A three hour drive south of Sydney brings you to the supremely picturesque Jervis Bay. Known to possess the whitest sand in the world, the beaches are ever popular with locals and visitors alike. Jervis Bay is easily one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in New South Wales, if not the whole of Australia.
Beach hopping, bushwalking and wildlife spotting are all on the cards here. Check out the awesome Scribbly Gum trees- seriously, they’re so cool or keep your eyes peeled for the pods of whales and dolphins you’ll often find relaxing in the inlet. But don’t be fooled into thinking summer is the best season to visit. We stayed for a weekend in winter and were very much blown away.
Before we get into the ins and outs of the weekend getaway, a quick question… Is it JER-vis or JAR-vis?! As a Brit, I know better than to pretend to know how to correctly pronounce Australian place names. With Dan being from Sydney, I’ll take his word for it (mostly). Sydneysiders think it’s JAR-vis Bay, and if I’m honest I think that’s the version I was most familiar with before ever stepping foot Down Under.
However, if you ask any local to the area, they’ll tell you its JER-vis, and well who are we to argue with the locals. The Admiral whom the bay is named after pronounced his name JER-vis, so says his descendants. Another compelling argument. Ultimately the debate still rages on, though without actually raging or being too big a deal. Whether you’re a JER or a JAR person, you’ll likely get lost in the beauty of this area all the same.
Jervis Bay | Two day Hiking Guide
There’s plenty to enjoy over two days at Jervis Bay, and it certainly makes for a wonderful weekend trip from Sydney. We visited as part of a longer road trip down the south coast of NSW and found Jervis Bay to be a definite highlight. Here we detail hikes, waterfalls and any extras to fit in over the two day stay.
Day One: The Beecroft Peninsula
The Beecroft Peninsula sits at the northern headland of Jervis Bay. Perfectly layered sheets of rock make up its tall cliffs, and sea erosion has created secret caves to adventure through. From here you can visit the layered rock face and sparkling blue waters of Mermaid Inlet and crawl through the dark Gosangs Tunnel for wonderful ocean views.
Speed hiking is possible, for the most part, on this trail. The paths are well laid out, the terrain very simple- mostly gravel of dirt, and so easy to inject some pace. Upon reaching Gosangs Tunnel and Mermaid Inlet however, the trail is trickier under foot and so care and consideration should be taken when hiking these parts.
WHAT IS SPEED HIKING? What it says on the tin- hiking faster than your usual pace. More recreational than competitive, speed hikers can cover more distance and thus see more than they otherwise would. Speed hikers traditionally travel lighter too, hiking with just the bare minimum to ensure they can be as light on their feet as possible.
1. Gosangs Tunnel & Mermaid Inlet
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 5km
- Time: 1 hour
- Accumulated elevation gain: 17m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Abrahams Bosom car park
Travel Made Me Do It have personally rated the hikes in this guide.
An adventurous little hike. The hike to Gosangs Tunnel begins from Abrahams Bosom car park, Currarong. You’ll find a fair amount of parking here, but when busy it does overflow onto the roadside leading in. This is where we ended up parking. The trail begins by crossing a small footbridge over Abraham Bosom Creek. From here keep following the signs towards Mermaid Inlet. It’s a very straightforward path to follow that will take you no more than 30 minutes. Once you reach ‘Big Beecroft’ sign, take the path left, signed towards Gosangs Tunnel and follow for another 50m or so.
As you leave the cover of trees and emerge into the open, you’ll see the cave entrance in the rock side. For a cave, it’s quite a big opening. However, once you enter it quickly narrows down. It’s a 30m crawl to reach the opening on the other side. We’ve certainly squeezed ourselves through tighter cave openings, the body contortion cave entrances of Easter Island come to mind. So really, we’d say this is easily manageable and less claustrophobic then you might imagine.
Unless you’re small or can get down low, you’ll find your rucksack might scrape the ceiling in the lower sections. Also crawling in a squat position isn’t the quickest or easiest, so just take your time. Thankfully the tunnel is straight and light all the way through. You have sight of the openings at each end at all times. It’s a popular spot and the views are unbelievable. You can walk out onto the cliffside from the tunnel and marvel at the rock geology and interesting formations along this stretch of the coastline. The short walk and cave scramble feel adventurous for such minimal effort. Certainly not to be missed.
A stunning coastline of amazing rock formations. After leaving the tunnel the same way you entered, retrace your steps back to ‘Big Beecroft’. From here take the path right signed toward Mermaid Inlet. After a short walk, you’ll enter the inlet along the cliffside. Follow along the path, with the rock wall to your left. In the end, this opens up onto a huge, multi layered rock platform. It’s very popular for fishing.
The slabs of rock that are piled within Mermaid Inlet resemble a tumbled stack of sweet pastry’s, like little petit fours (at least they did to me!). The formation of the rocks here is truly incredible. The sapphire blue water crashing up against them is almost mesmerising. As you look along the coast, in either direction, you’ll see the same pastry layered rock as far as the eye can see. Take care near the edges of the cliff as waves can often be strong and unpredictable.
Other places in Abrahams Bosom Reserve you may want to visit include Honeysuckle Point, HMS Merimbula shipwreck and Lobster Bay. The full walk around the headland is called Coomies Walk, and you can find more information here.
2. Honeymoon Bay
Always check whether Honeymoon Bay is open first. Honeymoon Bay is a must when visiting the area. Unfortunately, it was closed on the day we visited. Its closure isn’t unusual due to the location of the Beecroft Weapons Range and subsequent defence practices. It is also known to close when the car park reaches capacity, making it a very exclusive place to spend the day. Check online before you travel here.
The bay itself is small and very picturesque, perfect for a lunch date. I mean, the name itself screams romance. Honeymoon Bay is well known for its excellent snorkel and swimming opportunities, as well as being a perfect place to relax. We hope to visit soon, but you should visit here if you can.
SIDENOTE: Camping is permitted, but be warned, in summer it is usually fully booked via a ballot system held every August.
3. Tianjara Falls
Now onto some waterfalls! South of Nowra, and a little inland from the coast, you’ll find Tianjara Falls- around a 30 minute drive along Braidwood Road. Signposted from the road you’ll find the car park and from here a short walk to the viewing platform.
The fenced off platform provides stunning views of Tianjara Falls and the surrounding Ettrema Wilderness. From the lookout, we could still see evidence of the terrible 2019/20 bushfires which devastated so much of the Australian landscape. However, it was pleasing to see the regrowth, and how the forests survive and begin to rebuild themselves. It’s quite remarkable how quickly this happens.
The 64m plunge drops from a shelf of yellow and orange rock, a familiar sight within these mountainous regions. The steady stream of water flowing from the top showers down the cliff, gracefully. In contrast, after very wet weather the water is known to thunder over the mountainside. If you want to see Tianjara in all its glory, visit after a period of heavy rain.
More of Morton National Park
Tianjara Falls is set within Morton National Park. This park covers a huge area in which we touched on in The Southern Highlands earlier in our trip. There is an abundance of waterfalls to see in this national park, including Dan’s favourite, Bellmore Falls. It makes for an easy stop if in the vicinity. From Tianjara it’s a 40 minute drive on to Vincentia, Jervis Bay- our next stop and where we’ll spend the night.
For more waterfalls accessible from Sydney, check out The Top 10 Sydney Waterfalls You Must Visit post.
DAY TWO: Jervis Bay
4. White Sands Walk
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 8km
- Time: 2-3 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: Minimal
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Plantation Point, Vincentia
The White Sands Walk is easily one of the most beautiful coastal routes you’ll come across, anywhere. The dreamy beaches are pristine and the bush trails are kept in immaculate condition. As you soak up your surroundings you’ll pass through four white sand beaches, all as beautiful as each other, before reaching the renowned Hyams Beach. Famed for having the whitest sand on the planet, we’ll leave judgement to you, although we can confirm that the sand is super white!
During the summer you can treat yourself to a refreshing dip in the sea at each stop. In contrast, winter brings a peaceful charm you’ll struggle to find at any other time of year. The crisp air rolling in from the sea and the low lying sunlight over the bright white sand transform Jervis Bay from a bustling beach resort to a secluded retreat. Even adverse weather can’t put a dampener on that. Unbelievably we were alone for most of the trail. We imagine it’ll be a long time until we experience this type of coastal luxury to ourselves again.
The hike begins at Plantation Point in Vincentia. From here you’ll join Nelsons Beach. There is ample parking at Plantation Point but remember, during summer this area can get extremely busy. Nelsons Beach is a fabulous stretch of orange rock cliffs pouring into the pure white sand. The only beach you pass where this is so visible and the contrast of colours from cliff to sand to water is very photogenic. This was perhaps our favourite beach, our strip of paradise in the tranquillity of a winters morning.
Blenheim, Greenfield and Chinaman are the next three beaches you’ll pass, and the smallest on the walk. They’re all surrounded by bush and so feel much more remote. Although, all are still easily accessed via steps from their adjacent car parks through the trees, and also have access to public toilets.
Don’t rush off straight away from these beaches, you’ll find them much quieter to Hyams Beach and so enjoy! We imagined in summer we’d stop for a swim at each beach. The water looked inviting in winter so surely in summer it would be hard to resist! This would inevitably make the walk longer, but surely the beauty of hiking is that you make it personal to yourself, stopping where you like for as long as you like. Most people will rush to Hyams Beach, even miss out on this walk completely and flock straight there. Don’t do that. Spend time at each beach and appreciate each one for their own merits which, as you’ll discover, are aplenty.
We decided this wasn’t a trail to speed hike. There isn’t more to see the quicker you go, it’s the length that it is, and we wanted to soak every inch of that up. Plus, let’s face it, walking on sand isn’t the easiest anyway!
Last but not least you’ll arrive at Hyams Beach. From the walk, it feels like you’ve reached the tiniest beach of the whole trail, but continue around the small headland of rocks and you’ll soon see Hyams, in all her glory, stretched out in front of you. We can see why this beach is much loved.
It’s long enough to house the masses that flock here in the warmer months, with gentle waves in the turquoise waters making bathing a relaxing experience. The sand is pure white, and I can see why some have given it the accolade of the whitest sand in the world. But with fame comes popularity, and so Hyams has very much turned into a tourist hot spot. For that reason, if you’re looking for more seclusion, you’d be better heading back to one of the previous beaches. Still, there’s something special about Hyams.
You’ll see many boat tours in Jervis Bay for whale and dolphin watching. We dare say they might well be worth it as from the shoreline of Hyams Beach we were able to watch a pod of dolphins playfully jumping out in the bay. Such a wonderful experience.
Even with stormy skies and a spot of rain, Jervis Bay still delivers. With rain comes a rainbow, and seeing those colours stretch across the sky and over the bay looked phenomenal. Sometimes I wonder why I’m always hoping for clear blue skies when this can be even more magical.
At around 8km return, the White Sands Walk isn’t too long and is certainly not difficult. Walk as far as you feel along Hyams Beach and soak up your surroundings. Without stopping it shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. However, you’ll stop, a lot. The most challenging part of this walk will be choosing your favourite beach, not to mention when to leave.
5. Sqiuggly Gum Walk
Show me a more artistic tree, I’ll wait… For the return journey of the White Sands Walk, you can retrace your steps along the beaches or take the 2.5 km Squiggly Gum Track, which the Sands walk touches on in parts anyway. The trees here are like nothing I’ve seen before, so you’ll have to forgive my excitement. They are genuine natural etch-a-sketches though! Quite the marvel! This type of eucalyptus tree attracts moth larva that produces the ‘squiggles’ as it burrows through the bark and you’ll spot them all around if you take the aptly named Squiggly Gum trail through the bush.
6. Booderee National Park
A National Park worth returning for. Our visit coincided with the slow reopening of parks and attractions during COVID-19, and so sadly this particular national park was still closed throughout our stay. Our plan was to camp at Green Patch Point and take on some of the drool worthy hikes in the park. From Green Patch you can see the photogenic Hole in the Wall at low tide.
The Circuit trail from Steamers Beach was also on our itinerary. It’s an 11.4 km return hike that touches on some beautiful and secluded beach coastline. There are also some great walks around Cave Beach- one of the best camping sites in Australia (as listed by Australian Geographic). I guess we’ll have to bank Booderee for another day, after all, the Sydney to Jervis Bay drive isn’t so far. Hopefully, you’ll have more luck on your visit. Let us know in the comments section if you manage to get there!
Sydney to Jervis Bay Recap
So that’s our guide on spending two days in Jervis Bay from Sydney. Hopefully, when you make it there, you’ll be able to add in the delights of Honeymoon Bay and Booderee National Park. New South Wales has some of the best coastlines I’ve personally ever seen, and Jervis Bay is by far one of the highlights. Check out more of our South Coast NSW posts and explore further the exceptional national parks this part of Australia has to offer.
Getting to/from Jervis Bay
It’s easiest by car. As mentioned, the drive from Sydney to Jervis Bay is a mere three hours, a relatively quick drive for Australian standards. A car is your best option for this itinerary, so if you don’t have access to one we’d recommend hiring a car. We find RentalCars.com very helpful if booking online in advance. Also hiring a car from Sydney CBD or airport should be very straightforward.
Sydney to Jervis Bay Via Nowra
Stop in at Nowra. En route, we stopped in at the Hanging Rock Lookout in Nowra. It’s a beautiful outlook over Shoalhaven River and is the culmination of a challenging four hour hike. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for that (shameful we know), but we did have a quick cup of tea enjoying the views. Hey, you can take the girl out of Britain but you can’t take Britain out of the girl.
From Nowra it is only a 30 minute drive to the Beecroft Peninsula, our first stop in Jervis Bay.
SIDENOTE: If you’re travelling to Sydney from overseas, and then on to Jervis Bay, we recommend using Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights. When flying abroad, we always get the ball rolling with a Skyscanner search. Also, if you’re based in the UK or US, you should sign up to Jack’s Flight Club for the best flight deal alert service. By simply subscribing to the free weekly newsletter or buying premium membership, you could save lots of money with international travel.
Continue that road trip. From Jervis Bay, we were continuing with our road trip down south towards the wildly rugged Murramarang National Park. We made a quick stop in at Mollymook, a place which holds happy childhood holiday memories for Dan, and then on to Pretty, Merry and Depot Beaches for some more coastal walks. However, if you’re heading back up to Sydney, then leaving Jervis Bay mid afternoon/ early evening should suffice for the three hour journey back.
Jervis Bay can be pricey, so look further out of town. Our road trip down the South Coast of NSW saw us car camping, and so we came across Seasongood Camp through youcamp.com, where we stayed for two nights. If you haven’t come across YouCamp before, the website is essentially a kind of Airbnb for camping and is where private landowners can let out their land to campers. At $67.26AUD ($47USD) for two nights, it was pricier than we like, but then this is Jervis Bay.
Again, as it was off season, and directly after the Queens Birthday bank holiday weekend, we had the small woodland site to ourselves. The campsite is basic but it does include hot shower and drinking water, albeit from a tank, but perfectly safe. The campsite is in Woollamia and is in easy distance of neighbouring Huskisson- the hub of Jervis Bay. Head down to the Husky pub for a quick schooner.
Camping isn’t for everyone of course, and luckily Jervis Bay isn’t short of alternatives. From budget motels to beachfront rentals, a quick Airbnb or booking.com search will help you find your perfect stay.
Local Supplies in Jervis Bay
Supermarkets and grocery stores are easy to find. The town of Huskisson has many options for buying supplies, plus a few cafes and restaurants from which to choose. However, we found the Vincentia Market Place the best options for stocking up on groceries and fuel. There is an Aldi and Woolworths, plus a few food outlets too.
- Accommodation: $33.50AUD/person ($23.50USD)
- Food: $10AUD/person ($7USD)
- Drinks: $9AUD/person ($6.25USD)
= $52.50AUD/person ($36.50USD) + fuel for getting there.
Five Travel Essentials For a Weekend Road Trip to Jervis Bay
If you’re planning on spending a weekend hiking and exploring, which we hope you are, then here are a few essentials we recommend and you may want to consider. For a more comprehensive packing list, please check out the Ultimate Packing Checklist. It’s a great general summary of everything you’d need for a trip. For even more information check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack – travelling in winter always means carrying extra essentials like layers, jackets etc. This deceptive rucksack holds all that and more.
- Car phone holder – we mostly use GPS on our phones so this car phone holder makes life much easier.
- Ray-Ban Polarised Clubmaster Square Sunglasses – it might be winter, but it’s Australia and the sun very much will make an appearance.
- The North Face Venture 2 waterproof/windproof Jacket – it can be a little chilly out on the coast and so a windproof jacket is always in our pack.
- Nikon D3400 Digital SLR Camera – there is SO much to photograph. We wouldn’t dream of coming without our camera.
Five Camping Essentials For a Weekend Road Trip to Jervis Bay
We loved camping in Jervis Bay. Camping gear can make or break a trip. Without the right camping kit, your experience may not be as enjoyable. These are our five camping gear essentials for Jervis Bay. You can find more information on camping gear by visiting our in-depth packing checklist and travel essentials guide.
- Vango Banshee Pro Tent 300 – A good lightweight tent that is easy to put up and even easier to pack away. When we’re not car camping, this is the tent we use.
- Vango Ultralite Pro 200 sleeping bag – the perfect warmth for camping in Jervis Bay and wider Australia for that matter.
- Sea to Summit Aeros Premium inflatable pillow – trust us, a pillow will revolutionise the whole sleeping on the floor. Plus, you won’t believe how small these things pack down.
- HIKENTURE inflatable sleeping mat – again, a game changer in our camping trips. The added comfort makes all the difference. Especially after a day in the outdoors.
- Portable mini gas stove – sometimes you just need a hot meal. Warm porridge on a cold winters morning, yes please!
To be fully prepared for your Sydney to Jervis Bay hikes, consider downloading a GPS guided map before you set out. We recommend Wikiloc or AllTrails. For those not so prepared, if you’re needing navigation help during the hike and don’t have any phone reception, consider using Maps.me. Although you need to have at least downloaded the map of the general area beforehand.
- Layer Up: We visited during winter, and so although the weather was pleasant enough, sometimes the breeze off the ocean can be a little chilly. Walking however warms you quickly, and so you may find its a layers on/layers off kind of day.
- Off Season friendly: We visited Sydney to Jervis Bay the Tuesday after the Queens Birthday bank holiday weekend in mid June and it was unbelievably quiet! We would definitely come at this time again and highly recommend it. As Jervis Bay is so close to Sydney you can easily make a weekend trip here multiple times in the year, and experience all seasons.
- Sun safe: Even in winter the sun can still be pretty strong Down Under, make sure you pack the sun screen for a day on the coast.
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