Jervis Bay, white sand, whale watching and glamping.
At Falls Creek, just south of Nowra, the left turn onto Jervis Bay Road takes you into another world. Instantly you’re looping through a green tunnel of paperbarks, banksias and grevilleas with lorikeets arrowing through the branches. As the road heads toward the national park at the southern arm of the bay you might spot a few eastern grey kangaroos standing by the roadside and pelicans wheeling overhead.
Taking a big bite out of the state’s east coast, Jervis Bay measures about 15 kilometres from north to south and 10 across. The main town is Huskisson, from where there are dolphin-watch cruises and fishing trips and boats for hire, but it’s the natural credential of the area that seduce. Superstar of its beaches is Hyams, on the southern shores of the bay, which has the whitest sand in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records.
Huskisson is the main accommodation and services base for majestic Jervis Bay, and a magnet for anyone who loves watersports. Fishing, diving and sailing all rank high in the local list of activities, and this is one of the best places on the NSW coast to see dolphins. Migrating whales are often sighted inside the bay between May and November. Jervis Bay Extreme is the latest addition to the local whale watching fleet, a lightning fast, stable, 14m rigid inflatable designed to take whale watchers straight to where the action is. Between July and November, Jervis Bay is home to about 400 Australian fur seals, Australia’s only mainland fur seal colony.
Shore diving is possible from Hyams Beach and Green Patch, but the best sites are accessible only by a boat. Dive operators in Huskisson can supply all the gear, as well as providing regular boat trips.
On the edge of Currambene Creek just inland from the bay, surveying the surrounding paperbark wetland from elevated platforms, the high-ceilinged safari tents of Paperbark Camp are a miracle of style and comfort that leaves only the lightest of footfalls on the natural bushland. The dusky colours, khaki canvas and raw timber blend perfectly with the olive leaves and grey trunks of the spotted gums and paperbarks, with plenty of room for a king or queen-size bed and an en-suite bathroom, where guests shower beneath the forest canopy.