February 16, 2023
6 mins Read
From swimming with whales and seals to spotting dolphins, looking for fairy penguins and feeding schools of fish, here are 11 of the best wildlife encounters in Jervis Bay.
Did someone say wine and whales? Genius. The Shoalhaven City Council recently launched the Wine & Whales campaign, which suggests: a whale-watching cruise with Jervis Bay Wild or Dolphin Watch, a Swim with the Whales experience with Dive Jervis Bay and a visit to the region’s nearby vineyards. Top off your wine-soaked whale-watching weekender with a unique stay in Jervis Bay.
Make the journey on Seascape with Woebegone Free Dive from Woollamia Boat Ramp to snorkel or free-dive with a colony of NZ and Australian fur seals. Woebegone is one of only a few operators with a license to swim with both seals and whales in NSW waters, which means you can jump in the big blue and do just that during the migration season. Kudos to the eco-minded operator, which partners with Sea Shepherd, for organising monthly beach clean-ups, too.
While the emphasis around Jervis Bay is often on the turquoise seas, there’s also a chance to lose yourself in the surrounding forest and farmland. Families who stay at The Woods Farm of Jervis Bay are encouraged to feed the farm animals, which includes a menagerie of cows, horses, and sheep. Give the tree-change a trial run by staying in a cute-as cottage or bell tent, collecting fresh eggs for breakfast and then watching kangaroos hop by on cue.
Jervis Bay Maritime Museum is located near a kink of Currambene Creek, a saline coastal tributary that runs from Huskisson through to the Paperbark Camp. A day trip here awaits you and your kids who will love feeding the fish in The Pond, a gazetted fish reserve that provides a sustainable habit for species such as kingfish, flathead, flounder and octopus. See the landscape from an Indigenous perspective on a Gadhungal Murring tour, which departs from the museum.
Take a sunset cruise on the Husky Ferry through the Jervis Bay Marine Reserve and it’s highly likely you’ll spy stingrays flying through the cerulean seas. The sunset cruise, which operates out of Huskisson and Myola, is touted by locals as . Hop onboard the ferry as it makes its way up Currambene Creek in winter and you’re likely to see baby stingrays swimming with their mothers.
Dolphin Watch Cruises was one of the first companies to offer dolphin and whale watching tours in Australia and has been cruising in and around Jervis Bay for more than three decades. There’s a high probability you will see the resident bottlenose dolphins surfing the waves created by the boat carving through the seas. And, with the aid of binoculars, you might even be able to spot a whale (between May and November) or sea eagle soaring overhead.
Find a perch to sit and look out over St George’s Basin from the Pelican Waterfront Café & Restaurant and you are bound to see the large water birds patrolling the shore in search of fish. Watch the pelicans wade into the water yawning open their bills and then stuffing themselves to the gills as scraps of fish are thrown their way by local fisherman. This kind of opportunistic form of feeding does not work for guests at the café, so get in line to order that seafood plate for two.
From above, Jervis Bay Marine Park resembles a pretty turquoise necklace, with the sand stretching around Jervis Bay in a series of perfect crescents. One of the things that makes the place so special is the wildlife, and Jervis Bay Wild knows where to go to secure front-row seats to see nesting colonies of several different seabird species, such as the fairy penguin and sooty oystercatcher.
A number of octopuses have been spotted living in high density at a site in Jervis Bay according to the Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology journal. While scientists continue to study congregations of the gloomy octopus, you may be able to spot a cephalopod or two swimming in and around the rock platforms off Green Patch Beach. As well as being a popular spot to snorkel, you can stay at Green Patch campground in beautiful Booderee National Park.
On a good day you will see whales blowing and pods of dolphins onboard Jervis Bay Sailing Charters. On a bad day … uhh, wait, there are no bad days. Head to the bow of the boat to spot dolphins and whales when they’re migrating up or down the coast. Otherwise, just kick back on the forward trampoline area under a full sail and stare up at the sky, looking for sea birds on your exclusive yacht charter.
Wait for a day when the skies are stretched tight like a blue tarpaulin before hiring a fishing kayak from Jervis Bay Kayak and Paddlesports. Follow the birds swooping and skimming the water and head outside the marine park where even if you are not rewarded with an amazing catch, there’s every opportunity to appreciate the crystal-clear waterways and beaches. Don’t forget to consult the zoning map for recreational fishing in Jervis Bay Marine Park before you head off.
For more great travel tips and itineraries read our Ultimate guide to Jervis Bay holidays here.
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