Conceived over a few sundowners on safari in Africa in the eighties, Paperbark Camp officially opened in 1999 after years of dreaming and planning by the owners, Jeremy & Irena Hutchings. With the help of their family and a dedicated team of staff, the camp remains a family operated business and continues to be at the forefront of ecotourism and luxury camping in Australia.
Just 2 ½ hrs drive south of Sydney near the pristine clear waters and white sand beaches of Jervis Bay, the camp offers a unique blend of fine food and wine, cosy canvas accommodation and a peaceful bush setting, the perfect base from which to explore this nature lovers paradise.
The Deluxe safari tent is perfect for a romantic escape, ideally suited for two people, it can also accommodate an extra guest and has a larger deck area with lounge as well as a free standing bath and separate shower.
After a delicious dinner in their treetop dining room, grab your torch and meander back under the stars to snuggle up in your own bush hideaway, lulled into a restful sleep by the sounds of the bush at night.
The 12 canvas safari style tents have been placed thoughtfully amongst the soaring eucalypts and intriguing paperbarks, built above the ground to give privacy and to capture the sea breeze. All tents have wrap around decking with outdoor furniture, polished hardwood floors, full insect screening, solar powered lighting as well as high quality linen and all the hotel amenities you would expect for a luxe camping experience.
They also include an open-air private en-suite, perfect for bird watching and kangaroo spotting while you enjoy a steaming hot shower. Delicious hand made soaps and lotions made from natural ingredients and gowns are also provided.
Paperbark Camp follows a sustainable philosophy and has Advanced Eco Accreditation. As such, you will not find air-conditioning or heating, TV, bar fridge or power points for your technology (though power and wifi can be accessed in the Gunyah). So switch off and get back to nature!
The Restaurant, Gunyah (aboriginal for meeting place, or place of shelter) is the heart of the camp. Designed by Sydney architects Nettleton Tribe , it is a unique space, built high off the ground to enjoy the sea breeze and a wonderful position amongst the tree tops.
In the warmer months the sliding doors open up for outdoor dining on the verandah, providing a bushy backdrop to candlelit meals and to observe the goings on of our resident possums, sugargliders and colourful birdlife.
In winter an open fire with cosy lounges is the perfect place to curl up on after dinner with a nightcap, perhaps swap a few travelling tales with other guests, or enjoy a game of cards. The Gunyah is the dining room, reception and communal lounge and is also where you go for free Wi-Fi, and guests are welcome to help themselves to tea or coffee during the day (or for some, the middle of the night!). It also makes for a beautifully romantic wedding venue and inspirational space for small meetings and corporate retreats.
The Sundowner deck is the perfect place to meet for a late afternoon drink, enjoy some tasty bar snacks and watch the changing light of the bush.
Paperbark Camps objective is to provide a unique and authentic Australian bush experience that is both ecologically and financially sustainable. In the 90’s when planning initially commenced, the concept of ‘ecotourism’ was in its infancy, and the sustainable approach they developed came more from an instinctive desire to maintain the natural peace and beauty of the pristine environment. However the timing was spot-on and as climate change concerns grew, so did the desire for people to seek out holidays that left as little impact on the natural environment as possible. Since then, planning controls and expectations have increased so that all new developments must adhere to strict building codes that aim for sustainability whether it is a 200 room hotel in the city or a smaller establishment such as ours in a more natural environment.
As a result of this increase in awareness, ecotourism is more far reaching and holistic in its approach. The bar has been set a lot higher and it is no longer good enough to just have solar panels and dual flush toilets! To be considered a true ecotourism product we must work to ensure the guest experience goes much further to increase knowledge of the environment we are in, the local community and its culture, and also how we can improve efforts in our every day lives to decrease waste and live a more sustainable existence. Paperbark Camp has been recognised for its work in this area by receiving Advanced Eco Accreditation from Ecotourism Australia and is proud to be part of the Eco Lodges of Australia group.
Over the years they have worked continually to improve their efforts at sustainability and this now extends to purchasing policies where possible, sourcing local products and services and growing their own produce (which has mixed results in a Eucalypt forest!). They have a designated permaculturist to assist with this and are always looking at new ways they can operate to minimise their impact on the environment.
Paperbark camp is located 2 hrs drive (190km) south of Sydney in Jervis Bay which is part of the Shoalhaven region. The Shoalhaven has a wealth of natural treasures but the bay area is the jewel in its crown with its calm, clear waters, amazing white sand beaches and pristine coastal bush landscapes. The area boasts three national parks, The Booderee National Park, Jervis Bay National Park and Jervis Bay Marine Park which together include many kilometres of walking trails and deserted beaches as well as providing sanctuary to a wide variety of wildlife and underwater creatures.
The bay and its extensive surrounding area, covers 16km from North to South and 10km from East to West. Having a car is therefore useful for exploring the area and is certainly the easiest way of travelling to the bay. However they do encourage guests to consider alternative modes of transport. The train from Central station Sydney to Bomaderry(Nowra) is particularly scenic and we are happy to arrange a transfer to the camp after which guests are able to explore the area by bike, canoe or by an escorted tour.