15 Best Things to Do in Sanctuary Point (Australia)

Written by Bart Meeuwesen
Updated on
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This quiet lakeside community is a retirement haven on the South Coast of New South Wales.

It’s not hard to understand the appeal of somewhere like Sanctuary Point when you glimpse St Georges Basin and its shoreline of beaches, parks, eucalypt forest and mangroves.

Yet, what’s incredible is how much there is to see and do within 15 minutes.

First up, you’ve got Jervis Bay and its famous white sandy beaches like Hyams Beach.

The bay and its creeks are brimming with wildlife to be admired while diving, snorkelling, kayaking, paddleboarding or on a cruise to spot dolphins or whales.

Then there’s Booderee National Park, for bush tucker tours, yet more awesome beaches, towering cliffs and 19th-century ruins.

1. St Georges Basin

St Georges Basin, Sanctuary PointSource: Leah-Anne Thompson / shutterstock
St Georges Basin

As a landform, Sanctuary Point sticks out from the north shore of a large coastal lake.

St Georges Basin musters little more than a ripple, and there’s a sequence of beaches at Sanctuary Point where you have to walk out a long way before the tranquil waters reach your waist.

You can trace the foreshore on foot, passing through grassy parks, or venturing to the mouth of Wandandian Creek where Corramy Regional Park has stands of swamp oak and floodplain forest.

On the lake’s south side is the Sussex Inlet, where you’ll find a marine centre for boat rentals.

If you’re planning a fishing expedition at St Georges Basin, be ready to land some monster dusky flathead.

2. Basin Foreshore Walk

Basin Foreshore WalkSource: Chris Hamlin / shutterstock
Basin Foreshore Walk

On the picture perfect north shore of St Georges Basin there’s a 40-minute walking track, encompassing much of Sanctuary Point’s foreshore and several stretches of boardwalk.

Roughly speaking, the trail makes its way west from Palm Beach Reserve, around Macleans Point and up to Paradise Beach Reserve.

The walk is 5.5 kilometres in all, and has a number of access points.

Being on the lakeshore, the gradient is very light and the walk is suitable for families with even small children.

And, as the route passes through beach parks, there will be lots of places to stop, dip your toes in the water, have a picnic under the trees and soak up the scenery.

3. Paradise Beach Reserve

Paradise Beach ReserveSource: CoastalCapers / shutterstock
Paradise Beach Reserve

With nothing but parkland and low-key residential areas on the lake’s foreshore, Sanctuary Point abounds with places where you can relax by the water and take part in water activities if you have the equipment.

Paradise Beach is one such spot, curled into the west side of Sanctuary Point’s little peninsula.

The first thing to say about Paradise Beach is that it faces west and benefits from gorgeous sunsets framed by the lake and the Great Eastern Escarpment in the distance.

As you’d expect, there’s a verdant grassy strip behind the beach, dotted with trees and benches.

The lake stays shallow for well over 100 metres, perfect for young swimmers, and there’s a playground and exercise equipment on the foreshore.

4. Palm Beach

Despite the name, Palm Beach next to the tip of Sanctuary Point, has no palm trees to speak of.

But on the generous green foreshore there’s a lot of cover from mature trees, and lots of places to sit and gaze out into this beautiful sheet of water.

Barbecues and picnic tables are of course provided, and kids can make the most of the play equipment.

Naturally the lake’s tranquil waters are perfect for children who want to swim and play in the shallows.

You also won’t have to travel far for provisions as there’s a corner store just behind on Greville Avenue.

5. Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay National ParkSource: wanderskyy / shutterstock
Jervis Bay National Park

As if St Georges Basin wasn’t enough, Sanctuary Point is next to a dreamy, almost completely enclosed bay.

This is protected on land by the Jervis Bay National Park, and in the water by a marine park.

It’s impossible to sum up all the world-class locations and memorable things you can do in Jervis Bay.

But the first thing to mention is the sand, which is a pure white, granting a luminous quality to the many pristine beaches fronting the bay.

The surf is mostly gentle, making the beaches safe and creating the perfect environment for snorkelling, diving and paddlesports.

Dolphins will swim close to kayaks and paddleboards year round, and you can sight whales from the scenic cliffs at the bay’s entrance in winter.

6. Hyams Beach

Hyams BeachSource: Visual Collective / shutterstock
Hyams Beach

Even if you’ve never heard the names, Hyams Beach or Jervis Bay, there’s a good chance you’ve seen this immaculate white sandy beach somewhere before.

You can get there in under ten minutes from Sanctuary Point, and will be confronted by sand so white it will hardly seem real.

This is claimed to be the whitest sand of any beach in the world, composed of 100% pure quartz and bathed by perfectly clear turquoise waters.

Little wonder that Hyams Beach has become a hit with the Instagram ground, and at the time of writing the council was considering imposing visitor limits to take pressure off this rare natural treasure.

7. Booderee National Park

Booderee National ParkSource: Benny Marty / shutterstock
Booderee National Park

One of the country’s loveliest national parks extends from the east shore of St Georges Basin, continuing along the Bherwerre Peninsula which makes up the south side of Jervis Bay.

This land is managed by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community, and among the many sensational things to see is the only botanic gardens to be managed by Aboriginal people in Australia.

Of course you’ll find astounding beaches on both the bay side and the Tasman Sea side of the peninsula, at Iluka and Murrays Beach, and then south at the magnificent Cave and Bherwerre Beach.

The interior is all untouched native bushland ready to be discovered on trails.

One location mixing marvellous scenery with riveting history is the ruined Cape St George Lighthouse, built in 1860 and active to 1889 before being pulled down.

Here you can spot whales in winter, and read about the light’s short but tragic history.

8. Moona Moona Creek

Moona Moona CreekSource: Stroop Wafel / shutterstock
Moona Moona Creek

The bush east of Sanctuary Point is snaked with watercourses, and maybe the prettiest is Moona Moona Creek, which reaches Jervis Bay south of Huskisson.

At the mouth is a special sight, even in a region endowed with more than its fair share of natural beauty.

The transparent and shallow waters off the creek are partially contained by sandbars, forming a beautiful, knee-high pool.

When the tide is right, families head for Moona Moona Park to wade in the cool, shimmering water.

Meanwhile daring youngsters leap from the low Moona Moona Creek Bridge as a rebellious rite of passage.

This is one of many in the region for stand-up paddleboarding, and here you’ll have the privilege of floating over stingrays and other curious fish.

9. Jervis Bay Maritime Museum

Jervis Bay Maritime MuseumSource: denisbin / Flickr | CC BY-ND
Jervis Bay Maritime Museum

Another reason to spend time in Huskisson is for its compelling maritime heritage.

At one time this was a shipbuilding centre, attested by the preserved MV Lady Denman, a former Sydney Harbour ferry, launched right here in 1911. This vessel has an eventful story, including a partial sinking off Wollongong, before being hauled home and later housed in a shed for an ongoing restoration.

The Lady Denman is accompanied by masses of nautical artefacts like navigational and surveying equipment, as well as models, tools from the local shipyards, paintings, photographs and sketches.

The museum has a charming location on Currambene Creek, ensconced in green grounds with heritage buildings, native gardens, a mangrove boardwalk and recreation area.

10. Whale Watching

Whale WatchingSource: Nico Faramaz / shutterstock
Whale Watching

Every year humpback whales make a 5,000km migration from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic, up the east coast of Australia to tropical waters where they mate and give birth.

This species is known to be inquisitive when it comes to humans, and performs amazing acrobatic feats belying its enormous frame (up to 30 tonnes and 16 metres long). Jervis Bay is roughly halfway along the migration route, and humpbacks pass by between mid-May and mid-November, perhaps with a short interlude around August.

You can view them from land, particularly at the cliffs in Booderee National Park or the opposing Beecroft Peninsula.

Or you can take to the water for a whale watching experience, and a two-hour cruise is available from Huskisson through the online tour platform GetYourGuide.com.

For the remainder of the year bottlenose dolphins are always present in Jervis Bay, so a cruise is worthwhile at any time.

11. Water Activities

Kayaking In Jervis BaySource: Randall Paul Magro / shutterstock
Kayaking In Jervis Bay

With many kilometres of safe, clear and nature-rich water to discover on the lake, bay and creeks, it’s little wonder that paddlesports like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are making waves in this part of the world.

Within 15 minutes of Sanctuary Point there’s a long list of companies offering unforgettable tours or ready to provide you with the equipment you need for your own adventure.

Three big local options are Jervis Bay Kayak & Paddlesports Co, Jervis Bay Stand Up Paddle and Sea Kayak Jervis Bay, all based in Huskisson.

You can paddle to heavenly white sandy beaches, through mangroves or on light surf breaks, and there’s always a chance you’ll be joined by the bay’s bottlenose dolphin pod.

12. Husky Ferry

Husky Ferry Private CharterSource: Ideal Stock PhotographyA / shutterstock
Husky Ferry Private Charter

As Jervis Bay is a national and marine park, it has stayed clear of modern road infrastructure, which means you’ll occasionally have to resort to other modes of transport.

This is a good thing, as on weekends at Huskisson you can cross the glistening waters of Currambene Creek on a ferry to avoid a lengthy detour by car.

The service makes the ten-minute hop between Huskisson in the south and Myola in the north, departing the former at quarter to the hour.

The ferry company also arranges family fun boat rides out into the bay, as well as romantic evening cruises when you can bring your own wine and cheese.

13. Huskisson Sea Pool

Huskisson Sea PoolSource: Steven Tritton / shutterstock
Huskisson Sea Pool

Ten minutes away at Huskisson you can also swim in the ocean without contending with its currents.

The Huskisson Sea Pool is a couple of minutes on foot from the Husky Ferry and set amid some neat landscaping, right on the point for dramatic views.

The main pool is 50 metres, varying in depth from 1.0 to 1.5 metres.

There’s also a partially shaded and fenced in toddler pool, and a small but well-formed beach on the ocean side.

Close by is a well-kept memorial park for HMAS Voyager, a destroyer that sank after a collision during night exercises in 1964 with a cost of 82 lives.

14. Bay & Basin Leisure Centre

FitnessSource: Syda Productions / shutterstock

If you want to exercise out of the elements, or are unfortunate enough to catch some inclement weather, there’s a public leisure centre for a wide range of activities.

As the name tells you, this is halfway between the Jervis Bay and St Georges Basin.

For families escaping a rainy or sweltering day there’s a 25-metre pool, a heated leisure pool with beach-style entry, a toddler pool and an exciting 40-metre slide.

Grown-ups in need of a workout can hit the fully-equipped gym, while there’s also a crèche, cafe, shop and room for fitness classes.

15. Bikes at the Basin

CyclingSource: Soloviova Liudmyla / shutterstock

In an area with mostly gentle terrain, quiet residential communities, a lot of protected nature and an absence of multi-lane roads, it’s easy to see how bikes will soon take over.

The cycling tracks around St Georges Basin and Jervis Bay are being improved and extended, to the point where you can now ride to the bay’s beaches without dealing with road traffic.

This shop in Sanctuary Point sells bikes and bicycle accessories, but also provides repairs and servicing, and rents out bikes for all ages.

For other options there’s Pineapple Bike Hire and Jervis Bay Bike Hire five minutes away in Vincentia.

15 Best Things to Do in Sanctuary Point (Australia):

  • St Georges Basin
  • Basin Foreshore Walk
  • Paradise Beach Reserve
  • Palm Beach
  • Jervis Bay
  • Hyams Beach
  • Booderee National Park
  • Moona Moona Creek
  • Jervis Bay Maritime Museum
  • Whale Watching
  • Water Activities
  • Husky Ferry
  • Huskisson Sea Pool
  • Bay & Basin Leisure Centre
  • Bikes at the Basin