Water Activities in the Sapphire Coast
Vanquish your stress over a long weekend of fresh air, seascapes and water-based activities. Here’s your guide to a Sapphire Coast escape.
The Sapphire Coast provides the ultimate mix of surf, sand and sun. Relax and feel fit and fantastic as you discover the spectacular scenery and enjoy a multitude of ways to get out on (and into) the water. Don’t worry, a sea-gazing pub or restaurant sits at every turn, so you’ll get time to kick back, too.
- Hit the water and swim, surf, paddleboard and kayak
- Throw out a line, because the fishing here is fantastic
- Savour the terrific seafood, particularly the region’s oysters
- Stay in stylish accommodations with waterfront settings
Dip your toes in the water.
Hit the road for the Sapphire Coast and leave behind urban stress as the highway winds past crystal-clear bays and lakes and delivers you to beautiful Bermagui, wedged between dark-green Norfolk pines and peacock-blue water. Shake out the car legs and revive yourself with a plunge into Blue Pool, a spectacular natural rock pool and swimming-spot. Don’t miss the fabulous fare at Eastwood’s Deli and Cooking School – the donuts alone are worth the drive south.
Stay at Bermagui Beach Hotel and soak yourself in watery views in the heart of this lovely town. After a cocktail at Palm Bar, head to Bermagui Fisherman’s Co-op for a choice of seafood restaurants. Waterfront, of course.
Indulge in breakfast at Bermi’s Beachside Cafe to set you up for the morning – think eggs benedict or a stack of pancakes with seasonal berries. Then hit the ocean for a swim, surf or stand-up paddle. You could also kayak on tranquil Wallaga Lake, where you’ll likely spot pelicans and perhaps even an azure kingfisher zipping past with electric-blue wings.
Hungry? Not for much longer if you plunder Bermagui’s fish-and-chip shops, or head to Honorbread for a baguette, bagel or cinnamon bun. You can also choose from modern Italian, Asian, pizza or pub food, with views of Horseshoe Bay never far away.
Looking for a higher adrenaline level? Set out to sea with Fish Bermi to try your hand at big-game fishing in one of the world’s best spots. You’ll have a chance of landing blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, kingfish and morwong. If you prefer a more sedate fishing excursion, try for whiting, snapper, bream and flathead from the beach.
Drive beyond town for dinner at stunning Mimosa Wines and devour soft-shell crab, lamb with sweet potato or miso-glazed eggplant – all while sampling the vineyard’s wines, of course. Try the lively verdelho and interesting Spanish varietal savagnin, each a perfect match for seafood.
It’s only a short drive south to Tanja Lagoon Camp and your night’s rest. Don't be deceived by the name: this “camp” provides glamping in style. Luxury tents come with lounge and deck, and you’re immersed in stunning waterscapes on the edge of Mimosa Rocks National Park. At sunset you can canoe, kayak, or walk on the beach. Later, sit by the campfire and stare at the stars.
Follow the coast roads south to pass along one of the most beautiful routes in Australia, with landscapes honeycombed with sea caves and ancient lava flows, gloriously wild beaches, and a hinterland of lagoons and forest. Above, you might spot sea eagles and albatross.
Your first stop is Tathra, with its magnificent timber wharf and three-kilometre beach. Hire a surfboard or stand-up paddleboard from Tathra Beach and Bike. For a break from the water, you can also hire a bike and explore the region’s great mountain-biking trails. Meanwhile Coastlife Adventures offers both SUP and surfing lessons, and hires kayaks.
Enjoy a lunch at the Tathra Hotel, where you can have a hearty pub meal matched with ale, pilsner or lager from its Humpback Brewery.
Travel 25km further south to Merimbula, which sits in vast skirts of blue lake that lead into the ocean. You’ll want to stay a while at its crowning glory, Main Beach, a stretch of glorious sand that runs for six kilometres. Meanwhile Bar Beach is great for snorkelling, and Short Point for surfing and windsurfing – not to mention some of the best views along the entire Sapphire Coast.
The region’s oysters are, incidentally, outstanding. Stop at the oyster bar at Wheelers in Pambula for some plump examples accompanied by afternoon cocktails. If you’re curious to find out more, hop on one of Captain Sponge’s Magical Oyster Tours, which will take you to an oyster farm to explain its operation and taste the produce, of course. No oyster could be fresher.
Stay at Seahorse Inn on Twofold Bay in Boydtown just south of Eden. The boutique waterfront hotel has old-world charm and commanding views, with luxury rooms and suites and a brasserie serving modern Australian cuisine, with an emphasis on the region’s abundant seafood.
For a fulfilling few hours before you head back home, spend a morning kayaking or canoeing along the lovely Towamba or Touw rivers. Here you’ll find pretty scenery along the river’s many twists and turns, as water droplets flash from your paddle.
Dolphins and seals frolic in the cool waters of Twofold Bay year round – head out with Cat Balou Cruises to spot them. The Sapphire Coast also sees humpback and southern right whales stopping off to feed as they migrate south in September and November, so visit Eden in spring to watch these magnificent creatures huffing and splashing. Alternatively, get under the ocean for an encounter with sponges, starfish, octopuses and a host of other life that inhabits these nutrient-rich waters with Dive Eden.
Learn about the town’s fascinating whaling history at Eden’s Killer Whale Museum, and take the Killer Whale Trail for an even deeper dive into whale-related sights. Loch Garra Cottage at historic is a great place for a picnic lunch before you set off home.