When it comes to holidays, Sydneysiders tend to head north. The central coast, all the way up to Queensland is stunning for sure, but the best-kept secret in NSW has to be the gorgeous rural south, and a special little spot called Callala in Jervis Bay.
Almost completely surrounded by land, Jervis Bay is a picturesque, and peaceful little ocean nook, just 3 hours south of Sydney. Sheltered from the big waves by the Beecroft Peninsula, and protected from over development by national parks and marine parks, Callala is a pristine, family-friendly spot, where little ones can paddle in the creek, or hit the main beach with their boogie boards.
Driving from Sydney, you can follow the magical Grand Pacific Drive along the coast and stop in at a few scenic places along the way. Take a couple of hours in Wollongong to visit the Nan Tien Temple. This tranquil, Taiwanese Buddhist temple is set on sprawling grounds with incredible views. Here you can find some inner peace, take a guided tour of the temple, or join some meditation and calligraphy classes. You can also just relax in the gorgeous surroundings and revel in the quiet tranquillity after a cup of Chinese tea at the café.
Take a detour through the little town of Berry for one really important reason; doughnuts! Yep, this place is famous for just one thing, The Famous Berry Donut Van. They make Australia’s best doughnuts. We don’t know how they do it but trust us, it is worth the visit. They also do the Aussie classics, pies, sausage rolls, and milkshakes.
The farmers market at Nowra is a must see. This is the perfect place to stop before you get to Callala and stock up on snacks and food for the Barbie. The most beautiful fresh produce awaits you, and their deli section is a foodie’s dream come true. Also, stop in at the Nowra Fresh Fish & Meat Market for your protein needs.
What To Do
Calla Creek can be clear and gorgeous at the right time of day. Being a tidal river, you will need to check the web to find out when it’s high tide and best for swimming, if you get the timing right, this spot is an absolute paradise, especially for those with little kids. Sit back and relax as they entertain themselves for hours in the clear, warm, safe waters of the creek. There are shady spots under trees to set up a picnic blanket and at the entrance to the river at Callala Bicentennial Reserve there are public toilets and amenities.
To get to the beach from Calalla Creek, you take a little hike down some bush tracks where you can spot lots of birds and other critters along the way.
The beach at Callala is just perfect as well. Always basically empty, safe, calm, crystal clear waters. It is amazing that more people don’t know about it.
One of the coolest things to do in Callala is not an activity listed on the tourism websites. Just simply go to Club Callala for a super delicious early dinner after a long day of swimming. Then at dusk, take a walk out the back onto the club’s 18-hole golf course, at that time of day, all of the kangaroos come out and are extremely friendly with people. Kids will love being able to see so many adorable marsupials in the wild. If you are lucky, some might even let you hand feed them some fresh grass.
Other Fun Things In Jervis
Become more culturally aware and learn about Aboriginal traditions, with this wonderful group called Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness. They do performances, workshops, tours and even a two-day long Gulaga Creation Tour which is described as a deep and enlightening life adventure.
Charter a Boat
Definitely, contact Husky Ferry for a fun trip from Myola to Huskisson or hire them to do a special private charter, or a sunset cruise. You can even BYO wine and cheese. Perfect for a special night with a significant other.
At the right time of year, Jervis Bay is the spot to go whale watching. There are a couple of companies who can take you out, like the guys at Dolphin Watch Cruises. If it isn’t whale season, you still have a pretty good chance of spotting some frolicking dolphins.
If the animals aren’t coming to you above the water, try going under the sea. You can see some incredible ocean creatures with a group like the guys at Dive Jervis Bay. Join one of their snorkelling or scuba trips to see the unreachable spots all around the bay and visit some stunning underwater caves.
In Myola, all the locals will tell you to go and visit Arnold. Arnold is a funky, retro coffee caravan with a conscience. Dedicated to sustainability, they use compostable plastic lids on biodegradable cups, and the coffee itself is organic and fair trade. It also just happens to be friggin delicious. Arnold moves around a bit, so you can track his locations on Facebook or Instagram
Hyams Beach is the most famous spot in Jervis; they claim to have the whitest sand in Australia. Definitely worthy of an afternoon swim. If you want to stay there, the Hyams Beachside Cottages are just stunning and perfect for a romantic weekend.
Where to stay
Being a small town, there aren’t many hotels in Callala. But there are some beautiful homes for rent on Stayz and AirBnB. For example, check out Hayes and Sunbaker Beach houses. For more accommodation options, you might want to stay in the more bustling town of Huskisson
We hope you love Callala and Jervis Bay as much as we do, thanks to Caro for letting her awesome kids star in the photos for this article.
For more beautiful photos, inspiration, and advice, contact the people who run the Callala Beach Facebook page, they are very responsive and helpful.