- Escape guide to Jervis Bay -
Fine dining, paddle boarding in this little patch of paradise called Jervis Bay, where the sands are blindingly white
The obvious choice of activity in Jervis Bay is to take advantage of the great outdoors. The spectacular bay plays host to over 90km of natural beaches and a raft of water-based pursuits – from dolphin and whale spotting, to chartered sailing, kayaking from what is claimed to be the world’s whitest sand – Hyams Beach.
Hyams Beach Store and Cafe
At Hyams Beach Cafe you will find good meals. Owners Sue and Chris, who run the cafe with their daughter, Phoebe, grow much of the produce on their farm. Order a fish and chips and you'll be rewarded. Meanwhile, a dessert chef from Paris creates perfect sweet hits, like salted caramel-chocolate tarts and delicate lemon meringue cradled in soft, crumbly pastry. On weekend nights, expert local chef Gary Fishwick takes over the kitchen, with a three-course dinner menu, featuring locally-caught seafood.
76 Cyrus St, Hyams Beach NSW 2540. Tel. (02) 4443 3874
Indulge yourself by night at Huskisson's Gunyah Restaurant with delicious regional food, on the stunning unspoilt South Coast, just a few kilometres from Jervis Bay. Dining under the stars at Paper Bark Camp is a memorable treat, or enjoy a romantic dinner on your own veranda, drinking in the tranquil bush setting.
Paperbark Camp, 571 Woollamia Rd, Huskisson NSW 2540. Tel. (02) 4441 7299
On the way home, leave yourself time for a long lunch at Wharf Road. Perched on the banks of the Nowra River, it's one of the South Coast's four hatted restaurants. Start with a selection of extraordinarily creamy local oysters, before moving onto a ceviche of blackfish, you'll start to notice some explosive, smoky flavours. A custom-built, South American-style barbecue drives the menu here, as does a fearless passion for new ideas. Think alpaca sausage sandwich with truffle mayo and charred abalone mushrooms with a luxurious combination of slow-cooked egg, almond cream and yellow chilli butter. As for that drive back to Sydney...
10 Wharf Rd, Nowra NSW 2541. Tel. (02) 4422 6651
Minerva Cottage: Vincentia
Super cute cottage in the seaside town of Vincentia. Enjoy two generous queen size beds decked with slippers, bathrobes, fluffy duvets, woollen and electric blankets. The sun-drenched deck, overlooking the sparkling waters of the bay is great for outside breakkie or late aperitif. The local area is beautiful, amazing birds and wildlife around. Very clean linen and abundance of pillows and throws for comfort. Perfect for a relaxing getaway.
For the glamping set, Paperbark Camp offers deluxe safari-style tents near crystal-clear waters and powdery white sands of beautiful Jervis Bay. In the tranquil setting, among the native wildlife and flora, you’ll also enjoy fine food and wine. The tent also has a fully screened outdoor lounge area. While you’re relaxing, you can use the Paperbark Camp’s canoes and bicycles to explore the enchanting environment.
571 Woollamia Rd, Woollamia NSW 2540. Tel. (02) 4441 6066
Hyams Beach Seaside Cottages: Hyams Beach
A group of pocket-sized dwellings painted dusky pink, baby blue and canary yellow, just 60 metres from the water. From the outside, they look like they belong to a troupe of fairytale characters. Each cottage is decorated with an eclectic mix of soft furnishings that combine beautifully with the pastel painted. Polished wooden floors and an ultra-comfortable, queen-sized bed with a brass head conspired in a cosiness to inspire Bilbo Baggins's envy. Nearly a century's worth of history is nodded to in eclectic antique furnishings, including train-rack style shelves, wooden towel stands and chequered tiles. For post-swim relaxation, there's a spa bath and, for the winter months, an electric log fire.
55/53 Cyrus St, Hyams Beach NSW 2540
Dolphin Watch Cruise
For the big picture and to get your bearings, grab your hat and start with a 90-minute Dolphin Watch Cruise, which leaves from Huskisson Wharf. Jostling with international tourists for Instagram supremacy, you'll voyage into the middle of Jervis Bay, searching for its 120 resident dolphins. You'll return with a good idea of just how epic the bay's proportions are. And, if no dolphins show up, you'll score a free return cruise. The company also offers eco cruises, sail charters and twilight barbecue trips.
Hire a kayak
To go further afield, take a half-day or full-day tour with Sea Kayak Jervis Bay. Fill you in on some trivia-comp-winning facts about the bay and let you travel in as relaxed a fashion as you like. In between two, one-and-a-bit-hour long paddling sessions, you'll stop for coffee, cake, fruit and a dip at a stunning beach. If you're feeling intrepid, venture away from the shoreline to Bowen Island. It's illegal to disembark, but there's stacks to see from your boat, including fairy penguins — 5000 breeding pairs live there. For a more wallet-friendly way to explore the water, the best kayak hire service comes from Jervis Bay Kayaks, where tuition, guided tours and rentals are all available from the enthusiastic staff.
Booderee National Park
At the south end on the Bay lies the expansive Booderee National Park – a haven of bushwalks, dune lakes, inquisitive wildlife and stunning secluded beaches. If, like Time Out, you enjoy less company on the beach – go for Murray’s Beach at the very southern tip of Jervis Bay’s crescent, or Steamers Beach on the south side of the park. Both beaches have basic facilities less than a ten minute stroll away. However, we recommend you use those ten minutes more wisely; get back in touch with nature.