Jervis Bay, Australia

Dazzling clear waters are host to an array of aqua-inclined activities: swim, snorkel or dive the lagoons and coves, try your hand at paddle-boarding, sailing or surfing, kayak the hidden creeks, or charter a boat to go deep-sea fishing, dolphin-spotting or whale-watching. Back on terra firma, walk or cycle a bush trail through Booderee National Park (home to a roll-call of native Australian flora and fauna), saddle up for a spot of horse-riding or simply lounge away the day on a secluded slice of paradise at Hyams Beach. Beyond the wild, Jervis Bay also boasts an impressive collection of culinary distractions, including gourmet restaurants, seaside pubs and the Shoalhaven Coast wineries within easy reach.

When to go

Jervis Bay is one of the best places in Australia to see whales on their annual migrations. Spy humpback and southern right whales on their way north in May and June or travelling south in October and November. Avoid the cooler months if you’re planning on camping, as some spots are shut for the Australian winter (including Paperbark Camp, which closes its canvas doors over July and August).

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Fly into Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport (, host to multiple daily international flights. Alternatively, Canberra Airport ( receives domestic flights from most Australian state capitals, and is another jumping-off point for drives to Jervis Bay.
  • Trains

    City Rail ( operates the view-blessed South Coast Line service from Sydney's Central Station to Bomaderry (Nowra)train station, 40 kilometres away from Jervis Bay.
  • Automobiles

    It’s a coast-hugging two-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney to Jervis Bay along the scenic Grand Pacific Drive, dotted with striking spots for lunch or a swim and surf along the way. From Canberra, it’s a three-hour drive through Goulburn, Moss Vale and Kangaroo Valley, or take the Kings Highway via Batemans Bay.

Coastal drive to Melbourne: three days

Coastal drive to Melbourne: three days

From Paperbark Camp, continue along the picturesque coastal road to Melbourne, breaking up the 10-hour drive with two nights en route. Batemans Bay is fun for watersports; Montague Island Reserve, off Narooma, is home to seals and penguins; Mimosa Rocks National Park offers sea caves and lagoons; beachy Merimbula serves fresh seafood; and Eden is good for spying whales in season. Over the Victorian border, Mallacoota and Lakes Entrance are chilled out stops in lake-dotted Gippsland, where you can take a dip at dreamy Ninety Mile Beach. Be sure to sample the region’s acclaimed cheese, fish and free-range meats. If you’ve got more time, detour to Wilsons Promontory for dramatic coastal parkland and Phillip Island to see penguins and fur seals.

Find out more about the coastal drive