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Jervis Bay A seaside escape

By Jennifer Ennion

It's hard to resist the powder-fine sand and clear turquoise waters of Jervis Bay, on the south coast of New South Wales. The beaches are among the safest and most beautiful in the country. Add amazing scuba diving opportunities, whale and dolphin watching cruises, fantastic bush campsites and quaint coastal villages, and Jervis Bay oozes summer charm.

Map of Jervis Bay, New South Wales

Go swimming at a white sand beach

The white sand beaches of Jervis Bay make it a popular summer destination, and Hyams Beach is one of the star attractions. It's a safe, family beach that gets little swell. It can get busy in peak season, so for a bit more space be sure to check out the equally stunning Huskisson Beach and meet the resident kangaroos of Pebbly Beach. Wherever you decide to lay your towel, you'll find great spots for snorkelling, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking. Keen birdwatchers should follow the two-kilometre (1.2-mile) return Hyams Beach Trail and keep an eye out for eastern and crimson rosellas.

Dine at the Husky Pub

Considered an institution, the Huskisson Hotel (also known as the Husky Pub) is a top spot to eat. Admire uninterrupted views across the bay as you dine on modern pub fare, such as a bucket of tiger prawns, beer-battered flathead or roasted duck salad. Call in on a Friday and Saturday night for live entertainment. If you're having too much of a good time, stay the night in one of eight suites.

Swim with humpback whales

Humpback whales migrate along Australia's coast twice each year and, in the Jervis Bay Marine Park, you can snorkel through the water and wait for these gentle giants to approach. Take a Swim with the Whales tour to join the whales in the water, watching their naturally curious behaviour. Whale season runs from April to July and from mid-August to the end of November.

Scuba dive Jervis Bay Marine Park

Scuba divers and snorkellers love the clear waters of Jervis Bay Marine Park. Dive Jervis Bay runs dive and snorkel trips, as well as dive certification courses, out of Huskisson, and you can expect to see octopus, cuttlefish and sea dragons. Various boat and shore dives cater to all levels of experience. 

Go whale and dolphin watching

Watch humpbacks and southern right whales frolic in the waters off the sleepy town of Huskisson. You can try your luck spotting whales from the shore, as they'll sometimes swim into the bay with their young. But the best way to see them is on a boat tour. Dolphin Watch Cruises and Jervis Bay Wild offer whale and dolphin watching tours, as well as cruises to seal colonies. Another place to look for whales is from the ruins of Cape St George Lighthouse in Booderee National Park. The lighthouse is at the end of Stony Creek Road, the last section of which is gravel. There is a car park less than 500 metres (0.3 miles) from the lighthouse, and there is a wheelchair accessible path. 

Explore Booderee National Park

Be mesmerised by the beauty of Booderee National Park, where beaches are secluded and bays are calm and inviting. Camping is popular here and there are three locations to choose from: Green Patch, Bristol Point and Cave Beach. There is a range of walking trails around the campsites. Surfers like to camp at Cave Beach. Campsites in Booderee are limited and fill up fast, especially in summer, so it's best to book online in advance. You can do so with Parks Australia.

Stay at Paperbark Camp

If you're interested in camping but don't want the hassle of carrying your own gear, book a couple of nights at Paperbark Camp, only four kilometres (2.5 miles) from Huskisson. On the shores of Currambene Creek, the camp is one of the best places to stay in Jervis Bay, offering luxury tented accommodation that's all about enjoying a tranquil bush experience in comfort. Enjoy treetop dining at The Gunyah Restaurant, where you can eat by candlelight while searching the trees for possums. 

Wander the White Sands Walk

Explore Jervis Bay's beautiful coastline on the White Sands Walk and Scribbly Gum track. The interconnected trails create an easy 2.5-kilometre (1.6-mile) loop that starts and ends at the Greenfield Beach picnic area, and travels along Chinamans, Hyams and Seamans beaches. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and don't forget to pack your swimmers for a dip along the way.

Visit Booderee Botanic Gardens

Learn about bush tucker and the medicinal uses of plants at the Aboriginal-owned Booderee Botanic Gardens in Booderee National Park. Pack a picnic or cook a barbecue and enjoy lunch on the lawns. The gardens are open daily and admission is included in the entry fee for the national park.

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