Queensland started it all when they named the Gold Coast of the Gold Coast. Now most states have alluring names for areas of their coastline and New South Wales boasts the Sapphire Coast, named because of the beautiful colour of the water.
Dermott Brereton visited the area which stretches between Bermagui and Merimbula in the south of the state. Fishing and tourism are the main sources of income and its mild weather makes it a great all-seasons destination. Visitors enjoy forest, mountains, gentle rural country and great beaches.
Dermott's journey began in Merimbula, the heart of the Sapphire Coast. Most activities revolve around the water and Merimbula Wharf has cafes, restaurants, an aquarium and leads to a boardwalk around the lake.
The town is also well known for being a bit of a golfing mecca, with a 27-hole golf course, and we're told you will get million-dollar views from Tura Beach. Whale watching is also fairly popular here, with plenty of whale watching vessels that will offer to take you out for a look.
Bar Beach Kiosk and Café
Always on the lookout for a surfing wave, Dermott stopped at Bar Beach and ran into his old friend, singer and actor Frankie J Holden. He's a local and spends his spare time enjoying the surf.
Frankie and his family moved there five years ago and love the hinterland, underdeveloped coastline and lack of traffic and crowds. Its location half-way between Sydney and Melbourne makes it easy to visit the big smoke when necessary.
Bar Beach is a sheltered spot, perfect for families and those wanting to swim, snorkel, kayak and surf. The cafe has quality food and beverage at reasonable prices with plenty of options for children. They source local and organic produce and everyone raves about there espresso coffee, all enjoyed with the best views.
This venue offers loads of fun with entertainment for the whole family. The Toboggan Mountain slide is for everyone. Two waterslides Black Hole and Wipeout provide lots of cooling fun. One ride on the Diamond Python Roller Coaster and Magic Carpet Slide is never enough and of course everyone loves dodgem cars. There is also a kiddy splash pool and small "town cars" for toddlers. Have a game of minigolf and visit Triassic Park which is made up of large dinosaur models.
Magic Mountain Wilderness Track takes you through beautiful bush, through a gully and over a log bridge.
There's a gift shop, grassed picnic area with coin-operated barbecues, tram cafe, showers, change room and free parking.
Next stop was Tathra, north from Kianinny Bay and with another great surfing beach which is patrolled in summer. At its northern reach of the 3km beach is Mogareeka Inlet at the mouth of the Bega River. It's a beautiful picnic and play area with swimming and fishing spots, boat ramps, bush walks and barbecue facilities.
One of the main attractions is the wharf built in 1862. Classified by the National Trust, it has been taken back to its original state.
This little port town is set around a harbour and dates back to the 1830s. The continental shelf is just 20km offshore and that means excellent deep-sea fishing, particularly yellow-fin tuna and black marlin.
Bermagui Blue Pools at the bottom of cliffs below the scenic drive should be on your list. The ocean pools were initiated in 1936 by local philanthropist Bill Dickinson. He wanted everyone to enjoy a good-sized saltwater pool, suitable for casual swimming as well as for training and competition. They were designed to follow the natural form of the rocks with people-friendly additions such as steps and dressing sheds.
Bermagui Fisherman's Wharf opened in 2009 after a $5 million renovation of the original fishing co-op.
The Sapphire Coast, around 520km south of Sydney and 585km north of Melbourne.
Bar Beach Kiosk and Café opens every day between October and April.
Magic Mountain entry is free. Rides are $7 each or four for $25. Children under 11years of age can enjoy unlimited rides for $27.
Hertz has a great range of car rental in New South Wales. Check their website for rates.
Prices correct at June 17, 2010.
For further information
Bar Beach Kiosk and Café
Ph: 0410 698 479
Sapphire Coast Drive
Ph: (02) 6495 2299
Bermagui Fisherman's Wharf
Bermagui South 2546
Ph: (02) 6493 4575
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