The area is named the Sapphire coast for its crystal clear waters. We like heading down to the Far South Coast for its beaches, food, wine and activities. Since it’s about a 5 hour drive from Sydney, we recommend going for a long weekend. It’s also a good idea to stop along the way. Our stops are usually at Berry for a donut from the donut van, Milton for a pie and coffee and we like staying at Mollymook for a surf and a visit to the famous Rick Stein Restaurant at Bannisters. Ulladulla is worth a look around and plenty of other places on the way down south.
Once you reach the Far South Coast, you will find plenty of places to stay. We usually head to Merimbula. It’s a great destination for couples and families alike. The caravan parks are perfect for families with plenty of amenities including little jumping castles and putt putt. Plenty of the RSL’s also have live music and the area is also known for its art, music, vintage and collectables, heritage, history and water sports. If you want an active weekend, you can take a few bush walks, play a round of gold or even kayak.
We’ll highlight a few tips about some of our favourites.
Milton is a quaint little town with antique shops, cafes, and bakeries. The ‘heritage bakery’ is worth a visit for its pies, bread and baked goods in an old bank site.
We were also recommended to try Pilgrims café serving up vegetarian delights including burgers, wraps, pies and salads. We like the fresh meals here and generous servings. They also use Single Origin Coffee. Otherwise if you’re fan of Campos, head to Brown Sugar café, they do a good brunch too.
We love heading to Mollymook for a surf at their beaches. The town is small with a good beach, and has a golf club with a good vibe. We often stay in a small hotel there, saving our pennies to eat at Rick Stein at Bannisters. See our blog on this amazing seafood restaurant here:
It is a beautiful scenic location which can be described as a fishing town with spectacular views of the ocean. They host an oyster festival with cooking demonstrations and a great food experience annually in May.
We love Bermagui. It is a lovely town on the water and perfect for kayaking, swimming and snorkelling or going out on a boat. They’ve got a few good pubs, Camel Rock brewery is also in the Wallaga Lake Big 4 holiday park and the strip of shops boasts a few little cafes and retail stores.
On our recent visit, we loved the new Boneless café, serving up Vegan and Vegetarian foods like their version of nachos, burritos, ‘cheeseburger’ toasties and okonomiyaki to name a few. This meal was a highlight of our food experience.
Bermagui has a homemade market on the last Sunday of the month 8:30am – 12:30 pm if you’re keen for some arts, crafts and foodstuffs.
Eastwood’s deli and cooking a school is new to Bermagui, celebrating using local produce. They sell breakfast, lunch and dinner, with healthy salads, sandwiches and take home meals too, as well as cured and smoked meats, pates and terrines, cheeses and antipasto. They also sell coffee by 5Senses coffee which is one of our favourites.
Bega is famous for being a central part of the dairy industry and the Bega cheese co-op is australia’s leading manufacturer of dairy. Visit the Bega cheese heritage cheese centre. Free admission, cheese tasting and sales, history of dairying museum.
They also have produce markets every Friday 8am – 1pm.
A suburb that has grown a lot since our last visit two years ago, and thriving despite last year’s bushfires, they are recovering well. Super busy caravan parks and motels and a few cute little shops down the beach too. On the Perch aviary enables you to get close to Australia’s wildlife.
Heritage listed Tathra wharf was used for transporting goods along the south coast. Now a maritime museum, gallery and cafe – it’s a great spot to sit and have a coffee and cake.
We also enjoyed the Wild Orchid Café, a new hip little cafe down at Tathra beach. They have a great brunch menu and we opted for the chia and oat porridge, a big bowl with delicately placed bananas, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries and flavoured with honey. They do good coffee too.
This long weekend, they were hosting the “Enduro”, a couple of mountain biking events around their 40km trails.
This is a fabulous tourist location with heaps of motels, B&b’s, caravan parks, restaurants, cafes and shops. It is a thriving hub of activity with plenty to do, whether it be fishing, surfing, swimming, bike riding or just eating fish and chips by the beach. They’re also famous for their seafood, in particular the oysters.
In terms of activities, they have a seaside market and fair – 3rd Sunday of the month. The Merimbula Wharf Aquarium and Restaurant has lunch with amazing water views and an aquarium showcasing local and tropical marine life.
We were in the area during the June Long weekend which is when they host the Merimbula Jazz Festival, with six official venues showcasing the all things jazz. They have a free concert by the lake, and some music in restaurants and cafes. There’s also a lantern walk where locals and visitors are encouraged to make a lantern for a spectacular night of lights and music.
For a drink, head to Camel rock brewery or Mimosa winery and restaurant (between Bermagui and Tathra). The Mimosa winery is in a tranquil valley between the mountains and sea. Views from the deck with local seafood and regional produce and we are testament to the extroadinary quality here.
Head a little further south and you will find Pambula, a cute little historic town, extending back to settlement in the 1830’s. It’s still got a fair few heritage buildings that have been maintained well. For eating, we can suggest Broadwater Oysters, found in a shed at the lake or Wheelers seafood restaurant.
Newly opened is Banksia, a fine dining restaurant coming from Huw and Renee Jones (previously ran hatted restaurant Zanzibar in Merimbula). It is located in a heritage building in the Old Pambula Bank. Whilst we haven’t been we hear it’s very good, serving up a Set 3 Course Menu for $75 which changes weekly, whether it be fish, steak and vegetables and beautiful desserts.
We also really love Oaklands, a garden centre, cafe, longstocking brewery and animal farm. Whilst you have a bite to eat and a drink or two, the kids can check out the animals and even ride a pony.
It is an area famous for whale watching, in particular when they are migrating around autumn – spring. Whilst there, you can see the Killer Whale Museum, take a fishing charter or go sea kayaking on twofold bay. They also have produce markets – 3rd Saturday of the month
There is so much more to the south coast than we can highlight in one small blog. We have shown you our favourites here, but head down and try it out for yourselves.