The story of the estate. São Lourenço do Barrocal has been in the same family for more than 200 years, and it was José António Uva (who is eight generation of the same family) who had a vision to turn the family property into a farm retreat he could share with others. The passion and dedication behind José António’s dream, and what he has created, is incredibly inspiring.
The interiors. Perfectly simple and calming. The interior design was led by José António’s wife Ana’s design studio, AnahoryAlmeida (also responsible for the interiors of many of Lisbon’s finest restaurants) and it is a dream.
Hortelão, their outdoor restaurant. The most beautiful place to dine between Spring through Autumn, this slow-food, farm to fork restaurant is located next to the pool, right by the organic kitchen garden, and is the perfect place to enjoy a dinner under the stars.
A weekend at Paperbark Camp.
Earlier this year we jumped in the car and headed north from Melbourne along the NSW South Coast, stopping in Canberra on the way (to check out the War Memorial, and the James Turrell installation at the National Gallery of Australia). We grabbed beers at the local pub of a teeny tiny town called Nerriga, with just a handful of locals, before making our way on to Huskisson, near Jervis Bay.
It was in Huskisson that we found our home for the weekend - the Paperbark Camp - a chic, safari-style retreat, surrounded by eucalyptus and paperbark trees. The Paperbark Camp is home to 12 canvas-clad tents offering a simple, laid- back luxury deep in the heart of an Australian bush setting. Each of the 12 tents has been named after local wildlife and cute, well-curated in-room guides provide lots of info about your namesake animal. We were in the “Wombat” tent, and loved its position right by the creek. With a huge comfy bed, and outdoor ensuite shower (with a couple of visiting frogs!), these gorgeous tents offer both luxury and privacy. Paperbark Camp celebrated their 20th anniversary while we were there - twenty years of providing guests with an authentic and luxurious experience in the heart of Mother Nature.
There is a motto for the Jervis Bay area that says “do it all (forest treks, creek kayaking, swimming and snorkelling) or do nothing at all; and that is what makes Paperbark Camp so perfect. You really can choose to do everything, or absolutely nothing at all. We chose to take out the Camp’s beach cruiser bikes out one morning to ride into town. Jervis Bay’s jaw-dropping beaches are a mere 4km away, so the short ride into town - along a ripping bike path - was super leisurely and enjoyable. We stopped in Huskisson for a bite to eat at the Five Little Pigs, and then carried on past Collingwood Beach and Orion Beach until we reached
Nelsons Beach. The water here is so incredibly turquoise, calm and
clear, and the white sand is out of this world. It really is incredible. From Nelsons Beach, the “White Sands Track” begins. A walking track that links the four beaches from Nelsons, including Blenheim Beach, Greenfield Beach, Chinamans Beach, and ending at Hyams Beach. The sand is some of the whitest in the world. It is very beautiful here. Looking over the Jervis Bay Marine Park from the beaches you can see the Beecroft Peninsula - and if you have time, it is definitely worth taking the boat trip (only operates on weekends), that takes you to the darling little cove of Honeymoon Bay. Stunning.
Back at the Paperback Camp, and we were lucky enough to enjoy a few meals at their well renowned Gunyah Restaurant. A set menu for dinner, the night we visited it looked a little like this: Amuse Bouche to start, together with homemade focaccia; Heirloom tomatoes, basil snow, olive oil sorbet, and black garlic for entree; Charcoal smoked lamb, chorizo, chick peas and feta for main; and a dark chocolate and coffee mousse, caramel beer ice cream, raspberries for dessert. We ordered broccolini with a parmesan crumb, and roast dutch cream potatoes with herb butter as our sides. All produce is grown on-site, and if not, is sourced locally, and all food served at Paperbark is organic, fair trade and free-range. The food was amazing. After dinner, we took a bottle of wine down to the campfire and sat out under a sea of stars. With hanging lights from the trees, it was a beautiful setting.
In the morning, breakfast is also served in the Gunyah Restaurant. You can order something hot off the menu, or enjoy the fresh and healthy selection of fruit, yoghurt and cereals from the breakfast bar as well. The coffee is great. The service is excellent.
Paperbark Camp provides the perfect opportunity to really rest and recharge. Surrounded by nature, this is the most luxurious camping experience we have had to date. It is quiet, peaceful, and eco-friendly. We felt incredibly lucky to spend some days here and know we will definitely return.
Address: 571 Woollamia Rd, Woollamia NSW