Wednesday, September 25, 2013

24 Hours in Jervis Bay

As most of you know, Gaffa is down in Jervis Bay completing his Officer training with the Royal Australian Navy. He spent a week down at HMAS Cerberus (where he'll be spending about 5 months next year doing his Engineering training course), but this time he was doing small arms training down there.

On Saturday morning Flinders Division hopped onto a bus and drove all the way back from Crib Point back to Jervis Bay - a 10.5 hour journey with stops every 2 hours. I booked a last minute motel room at the Huskinsson Beach Motel ($160 for the night, with a queen and single bed in the room), which is very close to the main strip of shops in Huskie.

I left Sydney at about 2pm and ended up arriving at the motel at about 5.30pm - a longer drive than normal due to the Sydney traffic in the Sutherland area. The sun was still up so I decided to go for a short walk to explore the area. It was a bit windy out and I'd only brought a light cardigan, so I didn't stay out for long.

Back in the motel room, I amused myself by painting my nails purple - for the prelim finals of the NRL, Storm vs Knights game that night, and watched the pre-match entertainment and the first half hour of the game on TV.

Gaffa finally arrived, in his chinos, collared long sleeve shirt and smart brown shoes, while I was wearing my jeans, Storm jersey, cardigan and purple Tigers. Gaffa decided to take me to the fanciest restaurant in Huskinsson - Wild Ginger, a South-East Asian restaurant and wine bar. Man did I feel under-dressed!

We ordered two mains to share and some rice. There are only 4 mains on the a la carte menu so it was not a tough choice. Gaffa previously dined at Wild Ginger with a few of his Navy friends, and larger groups are required to have the banquet - which I've been told are really good too. We decided on the light yellow curry of snapper with thai pea eggplant, oyster mushrooms, coconut cream and sweet basil. Our second dish was the 3 hour braised beef cheeks with a southern style green curry + holy basil and snake beans. The mains came out quite quickly, considering the restaurant was pretty full.

The beef cheeks green curry was my favourite, not overly spicy but had a nice curry taste. The yellow curry came with a very large piece of snapper, well worth the higher than average price that you'd pay for a Thai main. The rice was needed as both curries had a lot of sauce. We decided to skip on dessert as we had raw treats waiting for us back at the motel. We made it back to the room just in time for the end of the game. Unfortunately the Knights won :(

The next morning we woke up early, finished off the raw cheesecake and checked out of the motel. We decided to go for a walk along Huskinsson beach first before heading to Kiosk for brunch. At Kiosk we managed to get a table out front in the sun, and it was a glorious day for brunch! Gaffa ordered a coffee and I had a juice, and we both ordered the Coyote breakfast with corn fritters, bacon, black beans, avocado and a poached egg. Yuuuum!

After brunch we went for a walk around the shops on the main street. It's your typical small beach town; with a book shop, small clothing stores, milk bars, take away shops, and whale and dolphin cruise outlets. Gaffa showed me the gluten-free ice cream store that he was waiting for me to try it with him. Strong self control there H2B, considering ice cream is his kryptonite!

Next we decided to drive from Huskie to Hyam's Beach, which Jervis Bay is best known for. The long stretch of white sand with crystal clear blue water, sheltered by the bay so it has small waves. A perfect place to relax and chill out. Instead,  Gaffa and I walked from the main entrance to Hyam's Beach to the edge of the Navy base. Civilians aren't allowed onto the base via the beach access, and this is one of the many jobs that the officers in training have - to patrol the beach for unwanted backpackers :P

We spent the best part of the afternoon walking along the sand, dipping our feet in the water and chatting about everything. We even managed to get a full length photo of the two of us, plus the usual selfies.

By the time we got back to the car we were feeling peckish - it was time for ice cream. We drove back to Huskie and got a scoop of gluten free ice cream,  Gaffa went for a cone, which I'm not sure was gluten free... we walked along the water's edge while enjoying our "healthy" snack. Caramelised fig btw - YUM!

Gaffa wanted to show me around Creswell next, so we hoped back into the car and headed to Gaffa's home away from home. Getting me a visitors pass was quite easy and soon enough we were driving along on base watching the kangaroos basking in the afternoon sun.

We parked the car and Gaffa "pegged in" so that people knew he was on base, in case of any emergencies. We walked around and Gaffa showed me where he eats, sleeps,  marches, takes classes,  does EMA (early morning activity) and where he relaxes and plays darts. It was pretty cool to see all this as it really made all the stories Gaffa tells me seem more exciting and real.

It was almost time to head home. But before we went our separate ways we had an early dinner at the Huskie Pub. A gluten free pizza and clam chowder to share.

Driving back was only a 2.5hr journey. Not the easiest drive at night along the winding roads around Nowra and Berry and oncoming head lights; but I made it back in good time, safe and sound.

Jervis Bay is a beautiful place, one of Australia's hidden gems on the south east coast. Definitely a place I'd recommend taking a short trip to in summer.

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