Living in a country as big as Australia there is no shortage of amazing places to visit. Whether you are in our home state of Victoria or another state or territory, our country is full of little gems to see. We have visited some of them several times. But there are a few we've heard of lately, and there are many more that we have yet to discover. Until recently, the Sapphire Coast fell into the latter category. Everything changed when a close friend put it on our radar and suggested the city of Pambula for our Christmas getaway.
About six hours from Melbourne and five hours from Sydney, the Sapphire Coast stretches from the town of Eden near the Victorian border to the town of Bermagui further north. It is home to many bright white sandy beaches, stunning national parks, plenty of wildlife and some spectacular coastal walks. Couple that with some amazing local produce and wine and I absolutely loved it!
So in our week off between Christmas and New Years we went to New South Wales. We made Pambula our base on the Sapphire Coast and stayed there for a total of six nights while exploring the region. Pambula is a lovely little coastal town and its proximity to many coastal attractions made it a logical place to base us.
What to do in Pambula
Swim at the mouth of the Pambula River
The best thing to do in Pambula is to visit the mouth of the river. Because of its location, the mouth of the Pambula River is well protected from the winds and waves from the south. This makes it a perfect spot for swimming with the whole family. The water there is not only calm and beautiful, but also offers breathtaking views of the northern edge of Ben Boyd National Park.
When you're done swimming and relaxing, take the short trail along the Pambula River. This 1.2 km walk offers panoramic views across the bay to Haycock Point. It meanders along the coast through forests before arriving at a lookout point with fabulous views of Severs Beach and the Pambula River.
Pambula main surfing beach
If you are a big surfer or body boarder, Pambula's main beach is a white sandy beach with waves and a beautiful blue sea. If you just want to swim, the southern part of the beach is lifeguarded in summer. Even if you don't want to get wet, Pambula's main beach is perfect for walking. To really burn some calories, you can walk to Merimbula. It's a long but beautiful hike. For a shorter walk, take the headland path between the main beach and the mouth of the Pambula River, or check out the rock pools at low tide.
Pack a picnic and take a walk in the Panboola Wetlands
The 77 hectare Panboola Floodplain is a nature reserve and wetland with freshwater billabongs, salt lakes, mangroves, a tidal channel and tidal marshes. It has excellent hiking and biking trails, great bird life and large numbers of eastern gray kangaroos. The park is wonderful for walks with friends and family for all ages. Bring a picnic and enjoy at one of the park's many picnic areas.
Spot wildlife at the Pambula-Meribula Golf Club
Even if you don't play golf, you should visit the Pambula-Merimbula Golf Club. Why? Because it's home to eight hundred wild kangaroos, including a rare family of white-tailed and white-nosed kangaroos! For $12, the club offers a 30-minute eco-tour of the golf course's wildlife. They take you in a golf cart to see the kangaroos and other wildlife!
Hike in Ben Boyd National Park
Ben Boyd National Park surrounds Pambula Beach, but the best part is six miles south of Pambula and accessed via Haycock Road, which is unpaved but easy to navigate. This part of the park offers beautiful coastal walks, secluded beaches and excellent spots for wildlife viewing.
Be sure to tackle the four-mile walk back from Haycock Point to Barmouth Beach. This easy hike offers spectacular views of the Merimbula Bay shoreline as you hike through a banksia forest teeming with songbirds. You land on Barmouth Beach, which is practically deserted. However, you may have to share the beach with local goannas. This hike is also great for spotting kangaroos, eastern gray kangaroos, and echidnas (we saw three echidnas on our hike!).
After completing the hike, stop at the Pinnacles and Quondolo Point for more awe-inspiring views.
What to do in Merimbula?
Merimbula is next to Pambula, just a five minute drive away.
Stroll along the Merimbula promenade
The Merimbula Boardwalk Trail is an easy two and a half mile loop hike. Follow the shores of the lake, meandering through mangroves, under eucalyptus canopies, past oyster beds and Melaleuca. Along the way you will find informative guides and in the background a coffee kiosk for snacks.
Snorkeling and Bar Beach
Bar Beach is a small but beautiful beach on Lake Merimbula. Because it's so sheltered, it's another popular spot for a family swim. So get there early if you want to secure a spot. In summer you can snorkel at Bar Beach. But be careful, although the water seems fairly calm, there are strong tidal currents that may surprise you. It's definitely not the Great Barrier Reef, but we did see some fish during our snorkeling session!
Check out the soldier crabs in Spencer Park
At low tide, Spencer Park is a great place to watch thousands of soldier crabs emerge from their burrows for their daily walk on the beach. However, you must be patient; It may take a while for them to appear!
Eat some oysters!
The Sapphire Coast is home to many oyster farms that produce some of Australia's finest oysters. Sapphire Coast oysters are delicious, creamy and very easy to find. They are served in most restaurants or can be bought direct from oyster farms. If you want to learn more about the growing process, you can even sign up for a guided tour. Wheelers Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Farm offer a farm tour Monday through Saturday at 11:00 am. M. Reservations are not required. Cost: $12.50.
What to do in the Tatras
Tathra steam dock
Tathra has the only remaining wooden pier on Australia's east coast. After an extensive restoration, it is now a tourist attraction. The storage shed has been restored by local residents and turned into a small museum. The museum provides information about shipwrecks in the area and the history of the shipyard. During whale season (late August through November), Tathra Wharf is a prime spot for migrating whale watching.
Drive to Mimosa Rocks National Park
The parking lot at the end of the unpaved Aragannu Road has two easy walking trails to Mimosa Rocks and Aragannu Beach (no 4WD required, just drive slowly). The wheelchair-accessible trail to Mimosa Rocks crosses an Aboriginal hill on the way to the lookout. When you reach the viewpoint, you will see a pyramid shaped rock. Under this rock is the SS Mimosa, a steamer that sank in 1863. The national park is named after her.
You can also walk through a wooded area to Aragannu Beach. Watch the birds along the way. This beach is 630 meters long and accessible by stairs. Swimming is not recommended due to strong currents, but it is a pleasant beach for a stroll.
Swim or kayak on Lake Wapengo
Located between Narooma and Tathra, Wapengo Lake is a pristine estuary. It is best accessed from Tathra-Bermagui Road towards Haighs Street. At the end of the gravel road you will find a stunning lagoon perfect for swimming and kayaking. On the other side of Lake Wapengo there are some oyster farms where you can buy fresh and tasty oysters.
Where shall we eat?
Wheelers is a must for seafood lovers. Try one of their fish dishes or one of their fresh oysters. Pair it with a nice bottle of local white wine!
ADDRESS:162 Arthur Kaine Drive, Pambula – Opposite Pambula Merimbula Golf Club
Pier One is located on the shore of Merimbula. It offers the best views of the city and the most delicious fresh seafood.
ADDRESS:Marktstr. 2/5, Merimbula
This is a great spot for breakfast or lunch, with beautiful surroundings, an animal farm to keep the kids happy, and a gift shop and garden center.
ADDRESS:3546 Princes Hwy, Pambula
cabin of love
Dulcie's serves the best American burgers on the Sapphire Coast, and the food is prepared in a quirky, restored 1950's van. It's a popular spot in Merimbula, so get there early.
ADDRESS:main street 60, Merimbula
Where to stay in Pambula?
to the love hut
During our stay in Pambula we stayed at the Barraca do Amor. Love Shack is a one bedroom cabin with stunning views over Pambula Beach. You can enjoy this view while having breakfast on the large terrace. You can join some playful parrots who looked like they were enjoying a morning screeching session!
We sometimes had eastern gray kangaroos on the front lawn. When we arrived, a mother and her cub were casually relaxing under the trees. The house is just a short walk from the main beach and the mouth of the Pambula River. It's the perfect place for couples!
Prices start at AU$350 for a two night stay.Click here to view current prices. Any bookings you make help maintain this website but come at no additional cost.
Discovery Parks - Pambula Beach
This caravan park is 500 meters away in absolute beachfront location and is surrounded by Ben Boyd National Park. Best of all, the park has an abundance of wildlife, including kangaroos, skunks, and lots of birds.
We didn't stay there but walked through the park to check it out. I don't like camping but the wildlife and proximity to the beach made it very appealing! If tents aren't your thing like me, they also offer booths.
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