Paperbark Camp, in the pristine bush of Jervis Bay, NSW, was the one place that raised eyebrows when people asked where I was headed on my Sydney trip. It was also the one place the majority of people were jealous of! I had never heard of it, but it seems it’s super-popular and everyone I talked to was dying to go, or had been and wanted to go back.
I was staying in one of the Original Safari Tents (image from their website) which was actually quite large, with a king-sized bed, couch, and other bits and pieces. I was told in no uncertain terms to use the clip on the tent zipper to lock up at night, or I’d wake up to find a possum eating my makeup, among other things. They were NOT WRONG.
friend a selfie of me later sitting under a pile of all the blankets I could find and my jumper wrapped around my face as the afternoon cooled down into night. I may have been slightly exaggerating, but with the open tent and zero heating in almost-winter, you have to be resourceful!
I did see the next day that everyone had put their canvas window-coverings down, which may have been smart, but I really wanted to wake up in the trees. Also, I was travelling alone and everyone else was in loved-up couplet sooooooo …. probs a good idea to close the blinds.
I had a dinner booking for 7pm, although the restaurant is open 24/7 for warmth, wood fire, electricity, company, cups of tea/coffee, card games and newspapers. I grabbed my key, which helpfully comes with a little torch, and set off (wrong turn included) in search of sustenance.
unbutton-the-pants-by-entree endeavour, and I earned every single bit of that food baby.
First up was a quinoa bread with rose glaze served with butter and … chilli sauce.
Sounds weird, tastes amazing – although after my first bite I sat there blinking stupidly for a bit while my brain made sense of what was in my mouth. It was incredible. I can’t describe why or how it works, I only know it does.
(ps the menu changes depending on the day, which you can see here.)
Entree was three-textured Mittagong mushrooms, which was nice, but I have a thing about mushroom texture. I kind of feel like I need some kind of bread or something crunchy to eat them with, but adding them to the rose/chilli concoction of earlier seemed a bridge too far. I did eat it all though, so it couldn’t have been too bad!
I definitely then had pretty much a second entree of baby leeks with saffron and macadamia crumbs. I made a bloody good dent in them but I was worried about fitting in my main, side, and dessert, so I stopped before my time.
Predator possums aside, I slept and woke up to this:
While I was quietly looking at this:
Paperbark Camp 2.5 hours south of Sydney, and 15 minutes’ bike ride to the beach (or you can walk!). Paperbark is an ecologically sustainable endeavour, and aims to merge with the surrounding natural environment as seamlessly as possible. They have earned the Advanced Eco Accreditation from Eco Tourism Australia, and is a member of the Eco Lodges Australia Group. They source local products and services wherever they can in addition to growing their own, and are operating with minimal impact, which you can read more about here, and enquire about a booking here.
And if you go – let me know! I’d love to hear your experiences!
I travelled as a guest of Paperbark Camp and Destination NSW. Thanks, folks!