NSW road trip: Journey to the south

No pre-departure nor arrival PCR needed. That was the deciding factor for us to book our trip to Australia.

After more than two years since our last trip down south, we were so excited to be able to book our air tickets to Sydney. We really missed road trips where we can go free and easy, visit the places we like to see, do the things we want, and rest when we feel like we’ve had enough for the day.

Ironically, though I have been to Sydney for many business trips over the years, I have never wandered south. So, a drive to explore more of New South Wales sounded exciting.

How far south?

The question is “How far south do we want to go”? Should we drive all the way to Melbourne and back. Or even venture to Canberra, where we’ve never been to before.

After much deliberation, we decided not to be overly adventurous and settle for at most a three-hour drive away. That landed us in the Jervis Bay area.

We googled and watched YouTube videos to try to see what we can do there. And it seems like we can do plenty, especially if we love beaches and nature. We were particularly intrigued by what we read and viewed on Hyams Beach, dubbed the beach with the “whitest sand in the world”.

Where to stay?

First up was to find a location to base ourselves. The seaside village of Hyams Beach, located 180km south of Sydney, sounded logical since the beach was our top priority.

However, there were many options and the few that we saw were a little pricey. After exploring alternatives along Jervis Bay, we picked a semi-detached house on AirBNB at Huskisson for its strategic location with Coles and Woolworth supermarkets just a short drive away at Vincenzia.

Having the supermarkets nearby was key for us as we preferred to cook our own meals. Aussie meats somehow taste much better than what we get back home.

Which car rental?

Car rental options are plenty at Kingsford Smith International Airport. Those located across the road from the arrival terminal are convenient but more pricey.

A friend recommended to us No Birds, a funny sounding car rental company located off the terminal area. All its vehicles are painted white with a No Birds company logo stuck on the front doors — makes for easy identification.

No Birds’ prices are more attractive plus they offer transfer from the terminal to the car pick-up point for just S$5 for our entire party of three. The overall cost is much lower — we just needed to factor in another 30 minutes to walk to the airport pick up point for the transfer and the short trip to the car rental company.

On the return leg, the transfer dropped us at the international terminal so it’s really convenient.

What to see and do in Jervis Bay?

We are the one-thing-a-day type of family but for our trip to Jervis Bay, we squeezed in more, simply because of the luxury of time.

Beach hopping. Jervis Bay is home to 16 lovely beaches. We visited three — Hyams Beach, Shark Net Beach and Huskisson Beach (the latter two just a five-minute walk from our accommodation). Hyams Beach did not disappoint. It’s lovely. The winter cool makes it even better. The sand is white though it’s debatable if it is the whitest as claimed. What’s best was that we went on a weekday so other than a few like-minded folks, we had the vast beach to ourselves. We can see why the beach is packed during weekends and public holidays.

Hyams Beach: Lovely and perfect spot to lie down and chill

Nature watching. The Jervis Bay region is blessed with tons of nature. At Jerrawangala National Park lookout, we were at a vantage point to admire scenic views from Nowra Hill to Kangaroo Hill. While the dirt trek up was supposed to be suitable for a sedan car, we were grateful that we were in a SUV which could better tackle the terrain. We also visited Basin View, a serene place for water activities.

Picnic anywhere. OK, not anywhere but lots of nice places. We had some of our meals near the beach and in parks. It’s important to keep a lookout for our food as seagulls naturally came to us wherever we settled down for a meal.

Seafood feasting. Being on the coast, seafood abounds in many places. We discovered this hidden gem called Jervis Bay Shellfish Market just a couple of minutes’ drive from our accommodation. The oysters were so fresh and affordable.

Taking photos. There are so much of nature in these parts that every shot will turn out well. The sun, sea, sand, parks, animals…so much to capture. We seized the opportunity to test the then soon-to-be-launched Oppo Reno8 Pro 5G, which we were reviewing.

What are tips on the road trip?

We’ve always enjoyed road trips in Australia — from Gold Coast to Sydney, Melbourne to Grampians, Perth to Albany, and Adelaide to Mount Gambir. Australian roads are easy to drive on and navigate with GPS.

Here are tips from our New South Wales road trip.

  1. Bring your driving licence. This is the basic but I forgot to bring mine. When I discovered that I didn’t have it with me, I was already in the airport transit area so it’s impossible to get someone to pass to me. Thankfully, the car rental company said Singapore’s digital licence, which is available on SingPass, is acceptable.
  2. Plan ahead. While it is easy to get around, it is advisable to plan ahead taking into consideration drive time, needed stops, expected weather conditions, and sunset times.
  3. Choose an appropriate vehicle. If you plan to visit parks, a SUV may provide more comfort and handle the terrain better than a sedan.
  4. Take time to book preferred accommodation. Don’t believe in photos — most listings have great photos. Read reviews to get a better perspective from others who have stayed there. Know your needs. For my family, free parking and good wifi connection are critical.
  5. Connectivity matters. Connectivitiy may be wonky or non-existent in the countryside. Check mobile coverage before getting a SIM card at the airport.

Enjoyable trip

We thoroughly enjoyed our road trip in New South Wales. It opened our eyes to what the state has to offer. For me in particular, it showed that there’s more to Sydney that CBD, Darling Harbour and Sydney Opera House.

Of course, the most important factor of any trip is the company. I am thankful for my family who made the trip so memorable.

The Jervis Bay trip is just the first half of our trip. Stay tuned for a post on our Sydney stay.

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