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Exploring aboriginal cultural tours and businesses.

Matt Simms smoking ceremony
Matt Simms of Djiriba Waagura – smoking ceremony and welcome to country

I had an extraordinary day out this week, as we were invited as a local tourism business to participate in the Shoalhaven Indigenous Connections Famil hosted by the South Coast Centre of Excellence, to experience what was on offer from local aboriginal businesses.
The day began at 8am with a smoking ceremony at Nowra hanging Rock lookout, the day blessed already by the presence of a magnificent Sea Eagle riding the thermals overhead and the words of one of the local elders welcoming us to country.
Through the day we gained a better perspective of what “country” means to aboriginal people and how they care for it and continue to share it’s lore through their culture. 

Bungalin walk
Felix Salmon of Bungalin walking on Country

We were divided into two groups to go on cultural guided walks following different but similar paths with different companies.  Since I had already met with the excellent Felix Salmon of Bungalin, and done one of his walks, I joined the other group and we were taken by bus down to Murrays Beach at Jervis Bay.
Here we met with Matt Simms of Djiriba Waagura.
He gave us another smoking for good measure and explained some of the lore behind that, and the plants used. Matt’s easy manner and clear love for his country and the sharing of lore made this a very special experience.

Matt Simms Djiriba Waagura
Matt showing us how to make ‘bush soap”

We learned about local bush tucker along the way, and how to harvest it with respect so that the plants would not be damaged for the future, because thinking about that sustainability for the future is part of care for country.

Whale walk
Headland , Jervis bay




We walked through the bush and out onto the headland, which gives amazing views over the turquoise water of the bay and turning West, of the ridge behind. This is Matt’s Burri Burri  ( Whale) walk, as at the right time you get a great view of the migrating whales, whose lore is very important to his people. Matt explained that this track was part of a songline, as was the ridge of mountains behind the coast, and he told us the dreaming story of the Black Cockatoo which gives it’s name to Nowra.

Murrays Beach
Murray’s Beach, Jervis Bay

With 360 degree views from the highest point you get a real sense of the sacred places he spoke of and the connections between them – as Matt explained, relationships, and respect are of core importance to indigenous people and these principles are at the heart many of the dreaming stories, of which we heard more on the return loop of the walk.

I can highly recommend Matt Simms of Djiriba Waagura, and Kym and I will be booking ourselves in for some of his other walks, at Yalwah and Mundamia soon.
If you’d like to book a walk while staying with us, please follow the link below to get in touch with Matt and see what he’s doing. He goes out most weekends, and he may have some scheduled walks on or you can book for small groups.

We were taken from there to the Naval Museum at Huskisson where we were treated to a great lunch menu with indigenous flavours by Mirritya Mundya Indigenous Twist  complemented by some delicious non alcoholic craft beers by Sobah Brewing .

Our next adventure was at the Booderee Botanical Gardens guided by Bernie McLeod, of Djungga Kultural Tours

Bernie McLeod
Bernie McLeod talking about bush foods

who is part of the staff there and he explained to us the history of the park which is now indigenous owned and run and just leased to the National Parks. Bernie shared with us some Lemon scented tea tree tea and walked us through some of the native gardens and facilities there.  They offer tours and teaching events or you can just wander at your own pace. It is a beautiful place and we’ll definitely be returning to explore and see more.

From the Botanic Gardens we were bussed to Bundanon – Artist Arthur Boyd’s old homestead and now home to the amazing new gallery and cultural facility where there is currently an exhibition of indigenous art from Arnhem Land –  Miwatj Yolnu – Sunrise People.

Aboriginal art Bundanon exhibition
Yolnu art from Arnhem Land
Aboriginal cutural dance
Gadhungal Marring Dancers

After some refreshments from the cafe, we heard from various speakers including Uncle Sonny Simms who knew Arthur Boyd and had some great anecdotes to tell. At dusk we made our way down towards the Shoalhaven river bank to watch dancers from Gadhungal Marring to close the day. Their lively commentary helped to understand how the dances share lore and practical knowledge and it was wonderful to see so many young people take part with great pride and expressive movements .
A great end to an amazing day.
Many thanks to Shoalhaven Centre of Excellence for inviting us and fro Scott and Robyn for answering our questions along the way. A great initiative and we hope you will be inspired to try some of these tours and experiences when you stay with us. 

Walking, cultural and bush food tours based at Narrawallee near Mollymook.
Contact – Felix Salmon –  email – [email protected]

Djiriba Waagura – local cultural walking tours and visitor experiences
Contact – Matt Simms – 0401 623 566
Email – [email protected] 

Djungga Kultural Tours
Based at Booderee National Park and the Booderee Botanic Gardens
Contact – Bernie McLeod – 0421 381 517 or email [email protected]

 For the Botanic Gardens contact the Visitor Centre Staff via 1800 357823 between 9am and 4am or email [email protected]
There is an entry cost of $13 per car if you do not have a Booderee parks pass.

Gadhungal Marring

Tours · Cultural · Workshops · Dance · Immersion

Phone  0402 547 660

Mirritya Mundya
Indigenous twist catering for consultancy, events and pop up dinners.
0408 272 121
email – [email protected]

Stunning scenery on local bushwalks

If you are staying with us at The Haven, and want to do some bush walking or explore some stunning natural sites these are our recommended places –
stunning view
Bombo Geological site – just South of Bombo Beach – 25 mins away
This was once an old basalt quarry, hence the name, but don’t let that put you off. The amazing basalt towers and sea wall where waves crash, sending plumes of rainbow tinted spray into the air and the tranquil sea pools at the base of the rocks make it one of the most popular local sites for wedding photographers and it has even featured in car and fashion adverts.
30-45 minute circuit . Easy walk if you take the left path which winds down to the flat circular walking track, right hand path goes up for great views and a rocky path down to the flat area.
Bomaderry Creek walk
Bomaderry Creek Walk accessed off Narang Road, Bomaderry,signs on the left side of the road.  15 minutes awayHead South on the riverside track for amazing rock overhangs and caves along the river, ancient gums and lots of birdlife and native flowers.
5km return –  Medium grade, some steep places. Walking shoes needed as there are rocky parts and steps cut into the bank and over boulders. A shorter flatter walk along the top of the rocks and through trees lies off to the right of the track heading  northwest.
Bens Walk 2
Bens Walk – accessed off Nowra Showground where you can park.  20 minutes away
Easy loop walk turning left along the river bank and over a rock bridge to flat grassy meadows on the North side of the river then back across a metal bridge towards the carpark.
Drawing rooms walk 1
Drawing Room Rocks – accessed off Woodhill Mountain Road. 17 minutes away, parking layby off road.
2-3 hour  medium grade walk through trees and rocky outcrops to the top of the ridge where stunning scenery and unusual geological formations which look like tables and stools which give it it’s name await.  Walking shoes should be worn.

Exploring the Beauty of Berry NSW : Voted NSW #1 Small Town 2023

Nestled in the picturesque countryside of New South Wales only 2 hours South of Sydney, Berry is a charming town that offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, historical sites, and a thriving local community. Known for its  delicious food and welcoming atmosphere, Berry is a perfect destination for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation. We will highlight some of the top activities and attractions that make Berry NSW an ideal place to explore and why staying at the Haven at Berry is a great choice for accommodation in Berry.

  1. Stroll Through Historic Berry

    Start your adventure by taking a leisurely stroll through the heart of Berry. The town’s main street, Queen Street, is lined with beautiful heritage buildings, boutique shops, art galleries, and charming cafes. Immerse yourself in the history and architecture of the area while browsing unique crafts, antiques, and local products.

  2. Discover Nature’s Bounty at Berry’s Farmers Markets

    Berry’s Farmers Markets  held every second Saturday of the month, are a must-visit for food enthusiasts. Here, you can savor the flavors of the region by sampling an array of fresh produce, organic meats, artisanal cheeses, and delectable baked goods. The markets also offer a vibrant selection of handmade crafts, jewelry, and local artworks.

  3. Explore the South Coast Wilderness

    Berry’s location provides easy access to the South Coast’s pristine wilderness. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on one of the many scenic trails that wind through the surrounding mountains and coastal landscapes. Don’t miss the breathtaking views from Drawing Room Rocks or the refreshing waters of the Coolangatta Creek and Seven Mile Beach.

  4. Indulge in Gourmet Delights

    Food lovers will be spoiled for choice in Berry NSW, with its abundance of award-winning restaurants, cafes, and bakeries. Treat yourself to a gourmet meal using locally sourced ingredients or enjoy a relaxed brunch at one of the quaint cafes. The region is also renowned for its vineyards, offering wine lovers a chance to sample the finest wines and indulge in vineyard tours.

  5. Visit Historic Landmarks

    Berry NSW is steeped in history, and there are several significant landmarks to explore. The Berry Museum, housed in the old post office building, offers a glimpse into the town’s past through its collection of photographs and artifacts. The Berry Courthouse, built in 1890, is another architectural gem worth visiting.

  6. Experience Berry’s Festivals and Events:

Throughout the year, Berry NSW hosts a range of festivals and events that showcase the town’s vibrant culture and community spirit. From the Berry Gardens Festival in spring to the Berry Show, there’s always something happening in town. Check the local event calendar to see what’s on during your visit and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere.

Berry NSW, offers a delightful escape for those seeking natural beauty and a warm community atmosphere. Whether you’re exploring the historic streets, indulging in gourmet delights, or immersing yourself in the surrounding wilderness, Berry has something to offer everyone. So for holiday rentals in Berry  Book Online pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in this charming Australian town.

Red Hot Summer Tour 2023 Berry Showgrounds

Saturday 11 February 2023 

Berry Showgrounds. – Red Hot Summer Tour 2023 Buy your tickets now

Don’t miss out on a fantastic weekend of Aussie Music in the historic town of Berry NSW- Confirmed Artists are Paul Kelly, Bernard Fanning, Missy Higgins, Mark Seymour, Vika & Linda, Ian Moss and Troy Cassar-Daley.

We still have a 2 Bedroom fully self contained accommodation available and can also assist with transport to and from the venue which is only a 5 minute drive away.  BOOK WITH US NOW

2022 02 12 18.54.35 2022 02 12 18.54.41

Berry NSW Regional Travel Re-opening 1 November 2021

Finally some good news for what has been a tough couple of years for all of us in the tourism industry. The NSW Government as part of its easing of COVID restrictions is reopening travel to regional NSW on 1 November 2021, which means we are back in business and able to welcome back guests to Berry NSW.

However under the current rules anyone over the age of 16 must be fully vaccinated to be able to stay with any accommodation provider or to visit restaurants, cafes or attractions.  At this stage it is anticipated that by 1 December this may be lifted to allow anyone to visit.

We have already had a great number of enquiries and only have a few midweek spots available for November and only 1 weekend available in our Villa property on 26/27/28 November.

December is also filling up fast and we expect to be fully booked over our Xmas holiday period where we have a minimum 5 night stay.

Whats on in Berry 2021

After a year of bushfires and then COVID we are glad to see the end of 2020 and want to thank our fantastic guests who have stayed with us and supported the local community during this time.

How fantastic was it to see that this week our very own Shoalhaven region of NSW has made Trip Advisors Top 10 Emerging Destinations in the world.

It has been a busy start for us in 2021 with this weekend seeing our first vacancies but February through to April school holidays are already filling up fast.  We thought we would share with you are few things that Berry and the surrounding area has to offer this year and we hope that we may see you down here at the HAVEN AT BERRY very soon.

Kind Regards
Wendy, Kym, Barry & Max our Maremma Sheepdogs and our Alpacas & Chickens

What’s on in and around Berry 2021

Berry Farmers Market – Every Thursday 3pm to 5pm – Berry Showgrounds
Delicious local produce including fruit & Veg, meat, wines, Gin, Chocolates, pastries and much more13 February 2021 (and every 2nd Saturday of each month) Berry Bowling Club Markets
Kidtastic Time has joined up with Berry Bowling Club to create a unique new market.
 There is a great range of products and plenty of variety. Visitors can walk through the friendly, family-orientated markets and meet the stallholders selling their own products.
There is live music and great food on offer, both inside the club and outside the club.7 March 2021 Berry Markets (And first Sunday of every month except February)
Approximately 100 stalls will be open. The market offers handmade / hand-produced products, arts and crafts, locally grown vegetables and produce, collectables, books, plants, leather goods, clothing and many other interesting stalls to browse.
Open to the public from 8:30am till 2.30pm. Entry is free.8 May 2021. Big Country Music Festival – Berry Showgrounds 10.30am to 10.30pm
Final Release of tickets on Sale Now CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

30 October 2021 Red Hot Summer Tour – Berry Showgrounds
With a massive line-up of classic Aussie acts including Jon Stevens, Diesel, Chris Cheney and Vika & Linda, the show will be headlined by the iconic Jimmy Barnes and loveable new wave rockers Hoodoo Gurus.

NOTE: We only have our 3 BR Villa Available for this weekend with a minimum 3 night stay.

Berry Surrounding Areas
Pyree Art and Craft Market every 4th Sunday monthly from 9am – 1.30 pm.

Kiama Seaside Markets – local crafts foods etc – Third Sunday in the month from 9am – 3 pm but  there is a special extra market on Sunday 31st January. Black Beach, Kiama.

Gerringong Rotary Markets – Centre of Gerringong – 3rd Saturday of the month – next on February 20th 8am – 1.30pm

Kiama Picnic Train  8 dates from Feb 27th – 21st March 2021– coastal steam train ride.

L’Etape Australia – Aussie Tour de France  19th/20th March 2021 [TBC ]

Winter Wine Festival at Crooked River Wines 3-4 April 2021 11am-7pm [ TBC ]

Wine Tasting and Tours – All Year round
Explore the local wineries or book a Driver to take you around to see 8 local wineries.  Click here for more details

Harvest Berry Mountain

Seeks to bring the best of their farm produce, grown on the mountain, to Queen Street, Berry. The new venue offers:

  • Fine dining in our refurbished restaurant delivered by local renowned Executive chef Brent Strong including Slow cooked meats from the smokehouse in the al fresco garden;
  • The finest craft beers and spirits, including our own open ferment craft beer brewed by renowned head brewer, Neal Cameron;
  • Takeaway breakfast and Harvest coffee brought to you seven days a week.
South on Albany
Where locals choose to wine and dine, this neighbourhood restaurant is top spot for seasonal local food with a European twist. Enjoy a taste of the south coast through locally sourced ingredients that take centre stage on every plate exiting the kitchen. Add a glass of local wine and South on Albany is ticking all the boxes! 3/65 Queen Street (cnr Albany Street), Berry
Queen Street Eatery
A cool and casual restaurant right in the heart of Berry, where Chef Robbie Blackburn has put his own spin on some classic French bistro dishes. An heirloom beetroot and goats cheese salad sits very comfortably next to bistro fixtures, like steak frites and John Dory meuniere. All dishes are packed with delectable local produce, from South Coast oysters to the freshest vegetables available

Massages at the Haven

The Haven at Berry is now offering a real retreat treat with Angela’s Massage and Natural Therapies mobile service now available from August 2020.  Pre-book a massage with Angela in the comfort of your private villa.  Angela is a qualified Remedial Masseur who will bring her own Massage Table and equipment to your accommodation-  you may also be able to claim a rebate back from your Health Fund.

Contact us for more information.

June 2020 Reopening

Its great to finally reopen after NSW Government lifted travel restrictions on June 1.  We would like to thank our loyal customers who have already booked with us over the next few months.  We are now fully booked until the 20th of July.  We have spent the past few months working on the property and doing the odd jobs in and around the villas to make them sparkle.  Hope to see you all soon


Coronavirus- A message from the Haven at Berry

Like you and most of the world, we’re making our best efforts to adjust to a rapidly evolving situation.   As our Villas are isolated from other accomodations and fully self-contained there is no need to be near other guests during your stay with us.  Both Kym and I live alone in the Managers House and only have animals to look after (no kids) and apart from infrequent visits to Berry or Nowra for supplies we are fairly isolated and taking all steps we can to adhere to the Government social distancing measures.

The following can help prevent the spread of coronaviruses and protect yourself and your other members of your family from becoming infected:

  • wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands; and
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick and do not travel if you have any members of your family that are not well or running a temperature.

Your Safety & Wellbeing

As we navigate this unprecedented crisis, rest assured that our first priority remains keeping our guests and communities safe.   In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, we have implemented even more rigorous cleaning and disinfection measures according to official World Health Organization (WHO) and local guidelines and are closely monitoring the advice of medical and government authorities.

All common areas and every part of the villa are regularly cleaned to ensure the highest cleanliness and sanitary conditions and all linen is professionally laundered before each stay.  There is ample soap in all bathrooms to ensure you can regularly clean your hands and we can assist in providing additional supplies should you require them during your stay.

Of course, we recommend all travellers review guidance from the WHO and follow any travel advice issued by their home states or countries prior to travel.