Australia’s Sapphire Coast is a premier holiday destination that’s idyllic, a little wild, and brimming with treasures. Dive into the big blue jewel and make an easy escape to this stunning stretch of New South Wales that has captured many a traveller’s imagination. From Bermagui, five hours south of Sydney, down the coastline to Eden, you’ll find all the distractions and diversions needed for a sparkling, nature-filled holiday. Coastal drives with panoramic seascapes, classic Australian beaches, lush forests and bushland trails, caves to explore, pristine lakes and lagoons, vineyards, exceptional seafood, water-based adventures to tempt you away from a life more sedentary, and plenty of opportunities to get up-close to nature. While the Sapphire Coast offers an abundance of attractions, it’s all about doing as much or as little as you like, as you wind your way towards hidden gems in the hinterland, and sleepy seaside villages that entice you to linger.
Built in 1862, Tathra’s impressive deep-sea timber wharf is a much-snapped drawcard, with anglers, divers and snorkelers hanging out around the historic structure. This laidback central town of the Sapphire Coast offers an abundance of water-based play along with superb mountain biking trails. Take the roller coaster track through the forest, or kayak, boat, paddleboard, fish and surf in Tathra’s gorgeous waters.
Set at the edge of a coastal lake, a break at Merimbula offers the perfect mix of relaxation and activity. Enjoy taking long strolls in serene surrounds; waters packed with fish, prawns and shellfish; and circuits through mangrove forests and eucalypts. Visit the wildlife sanctuary, check out what’s happening in the vibrant village, and watch whales in the wild. A bunch of beautiful ocean beaches – from soft and sandy, to rougher and rocky, or shallow and smooth – makes Merimbula a water-lover’s haven. Celebrated as a top fishing destination, it’s also a magnet for surfers. If that’s you, make sure to head for the swells and breaks at Merimbula Bar and Short Point.
Pop into Mimosa Rocks National Park (just outside of Bega), for magnificent headland views, crystal-clear lagoons and pockets of rainforest. Wake up early and catch the first rays of light framing the castle-like rocks at Bunga Head. A few minutes south of Tathra, the Bournda National Park is home to one of the most beautiful nature spots in New South Wales. This rugged playground really packs a punch with an array of creeks, lakes, immaculate beaches and coastal forest. Make sure you don’t miss the magical blue lagoon: great for a dip, its calm rippling waters are also perfect to kayak. A bushwalker and birdwatching delight, pitch a tent at Hobart Beach or Wallagoot Lake and stay overnight to enrich your experience.
Flanked by Norfolk pines and National Parks, Bermagui is a pretty picture of emerald fringes, pristine bays, and vivid blue waters. Renowned for reef and deep-sea game fishing, it’s also home to the glittering prize of the Sapphire Coast: the Blue Pool. A famous snorkelling and swimming spot, this natural ocean rock pool boasts a place in the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame. A viewing platform provides an excellent vantage point for whale watching, as does the scenic headland at Cuttagee Beach. Before heading south, plug Wallaga Lake into your trip itinerary. Blessed with the stunning backdrop of Gulaga Mountain, the largest lake in southern New South Wales is tranquil, while teeming with fish, birds, and wildlife.
Idyllic Eden marks the last major stop on the Sapphire Coast. Stretch your legs before the journey back with an epic bushwalk hugging the coastline. Take in the spectacular views, rugged peaks, and glorious changes of scenery on the Light to Light Walk (30-kilometres, one-way) in the Ben Boyd National Park. Your trek ends at the old lightstation at popular Green Cape Lookout – a remote, craggy spot that’s perfect for whale watching and spotting wildlife. Scan the panorama for fur seals, albatrosses, dolphins, and sea eagles, along with October’s migration of mutton birds. Then strap on your diving gear and head underwater at Twofold Bay – the third largest harbour, south of the equator – and see eye-to-eye with a weedy seadragon or a blue groper.
Your adventure along the Sapphire Coast will be all the sweeter for its many fabulous food highlights. Naturally, seafood aficionados will be at an advantage. A classic beach holiday wouldn’t be complete without a serve of fish and chips. As one of the NSW’s largest seafood suppliers, Bermagui Fishermen's Wharf offers the freshest catch of the day in the wharf’s dining complex. Tathra own historic wharf offers locally sourced, delicious casual fare and a coffee hit to keep your holiday kicking. Merimbula’s Wharf Aquarium and Restaurant combines marine life, with 180-degree views and stylish bayside dining. Between Tathra and Bermagui, Mimosa Wines offers gourmet seasonal menus, and food and wine matching, in a relaxed dining experience. For a change of scene, slip inland to the rolling pastures of the Bega Valley and stop off for a dairy treat at the famous Bega Cheese and Heritage Centre.
To explore the beauty of the Sapphire Coast, hire a car from Merimbula Airport today!