Action weekend on the Sapphire Coast
Looking for an active long weekend amid spectacular scenery? Here’s your guide to an action-packed Sapphire Coast escape.
The Sapphire Coast, which stretches from Bermagui in the north to Eden in the south, is wrapped in beautiful beaches, lakes, lagoons, headlands, forest and bush that provide the perfect outdoor adventure playground. Take to its blue waters and green trails for the ultimate stress-busting getaway – not forgetting to unwind with long lunches and serene sunsets, too.
- Take to the ocean for a swim, surf or paddleboard
- Enjoy the tranquillity of kayaking on lakes and lagoons
- Hike beautiful national parks
- Hit some of NSW’s most underrated mountain-bike trails
- Appreciate glorious coastal and hinterland scenery
With uncrowded beaches, a roll call of lush national parks and countless charming townships host to boutique shops and cute cafes, the Sapphire Coast is the perfect destination for those looking to escape the daily grind. Located halfway between Sydney and Melbourne, or a three-hour drive from Canberra, visitors can easily jump in the car in the early morning and roll into Bermagui in the north or Eden in the south for a late lunch, before enjoying a weekend or longer getting back to nature, from surfing and mountain biking to whale watching and relaxing on a pretty stretch of sand.
Head onto Tathra. It’s conveniently central, making an excellent exploration base without the hassle of having to change accommodation. Choose between the ensuite cabins at BIG4 Tathra Beach Holiday Park or Tathra Beach House Apartments, both right opposite the main surf beach, or the bush setting of Kianinny Bush Cottages, where a pool and tennis court tempt anyone with energy to spare.
After yesterday’s journey, you’ll want to stick close to Tathra today, but that doesn’t mean you’re short of options. The town is famous for its magnificent timber wharf and water activities, so take your pick from kayaking, boating, surfing or fishing. The 3km beach invites a run or swim, and you can hire a surfboard or stand-up paddleboard (and take lessons) from Coastlife Adventures.
Fuel up for the afternoon on a hearty pub lunch at the Tathra Hotel, matched with ale, pilsner or lager from its Humpback Brewery.
While the Sapphire Coast is rightly considered a water world, it often goes overlooked for its brilliant mountain biking trails, many of which are found around Tathra. Hire a bike from Tathra Beach and Bike and spend the afternoon on an easy ride amid beautiful scenery, or tackle a more challenging rollercoaster track through forest – there are options for both beginners and experts. A cycling track also leads 5km south to Kalaru.
You’ve certainly earned your dinner at Fat Tony’s Bar and Grill inside a 1905 heritage house in Tathra. The chicken risotto, pork-belly burger or triple-cheese seafood mornay will hit the spot – and after all that exercise, you’re entitled to a caramel tart or sticky-date pudding, too.
Head south today to explore along the coast. It’s an hour’s drive to Eden, a noted centre for whale-watching between September and November. It’s worth leaving at the crack of dawn to canoe or kayak along the lovely Towamba or Touw rivers. Here you’ll find pretty scenery along the river’s many twists and turns, as you’re serenaded by birdsong during a peaceful full morning’s paddle.
Pack a picnic, because Loch Garra Cottage at historic Davidson Whaling Station is a great spot for lunch. It’s in Ben Boyd National Park, which has a stunning, convoluted coastline and walking tracks that range from easy to challenging.
Then head back towards your accommodation, stopping at Wheelers Oyster Bar in Pambula for some pre-dinner oysters and a cocktail, and at Merimbula for another lashing of superb landscapes, including headlands, blue lakes and stunning Main Beach, which runs for 6km. If you’re keen on snorkelling, slide into the waters off Bar Beach; for windsurfing and surfing, hit Short Point.
It’s only a 20-min drive back to Tathra, so there’s no rush to leave Merimbula. Enjoy an evening meal at Merimbula Wharf Restaurant , where the seafood platter for two is hard to resist and showcases the region’s freshest oysters, scallops, fish and more. Seafood chowder, spicy fish burgers and piles of sweet-potato chips are also delectable after a day’s exercise – as are sunset views over the ocean.
Time to head home, but there are still moments to enjoy. Head north and you’re shortly passing through Mimosa Rocks National Park, characterised by cliffs and castle-like rock outcrops. If you’re up early enough, Bunda Head is a top spot for sunrise. Active choices for the morning include a swim at Moon Bay, or surfing, snorkelling or hiking.
Continue onwards for a celebratory lunch at stunning Mimosa Wines and devour soft-shell crab, lamb with sweet potato or miso-glazed eggplant accompanied by wines from the surrounding vineyards. Alternatively, Bermagui is just up the road for an informal fish and chips, or else a scrumptious baguette, bun or bagel from Honorbread.
If you don’t mind getting home late, why not slow down and enjoy one of Australia’s most delightful roads as it winds between beaches and lagoons. You could stop for a kayak, boat or even water-ski on tranquil Wallaga Lake, a fittingly scenic finale to a great long weekend of outdoor adventure.