Merimbula is an enchanting seaside town on the sparkling Sapphire Coast that offers rugged ocean beaches and tranquil coastal lakes. Wonderful things to do and see here include a range of water sports, whale watching, exploring an aquarium and wildlife sanctuary, and tasting the best local seafood.
Merimbula is derived from a local Aboriginal word meaning ‘two lakes’, a reference to Merimbula Lake on the southern side of the town and the smaller Back Lake on the northern side. These calm waterways on Australia’s Oyster Coast are popular with adventurous types who like to sail, kayak and stand-up paddleboard.
Beaches are a major attraction. Surfers like the 6km Merimbula Main Beach – when the swell is pumping, the sandbank at the northern end of Main Beach creates a good break. Short Point has consistent surf and million dollar views. Bar Beach is great for snorkelling, and shallow Spencer Park Beach and playground is ideal for families.
Discover a colourful array of sea creatures at Merimbula Aquarium, located on a horizontal rock shelf that juts out to sea. Wildlife abounds at Potoroo Palace, a sanctuary where you can amble amid kangaroos and touch a snake. An exciting range of tours is also available, from fishing charters to whale-watching cruises, diving and snorkelling.
Charge your fitness tracker as there are lots of walking trails around Merimbula, too. The lakeside Merimbula Boardwalk is sign-posted with information on the local marine life. Listen out for the lyrebirds along the 1.2km Goodenia Rainforest Walking Track. Just north is Bournda National Park and shimmering Wallagoot Lake.
Check out the events calendar for a colourful line-up of local festivals and shows, including Eat Merimbula. Sample local seafood and produce at a range of restaurants, like Dulcie’s Cottage, housed in a 1925 weatherboard. You’ll find accommodation options to suit various budgets, from resorts and beach houses to waterfront holiday parks.
Getting to Merimbula is easy. It’s about six hours’ drive from Sydney, 6 h 45 min from Melbourne, and three hours from Canberra. You can also fly from Sydney and Melbourne to Merimbula Airport, where there are car rental and shuttle buses to other towns in the region.