Aptly named the Sapphire Coast, this region is a nature lover's haven. Green forests form the backdrop to brilliant white sand beaches that fringe crystal clear blue lakes and the sparkling Tasman Sea.
Merimbula has long been a popular destination for families during school holidays, couples on weekend getaways and travellers stopping for a day or two on their way to Melbourne, Sydney or Canberra.
Surf wise, the slightly cooler water and distance from big cities here thins out the crowds yet fantastic waves for both learners and experienced surfers exist at what have to be some of the most pristine surf beaches on the east coast.
Tathra, Merimbula & Pambula Beaches
Narooma & Broulee Beaches
Narooma & Broulee Beaches
Narooma, Tuross Heads & Batemans Bay Beaches
Mallacoota & Lakes Entrance Beaches, Victoria
6 hours drive south from Sydney, 7 hours drive north from Melbourne & 3 hours south from Canberra.
V/Line operates a train/bus combo from Melbourne. From Sydney you have to go via Canberra, so take the bus instead via the coast. Although the journey takes 8 hours, the scenery is superb.
Premier departs from Sydney, V/Line from Melbourne (train, then bus) & CountryLink departs from Canberra.
REX flies to Merimbula Airport (5 minutes from town).
Catch a taxi as its only 2km to town.
Renting a car or van is a great way to see & surf the NSW far south coast. Hire a car or campervan.
Where To Sleep
Tween Waters Tourist Park, Sapphire Valley Caravan Park, Merimbula Holiday Park, Discovery Holiday Park Pambula & Bournda National Park
Hostels & Holiday Parks in Merimbula
Hotels & Holiday Homes in Merimbula
Between Surf Sessions
What to see & do
Bournda National Park, a short drive north of town, provides a chance to enjoy native bushland, lagoons, lakes & fauna, along with two pristine surf beaches. Head in here outside of holiday season & you will most likely have it all to yourself.
For kids big & small, Magic Mountain Recreation Park has water slides, a rollercoaster, mini golf, a toboggan ride, pools & more. 2km north of town.
Laze on the white sandy beach at the Merimbula bar. A popular spot for a swim without waves, the water here is crystal clear - just make sure your gear doesn't get wet during rising tides and be sure not to drift with the tidal current out to sea on dropping tides.
Where to eat & drink
Merimbula's town centre is the place to head for a meal. Budget options along with very fine dining is on offer. For a drink, there is the RSL club, Club Sapphire or the Lakeview Hotel.
Surf Spots for Beginners & Kids
Tathra Beach, Main Beach in Merimbula and Pambula Beach are the best places for learning to surf. For more info on the best beginner surf spots in the region click on the landmarks on the map below.
Good To Know...
Learning to surf is always easier when surface conditions are smooth, so go to Main Beach during north winds, or drive to the southern end of the beach to Pambula Beach on a south wind to seek shelter from windy, messy surf conditions . Due to the crescent shape of this stretch of sand and the large headlands at either end of the beach, one end of the beach will normally be sheltered from the wind and depending on the swell direction, one end will have bigger waves than the other. If it's a north swell, Pambula will have bigger waves, but on the more common south swells, Merimbula will be bigger. Remember to practise surfing etiquette.
When the surf is tiny along this stretch, check out the more exposed beaches to the north. Be aware that the waves break at these beaches with much more energy and strong rips are present at times, so always surf with a friend who has decades of surfing experience.
For a full day trip, drive south, stop in Eden to check out its magnificent harbour and learn stories from the old whaling days. For some memorable views, keep driving south and head to the lighthouse at Green Cape in Ben Boyd National Park. On the road out to the lighthouse, stop at the Disaster Bay Lookout. The view is awesome.
During the school holidays, book well in advance as families from Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and everywhere in between return here annually, filling up accommodation around town. This includes camping in the nearby national parks, so contact the National Parks Office in Merimbula to book during the summer and Easter holidays.
Bring you're winter woolies between April and October as it can get really cold down here (a sealed 4/3 wetsuit will make surfing a more pleasurable experience too).
Merimbula Surf Shop
Ask in the local surf shops.