The Best Things to Do in Jervis Bay on a Road Trip
If you travel solo to Sydney Jervis Bay, you can make a fabulous trip on a weekend-gate and day trip. I was lucky to visit Jervis Bay in October when humpback whales migrated to Antarctica, which is the right time for whale watching.
How to get to Jervis Bay from Sydney
The most natural thing to do is hire a car in Sydney, but the city centre is known for its heavy traffic conditions, and if you are not familiar with driving in Australia, it may be a bit demanding.
If you are confident, hire your car in Sydney and plan a weekend trip. Out of Sydney, the highways on Australia’s South East Coast are an easy drive. During weekdays the traffic is heavier, and due to roadworks along the way, there can be some slow-down areas.
Self-drive to Jervis Bay
The fastest way to get to Jervis Bay is a self-drive from Sydney. It’s a short distance of only 220 km from Sydney CBD, and a pleasant drive through the coastal towns of Wollongong, Kiama, Berry and Nowra. There is a domestic airport in Wollongong, about 56 km from Jervis Bay and 140 km from Sydney. From there you will need to hire a car for exploring the beautiful places in and around Jervis Bay.
From Sydney to Wollongong by train
If you are travelling alone, you may take a shortcut and do what I did. Take the city train in Sydney to Wollongong. The train connection from Sydney to Wollongong is good, in only 90 minutes and trains ride nearly every hour. This saved me the hassle of driving out and into Sydney on work-days. In Wollongong, I picked up my rental car, and I drove to Jervis Bay.
There are no bus networks that travel on the South East Coast take you to Jervis Bay, but you may be able to go to Nowra and then hire a car to Huskisson and Vincentia, the two main towns the Jervis Bay area.
What to do in Jervis Bay in 3 days
The vast area around Jervis Bay encompasses the Jervis Bay National Park, the Booderee National Park and the Beecroft Peninsula with Currarong on the eastern side. If you want to visit it all, you will need at least 3 to 4 days. Currarong is open to the public only on weekends and on school holidays. However, the most popular beaches and walking trails lie between Huskisson, Vincentia, the main towns in Jervis Bay, and the southern part of the Booderee National Park.
Stop at the Visitor Information Centre
Before entering Huskisson, stop at the Visitor Information office, beautifully nestled in the bush, grab brochures, and a few detailed Jervis Bay Maps. Huskisson is the main town with shops, pubs, whale watching tour operators and a fascinating Maritime Museum worth visiting.
Explore the beaches in Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay is famous for its pristine and white sand beaches. There is coastal biking and walking path from Huskisson town centre that leads into Vincentia, a smaller village, just 3 km away. Collingwood beach is the main beach in Vincentia.
I loved walking along this beach, soaking in the ocean breeze and stumbling upon quirky things like this seaweed-shaped Port Jackson Shark egg (no joke). If you are a keen walker, walk down to the Greenfield picnic park to start the White Sands walk.
Take the White Sands Walk
To do this amazing walk, see the beautiful Jervis Bay beaches, drive to Greenfield picnic area and park there. The White Sands Walk starts from Greenfield Beach, a pretty, secluded beach, perfect for a swim or to chill out. Start your walk following the walking trail that takes you into a dense eucalyptus forest. The path skirts the beach and meanders up into the headland, with lookouts offering stunning views of the azure, turquoise ocean.
Keep walking further down and lose yourself in some of the whitest beaches you may have ever seen. The Chinamans Beach is the first to enter and then onto the most famous beach in Australia, Hyams Beach (Australia’s whitest sands). Both beaches are spectacular. I suggest planning a few hours for this long walk, you may want to go for a swim, but surf and snorkel are also possible, and why not maybe pack your food for a picnic on the beach. There is also a nice cafe on the upper road at Hyams beach, ideal for a break on a rainy day in winter.
Go on a Whale Watching Tour
This is a must-do thing in Jervis Bay, one of the best places for whale watching on Australia’s South East Coast. Tours depart from Huskisson daily through two boat tour operators. I went on a trip, and despite the wind and rough sea conditions, we spotted a whale with her calf. It was thrilling to get up close with this giant and graceful marine creature.
I still get goosebumps when thinking about it. I would plan a whale watching tour soon after arriving in Jervis Bay. Seek advice with the local tour operators and find out which days are better for going out on the sea and spotting whales.
There are many activities in Huskisson regarding the whales: the Jervis Bay Whale festivals and a marine mammals research a collective of researchers and volunteers, who are managing various educational projects about the humpback whales in Jervis Bay.
Visit Booderee National Park
I hadn’t heard about Booderee National Park until my hosts suggested visiting it. It’s located about 20 minutes drive from Huskisson to the very southern end of Jervis Bay. There is an entry fee of 13 dollars, but it’s valid for 48 hours. The park is vast, and you need a car to move around. A full day is a minimum time to allocate here. The main road that cuts through the national park is a beautiful smooth drive through the forest.
Natural sights in Booderee National Park
Drive from the Booderee National Park Visitor Centre down to Murray’s Boat ramp. From there walk to Murray’s Beach first and keep walking into the forest along the coast up to Governor’s Head to enjoy the view over Bowen Island and the surrounding headland.
Governor’s Head is an excellent spot for fishing and surfing on the most southerly point on Jervis Bay. It’s also a paradise for marine and birdlife and the peacefulness that reigns there is impressive. I was lucky enough to spot a white-bellied sea-eagle. And if you are there in season, you may be lucky to spot humpback whales too.
On the way back to the visitor centre, I would suggest taking a detour on the right-hand side at Green Patch. This is an excellent spot for swimming in calm waters and a lunch break with picnic and BBQ facilities. To make the most of Booderee National Park, you can also stay overnight in one of the campsites.
Visit the Botanic Gardens
If you visit this national park of Jervis Bay on a one-day trip, I would recommend visiting the Botanic Gardens, the only Aboriginal-owned botanical gardens in Australia. They offer educational guided-walks, or you can go on self-guided walking trails, like the Lake McKenzie trail.
If you love wildlife, this is an excellent place to observe birds and animals. From the Botanic Gardens you drive further south to Cave Beach park, you can walk to Cave beach and Berwheree Beach.
For more info, check out the Booderee National Park website.
Shop at the Huskisson Sunday Markets
If you plan a visit during the school holidays or on weekends, there are cool things to do in Jervis Bay over a weekend. The Huskisson Sunday Markets is one of them. If you go on a Sunday trip, make sure you visit the Sunday markets, and I also recommend checking out the Huskisson events calendar for more local outdoor experiences.
Enjoy the Jervis Bay Fish
If you like to eat fish, in Vincentia and Huskisson there are many fish restaurants, but you can also get a fabulous meal in the local pubs with the day’s caught. And if you prefer eating at home, you should try the Jervis Bay fish and chips, one of the best I have ever had in Australia. You can also go on a fishing tour or shop locally for the freshest fish and cook it at home for a fun experience.
Visit the Currarong National Park
This National Park lies on the other side of the bay, with Perpendicular Point Lighthouse at the bay’s very end. Since this is a protected environmental area, it’s only open to the public on weekends and school holidays. If you can make it, this is a top-notch place to visit if you love pristine natural sites.
I loved Jervis Bay and would return for more explorations on an extended holiday. If you plan a trip to Sydney, Jervis Bay is a great place for a weekend getaway if you love to immerse in nature at its best. But it’s also a fabulous destination on a day tour from Sydney or Wollongong for whale watching, when in season.
Where to stay in Jervis Bay
For my short visit, I stayed with a local Airbnb in Jervis Bay. In Huskisson, there are a few motels and plenty of holiday-houses. Another great way to enjoy the place is camping in one of the many campsites.
They offer excellent facilities: from tents, different types of cabins on camping grounds, to eco-lodges in tourist parks to suit just any kind of traveller and budget. Camping is a great way to soak in the beautiful natural environment of Jervis Bay and get close up with native Australian animals.
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First published in 2017, last updated in Jan 2021
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