Just a 3-hour drive from central Sydney is the beachside paradise of Jervis Bay. This popular spot frequently tops Sydneysiders’ list of best weekend trips from Sydney, and it’s not hard to see why. With blindingly white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters and stunning national parks, it’s a perfect outdoors destination. There’s also lots of gorgeous holiday homes and boutique accommodation available, as well as plentiful dining options. We’ve visited Jervis Bay several times since moving to Australia. Each time we fall more in love with this beautiful region, easily one of the best weekend trips from Sydney you can take.
Where to stay in Jervis Bay
There are lots Jervis Bay accommodation to suit everyone. Most Jervis Bay accommodation options are centred around the seaside towns and villages in Jervis Bay; Callala Bay on the northern shore, Huskisson, Vincentia and Hyams Beach on the western shore and Jervis Bay Village, the southern gateway to the Booderee National Park. If your budget allows, you simply have to book Paperbark Camp. These luxury, romantic safari-style tents are located in the bush on the edge of Currambene Creek. The tents are elevated from the ground, offering a fantastic glamping experience. You have the option to open up the front of the tent and enjoy the bush scenery.
On our multiple visits to Jervis Bay, as we’ve usually been in a group, we’ve opted to book into one of the many self-catered AirBnBs in the area. Our personal favourites that I highly recommend are the cute and quirky Minerva Cottage and the laid-back, beachside holiday rental Eagles Point. Make sure you consider these, or many of the other AirBnb options, when deciding where to stay in Jervis Bay.
Things to do in Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay, whilst still beautiful in Winter, is undeniably one of the best weekend trips from Sydney to take in the summertime. The lifestyle and activities are very much based around the beautiful beaches and coastline. I recommend waking up early for a half-day, double boat dive excursion with Dive Jervis Bay. A half-day exursion will set you back $175 for certified divers. This local dive shop is located in the heart of beachside Huskisson. Jervis Bay has some of the best diving sites in Australia after the Great Barrier Reef and a dive with this PADI 5-star dive centre is not to be missed.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get some one-on-one time with the friendly seals from the colony that call Jervis Bay their home. You might even spot a giant ray. Both of these experiences have happened to me whilst diving in Jervis Bay and they were simply magical. Dive Jervis Bay have 65 dive sites they visit depending on the conditions of the day. If you want to try freediving or snorkelling instead, it’s a cost of $135pp. Dive Jervis Bay also offers fun dives for non-certified divers with an instructor or indeed a whole range of PADI courses.
If diving or snorkelling isn’t for you, you can rent a kayak or paddleboard or book a guided tour with Jervis Bay Kayaks and Paddlesports. This rental shop is also located in Huskisson. Again, if you’re lucky you might spot one of the bay’s resident playful dolphins. If you’re interested in a dolphin, seal or whale watching cruise, you can book in with either Dive Jervis Bay again, and perhaps have an up close encounter, or check out Dolphin Watch Cruises Jervis Bay. With over 20 years’ experience and commitment to sustainability, they have a range of seasonal cruises to choose from.
There are plenty of beaches to visit and relax, swim and snorkel at your leisure. You simply must visit the famous Hyams Beach, with the ‘whitest sand in the world.’ It really does live up to its reputation as a must-visit location.
Hyams beach can get busy, especially in summer, so if you want somewhere a little quieter then try Chinamans Beach or Greenfield Beach. We visited Greenfield beach for sunrise, which was absolutely stunning and so peaceful.
On the north side of the bay, there’s also Callala Beach, a 5-10 minute stroll from Eagles Point AirBnB. This beautiful, slightly quieter beach also has the bright white sands and turquoise water that Jervis Bay is known for. There’s also a handy reserve with BBQs and picnic tables.
The beaches at Bendalong, around 40 minutes south of Huskisson, are also well worth a visit. Not only are they great spots for relaxing, with safe swimming, if you’re lucky you can get up close and personal with large sting rays. Head to the boat ramp at ‘Boat Harbour’ and feed or just admire the large sting rays that come in close to shore to feed on scraps thrown to them by local fisherman.
There are plenty of awesome hiking and walking opportunities to enjoy in and around Jervis Bay. Hyams Beach, as well as Chinamans and Greenfield, are part of the ‘White Sands Walk,’ a 2.5km loop relatively easy stroll with incredible coastal views along the route.
Jervis Bay is also home to the Booderee National Park, meaning ‘bay or plenty’ or ‘plenty of fish’ in the local Dhurga language. It’s $13 dollars for a 48-hour car or motorbike pass, with concessions available. The name ‘Booderee’ was chosen by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal community of local Koori people. Bush walks in the national park range from gentle strolls to easily accessible, family-friendly beaches to more challenging walks to secluded beaches.
Try the quick walk to Murrays Beach opposite Bowen Island, home to a penguin colony and fantastic snorkelling. There’s also the longer trail from Steamers Beach Carpark through the eucalypt forest down to Steamers Beach, with some of the parks most rewarding scenery. Steamers Beach is easily one of my favourite beaches in New South Wales, and well worth the effort to get there. If you’re feeling particularly active, check out the St George Headland via the 11.4km return Circuit Trail for a longer walk.
Visiting the Jervis Bay region wouldn’t be one of the best weekend trips from Sydney without a visit to a winery. If you can drag yourself away from the beach, head inland towards one of the many Shoalhaven wineries near Berry. My personal favourite of these Shoalhaven wineries is Silos Estate. Unsurprisingly, Silos Estate is featured on my list of the best boutique wineries in Australia.
Silos Estate was awarded the Best Small Cellar Door, Shoalhaven Coast 2017. Silos Estate has a cellar door, accommodation, a helipad and a paddock of friendly llamas. I especially loved their crisp Australian sparkling wine from their Wileys Creek range. I also enjoyed their Silos Estate Shiraz options.
There’s also Salet Wines which is much closer to Jervis Bay. The Two Figs Winery and Cambewarra Estate Winery are also the same distance away as Silos, roughly an 40 minutes’ drive from Huskisson.
The beachside towns around Jervis Bay have plenty of cute, boutique shops and galleries worth checking out. The Huskisson Framing and Gallery features original artwork by local artists. Babylon Boutique is home to an eclectic collection of women’s and children’s clothing, accessories and gifts. There’s also White Earth, which sells essential oils, herbal teas and natural body products. There’s also Kiki The Hippie Shop in Vincentia which worth having a browse.
Where to eat in Jervis Bay
One of the things that makes Jervis Bay one of the best weekend trips from Sydney is all the great foodie options. When deciding where to eat in Jervis Bay, there’s some great little cafes in Huskisson that I highly recommend including Main Deck Café or 5 Little Pigs. There’s also a branch of the Sydney favourite vegetarian café Pilgrims Café. This delicious cafe is owned by the same people as one of my favourite vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Sydney. You can also opt for a takeaway Aussie meat pie from the Huskisson Bakery & Café. Or if you want something heartier, a takeaway burger from the Hyams Beach Store and Café. The Hyams Beach Store and Café also sells lots of great produce you can take home with you.
For the evening, Wild Ginger does awesome South-East Asian cuisine and is great for a pre-dinner cocktail. If you fancy something really fancy, grab a reservation at Paperbark Camp’s onsite restaurant, Gunyah, which accepts bookings from non-residents. For a more casual scene visit the Huskisson Hotel for a cold one and hearty pub grub.
There you have it, a few reasons why Jervis Bay ranks so highly on my list of best weekend trips from Sydney. Have you visited Jervis Bay and the famous Hyam’s Beach before? Let me know in the comments.
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