(pronounced jervis not jarvis)
Known world-wide for its stunning white-sand beaches and clear blue waters, Jervis Bay is a Marine Park nearly eight times the size of Sydney Harbour. On the shores of the bay you’ll find National Parks, seaside villages, lagoons, creeks and the some of the world’s most beautiful beaches – from long stretches of sand to secret coves, and more often than not, they are completely empty. The climate is coastal temperate, not too different to Sydney, and the bay is breathtaking at all times of the year.
Many people think that Jervis Bay the name of a town or village, but it’s actually the name of the bay. There are several villages on its shores, but Huskisson is the hub of the area – its main street filled with great cafes, boutique fashion, gift and homeware shops, cafes, delis and restaurants. Both the dolphin and whale-watching cruises depart from Husky’s wharf (as the locals call it) and it’s where you’ll find the Jervis Bay dive shop, kayaking centre, camping store, fishing and bait store, bakery, banks, cinema, pub, bottle shop, post-office and real estate agents. The open air sea-pool is open from October long weekend to Easter. The Lady Denman Jervis Bay museum, art gallery and markets are across the road from us.
Jervis Bay’s Flora and Fauna
Apart from the many dolphins that live in the bay and whales that visit, you’ll find seals, little penguins and weedy seadragons (if you dive). You can see kangaroos and wallabies on the beach or in the bush, from the national parks to outside our front door occasionally. An incredible variety of native brightly coloured birds – parrots, lorikeets, rosellas, cockatoos and galas are everywhere. Rare black glossy cockatoos and white-bellied sea eagles are also seen quite often – especially in the national parks. The coastal bush has an incredible variety of unique plants and the ‘scribbly gum walk’ in Jervis Bay National Park and the National Botanic Gardens in Booderee are favourites.
Dolphin and whale-watching in Jervis Bay
All Jervis Bay’s dolphin and whale watching boats leave from the public wharf in Huskisson. They claim a 95 percent chance of seeing dolphins and a free trip if you are unlucky enough not to see any. The dolphins usually come right up to the boasts and play in the bow waves.
In May, June, July and August, humpback whales are their way up the coast to breed and in September, October and November they come back down the coast with their calves.
If you are not a boat person, the cliffs in Jervis Bay are some of the best vantage spots for whale-watching on the East Coast. You often see dolphins from the beach and sometimes the whales come into the bay – especially with their young. Visit website www.dolphinwatch.com.au
Diving and snorkeling in Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay is the most popular diving site in Australia after the Great Barrier Reef, thanks to its incredible visibility and variety of marine life. The water stays crystal clear because of the lack of development on the shores, the ancient untouched seagrasses and the fact that there are no rivers (only small creeks) flowing into the bay.
You’ll see weedy seadragons, giant cuttle-fish, seals and little penguins.
Booderee National Park
Booderee National Park is one of the best National Parks in NSW, with its stunning coastal bushwalks, cliff-top lookouts (some of the best whale spotting in the East Coast), the ruined lighthouse and sheltered white-sand bay beaches or ocean surf. It is 10 minutes away.
Booderee National Park is owned and run by the local aboriginal community in conjunction with Environment Australia – like Uluru and Kakadu. The National Botanical Gardens (in Canberra) has its coastal section here in Jervis Bay – a truly wonderful place.
During school holidays Booderee Park runs activities such as koori (aboriginal) camp-fire yarns, night-time nature spotting and rock-pool walks.
Galamban, from the indigenous community of Wreck Bay run great bush-tucker walks, medicine tours as well as storytelling events. (firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 4442 1117).
Jervis Bay’s Museum and Art Gallery
The Lady Denman Heritage Complex is Jervis Bay’s maritime museum and art gallery. This Huskisson museum houses the fully restored, wooden Sydney Harbour ferry, The Lady Denman, built in 1911 – just one of many boats built in Huskisson over the last century. They also have a great exhibitions ranging from the maritime history of Jervis Bay to an aboriginal culture area, an exhibition about all the things Jervis Bay nearly became (like Canberra, a nuclear power station, a steel works…) to travelling art shows. There is a fish feeding pond and mangrove boardwalk out to the edge of Currabene Creek, a very special spot.
Jervis Bay’s Artists
Jervis Bay has many artists living in the area and a thriving creative community. Local and nationally known artists exhibit their work in cafes and galleries around the area. Biannually in June, the Jervis Bay region hosts its own arts festival called Seechange.
Originally the local School of Arts, Huskisson Pictures is a quaint heritage cinema with a recent release program. It is just around the corner from us only 3 minutes’ walk.
White Sands Walk and Hyams Beach
The Jervis Bay ‘White sands walk’ officially starts at Vincentia’s Plantation Point. You can follow a coastal path all the way to Hyams Beach, past Nelson Beach, Blenhiem Beach and Greenpatch then through the Jervis bay National Park to Chinamans beach and Hyams Beach village. Hyams is supposed to have the whitest sand in the world. It actually the third whitest, according to Geoscience, but it is breathtaking non-the-less. Hyams is a 10 minute drive from us.
Shoalhaven Museums to Visit
There are many great museums and galleries in the Shoalhaven area, including:
Meroogal is a personal favourite: an Edwardian Gothic two-storey weatherboard house rescued by Historic Houses and set in aspic. ‘A rare insight into the lives of three generations of women who lived in Nowra.’
Bundanoon is the Shoalhaven riverfront homestead that belonged to Arthur Boyd, one of Australia’s most important artists and creator of a dynasty. Now a wonderful collection of his and his family’s works, workshop, thriving arts-centre, artists’ retreat and an education centre called Riverview, designed by Glenn Murcutt.
Albatross museum is the Australian fleet air-arm museum.
A Short Drive from Jervis Bay
There are numerous places to visit outside the Jervis Bay area too – all within a 35 minutes of here.
Kangaroo Valley is one of the most beautiful enclosed valleys in the world and has great gift shops, cafes and dramatic views. You can drive through the Kangaroo Valley to get to Huskisson Bed and Breakfast from either Sydney or Canberra.
There are many wineries (vineyards) in the area with cellar-door tastings.
Berry to the north and Milton to the south are both quaint historic towns with terrific boutique shopping – galleries, homewares, clothes, vintage, gourmet outlets and good eating.
There are several great markets in the area too, both in Jervis Bay and around the area from growers’ markets, fashion and crafts to trash and treasure. The Lady Denman market is across the road from us and the Huskisson trash and treasure market is only about a hundred metres away.
Eating in the area
We are lucky to have some terrific cafes and restaurants in Huskisson. From top-notch delis to fantastic modern Australian cuisine, to thai and fish and chips, all the best eateries are within five minutes walk of us.