It’s time to plan your trip to the Sapphire Coast. Tucked at the southernmost corner of NSW, this sparkling region is just a short drive from Canberra and makes for the perfect quick getaway.
Coastal route – Canberra to Bermagui via Batemans Bay, 250km/3hrs 20mins
Inland route – Canberra to Bermagui via Cooma, 275km/3hrs 35mins
We want to explore the Sapphire Coast – what’s the best time of the year to go there?
The Sapphire Coast’s temperate climate makes it a year-round destination. Summers are the time for swimming, surfing beaches and splashing around. The water stays warm right through autumn, and the cooler months are great for hiking or biking the area’s many national parks. Come between September and November to enjoy superb whale watching – there’s a reason this region is one of the most famous stops on the Humpback Highway.
How long will it take us to drive there?
Whether you take the inland route, via the Snowy Mountains Highway, or the Princes Highway along the coast, it takes around three-and-a-half hours to reach Bermagui, the northernmost town on the Sapphire Coast.
What is the best route to follow for a scenic drive to the Sapphire Coast from Canberra?
The coastal route takes you through lush bush-scapes and scenic coastal hamlets. Head east out of town along the Kings Highway to join the Princes Highway heading south. You may want to stop for a stroll or a swim at Batemans Bay, Moruya or Narooma.
Best places for coffee and a bite to eat?
Stop in at Tribe Cafe at Batemans Bay for locally roasted coffee and organic teas, pea fritters and Moroccan lamb burgers. At Mossy Point, long-time favourite The Mossy Cafe has a vegan-friendly menu (try the vermicelli rainbow salad or the Middle Eastern bowl) that also caters to diners who are dairy-free and gluten-free.
Any restaurants I should make reservations at?
At Batemans Bay’s The Sandbar, chef David Tinker – who worked with legendary French chef Pierre Gagnaire – marries Japanese flavours and French techniques. Every detail of his degustation menus is considered, right down to the handmade Japanese crockery each course is served on. On the banks of the tranquil Moruya River, chef Peter Compton offers sophisticated dishes showcasing local ingredients at The River Moruya, from seared scallops with cauliflower puree to pork belly with pickled fennel salad.
Any unmissable sights on the journey we might not know about?
Stretch your legs on the scenic Depot Beach Rainforest Walk near Bawley Point, a short but atmospheric walk which winds its way through a stand of 50-million-year-old littoral rainforest. This stretch of coast is also home to a large number of artists; make an appointment to visit one of the studios, such as Grace Paleg at Batemans Bay or the Around Art Studio at Malua Bay, set in two hectares of gardens.
What should we pack?
Don’t leave home without your swimsuit, your walking shoes, and a layer or two in case of temperature changes. Even in summer, nights can be cool in this part of NSW.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the traditional owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.