Looking for places to visit on the South Coast and needing inspiration for the best things to do in Merimbula in the Sapphire Coast? As one of the most popular South Coast getaways, discover a perfect blend of natural beauty, exciting activities, and delectable culinary experiences.
Here’s some of my favourite things to do in Merimbula in New South Wales including The Pinnacles, hidden rock pools, and much more!
Merimbula is about a 6 hour drive from Sydney, 3 hour drive from Canberra and nearly 7 hours from Melbourne. Located on the far south coast, Merimbula and the area nearby is definitely worth visiting when you’re on a classic road trip in New South Wales.
What makes Merimbula special?
Merimbula is one of the most popular places to visit on the South Coast of New South Wales. With an abundance of marine life including the spectacular whale watching, hidden rock pools, swimming holes, boat tours, theme parks bar beach, and so much more, it sure packs a punch for a getaway like no other.
1. Swim at the hidden Tura Headland Rockpool
Tura Headland Rockpool is a bit of a local hidden gem, located just a 15 minute drive north of the seaside town of Merimbula. It’s a 1km walk from the Tura Headland Carpark to reach the top lake the rockpool which takes about 15 minutes or so through what feels like a woodland. The path is clear and easy to follow for all ages.
When you get to the headland, the rock pool is right at the end so you’ll need to walk down the rocks to get there. It’s a crystal clear rock pool and totally feels like a hidden gem although you’ll probably see people there like we did too! The pool isn’t as big as I was expecting, but if it wasn’t super windy, I would have definitely gone for a dip here. If you bring kids, just be careful.
2. Feel like you’ve stepped into Mars at The Pinnacles
The Pinnacles is known to resemble an outerspace version of the planet Mars. These ancient rock formations, created over thousands of years, stand tall and proud against the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a unique site you really need to see in person, and one of the highlights and best things to do in Merimbula!
Take a leisurely stroll along the coastal walking track and marvel at the unique geological wonders that make this place truly special. The track takes about 20 minutes to walk around with a couple of stops along the way to see The Pinnacles from a couple of viewpoints. You can walk down to them as well! Along the walking track, you’ll see the staircase leading down to the main beach below. Walk along the beach from there and you’ll be able to get up close to them.
3. Go wild swimming at Nethercote Falls
If you’re looking for a wild swimming hole in Merimbula, head to Nethercote Falls which is nestled within lush rainforest. It’s just a five minute walk to the falls from the carpark as you’ll be greeted by a fab swimming hole at one of the best Merimbula attractions. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surroundings as you listen to the soothing sounds of water trickling down the rocks in this hidden gem, mostly only known by locals.
4. Have a beer at Longstocking Brewery
We stopped by Longstocking Brewery on our way through Merimbula onto Eden and we were surprised how good it is. There’s a big London red bus outside (win from us!) which is actually a hairsalon!
Inside the brewery, you’ll find a big restaurant serving up food and other shops located inside the complex like homemade chocolatier and more. The food wasn’t great when we visited (it was over the Easter weekend, the school holidays, so they were really busy), but we really enjoyed the atmosphere, loved the place overall and would happily go back again.
5. Visit Mimosa Rocks National Park
Want to explore the area for spectacular sea views, and Merimbula activities that involve beautiful scenery? Look no further than the nearby Mimosa Rocks National Park. People had told us to visit this national park before we went on our South Coast road trip but we didn’t realise what the fuss was about until we went there.
Wow – Mimosa Rocks National Park is stunning! The beautiful coastal views are something you need to see in person. Check out our 5 Mimosa Rocks National Park Walks Guide before you go so you can make the most of your trip there. Trust us! You won’t regret making the effort to go here.
6. Go Whale Watching at one of the best spots in NSW
If you find yourself visiting Merimbula between September and November, you’re in for a treat. Embark on a whale watching excursion and witness the majestic humpback whales as they migrate along the coast. There are plenty of whale watching tours to check out, but if you’re super keen, visit the Whale Watching Festival in Eden at the end of October.
7. Eat your way along the new Gourmet Coast Trail
Calling all foodies! Merimbula’s Gourmet Coast Trail is a culinary adventure not to be missed. Take a gastronomic journey and indulge in the region’s finest produce, from freshly shucked oysters to succulent seafood platters. Explore the local eateries, wineries, and farm gates, and savour the flavours that make this coastal region a haven for food lovers. Find out more about the Gourmet Coast Trail to discover the recommended restaurants and cafes to visit.
8. See the marine life at Merimbula Aquarium
Dive into the underwater world at Merimbula Aquarium, where a captivating array of tropical marine life awaits. Explore interactive exhibits, get up close with friendly stingrays, and marvel at the vibrant colors of tropical fish and marine life down by the Merimbula marina. It’s a perfect outing for families and a chance to learn about the diverse ecosystems that thrive beneath the waves.
9. Have fun at Magic Mountain Merimbula
Our things to do in Merimbula guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Magic Mountain! This family-friendly amusement park offers a range of thrilling rides, including water slides, toboggans, roller coasters and mini golf. With breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, Magic Mountain in Merimbula is the perfect place to create unforgettable memories. Check to see opening times because they do close over the winter break.
10. Try fresh seafood at Wheelers Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Farm
When it comes to dining in Merimbula, a visit to Wheelers Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Farm is a must. Indulge in a feast of freshly shucked oysters, sourced directly from the farm. The seafood menu is a true delight, offering an array of delectable dishes prepared with the finest local produce. With its waterfront location and warm ambiance, Wheelers is a culinary gem that will satisfy even the most discerning palate.
11. Sapphire Aquatic Centre
If you’re seeking some aquatic fun, head to the Sapphire Aquatic Centre for a fun day out with the family. Take a dip in the sparkling pools, zoom down the waterslides, or relax in the hydrotherapy spa. The centre offers a range of activities for all ages, including swimming lessons and water aerobics. It’s a fantastic place to cool off and enjoy some leisurely water-based recreation.
12. Walk along the Merimbula Boardwalk
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the town by taking a leisurely stroll along the Merimbula boardwalk. Meandering through the coastal wetlands, this elevated walkway provides stunning panoramic views of the lake, beaches, and surrounding scenery. Breathe in the fresh sea air, listen to the sounds of nature, and embrace the tranquility that envelops you.
13. Play a Round of Golf
For golf enthusiasts, Merimbula offers pristine courses that boast spectacular coastal views. Tee off amidst rolling greens and enjoy a round of golf in a breathtaking setting at the Pambula Merimbula Golf Club. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner looking to improve your swing, Merimbula’s golf courses cater to players of all skill levels.
Looking for some indoor entertainment? Head to Top Fun Merimbula, a hub of amusement and excitement. Challenge your friends to a game of ten-pin bowling, test your skills at the arcade, or showcase your competitive spirit in laser tag. With a range of activities to choose from, Top Fun guarantees a fun-filled experience for everyone.
15. Explore Ben Boyd National Park and Bournda National Park
Merimbula is surrounded by stunning national parks, each offering unique natural landscapes to explore. We recommend checking out Bournda National Park which entices visitors with its pristine beaches, tranquil lakes, and picturesque bushwalks. Home to at least eight different trails which range from the easy 3.4km Kangarautha Track to Boulder Bay walk, and up to the 32km Sapphire Coast Walk, you could easily spend a day discovering loads of hidden beaches and bays here.
Ben Boyd National Park, also known as Beowa National Park is home to towering cliffs, secluded beaches, and intriguing historical sites and the famous Pinnacles Loop Walking Track which I mentioned earlier on in this guide.
With over 17 amazing trails to choose from, explore the Light to Light Walk, which isn’t in fact ‘light’. The 32.5km walk takes on average 8h22m to complete, taking you from the Ben Boyd Tower to the Red Point Lookout and onto the Green Cape Lighthouse.
16. Enjoy a Reef Fishing Charter
Join experienced fishing charters from Merimbula marina as they take you to the prime game fishing spots, where you’ll have the chance to catch a variety of species, including snapper, kingfish, and flathead. With the stunning coastline as your backdrop, a reef fishing charter in Merimbula promises an unforgettable experience for anglers of all levels.
17. Playgrounds for kids in Merimbula
Merimbula caters to families with its fantastic playgrounds, where children can run, jump, and play to their hearts’ content. Apex Park is a popular choice, boasting a variety of play equipment, shaded areas, and picnic facilities.
The Magic Mountain Playground offers a unique play experience with its castle-themed structures and imaginative play areas as well.
18. Swim with Seals in Merimbula
Did you know you don’t need to go to Narooma to swim with seals in NSW? You can also jump on a Montague Island tour from Merimbula as well, and snorkel or scuba dive in the crystal-clear waters and witness the playful antics of seals in their natural habitat. If you’re thinking of doing it from Merimbula, book with Merimbula Divers Lodge.
It’s a once in a lifetime experience we highly recommend you do when you’re visiting. We tried to do a tour from Narooma but it was cancelled due to the strong winds, so make sure you book with a few days spare in case you have to move it.
19. Feast on Oysters
Merimbula is renowned for its exceptional oysters, and no visit is complete without indulging in these succulent delicacies. You’ll see the oyster beds when driving through the town, so make sure you visit one of the local oyster farms or seafood markets and sample freshly shucked oysters straight from the source.
Check out The Oyster Barn which is a family-owned and run oyster farm on Merimbula Lake. Here you can enjoy a huge seafood feast either on site or grab a takeaway if preferred.
20. Merimbula Markets
Immerse yourself in the local culture and vibrant community spirit by visiting the Merimbula Seaside Market & Fair. Held on the third Sunday of each month from 8:00-1:00pm, these markets showcase a range of goods, from fresh produce to handmade crafts and unique artworks.
Explore the stalls, meet local artisans, and indulge in delicious treats from food vendors. The Merimbula Seaside Market fantastic opportunity to support local businesses, find unique souvenirs, and experience the lively atmosphere of Merimbula.
Where to Stay in Merimbula
When it comes to finding Merimbula accommodation, Merimbula offers a range of options to suit every budget. Here are some of our go to places to stay in Merimbula.