Australia’s ‘Malta Alternative’ Will Blow Your Mind

Put your overseas ticket on hold?

Left: Blue Grotto, Malta, by @clembordier. Right: Jervis Bay Marine Park, by @jordan_robins.

Australia’s secret Blue Grotto will have you scratching Malta off your bucket list and adding Shoalhaven onto it.

Don’t believe us? Take a look at the following image and decide for yourself. Whatever the case, there is a certain Jervis Bay spot that could give Malta’s Blue Grotto a run for its money, we reckon.

Left: Blue Grotto, Malta, by @clembordier. Right: Jervis Bay Marine Park, by @jordan_robins.

The photo on the left shows Malta’s famous Blue Grotto. The photo on the right, by @jordan_robins, shows an obscure cave somewhere in the Jervis Bay Marine Park. The marine park is located about 3 hours south of Sydney.

Comments left beneath Jordan’s photo on Instagram by followers show some people were amazed by the little known cave.

“Nice little discovery!” one wrote. “Is this Samoa?” asked another. “It’s a pretty cool spot, off Jervis bay actually,” Jordan replied. “Add to the bucket list!” another wrote.

The (original) Blue Grotto – a seaborne cave in Malta – is marked by photogenically blue, glowing water with objects underneath “appearing silver, red, orange, or yellow,” Matador Network reports. “Although the blue phenomenon is the result of sunlight shining through the narrow entrance, rather than bioluminescence, the radiant effect is equally stunning and even more colorful. To reach the grotto, you must visit during low tide and calm conditions, and only via a specially licensed boat.”

Jervis Bay has an even more legit type of bioluminescence – the kind created by a chemical reaction inside a living cell that generates light (this can be the result of things like sea creatures and mushrooms). In Jervis Bay’s case, it’s the result of an algae bloom of plankton which under certain conditions creates large amounts of bioluminescence (also known as a sea sparkle).

Left: Blue Grotto, Malta (Shutterstock). Right: Jervis Bay, by @Jordan_Robins

Jervis Bay Wild writes: “Bioluminescence can only be witnessed at a few locations around the world and it is notoriously difficult to photograph. It is also difficult to predict, with its appearance relying on the right temperatures and wind. When bioluminescence arrives in Jervis Bay, it can be seen in a number of locations.”

“Head to your nearest local beach after dark and you will probably get lucky,” the site adds. “We’ve seen it at Barfluer Beach just north of Plantation Point, Callala Bay and Blenheim Beach. There were significant bioluminescence events in Jervis Bay in 2018, 2019 and 2020, so it would seem we’re on a bit of a roll.”

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Going as far down as Bawley Point (perhaps further), if you drag your heel in the sand at night, if you’re there during a bioluminescence event, you can see faint lines in the sand of sea (or in this case sand) sparkles.

Moving onto some of Shoalhavens more well-known attractions, like Bendalong, and Hyams Beach, various other comparisons to international hotspots can be made (though, just like overseas, there is a big difference between what you see on social media and reality).

Instagram vs. Reality at Hyams Beach

Bendalong’s humble boat ramp could be almost mistaken for being somewhere in Sardinia, too.

Left: Lolapan Travels, in Bendalong. Right: @dr___tom in Cala Mariolu, Sardinia,

Meanwhile, Hyams could pass for a blinding white sand beach in Sardinia or Crete.

Left: Hyams beach, by @chrisbeetham. Right: Cala Mariolu – Sardinia, by @svetatour_viaggi.

Maybe you can hold off on that overseas flight ticket after all?