The Haven, Sussex Inlet NSW. Image Source: @sarbatson Instagram

10 ways to support the bushfire affected town of Sussex Inlet

When the ashes cease falling from the skies and the trees stop smouldering I encourage you to visit my lovely home town of Sussex Inlet. Sussex, like many small towns on the south coast of NSW, was at the brunt of the recent bushfire devastation.

These coastal areas rely heavily on the summer tourism to sustain their small businesses throughout the colder months, and with the mass exodus of the tourist population, I fear for what lies ahead for them this year.

Inspired by the recent ‘Empty Esky’ initiative floating around social media I too encourage you to take your empty eskies, trailers and full wallets to support the local people, and in this case with a focus on Sussex Inlet.

Sussex, Berrara, Cudmirrah and Swan Haven all have so much to offer. This region is renowned for decent surf, white sandy beaches, aqua waterways, endless kangaroo sightings, great snorkelling, vast luscious bushland, fishing and an abundance of relaxation time.

It’s still home to my family, friends and is a place that holds many fond memories, yet today it’s surrounded by black trees, ash-covered beaches, isolation and despair.

With many of us feeling helpless during this time, I’ve compiled a list of 10 direct ways that you can contribute to supporting this coastal economy.

10 ways to support Sussex Inlet

Purchase from the local butchers 

The Inlet Butchery meat is top quality, and I know you won’t be disappointed. Not keen on meat? Not to worry the vegetarian arancini balls are delicious, and they also sell tasty cheeses, sauces and spices to add extra flavours to your cooking.

Order firewood

Inlet Tree Services, unfortunately, lost all their firewood and mulch in the fires this year which would usually sustain them throughout winter. Once they’ve replenished their lost stock, consider ordering a load of firewood to keep you warm or grab a load of mulch to top up your gardens. Keep an eye on Facebook to stay up to date with their progress. 

Eat out

There’s plenty of local places to eat, but we recommend:

Book a few nights stay

There are multiple holiday resorts and parks in Sussex to choose from, inclusive of beachfront, riverside and bush escapes. Check out this locally created comprehensive list of accommodation for you to choose from. 

Actively explore the area

There is heaps to do in Sussex to make the most of this picturesque area from playing golf at the Sussex Inlet Golf Club to discovering the many sandy beaches. In Sussex, you can be as active or relaxed as you choose.

We recommend hiring a boat from Sussex Inlet Marine Centre or Pelican Shores Cafe and Marina and exploring our beautiful waterways. Why not grab a fishing line and purchase your bait from Sussex Inlet Bait & Tackle Shop to truly make a day of it.

To keep healthy, do a fitness class by the river with May from The Slaughterhouse Bootcamp or hire a SUP from Madeline at Sussex Inlet Stand Up Paddle. Madeline also runs fitness classes to help you get into shape while you are here.

Get your haircut

Instead of freshening up your locks at home, get it done down the coast. Kiara, from Exquisite Hair, has a walk-in policy for all hair cuts so why not get a trim before you head home? Contact Kiara for more details.

Have lunch by the water


Image Source: @Seacrest2540

You’ll find delicious Hawaiian-Japanese Fusion at Island Sushi at Cudmirrah Beach, locally known as Sussex Beach, which serves yummy healthy lunches.     

During the summer, you can also grab yourself a Bacon & egg roll from the Surf Club with proceeds returning to the nippers enabling the local kids to learn beach safety.

Grab a feed from Cuddmirrah Cafe (Cuddy Shop) overlooking swan lake or visit Seacrest which is down by the inlet.


Update your surf gear at Ocean and Earth

We love their products and respect that O&E employs a high percentage of locals with most youngsters starting off their working life here.

You can read up on local legend and owner Brian Creegan here.

Watch a movie at the local cinema

The Inlet Cinema hasn’t changed since I was 5. It’s old school with class, and if you’re travelling from Sydney or Canberra, you’ll be blown away with the prices. One of the best things is they are often still showing movies which you may have missed back home.

Buy local

For a small town, it inevitably packs in a lot of shops offering you all the things to make your experience more enjoyable.

The list includes;

The point is your money spent here directly goes to a person and supports a local family.

If you would like to contribute but can’t make the journey you can donate to the local fire brigade or to the local community group who orchestrate the Sussex Inletter providing all the local news to the township.

This beautiful town would benefit greatly from your generosity, compassion and kindness as a tourist this year and I surely hope you add them to your 2020 coastal bucket list.

I encourage locals to tag their businesses and services in the comments below and together let’s spread the word of our awesome spot on the coast. 

45 thoughts on “10 ways to support the bushfire affected town of Sussex Inlet

    • Kerrylyn Plesa says:

      Thanks for the info we were in Sussex Christmas Eve at RSL stayed at friends Christmas Day there & came home on Boxing Day just as they closed the Highway to the south. One thing I noticed at Swan Haven NO Black Swans in sight the lake was empty none not even a white one. Hopefully it will get back to normal very soon.


    • Glenda horrell says:

      Beautiful comments on Sussex inlet. Our town has been like a ghost town. Tourists please visit us soon, there’s plenty of summer left. My husband caught a bream two snapper and a flathead, so fish are there to be caught. Last December we caught 1 1/2 kgs of prawns. This Friday the prawn run starts again. There is no prawn like the ones caught in Sussex inlet waters. Book a weekend down here and enjoy yourselves.


      • Rach Pope says:

        Hey Glenda,

        It’s so awful to hear how quiet the town is especially when we know that summer is what gets the town through the quieter months ahead.

        That’s awesome that your husband has been catching fish. Thank you for sharing this, now that’s an incentive if I haven’t heard one. Who doesn’t love a getaway to catch fish 🎣


      • Karen Moreira says:

        We are staying at Badgee CP , looking for spots to fish, as we have a motorhome, landbased and may even hire a boat


  1. Serena says:

    Great article! Thank you for taking the time to write it ❤️

    The Sussex Tackle Shop and Toybox, for all your fishing gear, bait, boating, water activities, Toys and Games.

    The Sussex Treasure Box has homewears, pet products, knitting yarn, kitchen products, stationary, craft, Australia Day stock and lollies.


    • Rach Pope says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words Serena and for sharing more info about the Tackle Shop and Toybox. I truly hope people come and purchase some of the wonderful things you have on offer to support your business.


      • Melissa Sheehy says:

        Lovely article supporting the area. All
        our businesses (large, small and sole traders) need continued support from permanent residents, locals and also tourists.

        Not all our businesses have a shop front and may be home based or a mobile, come to you service. These business will have also felt the impact over past weeks.


      • Rach Pope says:

        Hey Melissa,
        I absolutely agree. Although the bushfires have “passed” the town is left with the aftermath that’ll last for months if not years.

        If you know of any sole traders or businesses who don’t have shopfronts but have websites or social media please feel free to copy their links in these comments so they get some exposure.

        Awareness is our greatest support during these times.

        Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I really appreciate it.


  2. Scott says:

    Very nicely written and facts are correct. Thank you for being so proactive in promoting our town in a very positive way. Well done 👍🏻


    • David Tate says:

      This is a brilliant article.
      I live on the Gold Coast but I am going to book a holiday there.
      Used to holiday down that way for many years and I will start again.
      I hope you town gets supported.
      Rach has done your town proud.
      Well done.


      • Rach Pope says:

        Hey David,
        Thank you so much for your sincere kind words and for your support.

        To hear that you’ll visit Sussex warms my heart like you wouldn’t believe. It is such a beautiful town and I too hope it gets the support it needs and deserves this year and for many years to follow.

        Thank you again. I am flattered. 🙏🏼


    • Rach Pope says:

      Yay, Sarah your photo is amazing. Thank you so much for reaching out as I couldn’t tag you in the cover.

      Thank you for photographing our town so well. You’ve truly captured the beauty of it and thank you for the support with the article.


  3. Wilga Crehan says:

    This is a great article Rachael. You are right we are privileged to live in paradise and thank you for all the work you put into this because the bottom line is the businesses are struggling


    • Rach Pope says:

      Hey Wilga
      Thank you for your support with this article and for bringing realism to this topic. I know too well how much this town survives on the summer tourists and to hear that they are suffering truly breaks my heart.

      My goal was to inspire one family to visit Sussex and I am so ecstatic to share that there are at least 3 families that I know of who are venturing down to support our beautiful town.

      I truly hope more people see how special this place is and make the trip to support Sussex. Let’s share this far and wide and continue to share our story.

      Wishing you all the best,
      Rach 🙏🏼


  4. Wendy Neil says:

    Great article. We went up to enjoy Sushi and terrific live music at the surge club on Saturday afternoon. Booked a table for lunch at Pelican Shores on Sunday, sadly had to cancel due to ill health, but we haves loved eating there before and will definitely do it again soon. Look forward to coffee and a hot breaky at Jopen with the Sussex River Dragons again very soon. And really appreciate our terrific butcher! Our kids are planning an “empty esky” visit to Sussex soon with their mates. Helping in lots of small ways😊


    • Rach Pope says:

      Wendy, reading this has made me so happy. It truly brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for being so active in supporting the community.

      I hope you get well soon and get to enjoy Pelican Shores again. It’s such an awesome spot to enjoy lunch on the water. And your right the butchers are fantastic!!

      Thank you to your kids too for planning a trip to support the town. This is so amazing to hear. It’s all the small ways that make big impacts. 🙏🏼


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