Posts Tagged ‘Booderee National Park’

Hyams Beach, NSW

10 January 2010

Green Patch 9I visited Hyams Beach for a day in 1980 and all I remembered was white sand and wonderful swimming. Roo, Tash and I spent a week at Hyams Beach over New Year 2010 and memory had served me well. The area goes straight into my top ten kid friendly holiday destinations in Australia with a bullet and here’s why.

1. Swimming: it’s a no-brainer but beach holidays are all about the beach and Hyams Beach has something for everyone. At high tide the waves are great for body surfing and boogie-boarding, wave-jumping and swimming, though smaller children will need to be carried or have their hands held as the current can be strong. At low tide, the swell is gentle enough for smaller kids to manage jumping and paddling unassisted (supervised, naturally). Hyams Beach is not patrolled, populated without being crowded.

Other kid-friendly swimming places for youngsters are Moona Moona Creek between the towns of Huskisson and Vincentia, and Green Patch in Booderee National Park (see below). But we reckon Hyams is the best beach on Jervis Bay.

Rock pool 52. Rock-pools: Tash claimed one rock-pool at Hymas Beach as her ‘bath’. Another was large enough to serve as a paddling pool for a group of kids. The rock-pools are crawling with marine life – fish, crabs, starfish, anemones – waiting to be admired, scooped up into nets, or poked at with a stick. (What is it with boys and sticks? My brother reckons he never had a stick out of his hand until he took up smoking!). My best find was a small, brown octopus that Tash and I watched dart back and forth from under a rock.

Kids are best off wearing waterproof shoes on the rocks and in rock-pools on account of embedded oyster shells that cut like serrated knives.

Blues 33. Snorkeling: Roo spotted a fiddler ray (banjo shark) and a sand shark off the rocks at Hyams Beach. The rocky areas also host a variety of colourful fish – the local Aboriginal (Dhurga) word  for Jervis Bay is Booderee meaning ‘bay of plenty’ or ‘plenty of fish’. I went snorkeling in 1.5 metre water around the Bristol Point rocks at Green Patch and had a great time. There’s reputedly good diving in the area, too.

4. Sand: I’m averse to sand (which poleaxed any teen fantasies I had of being a surfie chick), but in the case of Hyams Beach I make an exception. The sand is famously white – apparently listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the world’s whitest – and provides a blank canvas for the most stunning shades of blue the sky and sea can produce. Plus it’s soft. Like walking on talcum powder.

5. Dolphins: Jervis Bay’s resident pod of dolphins chose New Year’s Day to cruise by us on Hyams Beach – which I’m taking as a good omen. A Vincentia local told me she saw them every morning on her beach walks. Dolphin watching tours by boat can be arranged from Huskisson, but I reckon you’d have to be unlucky not to see them from the shore at least once in the course of a week.

Green Patch 46. Booderee National Park: Owned by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community and jointly managed with the Commonwealth Government, Booderee National Park is exquisite; we only scratched the surface in terms of its attractions. The park is home to abundant marine life, flora and fauna and the only Aboriginal owned Botanic Gardens in Australia. We enjoyed swimming and snorkeling at Green Patch beach inside the park, which Tash dubbed ‘the forest beach’ on account of the beautiful bush, studded with colourful parrots, that goes right up to the edge of the sand. There’s a kids’ school holiday program, too.

On the one day the weather was less than perfect, we enjoyed the mangrove boardwalk near the Lady Denman Maritime Museum in Huskisson, the highlight watching red-clawed crabs play hide-and-seek in the mud. We followed this with some rock pooling at Shark Net Bay, which was fun, although the number of shark egg purses (like this one) washed up on the beach was a bit of a worry.

Green Patch 3There’s an abundance of bird life in the Jervis Bay area, too. In our immediate neighbourhood we saw rainbow lorikeets, king parrots, yellow-tailed black cockatoos and kookaburras to name a few.

Hyams Beach is on the southwest arc of Jervis Bay, just north of Booderee National Park. It’s a two-day drive from Melbourne, around 2.5-3 hours from Sydney, 4.5-5 hours from Canberra. For accommodation options try Jervis Realty or Hyams Beach Real Estate.

We self-catered, apart from New Year’s Eve when we had dinner at the Vincentia Chinese Restaurant, which deserves an honourable mention for its tasty, reasonably priced food and excellent kid-friendly service.