This article has been updated January 2018 with more things to do in Jervis Bay and places to eat. Enjy this stunning part of Australia!
With a few days of school holidays remaining and the kids beginning to grow tired of each other it was time for a change of scenery this week. So we packed up the car and headed off for some summer indulgence on the sandy shores of Jervis Bay, albeit this time with a little excess baggage in the back of the car with Willow, our lab x kelpie joining us.
I gotta be honest we got off to a very rocky start after hubby accidentally let Willow out of the back of the car and she went for an unplanned scamper across the Hume Highway in front of several semi trailers. Hysterical screaming and a few heart stopping moments later she was safely back in the car and securely tethered. Rule number one when travelling with kids and pets - tie the dog into the car!
After arriving safely in Jervis Bay and with everyone accounted for we found our pet friendly accommodation which was a cool, beachy shack with a fantastic backyard for kids and pets, complete with cubby and playground. Some of the places I manage to find on stayz and airbnb really are amazing and fill me with creative ideas for my own place back home. What's not to love with a lovely coastal garden, green lawns and a coastal weatherboard cottage. I also love the convenience and ease of your own place to really unpack, relax and live like you would at home. Willow was very at home here too with all the comforts a dog could need in a pet friendly accommodation.
Booking.com has a large choice of private holiday apartments and commercial hotel style accommodation. Check out the best options by searching below.
If you are seeking a low key relaxing break with beautiful scenery and tranquil beaches then Jervis Bay delivers. We based ourselves near Vincentia which is the closest village to Jervis Bay and Booderee National Park but is also minutes from the touristy Huskisson. Although it was school holidays, getting about was really a breeze and the area didn't feel over crowded at all. There were plenty of conveniences minutes from our holiday house with a large woolworths and aldi as well as all the other necessities.
The Best Beaches in Jervis Bay
The beaches around Jervis Bay are phenomenal and when you score a sunny blue sky you will be rewarded with shimmering clear blue waters and silky white sands. A big tick for families and pets is that many of the beaches are within the bay so there are plenty of calm and sheltered options for younger kids. All the ingredients for a relaxing and stress free beach break.
Hyams Beach is the postcard beach of the region and definitely is stunning but can also be quite hectic. If you want to escape the crowds I recommend setting out for one of the smaller beaches within Booderee National Park which are equally as beautiful. There is an $11 entry to the National Park which will cover you for a 48 hour period and gives you extensive opportunities to explore all the beaches, bushwalks and picnic spots inside the park.
Murrays Beach, found at the end of the road is a sweet little beach with some shade from overhanging trees at certain times of the day. It also has some interesting snorkelling off the northern end close to the rock pools.
Parking in the Murrays Beach carpark gives you access to some fantastic bush walks as well. We headed out to the Governors Head lookout, a scenic and simple 2.2km return walk with surprising wildlife along the way including bright green beetles and a friendly echidna.
If you are looking for a camping spot with amazing natural beauty you should really give Greenpatch a try. Located on another phenomenal beach with fantastic swimming and excellent facilities such as hot showers and toilets, greenpatch is the perfect campground for families. This place is super popular so if you plan outside of school holidays it will be much quieter and you can better appreciate the nature around you.
Although dogs are not allowed inside the National Park there are still plenty of great dog friendly options. Much to Willow's delight we found our favourite place at Nelson's Beach a short distance from Vincentia town centre which is a dog off leash beach before 8am and after 4pm during the summer period. Here we went running each morning to meet, greet and wag at all the other dogs out for their morning exercise.
We filled each evening visiting Nelsons beach for another play and splash in the waters edge before walking around the sandy Plantation Point to explore the rock pools. Around the point is Barfleur beach which was sheltered perfectly from the afternoon southerlies for night swims for the whole family.
We were very fortunate on our final morning to have a pod of dolphins swim straight past us very close to shore. They hugged the shoreline all the way from Nelsons around to Orion beach and the kids were able to follow and watch them for a nice extended period of time. A little less visited but probably one of the most gorgeous places to swim is Blenheim beach which also has a large car park and picnic area.
Bringing Willow to the beach really added another element of excitement for the kids. They loved having her dig, run and swim with them, and playing in the rock pools with their best pal was super fun.
Things to do in Jervis Bay
Away from the water, if you take the bikes and scooters there is a fantastic paved trail that connects Vincentia and Huskisson. It is perfect for some exercise and sightseeing or just getting from point A to B without starting the car. There are some particularly pretty parts along the trail close to Plantation Point that nestle amongst the treetops with views over Orion Beach and the bay.
Another option away from the beach or if the weather turns is to enjoy a wander through Huskisson village where you will find some interesting little beach and homewares shops mixed with your traditional ice cream parlours and cafes. There is a small cinema for an old school movie experience, and several boat tours operate from Huskisson if you want to book in for some on water activity.
Jervis Bay is well known for its diverse ecology and marine wildlife. We took the kids on a dolphin watching cruise which is a relaxing and enjoyable couple of hours on a sunny day. You can pre-book your boat cruise here for a discounted price.
Walks around the area are all pretty spectacular but a really easy (kid friendly) and picture postcard option is the white sands walk. Extending from the Huskissson/Vincentia boardwalk the white sands walk snakes along the coastline with never-ending views of Jervis Bay.
The sections outside of the National park are dog friendly but you will need to leave your furrry friend at home if you want to take in the whole walk. Finish the walk with a tasty treat from the Hyams General store/cafe.
A fantastic place to have some lunch or dinner is the Huskisson Hotel offering tasty pub fare combined with sweeping ocean views, a sophisticated beach vibe and loads of green space for the kids to run about while they wait for their meals.
We had a really fantastic few days in Jervis Bay and came home feeling rested. There was plenty to experience in a really mellow and relaxed environment far from the stresses and expectations of every day life. It was a great place to take the dog and our girls loved having her come on their play dates to the beach. Willow also loved being invited along and rewarded us with loads of wags and sandy smiles.
Here are some helpful hints for dog friendly holidays:
Tether the dog securely in the car
If travelling to coastal areas remember to treat your dog for tick prevention. If they are going to be swimming a lot it is better to get them the chewable tablets which are expensive but ensure the treatment doesn't wear off when swimming.
Research and find pet friendly accommodation options. Bear in mind that many holiday rentals may be pet friendly but not necessarily have secure fencing so always best to email the owner and ask for specific information about the fence heights and also whether there are other dogs if you are staying on a property where the owner also lives. Also check whether dog bedding is provided.
Research what beaches or open spaces are pet friendly and times of day that they are permitted off leash. Consider where these are located and whether you want to stay nearby or happy to put the dog in the car to get there.
Only have your dog off leash if they are well socialised, friendly and their recall is reliable.
Always have a poop bag handy. Nothing gives dog owners a worse name than owners leaving a pile of dog poop on the beach.
Keep the dog bowl accessible in the car for water stops
Have on hand your dogs' lead so you can secure your dog in the shade when you need to help your kids with anything. Trying to dress kids after the beach with the dog wrapping around and shaking sand all over you can be a little annoying.
Remember dogs in hot locked up cars are a big NO.
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