Last weekend my boyfriend and I did a quick road trip to Jervis Bay, on the southern coast of NSW, Australia. We were fortunate enough to have fantastic weather, which was perhaps the last of the warm days before autumn and winter set in. Having never been to Jervis Bay, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. Although I had heard marvelous reports about the place, I was pleasantly surprise to be awe-struck by the natural beauty of the area. The literally crystal clear ocean, which was a beautiful aqua colour as it glistened in the sun; the sandy white beaches, one of which, Hyams Beach, is recorded in the Guiness World Record Book as having the whitest sand in the world; and all the flora and fauna – aside from lush forests, we saw wallabies, kangaroos, dolphins and various sea birds in their natural habitats.
Here are a few things which are a must do in Jervis Bay:
Visit Booderee National Park: Located at the southern end of the bay, no visit to Jervis Bay is complete without visiting the beaches and walking tracks of this national park. Make sure you pay the $11 entry fee upon entering, to avoid paying a fine, but this is a small price to pay to experience such exquisite natural beauty. The day we visited, a strong southerly wind was blowing, so we kept to the sheltered beached on the bay side of the park. I highly recommend Green Patch and Murray’s Beach as ideal swimming spots. Particularly Murray’s Beach, which is much smaller and I consider to be more beautiful. There are also some spectacular ocean beaches, such as Caves Beach, which we unfortunately didn’t have the chance to experience properly, due to the gale force winds. There are also plenty of bushwalking tracks through the park. Perhaps more enticing in the winter months, when the lure of the beach isn’t so gravitating. For those who like a bit of history, a visit to the ruins of Cape St. George Lighthouse may be on order. One of the earliest lighthouses on the NSW coast, it was built in 1860 on the wrong side of the bay, and was actually a navigational hazard and had to be demolished.
Dolphin & Whale Watching Cruises: One thing that brings many people to Jervis Bay, aside from its beaches and parkland, is dolphin watching in summer and whale watching in the winter months. There are a number of companies, located in Huskisson, the largest town in the bay, which offer cruises around the bay and just outside of the heads, in the hope of seeing dolphins or whales. The chance of seeing dolphins in the bay is relatively high, since there is a population of about 80 dolphins which call Jervis Bay home. During the migratory period of the whales, between May and November, whales can be seen outside of the heads, and during October it is common for whales to bring their calves into the bay itself.
From Sydney, you have two main options for getting to Jervis Bay – the quick option or the scenic one. The quick option is to take the Princes Highway/Motorway, which takes approximately 2.5-3 hours from Sydney CBD. The other option is to take The Grand Pacific Drive, turning off the highway in Surtherland, going through the Royal National Park, along the coast through Wollongong, Port Kembla, Kiama, etc. The scenery on this route is breathtaking, but it adds a good hour or so to the drive. We took a little longer as we stopped to visit Nan Tien Buddhist Temple and the Kiama Blowhole.
There is a plethora of accommodation options in Jervis Bay – from camping to five star holiday apartments. I would have like to have stayed at Paperbark Camp, but being a bit budget conscious, we stayed at a small motel in Huskisson. It was close to the beach, close to shops and restaurants, had clean rooms, and all we needed was a place to sleep as we were out and about all day long.
We had an amazing meal at The Waterhouse. The food was fresh, creative and beautifully presented. And the atmosphere, decor and table service were second to none. Although a little pricey if you’re on a budget, main meals were around the $30 mark, I wouldn’t hesitate to spend that money on such an exquisite meal.
For breakfast options, don’t go past the Huskisson Bakery & Cafe. They have a vast array of breads, pastries, pies, sandwiches, cakes, yogurts, etc. Perfect for a quick breakfast or a satisfying snack before heading to the beach for the day.