Less than a 3-hour drive from Sydney, camping in Jervis Bay is a great choice for a beach weekend away. It’s best-known for Hyams Beach and for having the whitest sand in the world but the whole region has plenty more white-sand beaches to explore.
Read on for my ultimate camping guide to Jervis Bay. Including where to go, where to camp and what to do over a weekend.
Map: Check out my Jervis Bay Map to easily find all the places mentioned in this post.
Where: Jervis Bay, Jervis Bay Territory, NSW
Getting there: 2 hours 30 mins driving from Sydney.
Why Hyams Beach is not the reason to go to Jervis Bay
Here’s the secret to spending a weekend in Jervis Bay: the best beach is not Hyams Beach. There are 16 beautiful white sand beaches in total in the Jervis Bay area and some of the best beaches to visit are South of Hyams Beach, in Booderee National Park. So don’t go just to Hyams Beach!
Spend your weekend by multiple tropical-looking beaches within a relatively short drive of Sydney. You can also camp right on the beach in Booderee National Park if you’re looking for a weekend of beach camping.
Navigating Jervis Bay
Navigating Jervis Bay has taken a few weekend trips to get my head around. Everyone talks about Hyams Beach but there isn’t actually much around it. Only one cafe (although I do recommend visiting the Hyams Beach Store & Cafe).
Instead, all the cafes and places to eat are in Huskisson in the North. Yet the best beaches are in Booderee National Park in the South. Then there’s Honeymoon Bay on Beecroft Peninsula, which always makes it onto a Top 10 places to visit list.
To make it harder to plan, the distances between all these areas aren’t trivial, taking about an hour and a half to get from Honeymoon Bay to Cave Beach in Booderee National Park.
So where is the best place to base yourself for a weekend? Well, to answer this question you need to know what type of weekend you’re after.
Where to go
This is where you can have the Huskisson Hotel (a.k.a the Husky Pub), a few restaurants and cafes, and the Jervis Bay Brewing Co. all a short drive away. So if you want to explore different beaches during the day and enjoy drinks and dinner out in the evening, base yourself here.
Booderee National Park
This national park is home to three campgrounds. Base yourself here if you’re after a traditional camping weekend next to a beach, cooking your own food and spending your evenings by your camp.
Tip: You will need a parking pass to enter the park. A standard 48-hour pass is $13 or you can buy a longer pass and save money if you visit national parks in NSW a lot.
Honeymoon Bay a popular place to camp and is certainly worth a visit but its location in the far East of the Jervis Bay area on Beecroft Peninsula means it’s quite far removed from the main hub of Jervis Bay. So factor in additional driving time if you plan to visit.
- Honeymoon Bay to Huskisson Hotel: 45 minutes.
- Huskisson Hotel to Hyams Beach Store & Cafe: 15 minutes.
- Hyams Beach Store & Cafe to Murrays Beach: 15 minutes.
- Murrays Beach to Cave Beach: 15 minutes.
Camping in Jervis Bay
Camping in Jervis Bay is one place in New South Wales you really need to book in advance.
During summer school holidays you actually have to enter a ballot system to stay at the Booderee National Park campgrounds and typically you need to book at least one month in advance to camp between October and May. Outside of these popular months, you should be fine and the bay is beautiful no matter what time of year you visit.
Top tip: If you’re camping in Winter, consider Cave Beach Campground which has firepits and free firewood on offer to keep you warm in the evenings.
Here’s a list of where to go camping in Jervis Bay, grouped by each area.
Booderee National Park
Camping in Booderee National Park is one of my favourite places to experience a beach camping weekend. There’s just something really special about camping next to a beach. In a national park. You feel privileged to experience it both at sunset after all the day visitors have left, and in the mornings when you can have it all to yourself.
Green Patch camping
Green Patch is most popular with families and the largest option so you will have more chance of getting a spot here. It has toilets, public BBQs and hot showers and is right next to Iluka Beach. Prices from $50/night.
Bristol Point camping
This is a walk-in campsite. It’s only 50m from the car park but this means it’s for tents only. So you can’t sleep in your car, caravan or campervan. It’s smaller than Green Patch but caters more to large groups and still has toilets, hot showers and fireplaces. There are BBQs but taking your own is recommended. Prices from $34/night.
Cave Beach camping
This campground on the Southern ocean side of Booderee is another walk-in campsite. It’s a walk from the car park (700m) so you will need to carry everything in. Depending on how much you have, you might need to make a couple of trips. Having a trolley (with wheels suited to an unsealed path) makes it easier or alternatively fill a couple of backpacks. If you’re happy to do this, it’s worth it I promise.
Being able to wake up next to Cave Beach, or take the 5-minute walk to Bherwerre Beach for a morning swim or surf is for me, the reason to go camping in Jervis Bay. Having kangaroos at Cave Beach campground makes the experience even more special.
This is a basic campsite with only cold showers and toilets but there are fire pits and firewood is available for free. Prices from $34/night.
Basing yourself near Huskisson is great if you want the option to head out for drinks or dinner in the evening.
You have three places to choose from, all of them holiday parks. These may not be as unique as some of the campsites in the National Parks but are still next to a beach, or the riverfront, and have more availability if you’re looking to book last-minute. I have stayed at Jervis Bay Holiday Park in February when everywhere else was booked up.
Jervis Bay Holiday Park
Located on the river, Jervis Bay Holiday Park is in a good enough location for exploring the area. The only downside is the walk to the Husky Pub is 30 minutes along the main road so you’ll likely still want to drive in. Prices from $40/night (unpowered).
White Sands and Huskisson Beach Holiday Havens
Closer to Huskisson and with views over Jervis Bay, White Sands Holiday Haven looks to be in a better location. With prices from $40/night (powered), it’s more reasonably priced and in my experience, Holiday Haven parks and amenities are high quality and well kept. Further South is Huskisson Beach Holiday Haven, also right next to the beach. Prices from $50/night (powered). A minimum 2-night stay applies.
Honeymoon Bay Campground
This is also a popular spot and one where you have to enter a ballot to stay during the peak summer period. Outside of this, it’s first-come, first-served and only open at the weekends. The campsite itself is basic with only portaloos so you will need to take your own drinking water.
I recommend paying Honeymoon Bay a visit to see it for yourself. Personally, however, I would struggle to spend a whole weekend camping on the Beecroft Peninsula. It’s nice to see and go for a swim in the calm, clear waters but overall, I found the bay to be overrated. There’s not much to do in the area and the bay is very small. It’s also located on the Beecroft Weapons Range which makes for a less scenic trip to and from the campground.
The best things to do in Jervis Bay
The tropical-looking beaches and beauty of Booderee National Park are why this place is so popular. So focus your weekend on enjoying these elements! The wildlife to be found here is also a highlight: watch dolphins and whales from the shore or on a boat trip, and get up close to kangaroos in Booderee National Park.
What more could you want from a weekend? Here are the top things on offer in Jervis Bay.
Beaches, snorkelling, surfing and stand-up paddle boarding
The best beach has to be Murrays Beach in Booderee National Park, for feeling like you’re on a deserted, tropical island. Skip the crowds on Hyams Beach and head next door to Chinamans Beach for the same white sand, but quieter.
Aside from enjoying looking at the white sand, many of the beaches in Jervis Bay are sheltered, calm and perfect for swimming, snorkelling or even stand-up paddle boarding in some places. Here’s a list of the different water activities on offer:
- Snorkelling is possible at Honeymoon Bay, Greenfield and Blenheim Beaches, and Murrays Beach.
- Hire or have a stand-up paddle boarding lesson from Jervis Bay Stand Up Paddle. You can go down Currambene Creek, pass the mangroves on your way towards Huskisson and stop off at Callala Beach. It’s a beautiful route is where I first learnt to paddle board.
- For wilder, ocean-side beaches head to Cave Beach or my absolute favourite, Bherwerre Beach, which are unpatrolled but where you can surf.
My favourite beach in this area is Bherwerre Beach for its rugged beauty. It’s the complete opposite of the calm, sheltered waters and white sands of the bay beaches. I feel like it’s a local secret too with hardly anyone there each time I’ve visited. The beach path taking you down to the beach also makes you feel a million miles away from, well, everything.
It’s not just the white sands but the wildlife life that makes Jervis Bay so special. Spot dolphins from the shore and humpback whales during the whale season, or take a boat trip out to see them up close. For kangaroos, head straight to Cave Beach and before you’ve even left the car park you’ll encounter them.
A must-do is the White Sands Walk and Scribbly Gum Track. Pick up the 2.5km route from Chinamans Beach. A lot of it tracks the coast and takes about 30 minutes. Or, stop off for a swim at the beaches along the way and enjoy all that white sand.
For lookouts with stunning views over the bay, drive to Hole in the wall and Scottish Rocks lookouts in Booderee National Park.
Food and drink
Although limited across the entire Jervis Bay area, there are still some great options for food & drink during your stay. These are my favourites.
- Hyams Beach Store & Cafe for a truly salty atmosphere behind Hyams and Chinamans beaches. Stop by for coffee and for breakfast or lunch.
- Pilgrims Vegetarian Cafe has opened up in Jervis Bay since I was last there but the coffee and food at its sister cafe in Milton are incredible.
- Huskisson Hotel for views out over the marina and to experience a real locals vibe including trivia nights. Known to locals as The Husky.
- Jervis Bay Brewing Co. for the local beer. It’s a little out of the way but good for live music and has a fun atmosphere.
- There are no decent cafes in or near Booderee National Park but if you forget anything, you can stock up at Jervis Bay Supermarket.
I hope you manage to plan an awesome camping weekend away in Jervis Bay with these tips. It’s one of the more well-known and popular weekend destinations from Sydney so it can feel busier than other coastal NSW places to visit.
It still holds its natural charm though. Plus, the area is so big there are many stunning beaches to see and things to do over a weekend or even on a week-long trip. There is, after all, a reason it’s so popular.