Travelling through the South Pacific Ocean is an unforgettable way to see both the familiar and unfamiliar spots along our coastline.
Whether it be giant cliffs seen from the bow of the boat or calming waters sweeping a private inlet, coastal hopping in a boat is becoming one of the more popular ways to travel Australia.
Blessed with sweeping beaches awash with implausibly aquamarine seas, the coastal town of Merimbula takes full advantage of its scenic coastline and sheltered waters from every vantage point. It also has a busy central hub for shopping, galleries, cafes, pubs and more. There are so many wonderful places to walk, jog, swim, whale watch, sail, paddleboard, and if you are surfer, the beaches around here and in Eden are renowned for great breaks. But if it’s beaches you are after, Merimbula has ooddles of them – from wildly rugged sanctuaries beneath cliffs, to tranquil and sandy inlets and bays with picnic areas and kids’s playgrounds a-plenty.
The southernmost deep-water habour on NSW’s Sapphire Coast, the town of Eden is well known by Sydney to Hobart yacht racers who utilise the harbour as a last port of refuge, should one be required, before crossing Bass Strait. It is also an ideal spot to go whale watching, and you should make time to check out The Eden Killer Whale Museum that was originally built to house the skeleton of the orca “Old Tom” – the most famous of the killer whale from the area. There are many other fascinating artefacts related to the shore-based whaling industry which operated in Eden from the early 1800s through to the 1930s. Although quite sad and morbid to most, it is a great way to understand the working relationship between the whalers and killer whales of Twofold Bay. You can also take in the wonderful views from the deck and catch glimpses of migratory whales and seabirds as well as dolphins and seals.
Well known as a deep sea game-fishing port thanks to its proximity to the continental shelf lying 20km offshore, Bermagui is a seafood lover’s dream destination. The main street is lined with interpretive panels describing common fish species that may be hooked in offshore. The incredible Blue Pool is not to be missed – and you can check out the local seal colony nearby, who usually swim about with their fins in the air!
Batemans Bay Marina is situated on the south side of the bay while the Clyde River, and it is known for the abundant offerings of the succulent seafood that its waters produce. There are plenty of other great things to do while in town, and the coastal walks around headlands and along beaches and inlets are a great way to take in the stunning scenery. For an art fix while getting your steps in, the 1.5-kilometre-long Batemans Bay Sculpture Walk takes you through Batemans Bay CBD and along the foreshore to the busy marina.
A small harbour protected from the Tasman Sea behind protruding seawalls, Ulladulla is primarily a fishing-boat harbour offering bare essentials for recreational boaters. If you are after a fun and scenic day trip, head out to Kings Point, south of Ulladulla on the upper shores of Burrill Lake. Here you can go swimming, fishing and take your pick of water sports. The surrounding bushland offers great walks, and here the lake is at its deepest and most peaceful, so it is an ideal place to go for a kayak.
Famed for its dazzling white-sand beaches which wrap around the peanut-shaped bay of Jervis Bay Marine Park, the towns of Callala, Huskisson, Vincentia and Hyams Beach are dotted along the western shore. Hyam’s Beach rivals Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays and Lucky Bay in Esperance for the whitest sand in the country.
The third largest city in NSW, Wollongong’s (otherwise known as ‘the Gong’) limited maritime facilities mean it is often bypassed by boat owners cruising the NSW coast. Excavation of the small harbour utilised convict labour in the 1830s and was initially built to support a burgeoning cedar industry.
Fiona Harper’s Boating Guide to NSW, Short Stays and Long Weekends explores the very best of coastal hopping NSW. The book is available for purchase here and is published by New Holland Publishers.
If you enjoyed this coastal hopping story, find more to do on the glorious Sapphire Coast here. Make sure to check out the best nature and wildlife experiences in the country here!
Travel to the Sapphire Coast
Rex flies to Moruya and Merimbula on the Sapphire Coast. To find the best flights to deliver you to this beautiful region click here, and have a look at the Rex route map.