On the NSW South Coast, around 3 hours south of Sydney, you’ll find the whitest sand in the world at Hyams Beach. Located in the Jervis Bay Marine Park of the Shoalhaven region, Hyams Beach is one of 16 stunning white sand beaches in the area, however has shot to fame in recent years after it was awarded the Guinness World Record for the whitest sand.
Hyams Beach is a quiet residential beach with fine white sand and clear, gentle water. It’s the perfect family beach.
While most beach seekers choose to just lie on the sand or paddle in the water, Hyams Beach is also good for snorkelling, paddleboarding and fishing.
On the southern shores of the splendid Jervis Bay Marine Park, Hyams Beach is a charming seaside village in the Shoalhaven region with an eponymous stretch of fine white sand. Gentle waves from the bay lap onto the beach, a beautiful area for rolling out your towel and relaxing on the soft sand.
We love the north end of Hyams Beach which is a smaller little bay area that is very well protected from the ocean, and has rock pools at its south end.
Hyams Beach is also the last stop on the White Sands Walk includes Hyams Beach, which starts at Nelsons Beach in nearby Vincentia and takes you through Blenheim Beach, Greenfield Beach and Chinamans Beach before ending at Hyams Beach. The walk takes around 90 minutes one way.
To the south of Hyams Beach is the stunning Booderee National Park. You can read more about the Booderee National Park as well as other things to do in Jervis Bay here.
Vivid Sydney is, without a doubt, one of my favourite times of year. 2019 marks the 11th anniversary of Vivid Sydney, the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas. From 24 May to 15 June the event lights up Sydney over 9 precincts, each featuring their own unique light sculptures.
Top Tips For Visiting and Photographing Vivid Sydney
What’s on at all 10 precincts
This year Vivid Sydney is spread across 9 precincts. Each features their own specific light installations.
Recognising the spirit and strength of First Nations Women For Vivid Sydney 2019, Exchange Place in Barangaroo will transform into Winter Camp, where visitors will experience layers of light, sound and puppetry reflective of the land and water, and inspired by changing seasons. The magnificent, six-metre tall puppet Marri Dyin (Great Woman) will return this year,
accompanied for the first time by a school of captivating fish puppets.
This incredible, giant puppet, was made by Erth, the creators of Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo.
Cristin from artsplorers.com reports as been to Barangaroo and has this to report:
“The main attraction at Barangaroo is the six-metre tall puppet, Marri Dyin. She begins the night at a huge cave-like structure at the Napoleon Plaza part of the Barangarroo walk (next to the lifts that come down from Wynyard Station). Thursday through Sundays, she is manned by several puppeteers, making a slow walk down Barangaroo Avenue (away from Darling Harbour). She’s quite impressive to see, though younger children may find her scary. This is the same puppet that was at Barangaroo last year, so if you saw it then, it won’t be new to you. We also saw a fun roving school of glowing fish, worked by several puppeteers. They don’t have a fixed location, so you just have to catch them as they make their rounds on the Barangaroo walk.”
Chatswood is a top pick for taking kids to see Vivid – lights go on at 5:30pm at Chatswood, perfect for taking the kids. Grab some food at around 5pm and you’ve got yourself the perfect early night Vivid experience.
This year my top pick looks like the super-sized trumpet flower garden that allows you to play the trumpet keys and make your own light and sound show.
The lightwalk stretches 3km from The Rocks around Circular Quay and to the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Sydney Opera House
The lights on the Sydney Opera House are always a highlight of Vivid. This year the display was created by Los Angeles-based artist-filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang. Huang collaborated with choreographer Toogie Barcelo, dancer Jenna Moroni and animation design team Bemo to create Austral Flora Ballet, a hypnotic tribute to Australia’s native plant life.
The best view of the Sydney Opera House is from the Overseas Passenger Terminal.
The light show on the Customs House is always a favourite of mine. Kids can sit entranced watching the lights play across the giant canvas. This year the display is Under the Harbour, a surreal underwater encounter witan octopus stealing the sun.
There are lots of interactive light sculptures around Circular Quay this year which are perfect for engaging kids. We loved the The Harp of the City, a series of a giant public instruments that produces sound and an interactive light show.
Samsung Electric Playground
The Samsung Electric Playground is also a massive hit and extremely popular. I suggest lining up around 5:30 on weekends for this popular experience and being the first ones inside when the lights go on at 6pm.
It’s contained in a fenced in area that you will need to line up to enter and consists of several different zones inside that include an Infinity Slide and light up hula hoops.
The Galaxy Studio is inside the Samsung Electric Playground. The entrance to the queue to get in is near the Infinity Slide. The Studio is basically a big sell for the Galaxy phones, but it’s fun to test out one of the phones and compare it to whatever your device is. Inside the Studio are two “insta-worthy” rooms that you have to borrow a Samsung device to see inside. The process is simple but time-consuming and makes this an experience that takes a while to get inside.
The two experiences are Field of Hearts, where you share your heartbeat with a friend and Ocular Odyssey, which turns your eyes into kaleidoscope art. Both experiences are entered one group at a time, hence the long wait.
After taking photos on your borrowed device you can save 10 images to your own phone and leave. You can take as many photos and videos on your own device as well but both experiences are on timers and are very short.
My absolute favourite light installation this year is Ballerina, which dances across Campbell’s Cove to music that sounds like an old music box. Just stunning.
There are also a few interactive and fun installations north of Campbell Cove worth walking up to see, including the excellent Beat-loon interactive balloons, Regal Peacock and sparkly Let It Snow, which is the last installation as you walk around the circuit. Walk back through The Rocks to experience even more installations.
This year Darling Harbour will feature plenty of space-themed installations, with many of the sculptures being interactive and especially designed to be inclusive to give people of all ages and abilities an inclusive and accessible experience.
Robot SpaceLAND looks incredible – meet electro-automotive super-bots that have been sent to sow the seeds of a brighter, greener tomorrow.
Vivid Sydney’s inclusive playground Tumbalong Lights is back. Inspired by the next frontier, playSPACE will bring together super-scale installations that give intrepid explorers an opportunity to walk Under the Milky Sky, play with Spaceballs, and share different perspectives with See What I See. Low-sensory sessions will be catered for too.
Cristin from artsplorers.com has visited Tumbalong Lights and has this to report:
“The sensory-friendly play space at Tumbalong Park has been revamped this year. Rather than one fenced area with a single entry, there are six free-standing installations, all with a space theme. Kids can get a “passport” card to have stamped after doing each activity, which my 6 year old and her friend got pretty invested in completing.
The passport may be turned in at the end of the night for a chance to win Hoyts movie tickets. There is a a wheelchair ride (younger children will need help from an adult), a musical ‘alien’ mushroom, a glowing large scale pinball inspired game, an alien face maker, a short movie, and a star-themed installation. Including queues, it took our kids about an hour to do all of the stations and fill up their passports.”
Harbour Lights turns the waters of Sydney Harbour into a light spectacular, with many vessels moving across the water in a gentle, synchronised lighting display. A cruise is a great way to see Vivid Sydney lights.
The entire Amusement Park comes alive with brilliant shapes, patterns and colours that light
the Midway promenade and enhance high-octane rides such as the new family thrill ride –
Volaré. Coney Island celebrates the unique history and magic of Luna Park with a grand projection on its exterior.
Duck in and out of historic laneways and discover a treasure trove of light sculptures.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Pull up a seat out the front of the MCA to watch Claudia Nicholson’s Let Me Down illuminate the front of the building. It’s mesmerising.
We loved the Pixar: 30 Years of Art & Animation light show at the Argyle Cut. The characters from Pixar Animation Studios most beloved stories come alive in this beautiful installation that spans Pixar’s history and shares glimpses of the art behind the films.
There are even behind-the-scenes sneak-peek at images from the upcoming Toy Story 4, which hits cinemas June 20, 2019.
Pieces of fake grass are on the cement to lie down on and watch from the floor.
We loved Bug Hunt, which lets viewers “hunt” for bugs projected into a building and Bubble Magician even though it was broken.
Always a beautiful location to see light sculptures by the ocean, with the Sydney Opera House in the background, the Royal Botanic Gardens are a fave of mine at Vivid Sydney every year.
While most of the light sculptures this year in the gardens are interactive, making this a hot spot for families, the highlight for us was Beetopia, a giant glowing bee hotel with oversized, colourful native bees crawling all over it. Specifically designed to be inclusive and accessible for people of all abilities. Push the bees’ bottoms to make them buzz!
The mesmerising firefly field is back, and there are several sculptures that respond to sound and movement.
There is also a pop up food court in the middle of the light walk.
Find a prime position near the lights that you want to see the most without a hoard of people and wait patiently until the lights get switch on. BAM – lights minus the crowds.
Lights go on at 6pm at all locations other than Taronga Zoo, where the lights go on at 5:30pm.
Hit up the most popular installations first
This has always been a key for me in conjunction with the point above. I circle back to those that it’s easy to see even with a crowd last, such as the Customs House, MCA and Sydney Opera House.
See the lights without the crowd
There are a few spots where you can see Vivid lights that are away from the general crowd. For a good view of the Harbour head to the top of the Cahill Expressway (lift at Circular Quay).
Sydney Tower Eye is the city’s tallest building and offers the best view of VIVID up above – especially to witness the moment the city light’s up at 6pm. There’s also a range of activities taking place on the Observation Deck such as: free glow-in-the-dark face painting for all ages, every night during VIVID (24 May to 16 June) on the Observation Deck from 5 to 7pm and capture the ultimate snap in the mesmerising pop-up light box, Endless Lights which offers a unique illusion of great height and depth.
Lastly, walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s free to walk the pedestrian and bike path. I would suggest walking in one direction from The Rocks to Milsons Point, and catching the train back again.
Dedicate several nights to see it all
I’m sure it’s possible to see everything in one go, but why do it if you can spread it out? With so many locations, Vivid really needs at least three nights to see everything. Break it down into sections that can be covered together. Taronga and Chatswood or Luna Park, Circular Quay, Martin Place and Botanic Gardens plus Barangaroo and the Rocks, and lastly Darling Harbour, which can be done with another of the options with a bit of commuting in between.
It gets cold at night, especially near the water. Dress warm including a coat and a beanie and gloves.
Take the kids to Taronga
This is my pick for kids because it’s ticketed, so less people, and the lights go on earlier than the other locations.
Don’t bypass the smaller Vivid locations, especially with kids
With kids in tow, the locations such as Darling Harbour and Chatswood are also an excellent idea as these spots don’t get as large crowds as the CBD does.
Chatswood is excellent as it is right next to the station and lots of restaurants for a pre-Vivid dinner and easy getaway – and lights go on at 5:50pm.
Darling Harbour has lots of interactive and accessible installations.
Pick a quiet day to go
We always go the first weekend or Monday to Thursday. The first few days are always the quietist, before photos start appearing in the news and reminding people that it’s on. The second weekend, from Friday onwards, is when it starts to get really busy. If there is a big event on elsewhere while Vivid is on, that is also a great night to go!
Take public transport to the city or pre-book parking
Pre-book a car spot if you ca’t take public transport as parking is an absolute nightmare. When taking public transport, be aware that Circular Quay train station might be busy and be prepared to walk to another station if needed.
This year we packed near the Langham Hotel in a four-hour parking zone on a Saturday so it was pretty reasonably priced.
This is for two reasons – one, because it’s night time and little people get tired, but also to keep them out of the way of being stepped on by adults.
Eat food first
We always arrive early in the city and eat before the lights even turn on. My pick is Gateway Sydney for casual, great food. There is a pop up food court at the bottom of the Overseas passenger Terminal which is great to hit up early in the evening but is a nightmare to try to buy anything from later in the evening.
We also ate at the food trucks for the first time this year and found the quality to be excellent. I highly enjoyed the vegan gnocci for $16, feta, spinach and sweet potato gozleme for $15 and a mango green tea bubble tea in a light up bulb for $13. It was great to see several vegan and vegetarian options.
Tips for seeing Vivid with kids
Take them to Taronga or Chatswood, where lights go on at 5:30pm instead of 6pm and the crowds aren’t as bad. Darling Harbour, with its interactive light playground, is an excellent choice for families as well.
Take a stroller or baby carrier for little ones.
Feed them first or bring plenty of food for on the go.
Pick up free Lost Child Wristbands for the kids at info booths located on near the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Customs House and Darling Harbour.
Dress kids in high visibility clothing and keep them in sightline at all times.
Pick one area to see at a time and return another night to see more.
Take a good camera
Take the best one you have. If you have an SLR, bring it. If the best you have is a point and shoot or your phone, then that will do. One of my old photography teachers once said “the best camera is the one you’ve got” and I’ve always remembered it!
A better camera will however produce better results, so when you’re in a tricky lighting situation such as an event after dark, I find it’s always worth bringing the best camera you’ve got.
Turn off the flash
Please, please, please turn off your flash! A good flash on an SLR camera only has a range of about a metre, so a flash on a phone is even more ineffectual. Use light from the installations to illuminate your subject matter rather than the flash.
Caveat: If your subjects are standing in front of an extremely large light sculpture and you want them facing the camera with the object BEHIND them, then this is the one time when I would suggest using the flash. There is a photography op at Taronga with gorillas that is exactly this circumstance.
Use the sculptures to light faces
Instead of using the flash, position people near the sculptures with the light directing onto them faces. Move yourself into a position where you can see the faces illuminated. Then take the photo.
Take a tripod
Obviously this is a “if you have one” scenario. In any lowlight situation a tripod is your best friend to providing camera stability and resulting in sharper images without needing to over compensate for the low light by adjusting other camera settings as much.
Lean on fences or props
If you don’t have a tripod or, like me, don’t take one because they’re quite hard to manage with a crowd or you’ve got kids in tow, wedge your camera on solid, immovable objects to get sharper shots. I use fences, the backs of chairs, you get the picture.
Bump up the ISO
If you have manual settings on your camera, bump up the ISO A LOT. I bump mine way up to ensure that the photos are in focus. The photos are grainier as a result, but at least they’re in focus.
Give kids an old camera or phone
I gave Cheese my iPhone to shoot with this year and I loved the photos she came up with. Kids have a different perspective to adults so the angles and perspectives she shot were completely different to mine.
Indulge in a luxe high tea at the Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay. Choose from the Signature High Tea, Oriental High Tea or Kids’ High Tea.
High tea at the Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay is an elegant affair. Located upstairs in the Stillery, high tea is served daily between 11am and 4pm.
Adults can choose between the Signature High Tea and Oriental High Tea, while children have a special Kids High Tea on offer to them.
We chose the Signature High Tea with the option to add a glass of chilled Champagne.
The High Tea arrives on a very traditional three tiers, with sweets on top, sandwiches on the middle and hot savouries on the bottom.
I love sweets but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found that I enjoy the savoury and scones in larger quantities and my ability to eat sweets has lessened, so this type of high tea with its food ratio is my idea of perfection.
Each high tea is also served with your choice of tea of coffee, served in a pot that gives about 1.5 cups.
We adored this high tea. The sandwiches were delicious and fresh, the scones warm, the jam absolutely divine. Hubby wanted to take the jam home.
The sweets were excellent. A great variety and unusual flavours. My fave was the lemon myrtle cheesecake with wattleseed crumble and meyer lemon curd. It was slightly tart, fresh and sweet. I could have eaten more!
The kids’ high tea was a very happy addition to the menu. Cheese often finds the food on the regular high team menu to be too fancy, so she likes to have her own high tea where the food caters to simpler taste palates. Her fave was the chocolate fondue with strawberries. She loved it so much we had to ask for more strawberries.
The service at the InterContinental was just as you would expect. Efficient and friendly, making for an extremely pleasant dining experience. Highly recommend the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay High Tea!
InterContinental Sydney Double Bay 33 Cross Street, Double Bay, Sydney NSW Bookings recommended (you can book online) Website
Fika by Cuppa Flower is a cafe and florist located at Duo Central Park, Chippendale. Go for the pretty flowers and stay for the delicious food.
It’s no secret I love pretty cafes and Fika is extremely pretty, just like its sister cafe Cuppa Flower. “Fika” is a Swedish word meaning “state of mind”. The concept is a lifestyle choice: To “fika” is to make time to take a break and enjoy the moment; by yourself or with friends.
Fika by Cuppa Flower is the perfect place to enjoy a “fika”. It’s a quiet little spot with pretty flowers and details, with absolutely delicious food that we will be going back for again.
The all-day breakfast choices were a massive hit with us, and we tried the Red Velvet Latte $5, Hot Choco $4.70, Smashed Avocado Open Sandwich With Grilled Haloumi Cheese $16.80, Acai Bowl $13.80, Japanese Souffle Pancakes $20.80 and Matcha Swiss Roll.
The soufflé pancakes are a work of art and take a bit longer to cook, so be prepared for a short wait if you order them. They were the hit dish of our lunch. Fat and fluffy and divine they just melted in our mouths. Eat them fast before they deflate!
I have a thing for red velvet lattes which are effectively a white hot chocolate. Sweet and pretty I want to drink them all day.
My open sandwich was more like a smashed avocado dish with poached egg and I thought it was not just perfectly cooked and pretty as anything, but also a generous size for the price.
Hubby ordered the acai bowl and declared it not just healthy but tasty, and then ate the rest of the pancakes, so I guess that was a good mix to go with.
Cheese’s hot chocolate came with a little bowl of mini marshmallows which was a nice touch.
We all tried the matcha Swiss roll because Cheese is going through a matcha phase. The cakes are all super fresh and pretty and It’s a great spot to try a pastry that’s a bit different to what you might usually find at cafes.
Parking in the area is extremely painful. There is no car park in the area – the closest ones are a paid station across Broadway, but you can also park in the Broadway Shopping Centre for two hours for free and walk up. We found a spot on a side street after much circling but it was only one hour so we had to eat fast.
If you’re visiting with kids: the cafe is easy to access with a stroller as it’s flat and on the ground level right off the sidewalk. There are highchairs available. No kids’ menu but there are eggs any way on the menu.
Fika by Cuppa Flower Central Park Ave,
Chippendale Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-6pm (2:30pm kitchen closes), Sat & Sun 8:30am-6pm. Prices:$$ Get Directions
Jervis Bay, in the Shoalhaven region of NSW, is a seaside haven with white sand beaches and wildlife galore. Located two-and-a-half to three hours drive south of Sydney, Jervis Bay is the perfect spot for a getaway for all ages. Stay a weekend or longer if you can. Jervis Bay will steal your heart and make it hard for you to leave. There are so many things to do in Jervis Bay!
Things to do in Jervis Bay
The main town in Jervis Bay, Huskisson is always pretty busy during tourist season. It’s full of cafes, places to shop, galleries and other amenities but it’s also hard to find a parking spot. Huskisson is on the shore of the Jervis Bay Marine Park, which is full of marine life including bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, little penguins and weedy sea dragons.
Boat tours leave from the jetty here and you can also hire kayaks. Kayaking is the perfect way to explore the stunning waters of Jervis Bay.
Image courtesy of James Pipino; Destination NSW
The Huskisson Bakery & Cafe
Drop by the iconic Husky Bakery for a pie. They are famous for their pies for a good reason – they’re delicious! The bakery has a large outside undercover eating area with play equipment to keep kids entertained, too.
If you don’t like pies, not to worry – there are plenty of things on the menu to choose from that aren’t pie-related, too. Veggie pies and other options such as sandwiches and egg dishes are on offer.
Sweet tooths will adore this little shop, packed with a huge range of traditional confectionery such as house-made fudge, toffee, Turkish delight, nougat, rocky Road, Coconut Ice and a range of Chocolate-coated products.
Not just a bookshop, Boobook is a quirky collection of the most interesting, popular and ‘never want to put down’ books, handpicked by staff. There is an excellent kids section plus a 2nd hand bargain area.
The next town south from Huskisson is Vincentia. It’s only a few minutes drive but is much quieter. It still has a few cafes and supermarkets but without the crowds. Vincentia has plenty of pretty beaches to choose from including the dog friendly Nelsons Beach.
One of the quieter beaches in Jervis Bay, Nelsons Beach has lots of white sand and nothing else in sight. You won’t find shops or cafes here but you will find space to spread out on the beach and spend a peaceful day at the beach with your family. Dogs are welcome at Nelsons Beach and in the mornings and evenings it resembles a dog park! Sunrise and sunset are both stunning at Nelsons Beach.
Another stunning beach set in the Jervis Bay National Park, Greenfield Beach has crystal clear water and powdery white sand. It also has walking tracks, free electric barbecue, clean drinking water, cold showers, flush toilet, sheltered eating area and wheelchair access, making it a perfect day at the beach. There is also a lot of wildlife in the are to be discovered on the walking tracks.
Greenfield Beach is also the start of the White Sands Walk.
Image courtesy of Destination NSW.
White Sands Walk
This beautiful walk takes you through the Jervis Bay National Park, past some of the South Coast’s most stunning beaches.
The walk starts at Greenfield Beach picnic area in Vincentia and takes you past beaches that include Chinamans, Seamans and Hyams beaches, with easy-to-follow directions. Bottlenoiose dolphins are often seen from this trail, as are fur seals, little penguins and humpback and southern right whales during their annual migration along the coast between May and November.
At Hyams Beach, where the walk ends, return via the Scribbly Gum track that goes inland through tall forests, back to the top of Greenfield Beach picnic area.
Callala Beach is the longest beach in Jervis Bay and is also dog-friendly. Calalla is a small town that is quiet and has only a few basic amenities, and is a bit further drive north out of Huskisson.
A residential area, Hyams Beach is now inundated with tourists and busy during the popular tourist times. There is one cafe to drop by for lunch or a coffee – a better idea is to pack your food for the day.
With the influx of tourists, driving and parking around the area can be painful – however, the beach itself is lovely and well worth visiting. The rock pools between the north and south beaches are a lovely spot for kids to splash around. Hyams Beach is a short drive south of Vincentia.
Farm Stay at The Woods Farm
A 15 minute drive inland from Huskisson, The Woods Farm is a farmstay with a bit of luxury. Daily animals feedings of the chickens, alpacas, feisty goats horse and miniature pony are a hit with the kids.
There are eight individual cottages to choose from, each with three bedrooms and 1.5 bath plus a glamping tent out the front that can be added on for an extra $150 a night. We stayed for two nights and enjoyed our stay, however found it a bit pricey for the experience offered. Be aware that there is a cleaning fee of $250 in addition to the nightly rate.
The largest town on the late of the same name, St Georges basin is perfect for those who love fishing, boating and swimming. St Georges Basin is on the northern shore and near Sanctuary Point, only a short drive from Huskisson and Vincentia.
A top spot to swim with kids! The entrance to the Moona Moona Creek is popular with families who love to swim in the shallow water. Nearby Moona Moona reserve is a great spot for a picnic with barbecue facilities, outdoor showers and shady areas.
I love a good lighthouse! It’s a bit of a drive to get to Point Perpendicular, but the view at the end of Jervis Bay escarpment is worth it. The historic lighthouse was active from 1889 to 1993. There is no access inside the lighthouse but I thought the view was worth the drive.
Booderee is a spectacular place to visit and stay, with white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs and teaming with wildlife. You need a park pass to enter the Booderee National Park, which you can buy at the entrance.
Jervis Bay Village
The Jervis Bay Village is the spot to to stop to pick up supplies from the general store or order a meal from the takeaway shop. We ordered burgers that came out old style and delicious. They even had several veggie options on offer including a spinach and ricotta roll and veggie burger.
Green Patch is a popular spot for its spectacular beach. The white sand and bright blue water is just as stunning as nearby Hyams, with the added tranquility of a bush surrounding. You will find plenty of wildlife in the surrounding bush such as kookaburras and kangaroos. There are extremely clean public restrooms here.
We rated Green path as the prettiest beach and as one of our favourite things to do in Jervis Bay.
Cave Beach is famous for residential kangaroos who can usually be found munching on grass in the camping area behind the beach. Be careful as the kangas can get a bit aggressive if they smell food on you so leave food in your car.
Hole in the Wall Beach
We loved walking along the beach to the sandstone rock wall at its eastern end with a U shaped hole in it that gave the beach its name: “Hole in the Wall Beach”.
The hole (well, now U shape) is a popular photography spot especially in the early morning. We also enjoyed the rock pools we found walking up the beach to the rock wall at the end. Around the U hole are more rock pools and a longer walk. Exploring amazing places like this is one of the best things to do in Jervis Bay.
The perfect family beach, Murrays has pristine, calm water perfect for swimmers and snorkelers with sparkling white sand. Murrays Beach is located in a protected bay which is sheltered by Bowen Island.
You can take several walks around Murrays Beach for stunning views of the bay as well as Bowen Island, which is off limits to tourists and is a haven for penguins. We didn’t see any penguins but we weren’t there in peak penguin season.
Where to stay in Jervis Bay
There are plenty of options from hotels to vacation rentals and camping.
Jervis Bay, in the Shoalhaven region of NSW, is a seaside haven with white sand beaches and wildlife galore. Located two-and-a-half to three hours drive south of Sydney, Jervis Bay is the perfect spot for a getaway for all ages. Find your perfect Jervis Bay accommodation here and start booking your trip!
Jervis Bay Accommodation
Where to stay in Jervis Bay
The main town in Jervis Bay, Huskisson is always pretty busy during tourist season. It’s full of cafes, places to shop, galleries and other amenities but it’s also hard to find a parking spot. Huskisson is on the shore of the Jervis Bay Marine Park, which is full of marine life including bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, little penguins and weedy sea dragons. Boat tours leave from the jetty here.
The next town south from Huskisson is Vincentia. It’s only a few minutes drive but is much quieter. It still has a few cafes and supermarkets but without the crowds. Vincentia has plenty of pretty beaches to choose from including the dog friendly Nelsons Beach plus a quieter vibe, so is our pick of where to stay in Jervis Bay.
We stayed at a house called Kokomo that we rented on Homeaway. There was a Coles and Woolworths nearby so we had all the basics sorted for cooking and it was a short stroll down the end of our street to get to the beach. Winner!
Callala Beach is the longest beach in Jervis Bay and is also dog-friendly. Calalla is a small town that is quiet and has only a few basic amenities, and is a bit further drive north out of Huskisson. We’ve stayed here before and it was a bit too quiet and far from the main area and its amenities for our liking but a lot of families love it here.
A residential area, Hyams Beach is now inundated with tourists and busy during the popular tourist times. There is very little in the way of amenities and with the influx of tourists driving and parking around the area can be painful – however, the beach itself is lovely. Hyams Beach is a short drive south of Vincentia.
St Georges Basin
The largest town on the late of the same name, St Georges basin is perfect for those who love fishing, boating and swimming. St Georges Basin is on the northern shore and near Sanctuary Point, only a short drive from Huskisson and Vincentia. There’s an IGA for basic groceries here and it’s not much further to get to the new giant Woolworths in Vincentia.
The Woods Farm
A 15 minute drive inland from Huskisson, The Woods Farm is a farmstay with a bit of luxury. Daily animals feedings of the chickens, alpacas, feisty goats horse and miniature pony are a hit with the kids. There are eight individual cottages to choose from, each with three bedrooms and 1.5 bath plus a glamping tent out the front that can be added on for an extra $150 a night. We stayed for two nights and enjoyed our stay, however found it a bit pricey for the experience offered.
We found the best way Jervis Bay accommodation to suit us through holiday home rentals from Stayz. There are plenty of houses that make for a perfect family or large group holiday – multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, full kitchen and laundry, pools and pet-friendly options are all available here.
There are lots of camping options around Jervis Bay to choose from. Read up carefully on the camp site requirements before heading down. Some require entering lotteries for peak seasons.
Booderee National Park
Booderee is a spectacular place to visit and stay, with white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs and teaming with wildlife. You need a park pass to enter the Booderee National Park. If you are planning on camping, you must stick to one of the designated camping grounds and book your spot early to avoid missing out.
Booderee National Park Camping Grounds
Green Patch is a popular spot for its spectacular beach. With its natural setting and discrete campsites, Green Patch are ideal for families and small groups. Sites are either standard or large with a choice of drive-in or walk-in.
Set among mature bushland, Bristol Point offers walk-in campsites only. Sites come in either standard or large sizes and are suitable for larger groups.
Cave Beach is a grassy camping area is set amongst coastal tea trees and is ideal for lightweight camping. The camping area is 300 metres from the carpark and all equipment must be carried in.
Honeymoon Bay is set in a picturesque location in Jervis Bay. It is approximately 10 kilometres from the edge of Currarong along the Point Perpendicular. Camping is available most weekends, school holidays and public holidays. Get more information on camping at Honeymoon Bay here.
Jervis Bay Holiday Park
A great choice for camping with kids when you still want a pool, cooking facilities and bathrooms. Jervis Bay Caravan Park and Cabins offers varies types of accommodation including powered and unpowered campsites, cabins with shared bathrooms, superior tents and private villas. The park also has it’ own private boat ramp and jetty, a perfect spot to launch your boat, canoe or Kayak.
Get a real bush camping experience on five acres of bushland surrounded by the Currambene Creek. Hidden Creek Campsite offers accommodation for all tastes and budgets. Whether you have a swag/2-10 man tent, camper van, motor home, camper trailer or caravan, they have a site to accommodate you, with secluded powered and unpowered sites, each with their own campfire pit. Hidden Creek Campsite also has a variety of cabins to suit all needs and budgets. BYO Linen/Doona’s/Sleeping Bags/Towels. Some cabins have private bathrooms, some have shared.
This unique accommodation provides guests with a camping experience soaked in luxury. The tents are solar powered and all linen and towels are provided (except for beach towels). There are no cooking facilities onsite – there is a restaurant however for full-service breakfast and dinner and gourmet picnic baskets are available. Each luxury tent has its own bathroom. Kids 6+ are welcome at Paperbark Camp, however no pets are allowed.
Glamping tents are on offer at The Woods Farm, a country farmstay which is located in Tomerong, around 15 mins drive from the Jervis Bay beaches. There is a central bathroom for all glamping guests and cooking facilities.
Hop into Easter with “The Tale of Mr Rabbit” Afternoon Tea at the Langham, Sydney
These April school holidays, treat kids with a delightful Easter-themed afternoon tea at The Langham, Sydney. “The Tale of Mr Rabbit” Afternoon Tea is an enchanting experience involving decadent treats, a stunning chocolate Easter egg display and a visit from Mr Rabbit himself.
“The Tale of Mr Rabbit” Afternoon Tea is on offer over three consecutive weekends only, from Saturdays and Sundays from 13th April to the 28th April, excluding Easter Sunday. Seating times are 12pm-2:30pm or 3pm-5:30pm.
Executive Chef Dave Whitting has prepared a fantastic afternoon tea that tastes as good as it looks. The tea is available for adults and kids – it is the same menu for both, with a reduced price for kids.
When we arrived we were delighted to see the beautiful Easter table set up in the middle of the room, overflowing with treats. About 30 minutes into our dining session the staff poured liquid nitrogen into the centre of the table which made the kids (and adults!) squeal with delight. What an extravagant table!
Mr Rabbit himself arrived just after and proved to be a dab hand at entertaining the kids. He handed out little pouches with two tiny Easter eggs in them to each child and happily posed for photos. I was delighted to see Mr Rabbit hung around for the next hour or so and happily entertained the kids. Thank you Mr Rabbit!
Also on hand to entertain squiggly little ones are colouring in sheets and plenty of coloured pencils.
Beef and potato pie *
Mushroom and gruyere cheese puff
Tuna, creme fraiche and caviar tartlet*
Kingfish tartare, lime, coriander, charcoal cone*
Chicken tarragon and spinach finger sandwich*
Curried egg and rocket finger sandwich *
(As a vegetarian I received vegan substitutes for these items.)
Homemade pastries and tea cakes
Mr Rabbit tartlet
Mandarin and white chocolate egg
Carrot and ginger garden bed
Golden egg bon bon
Hot cross bun macaron
Carrot cake and vanilla scones with homemade jam and cream
The tea also includes a selection of tea or barista coffee including an optional hot chocolate with marshmallows for children.
As always, the food at The Langham, Sydney was of exceptional quality. The fresh bread on the sandwiches and perfect, fluffy scones made me extremely happy, as these are often hard to get right.
I particularly enjoyed the curried egg sandwich and my cauliflower tartlet which was a substitute for the tuna one.
I ordered the peach iced tea for my beverage and I really could drink these all day, they are so sweet and refreshing.
Our junior diners couldn’t get enough of the scones, with both the plain and carrot proving extremely popular. While they were offered a hot chocolate, all three chose chamomile tea.
My favourite pastry was the golden egg bon bon, which has a crisp chocolate coating with a lemon centre. A little bite of heaven.
We attended on opening day and it felt like some of the kinks were still being ironed out with the tea, such as the advertised complimentary glass of sparkling on arrival which we didn’t receive, but this may have been because we attended on the first day when staff were getting the hang of the new menu and package.
The servers as always were kindness and courtesy personified. They were efficient and helpful and as always, a credit to The Langham.
Easter at The Langham Hotel 89-113 Kent St, Millers Point, Sydney NSW 2000 Prices: $$$ (Children aged 4 -12 $45 and adults $95) Hours: Seating is from 12pm-2:30pm or 3pm-5:30pm. Bookings are available on all Saturdays and Sundays from 13th April to the 28th April, excluding Easter Sunday. Phone: 02 9256 2222 Get Directions
We were guests of The Langham, Sydney. All opinions are my own.
Bistro Dalby is a chic restaurant serving up Modern Australian cuisine. Located inside the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel, the restaurant is the perfect place to dine after a day of sightseeing.
The restaurant offers indoor and alfresco dining options and a fully equipped bar. The menu has a great variety of dishes, including fresh and healthy options, with dietary requirements such as vegetarian and gluten free accommodated for.
Bistro Dalby has a bright, modern interior. We loved the orange chairs that were as comfortable as they were stylish. With plenty of space between the tables and its location on the ground floor of the hotel. Bistro Dalby is also wheelchair and stroller accessible.
Kids get their own special menu with the biggest variety of dishes I’ve ever seen, plus a page of activities on the back. It’s the first place we have dined where there have been so many kid options that it took a while for Cheese to decide what she wanted!
Adults will love the extensive wine list and menu that features a good choice of dishes that suits all appetites and diets.
We ordered the kids’ Spaghetti Bolognaise without meat and deconstructed for our fussy eater ($9.50). There are carefully hidden grated veggies in the sauce but shhhhh don’t tell our picky eater. She also chose the Ice Cream ($4.50) for dessert and the Kids’ Milkshake ($4.50).
I chose the Pumpkin Ravioli (w/ crisp sage & a burnt butter sauce topped w/ tea soaked raisins (V) $16) and Vegetarian Delight Pizza (w/ fresh napoli sauce, roasted sweet potato, goats cheese, rocket, spanish onion & pinenuts $22).
I loved my dishes. The ravioli was perfectly cooked with creamy pumpkin inside and the serving size was very generous for an appetizer (the dish is available in a larger side for a main).
My pizza was delicious. The base was crispy and the toppings fresh. I can’t stand a soggy pizza and this was spot on. The pinenuts were a particularly nice touch with the zesty goats cheese.
Hubby ordered the fish of the day. His only comment was “delicious” and not a single morsel was left. He also enjoyed the fresh mixed leaf salad.
It was hubby’s birthday when we dined and the staff brought his selected desert, the deconstructed mango cheesecake, with a candle on top and sang happy birthday to him. He isn’t a big dessert person so it speaks volumes that he loved it.
The staff at Bistro Dalby couldn’t have been more welcoming, friendlier or helpful throughout our stay. Our wonderful waitstaff could not do enough to make our dining experience memorable.
Cuppa Flower is a delightful spot in the Sydney suburb of Waterloo that is a combination of cafe and florist. Good coffee, great food and fresh flowers are on offer.
The cafe is extremely popular due to their highly Instagrammable food and drinks, including vibrant cakes, smoothies and pancakes.
There is an all day breakfast menu plus a dedicated lunch menu. Popular choices include the red velvet, taro, and matcha green lattes, flower teas, fizzy lemonade drinks, acai bowls, pancakes, pastries, sandwiches and wraps.
Everything is beautifully presented, and thankfully tastes as good as it looks.
Cuppa Flower is a busy cafe thanks to its Instagram fame. There is a wait of 20 minutes when we arrive on a Sunday lunch, with a large crowd outside the front steps.
The staff are friendly and extremely efficient. No time for small talk and chit chat, but everything is said and served with a genuine smile.
Tip: Order at the counter, don’t wait for a server to come to your table!
We ordered the Kids Fish and Chips ($12.50), Ricotta Pancake (served with seasonal fruit, cuppaflower homemade mixed berries jam, ricotta cheese, honeycomb, mascarpone cheese and maple syrup, $20.80), Eggs on Toast Your Way (2 free range eggs, poached scrambled or fried, and a choice of toast, $9.50) with a side of Hash Brown ($4) and the Grilled Atlantic Salmon Steak (quinoa, edamame bean, cheery tomato, roasted pumpkins, asparagus, lemon wedges and mayonnaise, $25.80) and the lavender-flavoured Iced Fizzy ($7.50).
Usually when we order pretty dishes they don’t taste that great, so it was a wonderful surprise that the fancy pancakes tasted amazing. I would order them again in a heartbeat.
The kids’ fish and chips were a massive serve and was served nice and hot and fresh.
The scrambled eggs were creamy with a generous side of toast and tomato relish. Two hash browns were served as the side.
Hubby enjoyed his salmon and declared that he would be more than happy to eat here again as the food was delicious, not just pretty.
My fizzy drink was a mix of lemonade and lavender and I found it extremely refreshing.
The kids menu has plenty of options for junior diners, and there was a high chair available for babies.
Disabled access is through a ramp in the rear.
The cafe is even dog-friendly, with two tables outside where canines can enjoy brunch with their humans.
Anna Polyviou’s Enchanted Easter Garden High Tea Picnic at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney
Fall down the rabbit hole with Anna Polyviou at her enchanted Easter Garden with a delightful High Tea Picnic at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, from 30 March to 29 April, 2019.
The pop-up garden is a fantastical world of colour with delightful treats to match, created by our fave pastry chef, the Punk Princess of Pastry, Anna Polyviou.
Follow the bunny feet in the lobby and hop on down to the Easter garden to enjoy the immersive experience. There’s a mini maze with flamingoes straight out of Alice in Wonderland, giant mushrooms, towering and tiny bunny rabbits, mad hatter clocks and white tables and chairs set up for “al fresco” dining.
Tiny details are set amongst the garden for those who look carefully. A little sheep, a fox, Easter eggs in abundance. It’s an absolute delight to dine in such a whimsical setting, with amazing attention to detail.
The Easter High Tea Picnic is something special. It comes in a hamper and includes a decadent menu which features:
Matcha sponge, vanilla chantilly, strawberry gel
“Lemon Meringue Pie Macaron”
Lemon zest, meringue pie, macaron
The menu is the same for adults and kids, with a discounted price for ages 0-11. I would say it’s an adventures menu for little kids so would recommend it for those willing to try new things or older kids. I did really enjoy the unusual additions to a traditional high tea, such as the inclusion of cheese and crackers, the matcha Club Cake, hot cross buns and milk whippy.
Cheese’s favourite items were the matcha cake (she ate both pieces), mandarin pop on the “Cracked Egg” and the “Mrs Whippy” which I thought tasted a bit like Japanese milk soft serve, but with the consistency of ice cream. Really delicious!
As always with the Shangri-La Hotel, everything in the basket was just delicious. Fresh, light, perfectly cooked. The hot cross buns were some of the best I’ve ever tasted and the macaron was not only adorable with cute bunny ears, served in a garden pot along with hidden Easter eggs, it was absolutely was heavenly and melted in my mouth.
I thought the serving size was generous and left absolutely stuffed even though I didn’t eat everything that came in the basket.
Also included is your choice of tea or coffee. We chose the chamomile flowers, which comes in a pop big enough for 2.5 cups of tea, and a hot chocolate for the little lady (two marshmallows! Score!).
Add a Belvedere Spritz for $14, Chandon Rose for $14/glass or Chandon Spritz for $12/glass. You can also try the Popcorn Caramel Martini.
At night the garden caters to grown-ups with a cocktail picnic basket for two, and food including cured meats, Australian cheese, olives, fluffy quiche, and the fresh fruit (pictured below).
Anna’s Easter Garden is open at the Lobby Lounge, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, 176 Cumberland Street, The Rocks, from 30 March to 29 April 2019.
The Easter High Tea Picnic is available daily from 11am-12.45pm, 1pm-3pm, and 3.15pm-5pm, and is priced from $75 per person, and $55 per child (0-11 years).
The Cocktail Picnic Basket is available from 6pm-9pm, and is priced from $55 for two.
Sweet devotees can also enjoy an Easter Escape stay package including High Tea from $420 per night.