So far, the Illawarra has been spared the worst of the drought and heat wreaking havoc across NSW.
But, as the months without significant rain wear on, the cracks are starting to show - literally - across our natural landscape.
At Killalea lagoon - normally a glistening fresh-water sanctuary in the spectacular ocean-side state park - almost all the water has disappeared, leaving wildlife scrambling to stay alive.
At the edges, dry mud has started to crack, creating a patina more akin to a desert in the centre of Australia.
When the Mercury visited late last week, the bloodied outlines of dead fish were etched into sticky black mud, while writhing eels clustered in the small pools of sludgy water still left, being picked at by seabirds.
And with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting significantly lower than average rainfall well into January, it's only going to get worse.
Shellharbour mayor Marianne Saliba said there was nothing but the drought to blame for the state of the lagoon, and she had never seen the area so dry.
"I can't recall anything like this in my lifetime, and it is going to take years for us - as a nation - to recover from all this," she said.
"I would imagine this lagoon, over centuries, has flooded and dried but with what we're seeing now, nobody can argue there isn't climate change."
Cr Saliba said some of the dead fish were carp, which were a pest species, and it was hoped that other fish would lay eggs in the mud until water returned.
"It's really sad that any living thing has to suffer, but across the state there have been kangaroos, koalas and wallabies affected by fire, and here we have other living things affected by drought," she said.
"Was there an alternative to this, I don't know? I don't know whether we would waste water to try to provide some water for these eels and fish. It's very sad, and I'm glad I'm not the one having to make this decision."
Last week Reflections Holiday Parks, which manages Killalea, said it was "aware of the natural occurrence of Killalea Lagoon's lowering water table as a result of the drought".
"Like the community, we have been concerned about the welfare of the fish, eels and greater Lagoon Wildlife," the park said on social media.
The park mangers said they had been in contact with the Department of Primary Industries, and that the District Manager of Fisheries inspected the lagoon on December 13.
"The DPI is the governing body responsible for the park's waterways and they are managing this occurrence," the park said.
"They have advised that public wanting progress updates on this issue should call the Fishers Watch Hotline on 1800 043 536."