Jervis Bay weekend getaway: best places to eat and drink

Megan Johnston
Intimate bush setting: The Gunyah at Paperbark Camp.
Intimate bush setting: The Gunyah at Paperbark Camp. Photo: Supplied

Jervis Bay may be known for its pristine beaches, turquoise waters and snowy-white sands but look beyond the jaw-dropping natural beauty of this diverse area and you'll also find a thriving food culture.

Only a couple of hours' drive south of Sydney, the area is dotted with picturesque villages but the hub of its dining scene can be found in Huskisson. Here you'll find local produce, great coffee, fresh seafood, pub fare and upmarket meals – in other words, everything to satisfy the discerning diner and families keen for a quick feed – and anyone in between.

Eat

If it's a little romance you're looking for, don't forget to book ahead at The Gunyah. This intimate treehouse-style venue overlooks the safari-style tents at the secluded Paperbark Camp and offers a rotating set menu as well as paella-and-pisco nights on Sundays. Book a spot on the balcony and you might even meet one of the nocturnal visitors, who have a habit of dropping by after dusk.  Back in town, Wildginger and The Waterhouse offer a choice of Asian and bistro fare, while caffeine-hunters after a brew and breakfast need look no further than the local cafe strip, which includes 5 Little Pigs, Supply and vegetarian cafe Pilgrims. When the craving for wood-fired goodness inevitably hits, head over to local Italian joint Faro Bianco. Or for something a little more low key, try Hyams Beach Store and Cafe, where a milkshake or burger always hits the spot. Of course, no beach trip is complete without fish'n'chips so ask for some fresh, local seafood at the local chippy on Owen Street and the staff will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Citrus-cured salmon, avocado, pickled cucumber and fennel salad at Hyams Beach Store and Cafe.
Citrus-cured salmon, avocado, pickled cucumber and fennel salad at Hyams Beach Store and Cafe. Photo: Marco Del Grande

The Gunyah at Paperbark Camp, 571 Woollamia Road, Woollamia, 02 4441 7299
Wildginger, 42 Owen Street, Huskisson, 02 4441 5577 
The Waterhouse, 13 Currambene Street, Huskisson, 02 4441 8801 
Pilgrims, Shop 5-6, 57 Owen Street, Huskisson, 02 4441 6118 
5 Little Pigs, Shop 4, 64-66 Owen Street, Huskisson, 02 4441 7056 
Supply, 1/54 Owen Street, Huskisson, 02 4441 5815 
Faro Bianco, 2/52 Owen Street, Huskisson, 02 4441 6511 
World Famous Fish N Chips, 2/54 Owen Street, Huskisson, 02 4441 5556 
Hyams Beach Store and Cafe, 76-78 Cyrus Street, Hyams Beach, 02 4443 3874

Drink

For a beer with your mates, The Huskisson is your pick (they do big pub meals too). On Saturday nights it can get a tad rowdy but clock in at toddler o'clock and you won't have trouble finding a seat (or high chair). If it's cocktails, wines and spirits you're after, try the bar at The Waterhouse around the corner or don your best club-friendly attire for a drink at Club Jervis Bay, which offers wines, coffee and cakes from its prime perch looking on to one of the best water views in town.   Otherwise, pick up some cheese and wine from town to take on an intimate sunset cruise on the Husky Ferry. Your guide will supply an esky, glasses, chairs, cutting boards and music – everything else you need for a relaxed evening on the water.

The Huskisson on Jervis Bay, Owen Street, Huskisson, 02 4441 6754
The Waterhouse, 13 Currambene Street, Huskisson, 02 4441 8801  
Club Jervis Bay, 2-8 Currambene Street, Huskisson, 02 4441 5282 
The Husky Ferry, 0467 648 504

The Sail on in Boatshed.
The Sail on in Boatshed. Photo: Supplied

Shop

The local cafe-cum-deli Supply sells an attractive range of salads and tarts alongside shelves of pastas, oils and other fancy wares. It's the ideal place to put together a picnic hamper to take to any of the many local scenic spots and it offers catering, too. You'll find a decent choice of gourmet produce including local marinated baby figs, pasta sauces, dressings and oils at Hyams Beach Store and Cafe, while Husky Bakery and Cafe has the low-down on all things pies, pastries and bread-related. For fresh fruit and veg as well as home-baked goodies, get up early for the Huskisson markets, held on the second Sunday of the month, or the Jervis Bay Marine Museum produce markets (formerly the Lady Denman markets), held on the first Saturday.

Supply, 1/54 Owen Street, Huskisson, 02 4441 5815 
Husky Bakery and Cafe, 11 Currambene Street, Huskisson, 02 4441 5015  
Huskisson Markets, 2nd Sunday of the month, Huskisson sports oval, 0409 740 704 
Jervis Bay Marine Museum produce markets, 1st Saturday of the month, Dent Street, 0459 050 935

Stay

For absolute beachfront, you'll need to fork out for one of the pricey private properties along Vincentia's Collingwood Beach, but there are plenty of other options for visitors of all persuasions. For the glamping set, Paperbark Camp offers deluxe safari-style tents, complete with mosquito nets, baths and bush showers, while loved-up couples looking for a little romance will enjoy the character and style of Hyams Beach Seaside Cottages. Into sailing and water sports? Check out Sail on in Boatshed, a perfect perch to watch the comings and goings in the bay. Families with small children who don't want to be too far from the action will love the clean and tidy cabins at Huskisson White Sands Tourist Park, while Bay of Plenty Lodges further south is a great base for bushwalks, kayaking and more. For nature-lovers, Booderee National Park is home to some of the prettiest camping spots on the south coast, namely Green Patch and Bristol Point. You'll need some luck on your side if you plan to stay over the summer break, however – hopeful campers need to enter a ballot months ahead in order to secure a spot.

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Paperbark Camp, 571 Woollamia Road, Woollamia 02 4441 7299 
Sail on in Boatshed, 13 Field Street, Huskisson
Hyams Beach Seaside Cottages, 53/55 Cyrus Street, Hyams Beach, hyamsbeachseasidecottages.com.au 
Booderee National Park, parksaustralia.gov.au/booderee  
Bay of Plenty Lodges, Ellmoos Road, 02 4441 2018, bayofplentylodges.com.au 
Huskisson White Sands Tourist Park, 2 Beach Street, Huskisson, huskissonwhitesands.holidayhaven.com.au