- For other places with the same name, see Jervis Bay (disambiguation).
Jervis Bay is a large protected bay on the South Coast of New South Wales 120km south of Sydney and 20km south of Nowra. Famous for its white sand beaches, safe swimming and snorkelling. It also contains Jervis Bay Territory, the Australian Capital Territory's access to sea.
The main settlements and visitor facilities are located along the bay from Huskisson to Vincentia. A curiosity is that Jervis Bay Village, and the nearby beach area of Murrays Beach and parts of the surrounding bay are actually not in New South Wales at all. They are actually in a Commonwealth administered territory known as Jervis Bay Territory - originally planned as a grand Pacific City and the port of the nation's capital. This vision was never realised, and most of the territory is designated as a national park. This anomaly may be noticed from the separate entrance fees that apply to the parks, and the fact that New South Wales parks passes aren't valid in Jervis Bay Territory.
The area is one of the most beautiful parts of the South Coast and is an extremely popular summer destination, making it very busy in peak periods. Accommodation may be fully booked out months in advance of the Christmas/New Year period. Opportunities exist to scuba dive, fish and engage in many other water sports, beach activities, walking, and hiking as well as appreciate the diverse flora and fauna.
The area has significant cultural and historic interest to both the Commonwealth and Aboriginal people of Australia. In 1995 parts of the Jervis Bay National Park were granted to the Aboriginal peoples and this land was redesignated Booderee National Park and Booderee Botanic Gardens.
Booderee National Park and Booderee Botanic Gardens occupy 403 hectares of the southern headland which forms the bay. The botanic gardens are a relatively small area within the park and were formerly known as the Jervis Bay Botanical Gardens.
Jervis Bay National Park occupies 4,857 hectares in a number of distinct areas to the west of the shoreline, notably around Huskisson and the northern headland. Some include Jervis Bay shoreline. The Park has visitor facilities, areas of access for the disabled and picnic grounds with gas BBQ sites but no accommodation and camping is not permitted.
Jervis Bay Marine Park covers 100km of coast and adjacent waters, from Kinghorn Point in the north to Sussex Inlet in the south which encompasses Jervis Bay, Crookhaven Bight to the north and Wreck Bay to the south. The waters in Jervis Bay from Captains Point to the northern tip of Bowen Island are part of Booderee National Park The bay waters are themselves a national park, protected because of its natural beauty. Dolphins are a regular sight in the bay, and it is also home to a colony of fairy penguins and seals.
Jervis Bay is renowned for its white sand beaches, most notably Hyams Beach which has an official entry in the Guinness Bay of Records for the whitest beach in the world. Whale watching is also popular in Jervis Bay, as humpback whales come into the bay to rest during both their northern and southern migration. Many dolphins live in the bay.
There are whale and dolphin watching cruises at Huskisson. There are also many camping sites around the bay.
Ulladulla is about 45 minutes south of Jervis Bay.