Killer whales and kangaroos on the Grand Pacific Drive
Take the early morning Regional Express Flight from Sydney to Merimbula. From here, you can start on your south coast road trip. Rent a car from rental companies such as Avis or Hertz. They have their offices at the Merimbula Airport.
The first stop would be Pambula, a historic village on Sapphire Coast, which doesn’t have the tall neon signs, but artisan bakery and coffee roasters, local art, winery and eco-focussed retail enough to keep you busy. But that’s not all; there is more to this region where gold was discovered in the 1880s.
SEE + DO
Captain Sponge’s Magical Oyster Tour, Pambula
Brett Welingarth, also called ‘Sponge’, has been a farmer all his life. Earlier, he was into dryland farming, but now he is an advocate of the endemic Sydney Rock Oysters. You can go on a tour with him to explore the natural wonders of the Pambula River, learn about the ecology of the estuary and of course sample and shuck the Sydney Rock Oysters. Brett farms at the oyster leases in Merimbula and Pambula lakes (www.magicaloystertours.com.au)
Eden Killer Whale Museum
The region was long in focus for its dramatic history of whaling from 1828 to 1930. At the museum one can understand how the Davidson family, with the help of killer whales hunted baleen whales in the nineteenth century. The skeleton of the orca ‘Old Tom’, the most famous of all the killer whales, can be found here. One can understand the various whale species, their uses, fishing artefacts and their social history at the Eden Killer Whale Museum (killerwhalemuseum.com.au)
Killer Whale Trail
You can also get insights into the whaling industry at Twofold Bay by going on a self-drive day tour amidst breathtaking scenery through five historical sites. If you are visiting the region between August and November, you can also witness the epic migration of hump back whales from various lookout points. (thewhaletrail.org)
EAT + DRINK
Oaklands Barn, Pambula
The barn’s design is rustic, true to the Aussie outback. It caters to all age groups to keep you entertained. Here you can enjoy the company of farm animals, go on pony and trail rides, and visit an art gallery. Also, sample the beers from the region’s first craft brewery. (www.oaklandsbarn.com)
Tucked in a laneway, the restaurant serves some of the best Australian wines and refines Italian gourmet for its visitors. (www.vicolomerimbula.com.au)
The Waterfront Café, Merimbula
With lakeside views and an impressive menu, you’re bound to enjoy your meal at this restaurant. From the healthy and wide range of breakfast options, do not miss the smashed avocado on toasted ciabatta with quinoa, the innovative omelette with spiced roast pumpkin and more. Also, relish the local oysters served for lunch. (www.waterfrontcafemerimbula.com.au)
Coast Resort Merimbula
Coast Resort offers its guests a selection of privately owned apartments, townhouses and penthouses with numerous amenities. (coastresort.com.au)
Depart from Merimbula for Narooma via Tathra, Wapengo, Barragga Bay, Bermagui.
The Wharf, Tathra
The restored platform at the Wharf is the perfect place to sit back, relax and watch the endless ocean with the whales and dolphins at bay. Also, you can find many locals and tourists trying their luck with fishing. The Maritime Museum and the Wharf Lacavore, which offers coffee and refreshments are not to be missed when in Tathra.
The Blue Pool, Bermagui
The town is famous for deep sea fishing, especially for yellowfish tuna and the famous black marlin. Bermagui is located around a safe all-weather harbour. The town offers many activities like bushwalking, surfing and water sports in the national parks and beaches that dot the region. The Blue Pool is a salt water pool available for all to take a leisurely dip when in Bermagui. Vantage points are available for whale watching around Blue Pool.
Whale Motor Inn, Narooma
A motel at Wagonga Street, the inn has a range of rooms in different categories, based on your needs, including pet-friendly rooms. One can also enjoy the ocean views from the patio or balcony.
Depart from Narooma and hit the road towards Mogo, followed by Batemans Bay, Pebbly Beach
and end the day at Jervis Bay.
SEE + DO
Mill Bay Broadwalk
At Narooma, an early morning walk at Mill Bay Broadwalk to watch the whales and seals in action is highly recommended. Do not miss on the sunrise at Australia Rock.
It was in 1857 that the gold rush hit this town, traces of which can be witnessed today at the Original Gold Rush Colony, which showcases the village in its heydays as a gold mining village. Check out the artwork in the form of jewellery, antiques, handicrafts and pottery sold in the beautiful shops across town.
This is one spot that never disappoints. The bordering Murramarang National Park is teeming with wildlife that spills on to the beach. You are sure to watch the kangaroos in action as they hop around the sandy beach nibbling the grass and posing for the shutterbugs. You could also go camping on this beach.
EAT + DRINK
Grumpy & Sweethearts, Mogo
Enjoy some great varieties of coffee, cakes and an elaborate breakfast menu with eggs at this country café with a beautiful courtyard. (grumpyandsweethearts.com.au)
Innes Boat Shed, Batesman Bay
Open since 1950, this outlet serves the best Fish and Chips in the region. Made from the fresh catch, you can enjoy your lunch on the deck as pelicans fly past you. Grenadier, marlin and oysters are on offer when you visit the place.
Paperback Camp, Jervis Bay
Experience an out-of-the-world stay at this camp when you go glamping amidst the wild surroundings, as the possums scamper around your luxury tent, kangaroos dash into the darkness and you wake up to bird calls. One can go canoeing, biking and walk along the various trails that pass through mangroves and bushlands. Also, you can relish some roasted marshmallows with hot chocolate beside a bonfire on a cold night. (www.paperbarkcamp.com.au)
Checkout Paperback Camp and take the road towards Huskisson town, Ulladulla, and end your day at Mollymook.
SEE + DO
Dolphin Watch Cruises, Huskisson
Here, you can watch bottlenose dolphins prancing in the waters as visitors squeal to every sight of them. Aboard the cruise, you can take in the untouched landscapes of white sandy beaches, watch the seals, penguins and albatross in action. (www.dolphinwatch.com.au)
Jervis Bay is bigger in size compared to the Sydney Harbour, but has maintained its pristine beauty and ensured that the marine life isn’t harmed, and the ecology is protected.
Cuppit’s Winery, Ulladula
Cuppit’s is a small facility that boasts of a boutique winery, microbrewery, fromagerie and a restaurant. Here you can taste their wines, craft ales and also get an introduction to the process of wine and cheese making. (www.cupitts.com.au)
EAT + DRINK
5 Little Pigs
The hearty and wholesome meals at this café, located in Owen Street in Huskisson, would satisfy your soul and stomach. (www.5littlepigs.com.au)
Bannisters by the Sea
Rooms with a private balcony that include penthouses, luxury suites and spa rooms that sure wouldn’t leave you disappointed. Enjoy the sea views as the sun pours into your room. (www.bannisters.com.au)
SEE + DO
It is the last day of the road trip, and as you drive to Sydney, a short break at the quaint village called Berry is recommended. Try the freshly made cinnamon donuts at The Donut Van and take the scenic road across SeaCliff Bridge to Bald Hill and then, back to Sydney.