Merimbula has always been a beautiful place of sheltered waters and seafood feasts. In 1797, it was discovered by two very young English men, Bass and Flinders, who sailed from Sydney in a well fitted whale boat. While here and while they rowed further south, they became convinced there was a body of water that separated Tasmania from the mainland – the Bass Strait.
Clustered around Merimbula Lake, the beachside town of Merimbula is a haven for holidaymakers.
The name 'Merimbula' comes from an Aboriginal word meaning 'two lakes', with Merimbula Lake in the middle of the town and the smaller Black Lake to the town's north. Merimbula is the largest of the Sapphire Coast's towns; nearby towns include Tathra to the north and Pambula, which is just around the bay to the south.
Beaches & Water Activities
With the gorgeous waters of the Sapphire Coast laid out across the town's five beaches, the 6 km Main Beach, also known as Merimbula Beach, is ideal for surfing, as is Short Point. The calm, clear waters of Bar Beach are great for snorkelling, and Middle Beach, just north of the headland, is the ideal spot to learn to surf.
Tura Beach boasts some of the best views of the Sapphire Coast, with a lovely walk running from Tathra to the beach. The iconic Mitchies Jetty, complete with a weatherboard boatshed, is a favourite among locals, and the calm waters here are ideal for the kids to have a paddle, as is the shallow, waveless Spencer Park Beach, which also has a playground.
Today it's still easy to find a deserted beach, drop a line and catch a fish here, and the heart of the town beats with the rhythm of the tides. Nearby Bournda and Ben Boyd National Parks offer even more unspoilt exploration while back in town special events include the Eat Merimbula in March. The annual jazz festival in June, Mambo Long board and Stand Up Paddleboard gathering in November just to name a few. There is something all year around in Merimbula.
Adventures in Nature
Kayak, fish or scuba dive in the lake or out a little wider. In spring whale watching is a must do activity. You can take a charter or look for them from shore, and if you stay on dry land you can spot them while bushwalking along Long Point, parked at Short Point or over lunch at the Merimbula Aquarium and Wharf Restaurant.
Forage for local produce and make the most of the coastal walks dotted all around Merimbula from Rotary Walk to Fishpen, or head north to Bournda National Park with its coastal lagoons and intricate chain of walking trails.
Experience Merimbula by air with Merimbula Air Services and enhance the experience of whale watching from September – November when whales bask in our southern waters. Seals, penguins and dolphins are regular visitors and you may spot a seal basking near the Merimbula Bridge.
If you would rather float your own boat and make way under your own steam choose from Kiah Wilderness Tours, Coastlife Adventures, Merimbula Divers Lodge or Australia's Coastal Wilderness Adventures. They will show you how to surf, snorkel, scuba, kayak or take you safely through the best that nature has to offer by foot.
For the Whole Family
Merimbula's Main Beach has six kilometres to explore which takes you all the way to Pambula Beach. Short Point and Tura Beach are pristine with an intricate web of tea trees broken by flowering heaths and Banksia trees. Bar Beach and Spencer Park are great for families.
When an hour or two out of the sun is a welcome respite, Oaklands Barn at Pambula has something for everyone in the family. Perched overlooking the Animal Nursery is the Longstocking Nano Brewery where all the beers are brewed on site. There is an art gallery, a café, a plant nursery.
The newly opened Magic Mountain Tree Climb Challenge has over 30 challenges, shared between three graded courses, and a skills centre to introduce you to the challenges you will encounter among the tree tops. Kids must be over 10 years.
Open daily from 10am is the Merimbula Aquarium and Wharf Restaurant. Let the kids spend an hour or two walking through the 27 tank aquarium plus the fantastic ocean plant. Look at Kingfish, Sharks, Crabs, Lobsters and all sorts of nature's offerings from the sea while you enjoy the best the sea has to offer on another level.
Merimbula's restaurants create their own style of flavours from fresh local produce. There is Zanzibar for those who recognise that two hats are better than none. If you love oysters then you can't go past Wheelers Restaurant who have been serving oysters since 1927.
The picturesque esplanade and intriguing alleys make Merimbula just the beginning of an adventure in food discovery. Take your pick from first class cafes, restaurants and clubs, featuring cosmopolitan menus.
Captain Sponges Magical Oyster Tours give you an authentic Oyster farm experience as well as a little education on these amazing tasty treats. Suck and taste while floating about taking in the natural and cultural sites.
Life beyond the beach is a bushwalkers paradise. National Parks abound in all directions with marked trails through astonishing ever changing landscapes of geological diversity. The surrounding hinterland is superb for bushwalkers, or can be explored on a four wheel drive forest tour.
Imagine the forests full of flowers inthe springtime, rock orchids swaying in the breeze and rainbow lorikeets in their mass frenzy amongst tall eucalypts in search of blossom. Magical Merimbula enjoys the mountains right down to the seaside.
Golf tournaments of National significance are annual events, with bowling and tennis competitions also on the calendar.
Twice a year there is a week of golf where those who know get to test their skills against the crowd at 5 different golf courses in the area.