Not a Travel Tale, but a homage to my South Coast Home.
Eight years ago my partner, Lush and I decided to swap our weekends away for a life away. I had tallied our small getaways per year and it was often over ten! Though predominately domestic, and often camping, it still was costly in terms of both money and time and it seemed to me that we had our life arranged backwards. We were always going away.
So after exploring the entire east coast of Australia, we bought our friend’s artists retreat in Jervis Bay, two and a half hours south of Sydney. Moving to the spectacular south coast of NSW has had two completely unexpected dividends. More international travel and the chance to live in a cute, cool, inner city hotel regularly when work or play calls us to Sydney (room 321 at the Kirketon Hotel in Darlinghurst). Our only expectations before we moved were that it would cost less to live in the country, offer a healthier lifestyle in nature, and transform our need to go away. If I’m completely honest I still have the same itchy feet for travel – I am a travel writer after all. But it certainly has completely removed any impulse to find the best beaches in the world (as ours are officially recognised as the whitest sand in the world), or go somewhere for the weekend.
It is considerably cheaper to live here than in inner city Sydney. Our housing, bills, food, and fun budgets are very meager, yet the quality of living is very high. We have local seasonal food. Tick. Affordable housing. Tick. Incredible nature. Tick. Sea change and tree change. Tick. Tick. Cute little towns. Tick. Great coffee. Tick. Yoga with cows in a field or whales at the beach. Tick. … And the list goes on and on.
The stillness of sunset over our creek
There are few places on earth as picturesque as the South Coast of NSW and it never fails to take my breath away when I see the escarpment, rolling hills and forests and incredible coastline as I drive or preferably train south to my home. After spending my life travelling, I finally have for the first time that feeling so many people experience of being glad to be home.
Our little crabs in the backyard at creeks edge
There are so many things I love about this area. For me, the most evocative part of my home is the distinct sounds of my little corner of Jervis Bay. The early morning seabirds call from the mangroves, followed by hundreds of loud, social and colourful birds in our forest spending the day in our trees, and finishing at dusk with the tiny, sweet birdcall of little finches, sunbirds and wrens. The king tide lapping towards my bedroom at a full moon and the sound of the long (5.6km ), tiny wave that languidly laps on our beach, lulling us to sleep. The whoosh of my long board skimming through the mangroves and the tiny, tinkling chime of crabs scuttling away. The complete silence of my still kayak in the middle of our creek, as I watch the sun fade. The long call of black cockatoos, hopefully signaling rain. The crunch of eucalyptus leaves under my feet or my bike tyres in our beautiful forests. Our collective yogic ‘Om’ ringing out in the shala in the middle of a field. The crackle of our evening fire greeting the cooler nights. The silence of our big night sky bursting with stars. And lastly, the sound of my breath, finding presence and vast infinite space in nature.
There is just so much beauty to share with you. Here are my favourite local tips if you are tempted to come see for yourself.
In two beautiful getaways both built with love and intention and a conscience.
Ours at the beach in Jervis Bay – www.mettaatmyola.com.au/
or at our friend Loo’s if your more of a mountain type (in the Kangaroo Valley) – www.littlepigcreek.com.au/
Sea urchin. Myola Beach
Lunch at The Cake Store in Nowra (Monday to Friday only)
or a lovely long lunch at South on Albany in Berry on weekends
Dinner with the locals at Mezzadellas at Berry
Coffee at Hyper, Hyper in Nowra. Locally roasted and made old Italian style.
Coffee tip: use beanhunter.com when on a road trip in Australia.
Breakfast with a view at Blue Swimmer at Gerroa or Berry Sourdough Bakery or the cute new Orient Point Bakehouse near Culburra.
Whole food at Pilgrims at Milton and Husky or the lovely Schoolhouse in Gerringong.
Fish & Chips on the beach – choose anything local at Currarong or Husky fish shops and take it over the road to the beach.
Delicious Greenwell Point Oysters from the local farmers (Jim Wild’s oyster service)
Kiama co-op for local, fresh seafood (bought straight from the boats).
Fruit and vegetables: local farm gates in Pyree and Nowra Farmers Market.
Organic: Greenbox (order online pick up Thursday only)
Produce markets at Kiama (Wednesday 3-6pm and 4th Saturday).
Yoga in a shala in a gorgeous farm
Beaches: Myola, Long Beach, Cabbage Tree, Greenfields and Murrays. We don’t have a bad beach in Jervis Bay and they all have that famous white sand and crystal clear water.
Cutest towns: Milton, Berry and Currarong.
Drives: south to Gerroa for Seven Mile Beach View and through Pyree farms and farm gates on the way to Jervis Bay.
Surfing: Seven Mile, Culburra, Caves. And plenty of other local breaks.
Stand Up Paddling: everywhere! Jervis Bay and the Myola point behind our house.
Stand up paddling on our creek
Renting kayaks and SUPs: Callala Beach and Husky.
Yoga: Roaming Yogis
Dolphins and whales: everywhere in Jervis Bay for dolphins. Callala and Longbeach are excellent spots. Cruises from Husky for whale watching.
Other wildlife: kangaroos, echidnas, wombats, possums, sugar gliders and lyrebirds can be found everywhere! Please be careful on our roads. The south coast is teeming with bird and sea life of every description.
Walks: we are surrounded by stunning local National Parks, forests and beaches. Indigenous managed Booderee is both beautiful and informative.
Accessible: a lot of White Sands Walks in Husky and Greenwell Point foreshore are wheelchair accessible.
Bikes: all forests and many beaches. White Sands shared path in Husky is a leisurely ride suitable for the whole family with spectacular beach views.
Husky ferry links Myola and Husky on weekends and holidays. Bike, wheelchair and dog friendly.
Full moon over Myola Beach
Whale watching season in Jervis Bay is May tip November.
Culburra Festival. The distinctive sound of the south coast is laid back surf and reggae tunes, but check out the incredible operatic Antony-like voice of Round the Corner or the magical guitar of Daniel Champagne.
Bundanon Trust and Riversdale. Arthur and Yvonne Boyd’s gift to our area. Artists in residence regularly give concerts in Glenn Murcutt’s fabulous building overlooking the magnificent Shoalhaven river.
Milton theatre is famous as a favourite alternative venue for the world ‘s artists.
Huski Pics is an old style cinema in Huskisson that hosts the Travelling (Sydney) Film Festival and local Sandfly film festival.
Aurora Kerr – On the Road
Aurora is a traveller first, then feminist, writer, therapist, holiday retreat owner (www.mettaatmyola.com.au) nature lover, recycled design lover and adventurer, who lives in Jervis Bay on the beautiful south coast of Australia. She has a suitcase, always packed, at the front door ( also helpful for bushfires!)
Life Balance = Travel. Nature. Nurture.