Located three hours to the south of Sydney, the coastal community of Jervis Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations in New South Wales.
Right on the border with Victoria, Jervis Bay is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches on the east coast of Australia.
This protected area is home to the Jervis Bay Marine Park, where you can snorkel and scuba dive, as well as the Boodoree National Park and Botanic Gardens, a protected area wholly managed by the local Aboriginal community.
To inspire your trip, here are our favorite things to do in Jervis Bay!
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Australia (Travel Guide)
15 Things to Do in Jervis Bay, Australia
1. Explore the Boodoree National Park and Botanic Gardens
The area now known as the Boodoree National Park and Botanic Garden was formerly known as the Jervis Bay National Park.
Before that, this was Aboriginal land for thousands of years. To recognize that, the administration of the land was given over the local community to protect the area.
Within the national park, you’ll find the best beaches and natural sights within the wider Jervis Bay area. The botanic gardens are the largest in Australia to be managed by an Aboriginal group.
If you are into nature and the great outdoors you need to check out this tour offered from Jervis Bay: Fishermans Paradise Eco-walk
2. Visit the Beaches of Huskisson
The small coastal community of Huskisson is one of the major tourist hubs in the Jervis Bay region.
The town is best known for its beautiful white-sand beaches; the best include Huskisson Beach and White Sands Beach, both of which are just a short walk from the center.
You’ll find some lovely caravan parks and holiday homes in Huskisson, as well as charming local cafes and restaurants, making this one of the best places to stay while you explore the rest of Jervis Bay.
When visiting Jervis Bay you must do this tour: Jervis Bay Passage Cruise
3. Delve into History at the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum
For history lovers, one of the best things to do in Jervis Bay is to visit the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum.
The region has a long history of boat building, fishing, and whaling. You can learn about all this at this great local museum.
You’ll see historical wooden ships, old navigational devices, and many more exhibits on display. There’s also a section devoted to pre-European history.
You can learn more about the local Aboriginal groups that called Jervis Bay home for thousands of years before Captain Cook arrived.
4. Visit the Cape St George Lighthouse
History lovers will want to visit the dramatic ruins of the 150-year-old Cape St George Lighthouse, located along the coast in Boodoree National Park.
This historic lighthouse was built to protect ships traveling along the rugged coast of New South Wales, but it was built in the wrong place in the 1860s.
The lighthouse proved to be dangerous to passing ships, attracting them towards a hazardous stretch of coastline. In the 1920s, the lighthouse was torn down – but not before at least 20 ships were wrecked on the rocks here!
Today, the ruins make for a fantastic piece of local history and a great lookout over the Pacific Ocean.
5. Join a Whale Watching Tour
Europeans originally settled the Jervis Bay area because of the vast number of whales that migrated along the coastline. Whaling was an integral part of Jervis Bay’s history until the whales were almost hunted to extinction.
Today, whaling is no longer a thing, of course. Instead, the whale populations are protected and have become an integral part of the local tourism industry.
If you’re here between May and November, one of the best things to do in Jervis Bay is to join a whale watching tour.
Whales migrate north, passing close to the coast and the marine park. They often use the sheltered bays to rest and recuperate on their great migrations.
Book your Jervis Bay Whale Watching Cruise today!
6. Join a Dolphin Watching Tour
As well as whale watching tours, you can join dolphin watching tours. Because many dolphins are local to the area, tours run throughout most of the year, except if the weather is too rough.
Many of the local dolphins are friendly and well known to the boat captains. They’ll often put on a show for the passing boats in Jervis Bay!
Book your Jervis Bay Dolphin Watch Cruise today!
7. Snorkel the Jervis Bay Marine Park
The Jervis Bay Marine Park is a protected area covering much of the water of Jervis Bay itself, starting from the easily accessible waterfront at Huskisson.
The marine park is a wonderfully diverse place. If you’re here in summer, one of the best things to do in Jervis Bay is to go snorkeling.
You’ll find a glorious underwater world and crystal-clear water that gives perfect visibility to snorkelers.
8. Scuba Dive Bowen Island
Bowen Island is a small, protected island found off the coast of Boodoree National Park. The island is an important nesting site for Little Penguins and is home to hundreds of these little creatures.
That makes access by land difficult for your average tourist, but underwater access is an attractive option.
One of the best things to do in Jervis Bay is to go scuba diving around Bowen Island. The rocky, underwater terrain is a haven for marine life. Divers love the overhangs and underwater caves and canyons found here.
9. Dive the Fairey Firefly Wreck
One of the most fascinating dive sites in Jervis Bay is the wreck of a crashed Fairey Firefly plane. Fairey Fireflies were famously flown through World War II, but this plane crashed while being used for training in 1956.
The wreck now attracts a vast array of marine life and makes for a historic diving point within Jervis Bay.
10. Surf the South Coast Pipe
Surfers will find a lot of great waves and breaks they can hit up while in Jervis Bay; one of the most famous is the South Coast Pipe. The pipe is found in Summercloud Bay, which is part of Boodoree National Park.
This is one of the most iconic waves on the East Coast of Australia, but it’s not one for the amateurs. The tube can reach up to 12 feet in height, making this a challenge even for the pros.
While you can surf it if you’re experienced, it’s just as much fun to watch the pros hitting up the South Coast Pipe from the safety of the beach!
11. Enjoy the View at Steamers Beach
One of the best things to do in Jervis Bay is to enjoy the view at Steamers Beach. This epic coastal spot is where you’ll find a long line of dramatic sea cliffs, towering high above the beach.
Steamers Beach has cliffs that rise to 130 meters in height, making these some of the tallest sea cliffs in New South Wales.
For exceptional views, walk down an incredibly steep set of stairs that lead below the cliffs. Or you can enjoy the vistas from the top of the cliffs if you don’t want to tackle the stairs!
If your into view’s you have to check out this tour: Hiking The Castle in the spectacular Budawang Mountain Range
12. Hike White Sands Walk
One of the best things to do in Jervis Bay is to hike the White Sands walking track. This relaxed walk lasts around 90 minutes, there and back.
It starts at Greenfield Beach on the coast of Jervis Bay and finishes at Hyams Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the area.
The walk takes its name from the fact that the beaches you pass are home to some of the whitest sands in Australia.
The beaches are truly stunning, and you can stop off where you please as you walk from one stretch of sand to the next!
If your feeling adventurous while visiting Jervis Bay you need to go on this tour: Canoes Champagne and Canapés – Kangaroo Valley
13. Relax at Hyams Beach
Hyams Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Jervis Bay. It’s worth taking extra time to enjoy the views and the soft, white sand.
The beach is found at the end of the White Sands walk, but you can get here by road too.
The long, white sand beach follows Jervis Bay to the south, where you meet the border with the protected area of Boodoree National Park.
14. Marvel at Greenpatch Point
Carry on to the south of Hyams Beach, and you’ll soon reach Greenpatch Point, one of the most beautiful places within Boodoree National Park.
Greenpatch Point overlooks the calm, crystal clear waters of Jervis Bay. It’s the perfect place to spend the day in solitude. The surrounding sands are perfectly white, while the views over the bay are astounding.
15. Explore Jerrawangala National Park
Head inland once you’ve explored all the best things to do in Jervis Bay, and you can visit the wild setting of Jerrawangala National Park.
This beautiful area is great for outdoor lovers. The best place to hike to is the Jerrawangala Lookout. From the hilltop, you can see across the national park and as far out as Jervis Bay along the coast!
Bonus! Hiking in Boodoree National Park
One of the perks of camping in a National Park in Australia is that you have access to some pretty neat walking tracks.
Booderee National Park is no exception to this and during our 4 days of camping there, we took advantage of the well-marked paths and diverse landscape that the park offers to its patrons.
Since we had decided to camp at Green Patch, we were right in the heart of the park with access to the beach and walking trails.
There is something peaceful about wandering along a path in the woods. The only sounds you hear are your feet across the ground, the calls of the birds and the wind moving softly through the trees.
I found myself stopping frequently and looking up into the tall trees and just listening. It was a surreal experience.
It wasn’t long before we sighted our first animal, a cute little Wallaby just hanging out in the path. Although startled enough to bounce off the trail, he was too curious to keep going and lingered for us to get a little closer.
Not really bothered by us but not wanting us to move quickly or get any closer either. I was ok with this; I had a zoom lens.
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