Heading Down Under
If you travel to Sydney, forget about the most tourist visited Bondi beach, where you are frequently reminded to eat less and go to gym due to the model-like people taking selfies around you.
With ash fine sand and crystal clear turquoise waters, Jervis bay offers you peace, tranquility of nature, wildness and aquatic activities. It is less than three hours drive from Sydney.
It was my second time to visit Jervis Bay, as I will never forget the most beautiful sunrise on Huskisson Beach. It was low tide before the sunrise. The sky gradually turned to the pink. Walking along the beach, it was so quiet that you can only hear yourself and ducks in shallow water. When the sun slowly raised out of the horizon, it glided the sky, and sprinkled the sunshine over the water. A woman, standing on her surfing board paddling towards the young Sun. Behind her, the little moon was still hanging on the sky. (See photo) This is how you start your day in Jervis Bay.
Camping Like an Australian
Hotel? Forget about it. ‘Australia was born in a tent’. The history of the immigration settlement is the story of camping. Australian loves holiday camping. Even if their national song Waltzing Matilda is about camper. It is not only a way to save on budget, but also a way to connect to nature intimately, and mix with the local camping community. If you have not tried camping in Australia, you cannot tell the others you have been to this country. Australia was always a camping place. Camping is the best way of learning ‘the Australian way’.
Tents or sleeping bags are available in the shops in Sydney. Get them before you start the trip. Australian camp-grounds range from $5 per night to around $35 per night based on the service and facilities. Caravan parks charge a higher rate for camping. However, it is important to know and find free campsites. You can check out camping app that shows a variety of campsites that are free and legal. There are plenty of websites showing you where and how to camp.
If you are not well prepared, you can find cabins to stay in. This time, I traveled with my boyfriend and his family. In the past three years, they always go back to Jervis Bay Caravan Park, which provided both cabins and campsites.
We booked a deluxe waterfront cabin. It includes barbeque in the balcony facing Currambene Creek. When I stood on the balcony during the low tides, I saw twice a baby stingray smoothly swimming in the shallow water and passing by our cabin. It was rare moment to see such inquisitive creature.
Walking around the Caravan Park, I noticed many Australian campers brought their own solar power panel to provide power for the tents.
It was a friendly community. You could easily make new friends when you were out fishing in the bay, or cooking outside next to your neighbours. You might be invited to join for a beer if you passed people sitting outside their tents for a drink on a lazy afternoon.
I met an old couple when their dog came to say hello to me. Two of them were sitting outside of their campervan for their afternoon tea. They told me they camped for 15 years before they bought a campervan (see photo). Not far away, their son was pulling a boat on car trailer for a new journey.
Skip, Jump, and Splash
Living in Australia, I learned that not all beaches are suitable for swimming. The temperature of the water, the strong waves, or news about sharks can easily scare you away from the sea.
The beaches in Jervis Bay on the New South Wales south coast are amongst the safest. It is a unique combination of coastal, marine and hinterland landscapes offering enjoyable bushwalking, cycling, indigenous culture and maritime heritage.
Hyams Beach has the whitest and purest sand in the world, It is listed in the ‘Guinness Book of Records’. The White Sands Walk from Greenfield is to Hyams Beach is spectacular. When you touch the sand, it feels like ash, and it easily escapes from your hand if you hold it tighter.
Known as the jewel in the Booderee National Park, Murrays Beach is perfect for families. ‘Booderee’ is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘bay of plenty’ or ‘plenty of fish’. The area is rich in Aboriginal heritage. The small track in forest leading to the Murrays beach was pleasant. I saw various wildlife on my way. There are many self-guided walks around Murrays beach to explore.
Murrays Beach is located in a protected bay, which is sheltered by Bowen Island. The pristine clear water is as peaceful as lake. It was suitable for snorkeling, and swimming. When I swam a bit further to the sea, my body experienced both warm and cold tides at same time.
“It is so flat”, said my boyfriend, when we arrived Callala Beach, which is famous for dolphin watch and sailing. It has a stunning natural coastline view because of how spacious and wide the beach is.
Surrounded by bushland, Currambene Creek is popular fishing spot, filled with bream and flathead. You can hire a boat from the nearby Woollamia boat ramp and explore the creek. Instead a boat, we hired two kayaks on Currambene Creek.
From Woollamia, we drove around one hour to Honeymoon Bay. What a lovely name for a beach. It is a crescent shaped rocky bay with 100 meters of a beautifully curved beach and 20 meters wide opening to Jervis Bay. It seemed like a very untouched natural area. Before we left, we saw two kangaroos come to the beach from nearby bush lands.
If you like rock climbing, near Honeymoon Bay, Point Perpendicular is famous for its eighty-meter high sandstone cliff.
Grilling Your Steak on the Stone
Surrounding Jervis Bay, there are few country villages, towns with local markets, boutique shops, and art galleries. Huskisson is the main town in Jervis Bay.
I was impressed by the cooking concept of Stonegrill Huskisson—you essentially cook your own meal on a hot stone at your table. It was sizzling yummy.
Stonegrill is run by an Italian chef. The chef puts the black ceramic stones to the oven for seven to eight hours until the temperature reaches approx. 700 degrees before it is ready to have meat cooked on them and placed on the customers’ table. They bring you a piece of raw meat, or raw seafood, and you cook for yourself.
The set menu is great value ($35) including entrée, main and dessert. I had Pan Fried King Prawns in Chili to start, and cut my steak into pieces on the stone as main, and ended my meal with a wild berry cheesecake. The whole meal was served in good-sized portions.
It did not take very long for you to finish the meal. It was the right timing, fresh and delicious and you gained a nice feeling of cooking your own meal. Only thing you should be careful —do not touch the stone. The restaurant also offers kids menu.
We had to make reservation one day before we came, as it is often booked out.
Keep Calm and Drink Tea
On your way back to Sydney, remember to stop by Berry Town, ‘the town for all seasons’. It is two hours drive from Sydney, full of nice cafes and boutique shops. It runs markets every weekend, and occasionally holds events such as Garden Festival and Red Berry Photography. You might be able to catch one of the events while you are there.
I would not expect to go to a teahouse with my boyfriend and his Italian family, as coffee is their soul along with pasta and pizza. Surprisingly, they took me to The Berry Tea Shop.
It was a fine shop dedicated to ‘all tea related matters’. From black flower Japanese tea set, Australian design, China made bamboo handle teapot, to Robert Gordon tea wares, it mixed the traditional and modern tea cultures. You could walk around and check the display of tea wares, cake plates and stands on the shelf, or do some gift shopping, such as buying a postcards saying — ‘you are my cup of tea’.
Otherwise, sit down and read the tea menu. It is a well-written tea story book. Make your order based on what you read. Madame Grey was inspired by the artisan perfume makers of France. Original Turkish Apple Tea contains juicy apple pieces zesty orange, spicy cinnamon and cloves. If you are brave, try the exotic blends, Masala Chai, which is recipe for Indian spiced tea combining with a robust Assam tea and colour in milk. After deciding your tea, don’t forget to choose a cake to accompany your tea.
Before you finish your holiday in Jervis Bay, and head back to bustling Sydney, enjoy the slow moment with tea. ‘A cup of tea solves everything.’ Even my Italian friends agreed.
Global Times Published: 2016-1-29 5:03:02