Often when people think of Australia they conjure up images of the beaches of Sydney or far North Queensland. However, you don’t need to battle the crowds of Bondi beach or go broke over the expensive resorts of the Whitsunday’s to get a glimpse of all that makes Australia amazing. Just a three hours’ drive south of Sydney is a little-known gem that should be on every Australian itinerary.
From the resident dolphins, penguins and fur seals, to some of the whitest sands and crystal-blue waters in the world, it’s hard to believe so few people know about the Jervis Bay area. This 102-square-kilometre oceanic bay and village lies on the south coast of New South Wales and offers everything from camping to bush walking to diving.
Having grown up not far from what we locals call ‘the South Coast’, I’ve had a chance to explore the many beaches of Jervis Bay and have come up with my three favorites.
1. HYAMS BEACH
Endless stretches of white sand is what Hyams Beach is famous for. As the beach is situated just outside the national park, your furry friends are welcome (on a leash) and there is no entrance fee. Street parking is available but, in the height of summer, can be hard to find. There are public bathroom facilities at the main section of the beach but there are no supermarkets or restaurants nearby. Due to its size and ease of access, this beach can get very busy during the summer months but don’t worry – there’s plenty of space for everyone.
BEST FOR: Dog owners or people who like long sandy beaches for walking.
2. MURRAYS BEACH
Another beach with amazing white sand and blue water is Murrays Beach, situated within Booderee National Park. For AUD$12 you can get a 48 hour pass into the park at the toll booths as you drive in. The best part? The national park also has allocated camping spots so you can stay overnight!
Murrays Beach itself is small but boasts some impressive views back onto Hyams Beach and out into the open ocean. It is situated in a protected bay which is sheltered by Bowen Island so it is a perfect option on a day with high winds (which happens to be quite often down the South Coast). There is a large carpark and, as the beach is a bit further away from the main town, it tends to be much quieter.
There are many self-guided walks around Murrays Beach and if you come down in the evening you might be lucky enough to see penguins, yapping to one another as they head back out towards their homes on Bowen Island after feeding in the park’s waters during the day.
BEST FOR: Bush walkers or people who want to enjoy peaceful views.
3. STEAMERS BEACH
Another amazing beach within the national park is Steamers Beach – a wild, yellow sand beach that’s accessible via a 1.5km hike through lush bushland. To reach the beach you need to descend down a number of steep steps, so some level of fitness is required in order to get up and down! However, the effort is well worth it. The beach is often empty so there’s a high chance you’ll have this slice of paradise entirely to yourself.
The beach is bordered by cliffs at either end and backs onto a bushy cliff face. The result is that it’s like an amphitheater. It has a crescent shape that curls underneath the cliffs, and at the ends are large rock pools filled with interesting sea life.
While it offers fantastic views and exploring potential, I advise to swim with caution – the beach has severe rip tides and there are large sharks around due to a nearby seal colony. Take care.
BEST FOR: Adventure seekers!
EMILIA’S TOP TIP:
If you have time, make sure to check out the lively coastal town of Kiama (about a 45 minute drive from Jervis Bay). From the famous blowhole and lighthouse, to some fantastic eateries, this place is definitely worth a stopover on your way back to Sydney. I especially recommend trying to catch a sunset from the lighthouse!
Have you been to Jervis Bay? Please share your experience in the comments below!
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By We Are Travel Girls Contributor Emilia Drozda
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