Paperbark Camp

Jervis Bay, South NSW Coast, Australia Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
Comfortable tented eco-camp and excellent restaurant, perched amid paperbark forest near stunning Jervis Bay, 3 hours south of Sydney
After a 3-hour journey down the Princes Highway from Sydney, a brilliant flash of parrots in the canopy of gum trees welcomes you to Paperbark Camp. It centres around 'The Gunyah', an architect-designed, high-stilted house of timber and corrugated iron, which houses an airy restaurant, kitchen and reception. Paths leads to tranquil Currambene Creek where you can launch canoes; other trails lead into deep eucalypt forest for kangaroo-spotting and choirs of birds at dawn.

Irena and Jeremy Hutchings were inspired by their visit to Honeyguide in Africa to create a luxury tented camp on home soil. It took 10 years to realise their vision. They chose the white-sand horseshoe of Jervis Bay for its wonderful national parks, its wealth of activities from whale-watching to diving, and its sheer beauty. After waiting 4 years for planning permission, they created one of Australia's most eco-sensitive lodges on its protected wetlands: no large trees were felled, furniture is hand-crafted from offcuts, and the treehouse-style canvas tents are solar-powered.


  • This is grown-up camping: comfortable, romantic and great fun
  • Delicious and inventive gourmet menu at the tree-level restaurant
  • Pristine creeks, beaches, birds and woodland to explore on foot, bike, canoe or horseback
  • Delightful welcome and friendly helpful service from your hosts


  • Camping, albeit of a posh kind, isn't for everyone
  • Due to the swampy wetlands, mozzies can be annoying when outdoors (particularly in the humid months of January and February) but tents are screened and good repellant is provided
  • Activities are outdoor-based, so not much fun if it rains, and staying in the tents would get a bit claustrophobic

Best time to go

The summer (November-March) is perfect for swimming, canoeing, surfing and boat trips, though it can get busy and humid. Many prefer to come in autumn (March-May), when it's quieter and the water is still warm enough to swim in; or in spring (September-November) when you have a chance of seeing the whales, although it's a bit cold for swimming.

Our top tips

Take books to read, binoculars for wildlife and bird watching, good boots if you want to walk and go riding, clothes for dinner and also for adventuring. The camp provides a very effective 'Mozzie F.O.' repellent.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Tented Eco-Camp
  • 12
  • Restaurant
  • Over 6s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Canoes / SUP boards


Each carefully positioned tent has its own pathway lit at night by solar markers, and steps up to a wooden porch where you can sit in privacy with a drink. The A-frame structures are under a solid sloping roof, so there's no dampness (or noise) if it does rain. Mesh front and back walls, and screen windows in the side, allow air to flow through while any mozzies stay zipped outside.

Lying in the surprisingly comfy bed under a pure wool doona (duvet) you hear nothing but birdsong and the hum of the forest - bliss. At night, solar-powered lighting emits a gentle glow; a candle lantern adds romance. Water is provided, as well as a mosquito coil, a wind up torch, and ear plugs should you want to forego the dawn chorus.

In the Original Tents, the ensuite shower bathrooms are out through the zippered back-door (yes the water is nice and warm). The Deluxe Tents take things up a notch with wonderful freestanding bathtubs in their indoor ensuites, while the King Deluxe Tents have both, plus oodles of space for extra beds and lounging.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Slippers


The architect-designed plywood and corrugated iron restaurant, The Gunyah, (Aboriginal for meeting place) is perched on high stilts for a possum's-eye view of the forest. Bird tables are fixed to the trees to encourage the prolific parrots to come closer. In summer, the high-ceilinged restaurant opens up on 2 sides to the elements, so as dusk falls you can watch the sugar gliders fly down from their roosts, and gaze back at the ring-tailed possums observing you from the veranda rail.

Its mouth-watering dinner menu is packed with exotic and unfamiliar spices, meats and veg. The chef is South American and this influence adds a twist to the comtemporary Australian cuisine - we’ve heard great things about the weekly ‘Pisco and Paella Night’.There's also a good wine list and the camp’s vegetable garden provides much of the restaurant produce.

Breakfast is a simple buffet of yogurt, home-made compote, granola, fruit salad, home-made jams and local honey, with doorstop pieces of toast and cooked eggs if you have room from last night, which somehow we did. A picnic basket can be made up for lunch if you're out on excursions - just ask the day before.

Features include:

  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Wander over to the pristine creek of Currambene and launch your canoe or paddle-board; head upstream through tranquil forests for superb birdlife, or downstream for an hour to the ocean-mouth at Jervis Bay, where sea-kayaking can also be arranged
  • This is a birdwatcher's paradise - look out for noisy king parrots above, teal on the creek, fairy-wrens in the undergrowth
  • There are walking trails through the forest - if you're early and quiet enough you'll see kangaroos grazing. It’s also a birdwatcher's paradise - look out for noisy king parrots, teal, and fairy-wrens in the undergrowth
  • Borrow the lodge's mountain bikes, or visit the well run riding stables 5km down the road, and you can ride pristine trails through native forest
  • Paperbark can arrange Wreck Bay Walkabouts which give a valuable insight into Aboriginal culture with bush tucker tours and campfire talks
  • Head to the pristine white sand beaches of Jervis Bay; uring November - May it’s warm enough to swim, and it’s reckoned to be one of the best places on the south coast for diving and snorkelling
  • Just off Jervis Bay’s shores, dolphins, a seal colony and penguins reside on Bowen Island. Hump-backed and Southern Right whales pass Jervis Bay on their annual migrations (May/June and October/November)
  • Explore the beaches, bush and birdlife of nearby Booderee National Park and its Botanic Gardens; there are other national parks a little further away
  • Take a scenic drive through the hinterland - there are wineries to discover and famous artist Arthur Boyd's home, Bundanon, is worth a visit
  • Relax with a massage on your balcony surrounded by the sounds of the bush

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Whalewatching
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga


This is a great place to bring outdoorsy children- there's heaps to do (wildlife watching, bicycles to use, canoes and kayaks, horseriding nearby, and beaches) and they will love the camping experience. Smaller kids aren't really suitable for the terrain and the proximity to the river, although children from 4-6 can be accepted by special arrangement.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All the tents can accommodate at least 1 extra person. The King Deluxe Tents are best for families as they can sleep up to 6 people (although the layout is very open-plan).


Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Kid Friendly:

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