New South Wales’ South Coast has long attracted weary city slickers with its crystal clear waters, fine sandy beaches, verdant bushland and mighty limestone cliffs. A mere three hours from Sydney where Currambene Creek meets the ocean, you’ll discover thirteen canvas-clad structures spread out beneath fragrant native melaleucas. This is Paperbark Camp, one of Australia’s first luxury tented properties. So eco-conscious is the campsite that no trees were felled in its construction, and you won’t find TV, Wi-Fi or even power points in guest tents. Lighting is solar powered, furniture is sculpted from timber off-cuts, and all structures are open and elevated to take advantage of sea breezes.
In your safari-style tent, you’ll find gleaming hardwood floors, proper beds enrobed in quality linen, full insect screening and flaps cut out of the canvas which you can roll up or down to control the amount of daylight flooding in. An open-air ensuite with hot water shower and natural handmade soaps complete the back-to-nature experience.
Guests at Paperbark Camp are encouraged to disconnect from the digital world, but if you really must check email or post photos on social media, you can get free Wi-Fi and access to power points at The Gunyah. Meaning “the meeting place” in local Aboriginal dialect, this architecturally-designed treetop space is the camp’s dining room, reception and guest lounge. Curl up by the open fire here in winter, or play cards to the chattering of resident possums and sugar gliders.
Food is a real highlight – nothing comes out of a can at Paperbark Camp! Breakfast might consist of house made granola with single origin coffee, while candlelit evening meals often involve pisco sours and paella. Lunch is not served, but packed picnics are available. Where possible, regional produce is used, with herbs and veggies sourced from the camp’s own garden. After a meal, spoil yourself with an in-room massage or saunter along the property’s many bush trails looking for kangaroos.
Guests have bicycles and canoes at their disposal throughout their stay. Huskisson, the nearest town, is a mere 15-minute cycle or short paddle away. From May to November, whale watching is a popular activity from here, while fur seals and dolphins are regularly observed in the waters year-round. Farther south, you can embark on the White Sands Walk, a fantastic way to see the glorious chain of powder sand beaches that ring Jervis Bay.