Things to do in Jervis Bay
They say if you want to know the best place to enjoy a good meal while travelling, eat where the locals go. The same could be said for picking and choosing your sightseeing and adventure activities. Especially with just a weekend to discover an expansive coastline and the many little towns perched along Sydney’s south-coast seaside drive. We’ve made it easy to pack in the many things to do in Jervis Bay.
A little about Jervis Bay
Shoalhaven stretches from Nowra to Ulladulla with a stunning shoreline between. At the heart is the little township of Huskisson, as well known for the heritage pub on the corner peering out across the sea, as for the marina where the seasonal whale watching cruises depart. The main street is full of eateries and café options, sprinkled with new age and local market stores. There are plenty of tourism outlets and eco-cruise options to explore.
The Local’s guide to the top 5 things to do in Jervis Bay
To appreciate Shoalhaven’s sun-drenched escarpment, squeaky white sands and water the colour of translucent opals, we asked the locals their favourite weekend picks. With their help, here’s our guide to the top 5 things to do on your Jervis Bay weekend getaway.
1. Follow nature’s trail
There are two national parks within Shoalhaven; Jervis Bay National Park and Booderee National Park. Both have impressive walking treks but only one has Murray’s Beach. It’s the surprising burst of blue that’s a welcome reprieve on the way to the cliff top view at Governors Head. It takes only about 10 minutes to reach the lookout and from the edge, you can see across to Bowen Island.
At the entrance to the Park, the Ranger shared such insightful information about the area and it’s meaning to the local indigenous community, it felt really special to know the history and significance of the land we were walking on. That’s the other beautiful feature of Booderee National Park; that it is jointly cared for by the local aboriginal community of Wreck Bay in partnership with Government. Booderee translates in the local language to the “bay of plenty” and is an easy 15 minutes from Vincentia.
2. Play on the world’s whitest sand
Hyams Beach is one of Australia’s most visited places and Shoalhaven’s biggest drawcard. Its picturesque backdrop of pastel coloured cottages and pretty bushland open out to a stretch of stark white sand that you literally have to squint to see. Against the azure stripe of the ocean, Hyam’s Beach is truly one of the calmest and most appealing beaches to splash around on. A day spent on Hyam’s Beach is one of the most popular things to do in Jervis Bay.
With a tiny population of just 112 people, the village swells on the weekends with holidaymakers from all over NSW. Hyam’s is bordered by Chinamans Beach to the North and Sailors Beach to the south but the pure quartz of the fine sand make Hyam’s Beach stand out and sparkle. It’s peppermint walled cafe of the same name is the best local place to pick up a healthy organic salad or coffee.
3. Visit the seal colony
Jervis Bay has long been a popular part of Australia’s east coast to catch a glimpse of the magnificent humpback whale migration from May to October each year. The soft waves and clear waters are also home to the bottlenose dolphins which can be spotted coasting alongside boats.
Add into that, Jervis Bay has two seal colonies, one to the north with up to 40 seals, whilst the colony to the south is slightly smaller with approximately 30 seals. Interestingly, it was explained to us that the colonies are only accessible to view by sea as they are traditional indigenous male sites where women can’t go by land. Jervis Bay wilderness eco-tours offer 2-hour cruises out to the Bowen Island seal colonies where along the way you’ll take in soaring cliffs, jagged inlets and rock formations that are millions of years old.
4. Explore the lighthouses
As you look out across the bay to the rocky headland, a tall pale lighthouse is the only sign of life on the horizon. Point Perpendicular Lighthouse marks the northern entrance to Jervis Bay and sits about 45km from its centre. Though it’s a little tricky to access, the drive through low scrubland and wildflowers makes it well worth the trek and one of the most interesting things to do in Jervis Bay.
Its story is tied to the other lighthouse in Shoalhaven at Cape St George in Booderee National Park located on the southern side of the bay, a somewhat misplaced location. The original Cape St George Lighthouse is now a haunted remnant of its former glory but the original 1860’s sandstone blocks remain. It’s a beautiful walk through the sandy incline and although a recent bushfire has swept through the native trees, their charred black branches create a stunning abstract approach.
5. Find your photo op
As travellers, we’re always on the lookout for the best spots to capture the perfect picture. While the options for a seaside selfie are plenty, there are a few spots that help you take in the most magnificent views. Catch sunrise at Plantation Point in Vincentia and Hyam’s Beach or sunset at Sanctuary Point on the western side of Jervis Bay.
Within Booderee National Park there’s Greenpatch and the Marina Waters for secluded views of the bush and the sea. The parkland at the end of Owen Street in Huskisson makes for a sweeping view of the broader bay.
Wrapping it up
Jervis Bay is one of Australia’s best-loved summer getaways and because of its longer than usual whale watching season, is busy almost all year round. June is peak season for following the humpback migration and from September to the end of summer in March, Shoalhaven is packed with sun-lovers. You’ll need at least a weekend to explore all of the adventurous things to do in Jervis Bay or a midweek stay will give you more access to the region’s abounding natural beauty.