Let's Talk Husky...

Words by Dorian Mode and photography by Lydia Thorpe

Huskisson - best kept secret on the NSW South Coast

You may have heard of trendy Hyams Beach on the NSW South Coast. But the best-kept secret is Huskisson or Husky – as the locals call it. In Huskisson, Australia’s whitest sands meet country-wide smiles and the local RSL is sensibly perched right on the waterfront. And it’s here, behind a night-black pint of Guinness, I watch pugnacious white gulls trail fishing boats to the wharf below. Post beer, we stroll into town to find a pleasing selection of boutiques and restaurants and a quaint theatre in a former community hall built in 1913, for new flicks and occasional film festivals.

We are staying in a cabin at the Holiday Haven White Sands. Psst! It’s a caravan park but they don’t tell anyone. They don’t like calling it that. The cabin is very nice with a barbie on the veranda and ocean glimpses between the twitching salt bush. Walking into town is a snack for seniors in sensible shoes. You are there in minutes.

The view from the deck of our cabin

For dinner that evening, we order grilled snapper from the local (award-winning) fish and chip house and buy a jolly decent bottle of white wine. After a zap in the microwave, we eat on the deck while listening to the long hiss of the sea, with occasional whiffs of kelp from the beach below.

Formerly a whaling town - now a whale watching town

Huskisson is beyond charming. It began life as a whaling town and is the often overlooked treasure of Jervis/Jarvis/Jorvis Bay and dates to the early 1840s. The flanking village of Vincentia (a great Coles and BWS here) was the site of the settlement of South Huskisson, founded in 1841 as a seaport and terminus of The Wool Road. South Huskisson was intended to be a ‘private town’, whatever that means. Shipbuilding was a major industry here in Huskisson in the 1860s. These busy shipyards built sailing vessels and steamships, schooners, tug-boats and island-trading ships during the thirties and forties and two passenger ferries for Sydney (Lady Denman in 1911 and Lady Scott in 1914). This leads me rather neatly to our next adventure in Husky.

The Jervis Bay Maritime Museum at Huskisson

The Jervis Bay Maritime Museum at Huskisson houses fabulous maritime artefacts and navigational, whaling and surveying instruments, nautical equipment and objects relating to the history of Jervis Bay. And what a fabulous little museum it is, dear seniors (I own a vintage putt-putt, so I might be biased). It’s worthy of a visit to Husky alone methinks. I only lament that many of the museum’s excellent displays are poorly lit for my 50+ eyes. But it houses the aforementioned Lady Denman and other historic vessels. And senior readers will remember the old Circular Quay timber turnstiles and ticket booths, all carefully restored here.
There’s also a fabulous whaling exhibition that chronicles Husky’s aforementioned whaling past. We also enjoyed the excellent display chronicling the history of the indigenous Dharawal and Dhurga people of Jervis Bay. All cleverly housed in a bush setting. The complex also includes a large picnic area with native gardens, a mangrove boardwalk, a pond, boathouse and historic buildings.

See the Lady Denman and other historic vessels

The following morning we stroll along the famous talc-white sands of Huskisson Beach. Indeed, it is remarkably white. Whiter than a Hollywood starlet’s teeth.
Later we drive to the heritage-listed ruins of Cape St George Lighthouse. The erstwhile lighthouse stood near Jervis Bay Village and was located about three kilometres south of the southern entrance to Jervis Bay. Constructed in 1860 it was active until 1889. The tower was destroyed between 1917-1922. I have a passion for lighthouses and particularly ‘lost lighthouses’. I lament that Cape St George Tower was unceremoniously used from 1917 to 1922 for target practice by the Royal Australian Navy and destroyed.

Typical cabin at the Holiday Haven White Sands

On our final day in Husky, we cook delicious country bacon on the barbie of the deck of our seaside cabin and watch grey nomads argue about packing up their caravan – only slightly smaller than a Boeing. Seniors – with petrol so pricey and cabins so cheap, is it really worth the stress of towing a house behind your four-wheel-drive? Stay in a cabin and catch a train, fly or drive!

TIP #1

Holiday Haven White Sands is more often known as ‘the caravan park on the point’ at Huskisson. The park is excellent and has premium caravan and camping sites with uninterrupted views across Jervis Bay.
The park has a range of accommodation options to suit campers, caravans, RVs, as well as the aforementioned fully furnished cabins.
Visitors have direct access to Huskisson Beach and are a mere 10 minute stroll to clubs, pubs, dolphin and whale watching cruises, shops, cafes and restaurants.

TIP #2

During the summer holidays, join Aboriginal guides from Murrawadeen Bush Tours for a bush tucker walk. Experience the unique culture of local Huskisson Indigenous people by local Indigenous guides. By far one of the best bush tucker guided walks on the South Coast. Tours operate throughout summer holiday periods.

Tel: 0455 128 860
Email inquiries: wonganilli20@gmail.com