5 things to do in Merimbula, NSW
Merimbula is a magic spot, marking the halfway mark on the drive from Melbourne to Sydney (or vice versa) via the coast road. It is part country town, and part seaside village, with the famous oyster producing lake on one side, and stunning beaches on the other. Its reputation for being a top family holiday destination is well deserved, and there is no shortage of places to stay for any budget. Here are my top 5 things to in this special town!
Hit the beaches
Merimbula is truly an aquatic playground! There are water activities and beaches for all; huge waves for surfers at Merimbula Main Beach, and for families the wave free Mitchies Jetty and Spencer Park. Our pick was Bar Beach, with its rock pools for catching crabs and clambering over, and a brilliant kiosk with tasty juices, coffees and winning breakfast burritos. There are huge tidal variations here, and at certain times of the day, you can walk across from Bar beach to Main beach!
Walk around the lake
This easy walk is approximately 3.5 km’s return, and is accessible to prams and bikes.
Signboards along the walk highlight interesting local vegetation and marine life, and as the tide changes, so does what’s on show. We spot plenty of puffer fish, a few rays, loads of oyster shells, mangroves and water birds. Access to the walk is next to the bridge in Market Street, Merimbula or from Lakeview Drive at the rear of the lake.
Head to the mountain
Just north of town on the road back to Tura beach, is Magic Mountain Recreation Park. To be fair, it’s less of a mountain and more of a hill, but the kids love it none the less. Situated in native bushland, it features several water slides and pools including a toddler pool for smaller kids, a toboggan run, a mini golf course, a roller coaster, a jumping castle as well as a tree top climb challenge, suitable for older kids. It’s not actually magic, but it has a lovely nostalgic appeal; it’s every amusement park from our childhood, from a time before technology made everything faster and cooler… bring a packed lunch or snack and sit under the huge gums and make a day of it.
No trip to Merimbula would be complete without a pit stop at Dulcie’s Cottage for one of their American styled burgers. Get one into you! Seafood lovers are spoilt for choice in this seaside town, but the pick of the lot has to be oysters from the lake. Small, creamy, plentiful and cheap, they’re readily available in town or at oyster farms around town. Whilst we were there, Merrick and I estimate that we ate a dozen a day for a week! That’s a lot of zinc! Oyster lovers can take it a step further and visit an oyster farm to learn about the farming process.
Have an animal encounter
Being sandwiched between the bush and the beach means there are no shortage of animal encounter opportunities in and around Merimbula. During the months of August to November, the Sapphire Coast enjoys so much whale traffic, that it’s known as the ‘humpback highway’, and the warm, fertile waters of Merimbula and its surrounds serve as a nursery for whale calves, stopping to fatten up before continuing the migration to Antarctica. The area thrives with other sea life as well, such as common and bottlenose dolphins, seals, penguins, and turtles. Fishing, diving and snorkelling are also popular. If you prefer being on land, head to Potoroo Palace for encounters with native animals, buy a bag of feed for a few bucks and get super close to ‘roos!
Georgie Watts is hopelessly addicted to travel. Her favourite travel companion is her partner, Merrick (Triple M radio host/comedian/sometime actor and media guy) and her two junior frequent flyers, Wolfie (8) and Kinga (5). When she’s not scheming, plotting and planning her next trip, she’s blogging about her family travels at The Window Seat.