Location: Jervis Bay, New South Wales
An ex-colleague back in Perth kept telling me about Jervis Bay and it’s crystal clear waters, saying that its beaches were like those in southern Western Australia; all white squeaky sand and clear blue waters. So being the proud West Aussie beach bum that I am, I had to see this for myself. At an easy three hour drive from both Canberra and Sydney, the Jervis Bay area makes for a great weekend (or even week long) getaway from the city, and its popularity with city folk is also reflected in the prices – this was going to be a little hard on our budget. However, visiting the Jervis Bay area in the middle of winter, meant we didn’t have any problems with scoring accommodation, getting a table at the popular cafes or even finding towel space on the beach, as we felt like we were the only people holidaying in the area! The towns are all within an easy drive or long walk between each other, and they were also easy to explore from our base in the Booderee National Park. So if you’re wondering which of the Jervis Bay towns to visit or even stay at, here’s my rundown on Huskisson, Vincentia and Hyams Beach.
Huskisson is the largest town in the area by far, and has a good variety of town facilities including eateries, cafes, pubs, surf and dive centers as well as grocery and clothing stores. Siu On and I could see this place getting very, very busy in the summertime, and it did remind me a lot of some of the coastal towns back home in Western Australia. There were a lot of holiday homes for rent, a hotel and motel, and even a backpackers so you’re accommodation options are well covered in Huskisson. We enjoyed a healthy lunch at the very popular and crowded Supply Jervis Bay (a cafe/supermarket/restaurant) and then just wandered around the town. Unfortunately the water was far too cold for us on this occasion (August) but if it had been warmer we definitely would have hired kayaks or stand up paddle boards to get out on the water. Overall, Huskisson was a nice town, however I didn’t feel there was anything too amazing about it; mind you there was a lot of road works and construction going on in the town and in the harbour, so the summertime would definitely be when the place really comes to life! This would be the best place to base yourself if you want to have lots of options and enjoy a busy and lively beach town atmosphere.
A much smaller version of Huskisson that is also equipped with a good selection of shops and eateries, but mostly holiday homes and a hostel for accommodation. We found the beaches here quieter and a little nicer than those in Huskisson with Collingwood Beach (which is north of Plantation Point) the longest stretch of sand in the area, and Nelsons Beach just south of the point another nice beach. You can also start the White Sands Walk (5km return) from here and walk along the coast towards Hyams Beach. I personally preferred Vincentia to Huskisson as it had more of a authentic coastal town vibe to it, compared to the tourist focussed Huskisson.
This was by far our favorite of the Jervis Bay towns. Hyams Beach has more of a private getaway feel to it than a big beachside town like Huskisson. The sand here was whiter and squeakier than the other towns, and the holiday homes bigger and fancier too! Siu On and I started the White Sands Walk here at Chinaman’s Beach, which takes you all the way to Vincentia and is a really easy walk along mostly flat pathway. The walk is a must do in the area and you’ll get some great lookouts to the sea along the way, as well as the chance to jump in the water at some of the more secluded beaches, including Greenfield and Seamans Beach. Once you’ve done the walk (or even just a small part of it), you can head to the only cafe in town, Hyams Beach Store and Cafe for a pretty good coffee and food. What Hyams Beach lacks in choice it makes up for it serenity. I’d recommend Hyams Beach for an upmarket stay in a nice holiday house and for a quieter beachside experience than Vincentia and Huskisson.
Booderee National Park
The Booderee National Park is a Commonwealth Territory that is administered by the Australian Capital Territory, and was gifted to the ACT people by the then Premiers of NSW as a way for landlocked Canberran’s to have access to the sea. Awwwr, how thoughtful! The park is also jointly managed by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community, who are the recognized indigenous custodians of the park. However, I’ve written a more detailed write up right here that you can read.
Areas north of Huskisson
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get across to the Beecroft Peninsula to see and climb at Point Perpendicular as the area is a Department of Defence Weapons Training area, and the week that we were there they were definitely training since we were usually woken up by the sounds of gunfire early in the morning. As a result, Siu On and I decided against heading past Huskisson as we felt that overall all the towns were all quite similar in feel, and the only real discernible differed were their size and number of facility options. Perhaps we’ll return another time and check out Myola, Callala Beach and Callala Bay.
As much as we enjoyed our stay in the Jervis Bay area, we didn’t find it to be too budget friendly, with the camping at Green Patch in Booderee National Park the most expensive we’ve paid so far. It is an incredibly beautiful area though, and even visiting in the middle of winter we were lucky to have sunny days and no crowds which made it very relaxing and enjoyable. The main highlights of the area were definitely Hyams Beach and it’s white sandy beaches, the White Sands Walk and Booderee National Park; but despite the higher price tag on the area, there is something here for every taste and style for your next beachside getaway.
Last two photographs by Auyeung Photography, all others by Jelena Stipanicev.