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Published July 3rd 2013
Basking on the sundeck of a 17m catamaran, sea breeze in your hair, salt spray in your face, dolphins gambolling alongside, you really have to ask yourself, "Does it get any better than this?" If you're in serious need of some R and R then look no further than the delightful and varied Jervis Bay.
The perfect spot for a day trip, weekend or longer holiday, Jervis Bay is a scenic two and a half hour drive south from Sydney past a string of pretty coastal towns such as Kiama, Gerringong and Berry, all worth a detour if you have the time.
So many beautiful beaches fringe the shores of Jervis Bay that it's difficult to choose just one. Try Callala, Huskisson or Vincentia. A particular favourite of mine is Hyams Beach, reputedly with the world's whitest sands. For me this prompts the question, "Who measures these things anyway?" I conjure up visions of a scientific boffin in white lab coat, pen jauntily strung around his neck and clipboard in hand, trekking around the beaches of the world - but I digress. Whoever they are I'm quite prepared to take their word for it because those clean white particles just beg you to sink your toes right in.
Accommodation ranges from budget to breathtaking, and homey to historic. On our stay we opted for Hyams Beach Seaside Cottages, nestled amongst the native vegetation directly across from the beach.
Make sure your visit includes some dolphin or whale watching. The Spirit of Jervis Bay is a 17m three-level catamaran, operated by Dolphin Watch Cruises out of Huskisson, curiously named after one Will Huskisson, a British MP who in 1830 was run over and killed by a locomotive while talking to the Duke of Wellington at the opening of the Liverpool to Manchester railway line. Go figure!
Dolphin Watch Cruises offer year-round dolphin watch and seasonal whale watch cruises. They even offer a free return cruise if no dolphins or whales are sighted on your trip. (This free return cruise policy does not apply to Extreme or Discover Cruises). The two-hour dolphin watch cruise is a relaxing way to experience Jervis Bay Marine Park in all its glory. The park, declared in 1998, covers 21,000 hectares and 100 shining kilometres of coastline.
Interesting and friendly attractions abound in Jervis Bay. Visit the Lady Denman Heritage Complex, a testament to the area's ship-building history and home of the Lady Denman ferry, former queen of Sydney Harbour. See the latest releases for moderate prices at the very pink Huskisson Pictures where holidaymakers have been entertained since the early 1950s.
Rugged Beecroft Peninsula at the northern end of the Bay offers sheltered beaches and is also home to Point Perpendicular Lighthouse perched atop the soaring sandstone cliffs. To the south you can explore the ancient wonders of Booderee National Park or visit HMAS Cresswell, an important piece of Australian naval history (visiting times and dates are restricted and will need to be checked with the College).
In Huskisson stop for some local flavour at the iconic Huskisson Hotel, known to locals and tourists alike as the Husky Pub. You can also buy excellent local fish and chips in Huskisson. Eat them on the wharf at sunset to bring your day to a hearty and softly- hued close.
You don't need the Tardis for a gentle adventure to a time and place where bigger, noisier and trendier certainly don't mean better. Jervis Bay is a place of comfortable, quiet beauty and relaxed pleasures. Wake up and smell the ocean.
Sounds like we'll have to head to Jervis bay for the next family holiday Geraldine!
By Louise Massey - senior reviewer Friday, 5th of August @ 04:33 am
My family and I go there every year, it is such a beautiful place. Even though every year we go there it is more and more crowded, I still enjoy it thoroughly. The food is great and you can always find a local with a story. Beaches are quite good too, with a mix of family beaches with small waves, to the beaches the surfers will want to check out. Thank you for the review of such a lovely place.