The luxury of an African safari camp can be found right here on the NSW south coast.
In the early 1990s Irena and Jeremy Hutchings began a love affair with Africa. Their experience of staying in paperbark camps was so enjoyable they decided to emulate it in Australia on the south coast of New South Wales.
It took 10 years of unbelievable patience to achieve their goals and objectives of promoting the natural environment, sustaining local ecology, operating a low-key, eco-tourism facility and providing local and regional benefits.
The landscape was carefully cleared by hand and no major earthworks or clearing were done. All waste is pumped off-site to protect the pristine Currambene Creek which is part of the Jervis Bay Marine Park. The Creek is a bush-lined tidal estuary, perfect for paddling the Camp's canoes.
The tents are from Africa and have been used there for over 50 years as safari accommodation. They have a steel frame covered with canvas and stand on a platform.
The 10 luxury tents are scattered and separated by trees and bushes. Each has ensuite facilities, queen or twin beds, pure wool duvets, insect screens and solar-powered lighting. They have been furnished with locally handcrafted bush furniture. On entering, you feel the uncluttered, simple and stylish atmosphere. All guests need to take is a beach towel and sporting equipment for fishing, snorkelling, golfing and so on.
There is plenty of wildlife in the area possums, kangaroos, echidnas, king parrots and black cockatoos, and each tent is named after one of them.
One of Sydney’s leading chefs has been lured to Paperbark and he creates wonderful meals, with a strong emphasis on local produce and seafood. Meals are taken in The Gunyah, Aboriginal for meeting place or place of shelter. It is raised high amongst the trees and in summer, breezes off the bay are cooling and welcome. Two sides have fold-back doors creating a large indoor/outdoor space. In cooler months they are closed and a log fire creates a wonderful atmosphere.
There is an overwhelming amount of good things to do in the area. You can watch whales heading north in May and June, and going south in October and November. Dolphins, penguins and a seal colony have made Jervis Bay home.
Jervis Bay has dozens of dive sites in crystal clear waters, snorkelling locations abound and the beaches have been blessed with soft white sand.
There are plenty of interesting walking tracks in and around the Booderee National Park, Morton, Pigeon House and the Budawangs. You can also join a spotlight wildlife or bush tucker tour. A new attraction is Two Rivers Walk from the Shoalhaven to the Clyde.
Wine growing is becoming popular in the area, and you can visit award-winning vineyards. The Lady Denman Maritime Museum is most interesting, and a short scenic drive will take you to artist Arthur Boyd's home, Bundanon.