Slowing down to be in harmony with nature is not easy in modern society. We are immersed in constant stimuli with our busy city lives… Even when we sleep, there will often be a steady hum of traffic; low levels of external light often seep into our bedrooms and we are surrounded by electromagnetic appliances, hindering restful sleep.
Escaping to Paperbark Camp, just 2 1/2 hours out of Sydney, gave us an opportunity to restore, sleeping in total darkness with only the sounds of rustling trees. There is also comfort in knowing that Paperbark was built, and continues to be maintained, with the utmost respect for the environment and sustainable practice, whilst we enjoy the privilege of spending a few days in such a pristine and beautiful setting.
These holistic principles extend to the Paperbark dining experience. At their charming treetop restaurant, Gunyah, the produce is mostly seasonal and local, and dietary requirements such as gluten free, dairy free and vegan are catered to. After our delicious dinner, we lingered a little longer over a game of chess by the fire, before collecting a hot water bottle and wandering back to our luxe tent in the clean, crisp air.
Our morning began with a walk through the eucalypts to the glistening river, before being treated to a sumptuous, healthy breakfast. We then headed off to visit more of the local treasures of the area… We spent our first day in Booderie National Park, walking Murrays trail (around 5 kilometres), meeting wallabies and kangaroos along the way and being captivated by breathtaking scenery before an invigorating swim in the crystal clear, turquoise waters of Murrays Beach… even though it was late May! There are numerous other beaches and walks within the park including Booderie Botanic Gardens and stunning Green Patch beach. On our second day, we walked along the white sand of Hyams Beach, again mesmerised by the beauty of this unspoiled region.
It is also possible to take a boat trip from Huskisson village to see dolphins and even whales (whale season is mid-May to November). There are canoes and bicycles available for Hire from Paperbark camp which is a great way to explore the beautiful surrounds. You can even canoe all the way to Huskisson village which takes approximately 2 hours.
If you’re driving back to Sydney we would highly recommend stopping off at the historic town, Berry. There are lots of cafes with a strong focus on organic, local produce as well as a range of charming boutique stores and b&b’s.
Interested in some other escapes near Sydney?
Billabong Eco Nature Retreat, although technically in Sydney, feels very far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is another great place place to contemplate the importance of taking care of ourselves and preventing burn out and other stress related consequences. Even going for a day or two can remind us of the need for balance, to engage in mindfulness practices and provide much needed respite.