Merimbula NSW
Culture ~ Eat and Drink ~ To Do ~ Trip Planning ~ What's On

Exploring the Sapphire Coast

  • Kate Mather
  • 15 February 2021

I went on a road trip in January with my lovely friend Githa! Bit of a Thelma and Louise style, to catchup and celebrate my boys 18th birth-day… without the boys!  Githa was the first to see my babies all those years ago, while I was whisked away to emergency she craddled them and loved them till I was back in the room… many hours later as she recalled, ha!

We based ourselves in the town of Tathra, and with the help of local photographer Dave Rogers, spent four days discovering the beauty of the Sapphire Coast.  With the water ranging from turquoise to sapphire and the bushland surrounding the beaches, its a true abundance of marine life, reefs and surf breaks, with kangaroos and wallabys at your door.


Things to do

Our top 5 across the Sapphire Coast

1. Get on (or beneath) the water

The Sapphire Coast is an area rich in marine life, and a great place to take a closer look at its abundance. We spent the morning at the Merimbula Wharf, watching the kids jump in and climb up the ladder on repeat, whilst scuba and snorkelling was happening below.  So much activity its well worth grabbing a coffee or taking a leap into the bluest of blue waters yourself.  The Aquarium and Restaurant wasn’t open when we went, Thursday to Sunday are the days to enjoy both venues, perched above the wharf with a view that reminded us of the Amalfi Coast.   If you are wanting to explore the deep sapphire waters then take a diving course at Merimbula Divers Lodge or further south at  Dive Eden with boat dives from beginners to advance and free diving courses.   If learning to surf has been on the list ready to tick there are a selection of schools – Camel Rock Surf School, Bermi Surf School and Amped Surf School are three on offer.  

2. Walk and Talk

I caught up with Cam from Sapphire Coast Guiding Company who operates nature based experiences across the Sapphire Coast.  Walk, talk and ride on Yuin Country, are south coast experiences in every way.  With the Light to Light multi-day walk through the wilderness region it is a fully catered 3 day walk that only requires you taking your day pack.  The half-day walks are filled with exploring the ancient landscape, find hidden beaches and encounter unique wildlife.  Another tour is the Captain Sponges Magical Oyster Tours, where passengers are taken to the oyster farm and shown the how, where and when behind this mysterious form of farming.

Other tours and guides are Cat Balou Cruises and Whale Watching Eden and Kiah Wilderness Tours,

3. Immerse yourself 

Festivals are a glorious part of the Sapphire Coast.  The Four Winds Easter Festival showcases over 60 artists, 10 Ensembles, 26 Performances, 10 Stunning Locations and five days.  I met the creator of this wonderful event and with an amazing program getting locked in for April and having just completed 2021 Survival Day held on the 26th of January, a great free family event near Bermagui set to be an permanent event in the calendar. Sculpture Bermagui is another reason to visit early in the year.  From 6th to the 14th March, Sculpture Bermagui includes an outdoor exhibition of large sculptural pieces in the magnificent settings of Dickinson Point Headland and the foreshore of Dickinson Park, as well as an indoor exhibition of smaller sculptures at the Bermagui Community Centre.

Other festivals include Candelo Music Festival and Cobargo Folk Festival

4. Tastes of the Sapphire Coast

We thought we would start our stay with some Tathra Oysters and the famous North of Eden Gin.  This combo certainly didn’t disappoint!  with the area known for its oysters and its local produce this is a great place to begin the Sapphire Coast culinary delights.  Other highlights was the Bega and Tilba Cheese along with the Eden Smokehouse.  If you are after some inhouse catering then you cant go past A Pinch of Yum who will come to you with their array of deliciousness or find them in Pambula for their take home delights.  Going out for a meal has never been so good!  The selection of new and established restauarants and bars is massive.  Harbar Bermagui is the ultimate spot to sit and sip!  Cocktails there are definitely on point and definitely always book! My Valentina in Merimbula is a newly created coastal hideaway perfect for a leisurely lunch, delicious dinner or a summer afternoon aperitif! The styling is so beautiful with a menu to match!

Other tasting must dos are Mimosa Wines, Longstocking Brewery, Eden Brewery and Camel Rock Brewery.

5. Rest your head

As I mentioned we stayed in Tathra, at Seatons, a holiday home with all the little luxuries you need across a stay.  The home itself is a nod to the past and the story of how Seatons was created will explain it all!  Beautifully styled and a kitchen that has everything, this a great luxe holiday home that sits high and looks across the town of Tathra.  If flying in and Merimbula is your place to stay, you cannot beat the Hillcrest Motel.  Seriously, this place has begun an amazing refurb that is all things Palm Springs retro style with a contemporary finish.

Pambula has the gorgeous Lotteshjem, a weatherboard cottage that has so much charm and sweetness its completely irresistible.  Just in from the coast was a fabulous surprise with the town of Candelo – the happiest town on the south coast!  I had heard that it was a place where music makers and artists gathered and lived and this was the reason for the happiness… I had to check it out!  We popped into the Candelo General Store for lunch, the happiest of vibes, and was delighted with the toasty and beer!  Then it was time to find Ellington Grove a cottage that is nestled among twisted willows and giant eucalyptus trees. Sitting on 5 acres of land, and designed with the jazz age in mind, it was a sudden OMG when we came across it down a country lane, like a storybook cottage, Ellington Grove is a must stay, and I truly must, next time!



How to get there

The best way to reach the Sapphire Coast


If coming from Sydney we would suggest the following:

Come down the coast road with lunch in Kiama at The Hungry Monkey or Otis Deli.  Stop into Stoic Brewery in Gerringong to pick up a couple of Growlers for the night ahead.  Drive another hour and spend the night in Mollymook with dinner at Gwylos or a meal delivered by Citrus Catering. The next morning grab some sourdough at Lagom Bakery just south in Burrill Lake.  Then its a drive through Batemans Bay and Moruya, where a stop at the Moruya produce markets is very much worth it. Continue on through the historic town of Cobargo, turning left taking you out to Bermagui.

If coming from Canberra we would suggest the following:

Come through Braidwood and stop for some bakery treats and local produce along with a walk down the main street for second hand finds and wonderful eateries.  Follow the Kings Highway to Batemans Bay and then head on down the highway, or turn off at Braidwood to Araluen and take the roads that will get you to Moruya and then its a highway roadtrip to Narooma.  Stay on the highway down to Tilba Tilba, Bega with Eden awaiting.




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