Merimbula, and the nearby coastal village of Pambula are two exceptionally pretty spots on the Sapphire Coast in far southern New South Wales. Both are very busy with holiday visitors in the summer, but the warmer winters than Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart make it a popular destination for the Grey Nomads in the off season as well.
Merimbula is a 7 hour drive from Sydney, 6 hours from Melbourne and 3 hours from Canberra. It also has a small airport serviced by the regional Rex Air. Luckily for us though, it’s just over an hour drive from where we are housesitting on the opposite side of Bega.
Merimbula is the ‘touristy’ bigger town complete with supermarkets and a busy retail strip, whereas Pambula is like the laid back country cousin. The one thing that both have in common however is the outstanding coastline that they share. Like most of the Sapphire Coast, there are tidal lakes filled with salt water that have made their way inland from the sea, and each town has built up and around their own. The lake at Merimbula is home to Oyster Farms, growing the famous Sydney Rock Oyster to service the restaurant market.
Pambula has one of the prettiest beaches that I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world. It’s small and protected, with a grassy patch that meets the sand and volcanic rock. The gentle waves roll into the cove surrounded by forest and rocky outcrops. The water is crystal clear, and it took all of my better judgement not to strip off and jump in on the warm winter’s day that we visited, it is still after all, winter.
The town centre of Pambula is set back from the coast a little, with a very pretty main street boasting traditional New South Wales architecture. There are some cool and quirky little stores, so it’s worth a stroll along or a stop for a bite of lunch or a coffee break. Merimbula on the other hand is well suited for visitors and locals alike and it seems like the centre where the locals come in to do their grocery shopping and stop for a chat with their mates on the street. We had a fabulous coffee break in the bookshop café there and it was a pleasure to sit and watch the locals go about their business.