This past weekend, while Australia was experiencing its longest and most intense heat wave in recent memory, my little family took a road trip from Newcastle down to Jervis Bay. It was a 5 hour drive to camp in Booderee National Park.
It was a pretty long way to go for a just a weekend but it’s such a beautiful spot we easily agreed it was well worth it.
Booderee National Park
When staying in a NSW National Parks camp ground now, must book online, which prevents people from arriving without a place to camp. However, I’m guessing their system is not as robust as they might think because when we arrived someone was already camped in our assigned site. They had been moved manually by National Parks as they had also been double booked. Thankfully it wasn’t actually full and we found another spot easily.
Our campsite was actually quite large. Large enough for 2 large tents, a car and a communal area. But we only had one tent and one car, there was loads of space to play and chase the shade. The downside of Green Patch was that grass was a rare commodity. Actually I’ll go further, it was a myth. Our campsite was dirt, which by Sunday became mud. B-mans immune system got a real boost this weekend.
Green Patch Beach
It was about a 500 metre walk to the beach and, much like all beaches within Jervis Bay, it was stunning. It was appropriately blessed with the soft white sand and small, blue waves that the region is well known for.
We walked down just after sunset and caught a beautiful dusk wrapping up for yet another day. A swim helped to wash off the long drive before heading back for a late dinner: pre-prepared Bolognese.
Between the campground and the beach is a park and picnic area where kangaroos and birds frequent. If you visit, please remember not to feed the animals, they don’t need you to help them find food, they are animals and our food is bad for them. Despite the many signs, sadly, I still saw way too many people doing this.
While not as blistering as the rest of the country, it was still plenty hot on Saturday morning, so we of course sought relief at Hyams Beach, getting there before most of the crowds. Hyams Beach is heralded as one of Australia’s best beaches because of its blue-green waters and soft, white sand that is most uncharacteristic of east coast Australian beaches. Most of the beaches in the Jervis Bay area actually share the same characteristics, but Hyams is the longest so it gets the title.
The water is perfect for young kids because the waves are really small due to the protection of the bay. It’s really easy to supervise or carry your kid if they are small enough. There are rock pools to explore, and miles of sand to wander. We easily spent 3 or 4 hours chasing B-man, watching him eat food and sand at a 1:1 ratio (man that’s going to rash tomorrow!)
By late morning it was long past coffee time, so we headed back up to the (what would otherwise be a very quiet) street to the Hyams Beach cafe for an iced latte. I don’t think I’ve ever drank a coffee so quick, it hit exactly the right spots.
Lunch followed shortly after at the Husky Bakery and Cafe in Huskisson for one magnificent chunky pie and a donut that, despite suffering form heatstroke on the 20 minute ride back to the campsite, endured well.
Greenfield Beach and Picnic Area
I love camping, but there is only so long you can sit at a campsite chasing a toddler away from the campsite road, ensuring he only eats a minimal amount of dirt. So after lunch we moved locations to Greenfield beach picnic area, where grass abounded.
Greenfield is a small park area with shelters, trees, picnic tables and amenities so is a great place to bring a group. It’s also just a short boardwalk away from another of Jervis Bay’s incredible beaches so bring your swimmers.
Relaxing in Green Patch
If you go on holidays with my family you quickly learn that happy hour is mandatory. Tonight it included camembert and fruit cheese with crackers and home brewed beer. Yeah, you would also learn that we happy hour well.
Dinner was similar to last night but when you’re camping, effort on food (and washing up!) needs to be minimised.
By early evening the wind had really picked up and darkening clouds that were looming continued to threaten us with rain. Despite this, my weather app continued to forecast only a 20-40% chance of 0mm of rain. I couldn’t quite work it out.
Sure enough, after the board games had finished, the tent zipped up one final time, and the reading lantern switched off the lightning came. And if the thunder didn’t wake us, the sideways rain pelting the canvas certainly would have.
Thankfully, my $159 K-Mart tent held up. Nothing got wet that shouldn’t have and nothing flooded.
The morning was early but mercifully slow. A simple breakfast was followed by a casual pack up and we waved goodbye to Booderee for now by about 9:30.
An hour into the journey home we stopped at Kangaroo Valley village, a quaint town half way up a mountain, just inland from Nowra. We wandered through a tiny farmers market, an antique store and a second hand bookstore before settling down to a coffee at The General. Coffee became lunch and before we knew it the historic buildings were getting smaller in the rear view mirror.
Green Patch in Booderee National Park was one of the best facilitated national park camping sites I’ve ever been to. It was more akin to a bad caravan park than a bush camp site, but by bush camp sites standards it was perfect. There was an amenities block with his and hers toilets and showers, a disabled toilet, plus even a baby change room. Obviously it was all pretty rudimentary, but the toilets flushed and the taps flowed and that’s all that’s important.
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