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Paperbark Camp

It's quite the adventure before it's even begun; a rocky one-way bush track is the only way to our secret getaway. Along the way we take note of the herds of wallabies distorted through tightly packed gumtrees. The sound of nature is sharp and vibrant, but only if you listen closely. Otherwise, the sounds create a calmness that is only justified by the remoteness of this location.

Paperbark camp is a tented bush camp amidst the gleaming waters of Jervis Bay, unassuming located two hours south of Sydney. Jervis Bay is renowned for its white sandy beaches and tranquil ocean shores. The campground has stood here since 1999, around the time an interest for eco-tourism was ignited. Founders Jeremy & Irena Hutchings longed for a luxurious getaway with a real sense of adventure, and so the dream of Paperbark camp was born.

Our neck of the woods is a cosy canvas tent blended amongst the canopy, fitted with a large wooden deck. The humble exterior is wittily juxtaposed to the opulent inners, which take camping to an entirely different level. A four-post wooden bed greets us inside; it is draped in cream netting, with plush, felt cushions neatly placed on top. Around the corner leads to a secluded hanging space, then through to the bathroom. The bathroom fitout is complete with a freestanding tub and antique mirror. Looking up, I take note that the ceiling is missing, exposing the natural light and exotic flora. Our hideaway is eco-friendly and the perfect wilderness escape.

I'd never admit to being a city slicker, but something struck a chord when the lack of reception bothered me. With mixed emotions and a sense of defeat we succumbed to the sole purpose of this experience – to relax. And boy, was it good! We grabbed a pair of bicycles and rode to the river, where we took a kayak and bottle of wine. We spent the last of the sunlight floating up and down the stream, totally secluded and immersed in nature. Time poses little importance around here, so when moonlight fell, we slowly made our way to the dining hall.

The Gunya restaurant is a unique dining experience. It has a real indigenous influence, with cultural paintings covering the walls. The menu is set each night, to ensure fresh and seasonal produce. The dishes are unassuming and intricate, perfectly partnered with an organic Pinot Noir or a locally brewed beer. The Gunya was a beautiful way to farewell the night, especially as its 100 metres from our tent.

This experience is like no other, located so close to a vibrant town is this mysterious and peaceful hideaway.

 

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