Husband and I found ourselves recently in dire need of a good vacation. Criteria? Sea air, restorative rural pursuits far, far away from wild crowds, tourists, dancefloors and intruding, yet well-meaning family. Just he and I, and a holiday shack with views over a stretch of sparkling bluewater, old growth forest-lined bays tumbling down to the ocean’s edge via a string of pearly beaches. Not too much to ask for now is it?
And so our journey was fixed for a fortnight to be spent beachside 180 km south of Sydney on the South Coast during its most treasured season: spring. After all, this is the exact spot certain newlyweds spent cosying up to each other on their honeymoon four and a half years ago…
Just south of the Shoalhaven River, Jervis Bay measures 15 km from north to south and 10 km across. The main town is Huskisson, from where dolphin-watch cruises, dive and fishing trips depart to explore this vast waterway. The bay’s beaches are glorious, especially those starting from Greenfields Beach, just south of Vincentia, and continuing to Murrays Beach in the shelter of Bowen Island.
At its southern end, Jervis Bay is enclosed by Booderee National Park, a pristine coastal wilderness. Walking trails wind their way along a succession of quiet beaches, cliffs and forests. Healthy dolphins make their homes within the sheltered embrace of Jervis Bay, and between June and November, migrating whales sing and breach. Lucky us: we watched as a family of four humpback whales lunged high, leaping out of the water, then lobtailing to a very splashy finale.
Fortunately for man and marine creature alike, Jervis Bay waters are within the Habitat Protection Zone of the Marine Park where one may fish for one’s supper, but only via the line and the spear. Its beaches are world famous for their white sands and crystal clear waters. But best of all, no crowds and no tourists. Now that’s what I call a great vacation!