Wednesday, 27 Sep 2023

The Airbnbs of the south coast and how lucrative they are for locals

For many locals, summers down the coast are a staple. Take a look around in late December – early January and you'll wonder whether you missed the sirens for the apocalypse.

Some might own shabby or sprawling beach houses, while some pitch a tent or drag the van. As for the rest of us, there are holiday rentals.

In the past, one might have turned to the local Raine & Horne for a beach pad or found one through friends of friends, but home-sharing platform Airbnb has opened up the accommodation game for the south coast.

It's become a new source of income for locals typically aged 47-60.

In Kiama, Airbnb hosts earn an average of $9, 200 each year, in Ulladulla they earn $7, 036, while those in Batemans Bay earn $6, 800 and hosts further south in Eden earn $4, 829.

For 63-year-old Helen Attwater and husband Bernard Van der Heyden, renting out their Foxground property as holiday accommodation has now become their main source of income.

Their back-to-back bookings has helped finance the maintenance of a 50-acre lot with cattle, chickens and an orchard, a property which otherwise would not have been affordable or profitable.

"Airbnb has given us an opportunity to share what we have. We have a fantastic property and views. Our friends ask how we can keep doing it, and roll their eyes, but I love working from home," said Attwater.

With the extra income they've also been able to put in a sealed road for their 1.5km driveway and maintain and improve the infrastructure on the property.

This year, guest arrivals at Airbnbs on the NSW south coast have increased by almost 60 per cent.

While the Instagram-famous beaches of Jervis Bay or steady development of the underrated Sapphire Coast are somewhat responsible for the coast's boom in popularity among non-regulars (hint: Sydneysiders), the accommodation options might be playing a part.

From refitted vintage caravans to tropical sanctuaries, here are some of the south coast's dreamiest Airbnb rentals:

Eagle View Park

Eagle View Park is close to beaches and the quaint villages of Berry and Gerringong.Credit:Airbnb

As the luxury home sleeps 12, it's ideal for a group celebration or extended family getaway. The host Helen Attwater also offers catered three-course dinners to be eaten on one of the three timber decks facing sprawling paddocks.

Ocean Farm

The Ocean Farm property in Gerringong is tucked away in the coastal forests.Credit:Airbnb

Sprawling views of surging seas and no neighbours except for a couple of horses and cows. There's an atrium, a fireplace and a cinema room with all the trimmings including a projector and foosball table.

Cliff House

The Cliff House at Mollymook offers uninterrupted views from its waterfront location at Bannisters Head.Credit:Airbnb

Cozy white couches, natural light and uninterrupted ocean views from the sun room makes this waterfront delight look like it's straight out of an interior design magazine. The Cliff House also has its own Instagram page, so happy stalking.

Culburra Beach
Culburra House

The Culburra House sits right on the beachfront, accommodating two to three families. Credit:Airbnb

It's the kind of place where you'd dine outdoors for every meal. There's the 14-seat extension table and those views, but the house is an entertainer's dream with a five-burner BBQ, bar fridge, stainless steel benches, a big old double fridge, a coffee machine and a simmer plate. Prepare to feed the clan.

Yellow Rock
Illawarra Caravan Stay

The Illawarra Caravan Stay is more than your average mobile home.Credit:Airbnb

This 1970s caravan is a surprising one. With a modern refurb and a comfy bed, this Wifi-free haven on a 10-acre property is a unique summer escape.

Indigo Couples’ Retreat

Indigo Retreat WestLodge is a new luxury space for couples with a private track to the secluded Murrah Beach.Credit:Airbnb

The combination of an infinity pool and a woodfired pizza oven makes for a winning holiday. The bush setting also adds a touch of peace, while only being 10 minutes from Bermagui.

Jerrymara – A Country Estate

This country meets sea property in Gerringong accommodates up to 11 people.Credit:Airbnb

On the grounds of this country estate are perfectly manicured gardens which include a clay tennis court and a mosaic-tiled saltwater pool. Beyond the house are 50 rural acres.

Jervis Bay
Bali by the Bay

At Bali By The Bay, an undercover deck area with a wood fire pizza oven overlooks the pool.Credit:Airbnb

If you've had it with the hustle and bustle of Ubud, have a tropical escape in Jervis Bay.

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