Jervis Bay in Southern NSW is one of those world wonders that in real life looks exactly like the brochure. Pure white sand skirting crystalline waters enclosed by thick forests of gum trees and other Australian natives. Nature does its thing here and it does it darn well. So to visit Jervis Bay and not immerse yourself as much as is comfortably possible in the natural environment would be remiss, if not a little bit rude.
Paperbark Camp was designed with this very much in mind: to get you as close to nature as possible without sacrificing the little luxuries that make a holiday escape an effortless and cosy experience. They call it ‘glamping’, but it doesn’t feel glamorous in the 5-star resort sense nor is it much like camping. It’s an experience unto itself. Set in a wetland, the ‘tents’ are nestled amongst masses of towering trees and are really more like tent-shaped cabins, with plush king beds draped in mosquito nets that feel straight Out of Africa, and outdoor showers and claw-foot tubs rounding off the romance of the whole design.
The heart of the ‘camp’ is The Gunyah Restaurant which serves organic, sustainable, local produce including veggies and herbs from the on-site gardens. The menu changes daily according to what’s fresh and available and consists of only one option per course, but that shouldn’t deter the glutenfreedairyfreesugarfree vegan warriors among us - the chef will graciously accommodate food intolerances and preferences.
The focus on sustainability and minimising environmental impact doesn’t stop at the food - it’s the fundamental ethos on which Paperbark was built. Every aspect is designed with this in mind, so just being there makes you feel better about yourself. It’s a retreat for those conscious individuals who care about their environmental footprint but still want a toilet that flushes and a complimentary robe to laze around in. And that’s essentially all you want to do at Paperbark - just be there, recline on some sand and feel good about yourself. There are activities, but I couldn’t tell you about them, I was too busy doing absolutely nothing.