“Comfortable tented eco-camp and excellent restaurant, perched amid paperbark forest near stunning Jervis Bay, 3 hours south of Sydney”
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 repellent 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
Our top tips
- Tented Eco-Camp
- Over 6s welcome
- Closed: August
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- 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 Deluxe Plus Tent has an open-air bathroom plus an extra stargazing deck. Top of the pile is King Deluxe Tent, which has tonnes of space for extra beds and lounging.
- Extra beds
- Internet access
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.
- Lunch by arrangement
- 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; during 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:
- Horse riding
- Plantlife / flora
- Scuba diving
- Traditional cultures
- Whale watching
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.
Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
All the tents can accommodate at least 1 extra person. The King Deluxe Tent is best for families as it can sleep up to 6 people (although the layout is very open-plan).
Babysitting is available by arrangement.