I awake to the pitter patter of rain on the roof and snuggle down under my sheets a bit more. Nothing like a rainy morning to snuggle up in bed. Except…I am on holidays! In Jervis Bay! And I desperately want to do some walks at Booderee National Park today! I leap out of bed and tear back the curtains. It is raining but I see some patches of blue sky. I walk out to the dining area and look out the window. Hooray! It is just a passing shower as I can see blue sky and sun appearing over the ocean. Before long Harry and Chris are up, breakfast is eaten and we make our way into town to get supplies for lunch. We stock up the Huskisson Bakery with some chicken and salad rolls, pumpkin scones and a cupcake for Harry and drive the short 15 minute drive out to Booderee.
Archaeological evidence shows that Aboriginal people have occupied this region for more than 20,000 years. The name ‘Booderee’ was chosen by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community after the handback of the area to the Aboriginal traditional owners and means ‘bay of plenty’ in the Dhurga language. Booderee is now jointly managed between the Wreck Bay people and the government. There are many places I have on my list to explore today. First up is the walk from Murrays Beach to Governor Head.
Murray’s Beach and Governor Head
“My legs are tired, I can’t walk!” cries Harry. We are in the car park. “Harry, did I just buy you a cupcake to eat and you promised you would put your walking legs on today?” “NOOOO!” I have been coping quite a bit of “No” about everything lately, and frankly I am over it. I also made the mistake of letting him eat the cupcake before the walk so now I have nothing to bribe him with. Silly mummy. After about 10 minutes of cajoling and a family discussion about compromise and everyone getting the opportunity to do something they like (Harry was shocked to find out that I don’t love spending 2 hours running around after him in a playground but I do it because he likes it so I expect him to participate in things I like also) we are on our way to Governor Head.
The walk starts at the Murray’s Beach car park and splits at the entrance to Murray’s Beach itself. We do a quick detour out the beach and wow, this place is like something out of a tourism Australia advertisement. Blindingly white sand, clear blue water and people frolicking about. Harry wants to stop for a swim. Ha ha! Something I can bribe him with! I promise him that if he can walk the 2.2 km return walk out to Governor Head he can have a swim when we get back.
The walk meanders through some tall forest before moving into the heathland covering the headland. Harry finds some branches to ‘sweep’ the track and sticks to help him hike. We spot a red belly black snake slithering off the track and come to the lookout at Governor Head. From here we have a great view of Bowen Island which is home to a population of little penguins We pull out the binoculars and spot a couple of penguins chilling out on the rocks. Two sea eagles circle overhead as we take in the views over the bay towards Point Perpendicular. The navy are having fun again today with their warships out in the bay. It is a strange juxtaposition of nature and man. Beautiful scenery and wildlife and a navy destroyer…
We walk back to Murray’s Beach but it has gotten busier. I feel like being somewhere a bit more secluded and I saw a sign titled ‘Hole in the Wall’ a few kilometers before the Murray’s beach car park. I tell Harry that he can have a swim there instead.
Hole in The Wall
“How far this time? I have already walked today!!!” Far out. In the lead up to this holiday Harry was super excited about the trip and kept talking about all the walking we were going to do and the places we were going to see and now we are away he is being a stubborn mule. He usually likes walking and I suspect that a lot of this has to do with him recently turning four and trying to be in control of what we do as a family and getting his own way all the time. He has been giving a lot of back chat over the last few weeks and refusing to listen. Forget about the terrible two’s and three’s it looks like we are well and truly into the flipping fours. Chris and I had a discussion last night and have decided that as it is just going to be the three of us away for the next 2 1/2 weeks it is time for Manners and Respect Boot camp. We relay this information to Harry. No more three strikes and you are out, it’s one strike. He knows whats what now and is just playing us. Its time to get tough.
“Harry it is only 400 meters, and once we get down to the beach you can have a lovely swim” I tell him. There is a bit of whinging for the first few minutes and then he skips ahead looking for the water. We get down to beach and it is just what I was after. It may only be a few kilometers from Murray’s beach but we have it all to ourselves. The white beach, clear blue water and shade of the tree near the creek are just perfect. The hole in the wall leaves Harry a bit disappointed as it’s basically just a bit of rock that has collapsed down from a natural rocky wall, but this is soon forgotten as he squeals with delight splashing about in the cool blue water. We spend a glorious hour or so just soaking up this place and only see one other couple. Bliss.
Green Patch to Bristol Point
After the frolicking in the ocean and walk we have worked up an appetite. We head on over to Green Patch where we get stuck into our lunch that we bought earlier at the Huskisson Bakery. We have timed the tide well. It is right out so we can walk along the rock platform to Bristol Point. The track starts crossing over a bridge and going through some forest before coming out onto the rocks. We explore the rock pools and then join the track that leads back into Bristol Point. It is has gotten pretty hot so we decide to keep to the shade and make the return trip to Green Patch via the blackbutt forest track.
I have read that Caves Beach was named one of the most secluded camping area in Australia by Australian Geographic so I am keen to check out this spot and see if it lives up to the hype. It is located on the opposite side of the national park to Green Patch so its back in the car for the short trip over. Harry is knackered and has fallen asleep. I really don’t want to wake him and risk the wrath of a cranky tired four year old. Chris tells me to head on down to the beach and he will stay with our sleeping angel.
Caves Beach is only a 500 meter walk from the car park, with the track passing a platform lookout and the campground. I get down to the beach access track and stop to take in the view. This is really a very lovely spot. As I walk down though I get the feeling that the secret of this place is out. There are lots of very good-looking shirtless and bikini clad foreign tourists playing soccer and sunbaking near the rocky headland. I look wistfully at the shallow sea caves set into the rocks and raise my camera and then lower it again. There are so many people about that I cannot get a nice photo without someone looking like a spanish male model in it. Hmm, in writing that now maybe I should have taken some photos…
I walk down further to examine some rock pools and see an older gentleman with his camera about to take a photo of a very interesting black crab when a gust of wind blows his hat off his head and he starts to chase it as it lands not far from my feet. “Damn wind” he exclaims. “I was just about to get a good shot!” We get talking and he tells me he has been coming here to Caves Beach for over 20 years. He used to have this place to himself he tells me, until Lonely Planet decided to put it in their book. He laments over the fate of a few of his other favourite places due to Lonely Planet recommendations, and I have to say that sometimes I have to agree with him. Here I am on this gorgeous beach and I can’t get a decent photograph without it looking like an advertisement for a Spanish swimwear brand. We chat about my planned travels and he gives me a few tips.
I have been gone a while now and there is no sign of Chris and Harry. I check my phone. No signal. I begin walking back up to the car. “Harry is on strike apparently.” Chris tells me as I approach the car. “He says his legs won’t work anymore and he is not getting out of the car”. I decide to pick my battles. Chris says he doesn’t mind missing out on seeing the beach, so I get back in the car and we set off to the town of Hyams Beach.
Chinaman and Hyam Beach
As we turn the car ignition off at the car park leading down to Chinaman’s Beach. Harry just glares at me. “I am not walking” he firmly states. “Oh well” I reply. “I guess that means that if your legs are so tired that you wont be able to play at the playground this afternoon.” It is only about 200 meters down to the beach, not a big ask. “Can I take my helicopter?” Of course, just get out of the car! I am beginning to despair that the whole holiday is going to be like this.
We walk down and spend some time playing about on the beach before driving down the other end of town to Hyams Beach. No argument about walking to the beach here as we park almost beside it. Harry has fun throwing sand and rocks into the creek as Chris and I chat and take in the scenery. Aside from Harry’s reluctance to walk today it has been a lovely day.
We head back into Huskisson where Harry has a play at the playground and we pick up some fantastic Thai and a bottle of sav blanc to take back to our cabin for dinner. As we sit eating we take it in turns to go around the table and say what our favourite thing about the day was (this is a bit of an evening ritual for us). “I am going first because I am the youngest” Harry announces. “My favourite thing about today was…ummm…the bushwalking!” He exclaims. “I really liked the walking it was great”. Chris and I just exchange looks. There is hope for us and this holiday yet.
At a Glance
Booderee National Park
2 1/2 hr drive south of Sydney, 15 minutes from Huskisson
300m walk from Murray’s beach car park
2.2km return walk starting at the Murray’s Beach car park
Hole in the Wall Beach
400m walk from Hole in the Wall car park
Greenpatch to Bristol Point
Via the rock platform is 500m (only attempt at low tide)
Return via blackbutt forest is another 400m
500m walk from Caves Beach car park
Approx 200m from the car park and 10 minutes to Huskisson.
The 2.5km White sands and Scribbly Gum loop track can be started here http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/jervis-bay-national-park/white-sands-walk-and-scribbly-gum-track/walking/map
The 2km return Hyams beach trail can be started next to the car park.