Jervis Bay is made up of two peninsulas – the Beecroft Peninsula to the north and the Bherwerre Peninsula to the south. In the middle is Jervis Bay itself and dotted around the edge is all the lovely beaches and wildlife the area is famous for.
While the northern side of the Bherwerre Peninsula is very well known and is home to the most famous beaches in the region – namely Hyams Beach, Green Patch and Murrays, the southern isn’t nearly as well known. This is partly because the southern side faces out into the Pacific and so the beaches there are nowhere near as tranquil, but it’s also because access to most of them is through stretches of bush in the Booderee National Park.
Steamers Beach is accessed by driving right into the heart of Booderee to a small car park in the bush. You then walk 3km down a track to the beach itself and then descend down the steep cliff face at the western end down 240 steps. It’s not the most arduous trek in the world, but it’s not one that many people would do knowing that family-friendly Green Patch is about 20ft from the car park or surfer’s beach Caves is only 300m.
So the bottom line is that Steamers Beach is nowhere near as busy as many of Jervis Bay’s beaches, even in the middle of the summer holidays. This is a shame, because I reckon it’s the most stunning beach in the region.
The beach is flanked by cliffs at either end and it backs onto the bush escarpment. The result is that it’s like an amphitheatre. It has a crescent shape that curls from east to west and underneath the cliffs at the ends are large rock pools teaming with life.
When I walked onto the rocks at the far eastern end of Steamers and turned the corner I startled hundreds of crabs of all colours and sizes who sprinted sideways across the rocks and into the ocean or the rock pools. As I took in the view, a seal bobbed along in the surf, floating on its back and eating something it had grazed from the rocks.
One of the rock pools I found was a nice circular shape and had crystal clear sea water in it. Little crabs scuttled across the bottom of the pool as my shadow passed over it and disappeared into little crevices and under rocks.
Unlike many of Jervis Bay’s beaches, Steamers is a storm beach. You only have to take a wander along the high tide mark to see that it gets some pretty wild weather at times. I found all sorts of flotsam and jetsam there including the parts of at least seven surf boards.
So if you’re ever in Jervis Bay I can heartily recommend a trip to Steamers Beach. Take plenty of water and don’t tire yourself out so much that the walk back up the 240 stairs is too painful. It feels like a little bit of wilderness in the bush and you won’t regret making the effort to visit when you descend those steps and see its orangey yellow sands for the first time.
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