6 wild outdoor adventures in Jervis Bay & Shoalhaven

From kayaking and snorkelling to hiking and rock-climbing, Jervis Bay and the Shoalhaven is loaded with outdoor adventure activities. Push your limits with these thrilling experiences.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Dec 2023 -
min read

Lace up your hiking shoes for a coastal walk

Love powdery white sand? You’ve come to the right place. There are 16 blindingly white coastal coves in the Jervis Bay and Shoalhaven region, and each is prettier than the last. The ideal way to glimpse them all (or as many as you like) is on the spectacular White Sands Walk through Jervis Bay National Park. The 90min-return walk begins at Greenfield Beach picnic area in Vincentia and takes you through peaceful coastal forest offering stunning ocean views along the way. Bring your swimwear to take a dip at any number of beaches, before the walk concludes at the incredible Hyams Beach. You can return to Greenfield Beach picnic area via the Scribbly Gum track, through tall forest and woodland.

Scenic coastal views showing the white sand of Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay, South Coast

Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay

For more adventure, head to the northern section of Murramarang National Park near Bawley Point, where the 1km-return Pretty Beach to Snapper Point walking track offers views that are hard to bear. Clifftop views also await when you follow the trail from Abrahams Bosom Beach in Currarong to the top of sheer cliffs on the Beecroft Peninsula. This is a spectacular location for whale watching.

Even if you are only visiting Meroo National Park for a few hours, you can’t miss the spectacular coastal views from Meroo Head lookout walking track. It’s a lovely short walk through tall forest to the northern edge of the headland, then you’ll emerge to panoramic views of uninterrupted coastline.

Sunburnt Beach Camping Area, Walk in camping only at Meroo National Park in Bawley Point, Jervis Bay and Shoalhaven

Meroo National Park, Bawley Point - Credit: Michael Van Ewijk/DPIE

Go on a deep dive into Aboriginal heritage

At the southern end of Jervis Bay is Booderee National Park, and within it lies Australia’s only Aboriginal-owned Botanic Gardens. Join Aboriginal rangers to learn about traditional bush tucker and medicinal plants, as well as Aboriginal history in the region.

Also in the region, Djiriba Waagura Cultural Tours offers everything from half- and full-day tours to learn about Aboriginal traditions, to overnight camps. Go on an adventure to discover ancient rock-art, bush foods and wildlife, in between visiting some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

 Indigenous tour guide taking group on tour with Djiriba Waagura Cultural Tours, Jervis Bay

Djiriba Waagura Cultural Tours, Jervis Bay - Credit: Djiriba Waagura Cultural Tours

Another immersive cultural experience is the 2.2km Murramarang Aboriginal Area walking track, which loops you past ancient middens and other significant sites. To see 270-million-year-old marine fossils, follow the Gondwana Coast Fossil Walk. The guided walk ventures along the rock platforms of Ulladulla. 

Hang out on a rock-climbing adventure

Climbers, rejoice! The sandstone cliffs of the Shoalhaven region are ideal for those who like to walk on the wild side. Most climbing in the region focuses on the sport crags of Nowra and the epic sea cliffs of Point Perpendicular. And the good news is, there are rock faces available for all levels of experience – novices will love Hospital Rocks. Join a climbing tour with Outdoor Raw or Climb Nowra and a local guide will show you the best spots. The town of Vincentia is another favourite of bouldering enthusiasts.

Man enjoying a rock climbing experience with Outdoor Raw in the Shoalhaven region of NSW

Outdoor Raw, Nowra

Meet local wildlife

There’s nothing quite like that first moment you spot a whale breaching and blowing offshore, showing off in a whirlwind of acrobatic twirls. And the Shoalhaven region attracts them in droves during their migration (May to November). From the Shoalhaven Heads in the north to Bawley Point in the south, you’ll find spectacular headlands that make for great whale watching. Lighthouses are particularly good vantage points. Try: Point Perpendicular Lighthouse or Cape St George Lighthouse.

Humpback whale breaching off Jervis Bay on the south coast of NSW

Whale Watching, Jervis Bay - Credit: Jordan Robins

There are strict rules about how close you can get to whales in the wild. Thankfully, cruise operators in the Jervis Bay and Shoalhaven region provide ethical tourism experiences, which means you can join companies like Jervis Bay Wild and Dolphin Watch Cruises (they also offer whale-watching tours) out of Huskisson to learn about whales and their calves from knowledgeable guides.

 Meanwhile, Shoalhaven is home to two fur seal colonies, found at either headland of the Jervis Bay Marine Park, with numbers peaking during winter. Join a snorkelling tour with Dive Jervis Bay to swim with the seals. 

Man swimming with seals during a snorkelling tour with Dive Jervis Bay, South Coast

Dive Jervis Bay, Jervis Bay

Explore native bushland and rainforest

Bushwalkers are spoiled for choice in the Shoalhaven region, home to nine National Parks. If you’re coming from Canberra, set your GPS for Morton National Park for scenic walks up Pigeon House Mountain and the spectacular Tianjara Falls.

There are numerous trails to explore in Booderee National Park, and plenty of beaches to cool off in along the way. Other great walks through native forest include Bens Walk along the Shoalhaven River, near Nowra; Three Views walking track and Kangaroo River walking track, near Kangaroo Valley; and Telegraph Creek Nature Trail, in Jervis Bay.

Couple enjoying panoramic views across to Pigeon House Mountain (Aboriginal: Didthul), Moreton National Park

Pigeon House Mountain (Aboriginal: Didthul), Moreton National Park

Head to the water

By now, you will know that the Shoalhaven has a pretty spectacular coastline, with beaches and waterways unrivalled pretty much anywhere in the world. This, of course, means that watersports are on the agenda.

Sea Kayak Jervis Bay offers paddling trips throughout Jervis Bay Marine Park. Look out for cheeky dolphins that might come too play. You can also hire a kayak in the picturesque Kangaroo Valley, where you can go at your own pace or take a guided tour, or meander down the Kangaroo River on a kayaking tour with Kangaroo Valley Kayaks. Paddle along Shoalhaven Gorge and set up camp upstream from Tallowa Dam. The area is known for its dramatic sandstone cliffs and tumbling waterfalls, and is only accessible by kayak.

Other top spots for kayaking are Sussex Inlet, home to a network of tidal canals, and St Georges Basin, where you can spot black swans, pelicans and sea eagles. This giant coastal lake is also a great place for fishing. Enjoy sailing, windsurfing, waterskiing and bird-watching at Lake Wollumboola near Culburra Beach.


Kayaking in Jervis Bay, South Coast

Kayaking in Jervis Bay, South Coast

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