Warning: once you experience the charming seaside village and white sands of Hyams Beach, you may never want to leave.
Beautiful beaches are often described as having soft white sand and turquoise waters, but in the case of Hyams Beach on New South Wales’ south coast, it’s been verified. The Guinness Book of Records has decreed that Hyams’ sand is the whitest in the world. Jervis Bay, where Hyams Beach is situated, is 180 kilometres south of Sydney, or a pleasant two-and-a-half-hour drive. It could take longer, though – the quaint small towns along the way encourage frequent stops.
Once the picturesque village has been reached, there’s a plethora of beach shacks, weatherboard cottages and newer, slicker accommodations to choose from, all within a stone’s throw of that white, white sand. And the closer to the beach the better, since it’s one of the best spots for whale-watching in the country as well as the ideal destination for scuba diving, snorkelling, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing and kayaking. More idle holidaymakers will find scenic beach strolls, bush rambles, bird-spotting and good old-fashioned lying on the beach more suited to their speed. And everyone can appreciate the burgeoning Jervis Bay food scene, as well as the boutiques, galleries, markets and museums in the area.
Where to stay
Hyams Beach Bed and Breakfast
Hyams Beach Bed and Breakfast is right in the heart of the village and the epitome of relaxed beachside accommodation: blue and white weatherboard, airy interiors, crisp white linens and soothing pastel hues. There are two suites on offer: the Terrace Suite opens onto a lawn with ocean views while the Courtyard Suite affords guests a private sun-drenched outdoor space. There’s also the Garden Room, a smaller option with a lawn and outdoor seating.
The two suites are generously proportioned, with a living/dining area, separate bedroom and a large kitchen that’s perfect for self-catering holidays. Of course, you don’t have to cook. Across the road is local institution Hyams Beach Store and Café, where guests from the B&B are served breakfast and top-notch coffee each morning. Wander in after a sleep-in followed by a morning dip – the friendly staff will serve breakfast until 11am.
Where to eat
Hyams Beach Store and Café
The Hyams Beach Store and Café does double duty, supplying locals and visitors with breakfast and lunch as well as take-home gourmet foods, general groceries, newspapers and wine. The brekkie menu is a mix of the classics (bacon and egg sandwich with tomato chilli jam) with some modern fare thrown in (try the cardamom-infused couscous with poached fruit, nuts and honey).
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Huskisson, a 10-minute drive from Hyams Beach, is where you can find Thai bar and restaurant Wildginger. Flathead, crayfish, snapper, blackfish and oysters all make an appearance.; there are also inventive dishes such as Japanese crumbed pork loin with rice noodles and black vinegar caramel; and for dessert, don’t go past the steamed banana pudding with caramel sauce and coconut ice-cream.
Things to do
Jervis Bay National Park
Hyams Beach forms part of the Jervis Bay National Park, which goes some way to explaining its untouched beauty. The rest of the park is made up of forests, wetlands, and creeks crisscrossed with walking tracks. Walk, swim, kayak, fish, surf, have a picnic and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins.
Point Perpendicular Light
Point Perpendicular Light is a lighthouse perched on the tip of Point Perpendicular. The historic lighthouse was built in 1898 and its first light source, a kerosene lamp, was lit in 1899. Today, there’s an automated light doing the work, leaving the lighthouse as a gorgeous remnant of the past. It’s only possible to access the lighthouse one weekend a year, but the view of the sunset from the grounds alone is worth the trip.
The historic Huskisson Pictures building was designed to be a community hall when it was founded by a local ship-building family in 1913. It’s been Jervis Bay’s cinema since the early 1950s and now shows new releases and classic films and ticket prices are half what you pay at the megaplex.
This piece was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.