Recently, my sister and I have been quite adamant to see every last bit of gorgeous coastline here in NSW because well, it’s so damn beautiful. Every chance we get- that our wallet allows- we’ll be off again, onto the next adventure.
Drive Down: Scarborough Hotel (brunch) –> Hyams Beach –> Chinamans Beach
Drive Up: Cambewarra Lookout –> Kangaroo Valley –> Fitzroy Falls –> Berry –> Kiama Blowhole
IF I COULD DO IT OVER:
Drive Down: Scarborough Hotel (brunch) –> Kiama Blowhole –> Hyams Beach
Drive Up: Cambewarra Lookout –> Kangaroo Valley –> Fitzroy Falls –> Berry –> Sublime Point Lookout
MY IDEAL JERVIS BAY TRIP:
Day 1: Scarborough Hotel (brunch) –> Kiama Blowhole –> Hyams Beach
Day 2: Mollymook –> Bendalong Point –> Washerwomans Beach, Conjurong Point –> Narrawallee
Day 3: Fitzroy Falls –> Kangaroo Valley –> Cambewarra Lookout –> Wineries
Day 4: Chinamans Beach –> Berry –> Kiama Blowhole –> Sublime Point Lookout
In my years living in Europe, I’ve become really used to working with public transport. Mostly you can get around by bus, if not a train. If things got really tough you could fly or call an Uber but that was usually a last resort that wasn’t always completely necessary. Everything ‘just aroundt he corner’! But in Australia, it’s completely different. Man, if you don’t have a car, you won’t get to experience some of that absolutely-f*cking gorgeousness that is the rugged coast of NSW (and Victoria might I add). It’s absolutely breathtaking. There is just so much space, so much sky. You feel insignificant, significant, all at once. You feel the power of nature and you learn to respect it. The landscape here actually brings back memories of Yorkshire– just more tropical and coastal with more blue sky. OK, so it’s not like Yorkshire. Heh.
One weekend before Christmas, slightly on a whim, my sister and I found a great deal on a motel near Jervis Bay and decided to just head down- it was now or never. Besides, we wanted to see the whitest sand in the world and to catch some rays. Spring had not been kind to Sydney proper.
We booked a car the day of and headed off. We left at around 9am and we probably could have done with leaving earlier. Hindsight 20/20 and all that. As anyone that has experienced driving in Sydney will know, it’s not the most riveting experience driving out. But heading South rather than heading West is an easier drive. Before you know it you hit the Royal National Park and its easy, long winding highways. It takes about an hour and a half to get to the Scarborough Hotel, which is a good 20 minute detour off the main highway. Having said that, the views are definitely worth it. The food? Not super exciting. I don’t even think I took a photo of it, and as a Taiwanese person I love food photos.
The views are great though, and according to the friendly staff, during peak whale watching season you can see lots of ’em! So this is definitely worth a stop then! If you want to make sure you get a spot, do book ahead to call. Most of the tables with the best views had RESERVED signs on them, particularly for the popular brunch/lunch hours.
We decided to opt for maximum beach time after our little stop so headed straight for the holy grail: Hyams Beach. It’s where everyone says you should go! It was a hefty little drive from Scarborough Hotel, but we made it through. With some good tunes on (make sure you download the playlist as radio tunage can be rough) it makes the ride totally worthwhile.
We were lucky– the sun was out, there was barely a cloud in the blue blue sky, and the waves were gently crashing against the beach. Hyams Beach is actually set in suburbia (they all are outside of the big cities), so you have to park along a residential street. The street itself is quite long so you know, go for it. Find a spot! Despite it being a sunny weekend it took us under 10 minutes to find a parking spot.We parked ourselves on the beach for the better part of the afternoon. It did get busier and busier on the beach, with lots of families coming out to play in the shallow water. I don’t know if it was because we were so inexperienced with Antarctic waters or because HOLY HELL IT WAS COLD. We only managed to literally dip in and out a few times. The longest we stayed in the water was probably 5 minutes?
Despite it being a sunny weekend it took us under 10 minutes to find a parking spot. We parked ourselves on the beach for the better part of the afternoon.
It did get busier and busier on the beach, with lots of families coming out to play in the shallow water. I don’t know if it was because we were so inexperienced with Antarctic waters or because HOLY HELL IT WAS COLD. We only managed to literally dip in and out a few times. The longest we stayed in the water was probably 5 minutes?
We got a little tired of the screaming toddlers (big shout out to mums and dads here, you are absolute heroes) so we decided to head over to Chinamans Beach. We didn’t even need to move our car, it’s literally 300 meters up the road from Hyams Beach. You can go straight down the stairs once you reach the end of Cyrus St or you can head straight into the bush. The walk is less than 10 minutes and then you come out at the other end of Chinamans Beach where it’s guaranteed less busy and touristy. If you fancy, you can also head up the stairs and do a nice little coastal walk and find even more secluded beaches. The sand is EVEN squeakier here because it’s not half as busy as Hyams Beach.
We decided to have a super early night so that we could catch the sunrise at Hyams Beach the next day. Obviously, what else are you going to do if you’re on the East Coast of Australia?!
So after a really quick boring dinner we headed off to sleep in our motel with Harry Potter playing on TV. God love the Christmas season.
The next morning, it was looking a bit cloudy. Unfortunately for us, it meant that one or two sunrise photos later, it was already too bright and we didn’t actually catch any sun rising. Damn. But it was now not even 6am and we had the whole day ahead of us! What do do… Kangaroo Valley of course!
Now, I definitely recommend spending a good few days in this area because there is so much to do. Apart from great beaches there are also wineries and lots of great walks too.
As pictured above, you can do the Cambewarra Lookout (experienced drivers needed for this one. Lots of hairpin turns to get up this mountain). You can’t really tell from the clouds, but that bay-like thing far ahead? That’s Jervis Bay! You can (almost) see the gorgeous half-moon bend of Hyams Beach. When the sun did pop out for a second I swear I got sand glare. Here, you can have a cup of coffee or brekkie at the cafe or you can also just head straight to Kangaroo Valley and explore the funky little shops, cafes, and restaurants.
From Kangaroo Valley, another windy drive up a mountain will get you to Fitzroy Falls. Beware, when you’re coming from Kangaroo Valley, the Fitzroy Falls entrance is on the right and can be easily missed if you’re not looking out for it!
Fitzroy Falls is great for several reasons.
You can do a short walk of just 800m or you can do a longer walk of up to 3/4km. It’s definitely worth your while as views are rather spectacular and quite reminiscent of the Blue Mountains! Parking for a regular car is $4 and that’s it, no other entrance fees. There’s also a cafe and visitor’s centre here so if you wanted to refresh before/after your walk it’s definitely doable.
From here, sis and I were starting to get hungry so we decided to get back in the car and get some more driving in before it hit brunch time. Destination: Berry Sourdough Cafe.
It is literally famous FOR MILES.
People go up from Jervis Bay to eat there, like it’s a really big deal. And having had their sourdough now, I understand why. It is SO YUMMY! My sister and I bought a loaf of bread each that’s how good it is. And also had a pain au chocolat because that was also RIVETING.
Sis had a hummus dish with poached egg and avo salad, and I had a spicy chorizo omelette. Both were absolutely outstanding although there was a little too much hummus on the plate.
After this, we went for a little walk around town (one main road), taking in the charm of village life. There are plenty of ice cream shops to choose from and a pharmacy to save you with some bug spray (trust us it comes in handy).
We then headed to Kiama Blowhole, which was about a 45 minute drive Northward. The Blowhole is a rather popular stop but you have to be lucky. The wind and wave conditions have to be right to see awesome water sprays coming up from the rock formation along the coast. Instead, we opted for a lovely little dip in the ocean pool.
The rain started really pouring down so the trip was a little bit over for us. The clouds kept threatening rain and delivered. Gah. So off home we drove from here. There were quite a few stops that we missed out on that we definitely would have done had the weather been a bit more forgiving.