MERIMBULA: THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
Merimbula lies on the Far South Coast of NSW, about 3 hours drive from Canberra, a 6-hour drive from Sydney and a 7 hour drive from Melbourne. This small coastal town lies in a quiet bay, alongside Pambula.
Merimbula is a tourist destination all year round, however its population (of approximately 5000) triples in size in the summer months.
Merimbula prides itself on its laid back culture and many beaches. From the surfer’s favourites – Short Point, Bar Beach and Pambula River Mouth, to the family-friendly – Spencer Park, Mitchies Jetty and Pambula Beach.
Pambula Beach lies 15km south of Merimbula along the same stretch of sand. It is patrolled by volunteer lifesavers in the warmer months. Keen young Nippers can be seen every Sunday during Summer practising their lifesaving skills on the beach and in the water.
The town ofPambulais where many locals dwell when the hoards of tourists arrive. Its boutique atmosphere offers relief from the buzzing town centre of Merimbula.
Another 15km south of Pambula is Eden, a historical whaling town, and 25km north-west from Merimbula is Bega, the dairy farming town famous for Bega Cheese.
Where to stay
Merimbula has a plethora of accommodation options, from motels, hotels and caravan parks to apartments and holiday homes.
Merimbula Beach Holiday Park is great for couples, groups or families. Located right atop Short Point, remarkable views across to Tura Beach plus the many family-friendly facilities on offer, the whole family will enjoy their holiday.
Pambula boasts a Discovery Park Resort, complete with put-put golf, indoor and outdoor pools and plenty of other activities for the kids.
What to do
When the weather is fine, head to one of the many magnificent beaches! If you want to try your luck at surfing, why not book a lesson with Coastlife Adventures, who also offer kayak tours. If a lesson is not your thing, you can hire a surf board from Core surf shop in Pambula. Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUP’s) are available to hire from Spencer Park.
Whale watching from September through to early December is also a big tourist attraction. Cat Balou departs from Eden and True Blue does trips from the Merimbula Marina. If you’re not in the Merimbula area for the whale watching season, discovering the region from the water is truly spectacular. Not only are the views superb, but the chances of spotting sea eagles, seals and dolphins are highly likely, and every so often a penguin might make an appearance.
The main shopping street of Merimbula, Market Street, offers a variety of stores including Ginger and Luvvy Clothing Boutique for women, to fishing and tackle shops for the men. For the teens and children, hours will be spent admiring the lollies in the Lolly Shop, but there are also plenty of surf shops to or the main street will keep you busy!
‘Oaklands’, which combines a plant nursery, café, petting zoo and function centre is located just outside Pambula. Oaklands is a great destination for a bike ride through the wetlands, or for a family lunch trip.
Day trips are a great way to see the surrounding area; Bermagui (about an hour), Tilba Tilba (about an hour and a half) and Mallacoota (also about an hour and a half) are some local favourites.
When to travel
Summer is easily the most popular time to travel to the Far South Coast, closely followed by Easter.
If you’re after a quieter beach holiday, the water is generally still warm going into March, when the weather is also but the crowds have dispersed.
The following annual events are always popular with locals and tourists alike. The Merimbula Jazz Festival, held on the June long weekend, the Merimbula Mambo Classic, held in November and the Sapphire Coast Rock Festival, held in January.
REX Airlines arrive and depart Merimbula Airport three times a day from Sydney and once from Melbourne.
Buses depart Canberra (Countrylink),Melbourne(V-Line) and Sydney (Premier Motor Service) daily to Merimbula.
Where is it? Bordering the southern edge of merimbula on the South Coast, 450km south of Sydney How to see it for yourself? The view pictured was taken at sunrise while standing on the banks of the fishpen, located on the southern side of the bottom lake. Why I love it “In today’s world it is rare to find old, run-down jetties. They are usually quickly replaced with brand-new structures to avoid public liability issues. Merimbula Lake is one of the last few locations remaining in Australia that feature a variety of these old jetties. This makes it a photographer’s paradise, particularly during sunrise and sunset. I have spent countless hours at...
One of the best Australian beach holidays, Merimbula on the far south coast of NSW includes great surf, family beaches with safe swimming, secluded spots, national parks and more Situated on the Sapphire Coast in southern NSW, Merimbula is a great family holiday destination and the perfect spot for sporty types to let loose, writes Elisabeth Knowles WHY IS MERIMBULA SO GREAT? It is still one of those laid-back Australian coastal towns without a dress code or attitude problem. Until recently, it was pretty hard to get a good coffee, but times are changing – and slowly enough for it to...
My favourite beach was discovered one Christmas long ago. Like the best destinations, says Elisabeth Knowles, it was stumbled upon by accident. Welcome to Wonboyn. Having family on the far south coast of NSW encourages me to take time out and enjoy the very best of the Australian summer each year. We spend Christmases in Merimbula, NSW, on the Sapphire Coast (see our “Out & About” guide on page 140). Over New Year, there’s a tradition of heading to Wonboyn. I first went there in 2005, when we camped out on the dusty banks of Wonboyn River. It was on...
Australian Traveller magazines guide to the best cheap accommodation for the summer and Christmas holidays Merimbula Why do we rate it? Merimbula made it into our Top 100 Towns of Australia (coming in at #54) for its beachfront, rainforest and bush location. Our new editor’s spent a lot of time in this Sapphire Coast gem, and reckons she’d rate it higher. Where is it? Merimbula is an easy road trip from three capital cities along the Princes Hwy – 530km or a 5hrs 45mins drive from Sydney via Canberra, 7hrs north of Melbourne and 3hrs south-east of Canberra. Regional Express...
Australian Traveller magazines guide to the best cheap accommodation for the summer and Christmas holidays Bermagui Why do we rate it? Most of the action is offshore: this quiet coastal town is just 20km from the continental shelf. Deep-sea fishing is the draw but we rate the laid-back vibe: hang out at the wharf and watch the catch come in. Where is it? 378km south of Sydney in Bega Valley Shire; about a 5hr drive on the Princes Hwy. 250km from Canberra. Where to stay There are slim pickings at Bermagui’s beachside motels and apartments around Christmas; most book out...
Australian Traveller Magazine's 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes On the far NSW south coast, Green Cape forms the northern tip of Disaster Bay, named in 1802 by Matthew Flinders after eight of his men went missing just fetching water onshore – so it seemed like a good place for a lighthouse. The 29m octagon-shaped tower went up in 1883, and casts its baleful eye out over one of the best game fishing areas in the country, right on the junction between the Tasman Sea and the Southern Ocean, with the continental shelf drop-off close by. Two nicely renovated Assistant Keeper’s...
Winding down the picturesque NSW Sapphire Coast to Merimbula, halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, you’re surrounded on all sides by ocean, bush, rainforests and lakes. Merimbula bagged a spot in the Top 100 for its fresh oysters, local wines, diverse wildlife, restaurants and cafes that serve up arguably the best seafood available on the South Coast. Famous for its whale watching, Merimbula showcases these gentle giants as they frolic in the ocean from September to November, with dolphins, seals and penguins often sighted too. “Beautiful place with amazing food . . .What more can we say?” – MyPOWER Team There's...
The ninth of our top ten Australian day walks, Kangarutha Track is the highlight of the NSW South Coast on two feet and a heart beat. The NSW south coast is smothered in national parks – towns here are the exception not the rule – and coastal walking opportunities abound. Prime among them is the Kangarutha Track along the rugged northern shores of Bournda National Park. Beginning at Kianinny Bay near Tathra, the track meanders in and out of small bays etched into the rocky coast. The scenery is more dramatic than mellow, with barely a grain of sand to...
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