DESTINATION JERVIS BAY, NSW

By: CHRIS WHITELAW, Photography by: CHRIS WHITELAW

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Jervis Bay is known for its quaint holiday towns and blindingly white sand, but beyond the shoreline is a cavalcade of opportunities for exploration and angling.

 

_R9A4713_pano_A designated anchorage zone near Hare Bay in the northern bay.jpg

DESTINATION: JERVIS BAY, NSW 

Spectacularly beautiful Jervis Bay, 200km from Sydney, is a complex entity: a series of small holiday townships (Huskisson, Vincentia, Hyams Beach, Callala Bay), an impressive national park (Booderee), two lighthouses (one active, one an historic ruin), a small coastal enclave of the Commonwealth of Australia (Jervis Bay Territory) and, most importantly, a huge natural harbour. Jervis Bay is 15km long, 10km wide and encloses 102 sq. km of oceanic inlet; at a depth of 27m it is thought to be the deepest sheltered harbour in Australia, and it is all protected under marine park status.

_R9A4502a_The new jetty facility and lighting at Currarong were constructed under the NSW Government_s Better Boating Program.jpg 

The northern arm of the bay is the Beecroft Peninsula, 80 per cent of which is used by the Royal Australian Navy as a live-firing weapons range. On the western and southern sides of the peninsula, steep sandstone cliffs rise dramatically out of the ocean up to 91m at its southernmost point — the aptly-named Point Perpendicular — where an automated lighthouse casts a beam 42km (26nm) out to sea. White sandy beaches are sprinkled along the northern and eastern flanks interspersed with numerous intertidal reefs.

_R9A5225a_Manoeuvring is a bit tight for larger vessels at the Huskisson wharf.jpg 

The southern arm of the bay is the Bherwerre Peninsula, which extends west to Sussex Inlet to embrace much of Wreck Bay, whose subsidiary bays offer excellent northerly anchorages, but whose potential for entrapment during a southerly change justifies its sinister sobriquet. The bay’s southern headland is guarded by Bowen Island, and a rampart of cliffs (the highest in New South Wales at 135m) extending from Governor Head to Cape St George.

The entrance between Bowen Island and Point Perpendicular is clear and deep, and the towering cliffs can be closely approached in fair weather to fully appreciate their grandeur. In moderate to foul weather, however, they are best given a very wide berth to avoid the turmoil of rebound swell and waves.

_R9A5378a_Magnificent Green Patch Beach is protected by the Bherwerre Peninsula.jpg 

About 8 per cent of the Jervis Bay Marine Park is zoned for "general use" that permits a wide range of activities including both commercial and recreational fishing. All standard NSW fishing regulations and bag limits apply, however some commercial fishing methods such as longlining are prohibited.

Anchoring is generally permitted in the marine park with the following exceptions: Huskisson sanctuary zone, other than in the ‘designated anchoring area’ within 200m of Shark Net Beach; Hare Bay sanctuary zone, other than in the ‘designated anchoring area’ within 200m of Red Point, or south of Chinamans Beach and east of Green Island; sanctuary zones at Currambene Creek mud flats, upper Currambene Creek, Moona Moona Creek, Wowly Gully and Blacks Cave Creek. In emergency situations, anchoring is permitted in all areas of the Marine Park where necessary to preserve life or property.

_R9A5331a_Swing moorings near the shore of Currambene Creek at Woollamia.jpg 

To limit anchor damage in sensitive areas, public moorings are provided, subject to conditions, at Bindijine, Huskisson and Callala Bay. Marine Park public moorings can be identified by their pink floats and Marine Parks labelling. Public moorings are also available in the Darling Roads and at "Hole in the Wall" in Booderee National Park waters. A new $750,000 boat ramp and wharf at Murrays Beach provides safe access to the waters off Booderee and increased tie-up space for visiting boats.

Jervis Bay is home to HMAS Cresswell Naval Base whose facilities and fixtures are prohibited to private craft. Beacons pertaining to naval exercises and specific navigation are scattered around the bay and along the headlands.

_R9A5250a_Charter boats moored at the Huskisson jetty near Currambene Creek.jpg 

Callala Bay is the most northerly of the Jervis Bay settlements, and its sheltered moorings and wide launching ramp make for easy access to the bay’s deep, crystal-blue waters. Local facilities include a small shopping centre and the Jervis Bay Sailing Club, which offers sailing lessons. Just south of the town, the generous white-sand curve of Callala Beach sweeps all the way down the bay’s northwestern side to a sand-spit on Currambene Creek, opposite Huskisson.

Currambene Creek is the bay’s only all-weather port. The approach to the creek is by lit leading beacons bearing about WSW after rounding a large, flat offshore rock that is awash at high tide and surmounted by a north cardinal beacon. The shallowest part of the approach is 0.9m LWS off a rock shelf, projecting north from the southern headland. Its barred entrance and shoals have not prevented the creek from becoming packed with private moorings, charter boats and a few waterfront facilities, leaving little room for visiting boats. At Huskisson, manoeuvring is very tight and one-hour limits apply on the public jetty, which has a stated preference for charter boats.

_R9A5464a_Deep water anchorage near Murray_s Beach in the southern bay.jpg 

After passing the sand spit, the creek bends to the north and lateral buoys and beacons indicate the channel between moorings. Anchorage within the mooring areas is not possible, nor is swinging to a single anchor anywhere upstream. Fore-and-aft anchoring is the best option to one side of the channel and the best area for this is near the Myola launching ramp. There’s also a public jetty and launching ramp at Woollamia.

Shops at Huskisson will satisfy most basic needs, but visitors needing supplies are best advised to shop at Vincentia, where anchoring off and going ashore by tender is not obstructed by marine park regulations.

_R9A5240_Panorama1_The westward approach to Currambene Creek is marked by leading beacons.jpg 

While not technically within Jervis Bay, mention should be made of Currarong at the seaward, northern end of the Beecroft Peninsula. This quiet holiday town nestles comfortably in the protective southern arm of the Crookhaven Bight, one of the region’s better open roadstead anchorages. By tucking in as close as depths will allow to the broad sweep of aptly-named Abrahams Bosom Beach, boats will find good shelter in southerly winds and southeast swells.

 

KEY CONTACTS: JERVIS BAY, NSW

Jervis Bay Marine Park

4 Woollamia Rd, Huskisson

PHONE (02) 4428 3000

WEB www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/marine-protected-areas/marine-parks/jervis-bay-marine-park

 

Department of Primary Industries NSW

PHONE (02) 4428 3400

WEB www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

 

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

PHONE (02) 4423 2170

WEB www.environment.nsw.gov.au

 

Booderee National Park

Visitor Information Centre

Jervis Bay Road, Jervis Bay

PHONE (02) 4443 0977

WEB www.environment.gov.au/parks/booderee

 

Huskisson Visitor Information Centre

11 Dent Street, Huskisson

PHONE (02) 4441 5999

 

Shoalhaven Visitors Centre

PHONE 1300 662 808

WEB www.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au

 

Department of Defence

Beecroft Weapons Range – Environmental Rangers

PHONE (02) 4448 3411

 

Roads and Maritime Services

PHONE 13 12 56 (general boating enquiries)

WEB www.rms.nsw.gov.au

 

The full review featured in issue #506 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest boat news, reviews and travel inspiration.  

 


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