Taking advantage of the recent long weekend, I set out in search of (slightly) warmer weather and took a short road trip with a partner across to visit Jervis Bay. What a mistake that turned out to be.
The Queen’s Birthday weekend is the first public holiday in Canberra after the really cold weather has set in (and after we’ve all switched on our heaters after Anzac Day).
Therefore, even heading to the coast at this time of year, we expected to find hordes of Canberrans on a similar mission to breathe air that’s a few degrees warmer.
One of the responsibilities – it could be said, the burdens – of being a writer, is that we try things out so you don’t have to.
Which is why I can say with absolute confidence, that having just visited this part of the world, the Jervis Bay area is positively terrible and you should stay right away. You’re welcome.
Why? Well, first of all, there’s the trip there to deal with.
Previously, getting to Jervis Bay from Canberra meant a leisurely 4+ hour drive down via Batemans Bay, or a cruise up to Federal Highway to then cut across through Kangaroo Valley. Both excellent and convenient options.
Oh, sure, there was the notoriously treacherous Nerriga Road way, but why would you go that way? You’re only going to get to this awful location faster. Why are you in such a rush?
In fact, I think it’s really very disappointing that the Nerriga Road route is entirely sealed now.
If you choose to ignore my advice and travel this way, sure, you’ll save about an hour off your previous journey time.
But you’ll also miss the chance to test both your driving skills, the strength of your dental fixtures, and your car’s suspension, which were real features of the previous journey.
Instead you’ll get plenty of winding roads and sweeping corners, scattered lookouts and views of the surrounding landscape all the way. Yawn.
Don’t bother. Best just to stay in Batemans Bay I think, or keep going toward Sydney.
Because I’m a serious journalist who sometimes has to take a hit for the team, we opted to stay at the utterly deplorable Hyam’s Beach, at the High on Tulip holiday home owned by JB Beach Houses.
It was large, very clean, and kitted out with everything you could possibly need for a weekend away. So it was okay, I guess.
Four bedrooms and two bathrooms, including amazing views from an entertainment area set high up in the backyard (which backs onto the bush reserve), plus a balcony with water views off the main bedroom.
Not bad if you’re into that sort of thing, I suppose.
Then, there’s the food. Everyone knows how important the food is to a good weekend away.
Relatively new, the Marketplace offers a huge selection of shops and conveniences, similar to what you’d find at a good local shopping centre.
Which of course, just highlights the fact that you might as well stay at home and go to your local shops, right?
Along with our pad thai and massaman curry, we grabbed some croissants from the supermarket bakery, so breakfast the following morning was sorted.
As if the trip wasn’t going to be difficult enough, we soon found out our visit coincided with the annual Shoalhaven Coast Winter Wine Festival.
Plenty of wine, craft beers and ciders, as well as food, music and entertainment lasting into the night. That’s if you have absolutely nothing better to do.
If you have to go there, you might as well as try Silos’ sparkling shiraz, Coolangatta’s 2015 Tannat and the Sunday Afternoon Verdelho Chardonnay blend from Two Figs.
Despite the duress, we were able to force down quite a bit of each.
Thankfully, before we knew it, it was Monday morning and almost time to head home.
Before we left however, we had to endure a long and lingering breakfast with friends at the waterside Hyam’s Beach Store and Café. Oh, the sacrifice.
I tolerated an enormous egg and bacon sandwich with a free-range egg and tomato chilli jam on sourdough, while my companion endured the breakfast pot of free-range eggs, chorizo, bacon and sourdough bread with a piperade of sweet capsicum, tomato and onion.
There was just enough time for a quick walk along the beach. Fine white sand, blinding sunlight, cool waves, all those noisy children having fun. Just awful.
We arrived home late on Monday afternoon, exhausted, and are absolutely not planning to go back anytime soon.
Like I said, it’s a really terrible spot. Heed my warning. You should just stick to Batemans Bay or Ulladulla and forget I ever mentioned it.
Summer isn’t too far away – any equally horrible spots on the south coast that you definitely don’t want to talk about?