanhaven).
If you don't own a boat, both Pelican Shores Cafe & Marina and Sussex Inlet Marine Centre have boats for hire to use within the inlet and these come with life vests to fit the whole family. However, if you are after a party vibe or a family-friendly alternative, you can go past the wheelchair-accessible Sussex Inlet Pontoons with their crafts seating up to 12 people to explore Sussex Inlet in style. The pontoons even come with BBQs and eskys, as well as Bluetooth speakers. However, some boating experience is required to take one of these out yourself.
Enjoy the Thrills - Water Ski or Ride a Jet Ski
If you are after the ultimate rush then you can't beat water-skiing off the back of a boat or cruising on your jet-ski. The best spots in Sussex Inlet for these experiences are Swan Lake, and the large St Georges Basin, where there are no speed restrictions. Please refer to the regulations in the map above.
Please note that if intending to jet ski near Jervis Bay there are personal watercraft exclusion zones within the Marine Park sanctuary areas.
Fishing the inlet, lakes or ocean
Sussex Inlet is known for its excellent fishing all year round and is home to many a fishing competition such as the Sussex Inlet Annual Family Fishing Carnival, B.R.O.E (Beach, Rock, Ocean and Estuary) Fishing Classic or Kids Christmas Comp there is a fantastic range to catch with flathead, whiting, bream, snapper and salmon being amongst the most popular. Whether you prefer casting your line off the sandy shores, the sheltered rocks, or by boat, Sussex Inlet is one of the best spots we know to suit all anglers. To read more about fishing in Sussex, head to our blog Our Guide To Fishing In Sussex Inlet On The NSW South Coast.
Dive or Snorkel
If you're looking to explore the beauty of the local marine life from underneath the waterline, then a short trip to Jervis Bay is an absolute must!
The protected marine sanctuary zones of Jervis Bay provide the best spots to explore the underwater wonderland of this incredible area.
If you are heading out to snorkel off one of the stunning beaches of Jervis Bay there are a range of great snorkelling spots to discover from the white sand beaches near Hyams to the beaches of Booderee National Park, and Jervis Bay Kayaks in Huskisson offer full-day Snorkel Hire so you don't even need to bring your own.
If you want to join a dive or snorkel tour group, then we recommend Woebegone Dive & Snorkel and Dive Jervis Bay who both offer a range of experiences where you may just brush shoulders with dolphins, whales or seals.
Sussex Inlet is located in Jerrinja Country and we humbly acknowledge the Jerrinja custodianship of the region and recognise their connections to land, sea and community; and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.