Lakes Coast Visitor Guide

LAKES COAST VISITOR GUIDE | PAGE 117 MERIMBULA 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 (especially at this time of year), exploring an aquarium and wildlife sanctuary, and tasting the best local seafood. The lakes behind the name The name ‘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 are popular with water sports enthusiasts, ranging from divers, anglers and sailors, to kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders. Beautiful beaches Merimbula’s pristine beaches are a big attraction. Merimbula’s Main Beach has five kilometres of pristine blue ocean where you can surf, swim, fish or stroll. It’s perfect for families, is patrolled during main holiday periods, and even has an off-leash area for the doggies. Surfers flock here when the swell is up, with the sandbank at the northern end of Main Beach generating a good break. Short Point has relatively consistent surf, while Bar Beach is great for snorkelling, and the shallow Spencer Park Beach, with its adjacent playground and barbecue areas, is ideal for families with young children. On a windy day, Main Beach (also known as Merimbula Beach) and Short Point are the ‘go-to’ beaches for windsurfers and kiteboarders alike, while Bar Beach is the best beach to check out Merimbula’s sea life. If you snorkel in the waters near the boat shed, you’re likely to spot lots of sea creatures, ranging from octopus, whiting and dusky flathead, to drummer and luderick. Wonderful walks There are lots of walking trails around Merimbula, too. Along with the popular lakeside Merimbula Boardwalk on the edge of town, the nearby 1.3-kilometre Goodenia Rainforest Walking Track offers the possibility of hearing – and perhaps even spotting – elusive lyrebirds. Just north of Merimbula is Bournda National Park and Wallagoot Gap (also known as Turingal Head), offering a diverse range of scenic coastal and inland walks. This is also where you’ll find the wildlifepacked wetlands of Wallagoot Lake and the glistening, clear waters of Wine Glass Bay. South of Merimbula is Beowa National Park (formerly known as Ben Boyd National Park), where you can explore a natural wonderland of remote wilderness, serene lagoons, rambling creeks, and secluded golden beaches. Town attractions You’ll find that Merimbula offers a variety of accommodation options to suit most budgets, from resorts and beach houses, to waterfront holiday parks, camping grounds, caravan parks and more – making it an ideal base when exploring the beautiful Sapphire Coast. While you’re in Merimbula, be sure to explore the aquarium in the old wharf building, and enjoy the variety of local restaurants, cosmopolitan cafés and attractions, which include The Picture Show Man twin cinema in the centre of town (where you can watch the latest film releases in air-conditioned comfort), Wheeler’s Seafood Restaurant – famous for deliciously fresh local seafood and excellent service, and Potoroo Palace Native Animal Education Sanctuary, which is just 10 minutes’ drive from town and a fabulous place to observe – and learn about – a wide array of Australian wildlife in a beautiful, native bushland setting. (Photos, clockwise from top left): Main Beach is popular with surfers. Sunset at Short Point Beach. Kids love fossicking at Bar Beach, Merimbula. Children and adults enjoy learning about the many native animals at Merimbula’s Potoroo Palace wildlife sanctuary. Photos: Destination NSW Two lakes and countless possibilities