Wildlife & Marine Experiences
Feed a kangaroo, meet a koala or take a guided snorkel tour - you can do all three in a day!
Cat Balou Cruises
When you sail onboard the 15 metre Cat Balou you can enjoy comfort, peace of mind and the chance to hear live whale song. Sightings are guaranteed on whale watching cruises from September to November, with a free return trip or half your fare back in the rare event that no whales are sighted.
Tours range from 2.5 hours to 3.5 hours, exploring the coastal wildnerness of Eden and Ben Boyd National Park all the way to Green Cape Light House. Ros’ is famous for sharing tales about Eden, from failed empires to shore based whaling and over 30 years of whale research that she and Gordon have contributed to.
Cat Balou departs from Snug Cove which has no bar crossings and direct ocean access, putting you on the Humpback Highway within minutes of leaving port. Enjoy optimum viewing from 3 outdoor platforms and inside seating. Cat Balou Cruises are licensed, and offers morning or afternoon tea and hot soup.
Cat Balou Cruises has been awarded the South Coast Tourism Hall of Fame and Ecotourism Gold Medal and is consistently recognised for excellence by Trip Advisor.
Bookings are essential. Cat Balou offers limited wheelchair access.
3.5 hours: Adults $85, families $250.
2.5 hours: Adults $65, families $185.
Easter 2019 Discovery Tours with National Parks Rangers
Nature experiences is what we do best so bring the children to enjoy a day out in one of our beautiful National Parks this Easter!
There are dozens of walks, talks and other fun activities held over the school holidays in Autumn. You can explore by boat and canoe, and meet lots of feathered, finned and scaly locals plus learn all about the whaling history of the Sapphire Coast.
Gain a fantastic insight into unexpected delights of our national parks with Discovery Rangers, and discover out natural, cultural and historic heritage.
See what’s on offer this school holidays here. NPWS-Tours-Sapphire Coast Autumn 2019
For more information or to book, please call or visit the Merimbula National Parks and Wildlife office on 02 6495 000. Opening hours are 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday
02 6495 5000
Oaklands Barn & Garden Centre
The kids will really enjoy our animal nursery, where they can experience animals close up.
Oaklands is home to several businesses, including the Oaklands Barn that carries a wide range of stock feeds, farm and landscaping supplies. There’s also a wonderful nursery and gift shop stocked with a huge range of plants and garden ornaments.
Coaches and large groups are welcome.
Opening hours are:
Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm
Saturday to Sunday 9am – 4pm
02 6495 7257
02 6495 7122
From sharks to shrimps, the octopus to the tropical fish. It’s all on display in our living theatre of the deep. The Merimbula Aquarium has 27 tanks and a fantastic Oceanarium full of large ocean fish and sharks.
Fish feeding is the best time to visit as all tanks are fed and the fish become very active. Fish feeding is held every Monday, Wedesday and Friday at 11.30am and Monday to Friday during School Holidays.
The Aquarium Kids Club is held 6.45pm every Wednesday and Thursday nights during January. Activities are held in the Aquarium including a Touch Tank on display for children to hold some some marine creatures.
Aquarium Group Tours. We offer discounts for group bookings and can organise age-specific aquarium tours for school groups. Contact us for more details.
Captain Sponges Magical Oyster Tours
Discover the secrets of Pambula Lake, learn about oyster farming, the river estuary and taste oysters straight from the lake. All aboard for Captain Sponge’s Magical Oyster Tour!
Pambula produces around 215,000 dozen Sydney Rock Oysters a year and have a subtle earthy taste, rounded by the daily meeting of river waters from Yowaka and Pambula and the incoming tide from the beautiful river mouth.
Board ‘The Kangaroo’, a glorified oyster punt, and set sail downstream past towering eucalypts, ancient Aboriginal middens and resident white bellied sea eagles. See how the catching of oysters is done, how they are grown and sample some for yourself before heading back to the jetty.
Tours take approximately 1.5 hours. Minimum 6 persons, max 23. Private group charters by appointment.
Snorkel with Marine Discovery Guides
Snorkelling with a guide is a deeply immersive way to explore our amazing coastline. The Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre hosts two hour guided snorkel tours at Eden’s Snug Cove and Merimbula Lake.
The experience is wonderful for people who want an introduction to snorkelling, to improve your skills, and learn about sea creatures who call the Sapphire Coast home.
Tours are suitable for children aged 12 and above, and cost $100 for groups of 1 to 3 people, or $25 per person for groups of four and more. Tours include snorkel, mask and fin hire with wetsuits available in some sizes.
To enquire, please contact the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre. Tours are flexible, but times are subject to tides and weather conditions.
Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre
It has live aquaria, a very popular touch tank where you can get up close and personal with live marine animals, beautiful video footage, microscopes, a beach combing table and loads of information about the temperate marine environment.
With qualified marine scientists on staff, there are indoor and outdoor activities that will fill the family with wonder: enjoy a Rocky Shore Ramble or guided Snorkel Tour or the kids can participate in indoor educational craft activities during school holidays.
Each Spring you can watch whales with the team at Rotary Lookout. Guides are on site each Tuesday and Wednesday in September and October, between 10am and 12pm. They have lots of tips on what to look for, along with equipment and and suggestions for other places to spot whales on the Sapphire Coast.
The centre’s opening hours are from 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday
School holidays: 9:30am to 3:30pm Monday to Saturday.
The Centre will open outside these hours for a booking of 10 or more.
“The kids were so entertained with hands-on activities, the touch tank is the best!”
Potoroo Palace is a small not-for-profit, native wildlife sanctuary, home to many iconic as well as lesser known species of Australian animals. Many of the animals at the sanctuary are native to the Merimbula area and some are very rare now. Kangaroos, emus and wallabies and all manner of birds roam freely in the grounds. Close up animal encounters can also be arranged with some of our shyer residents.
Make a day of it and stop for lunch or just some delicious coffee in the delightful Blue Wren Café, whilst browsing a selection of Australian Made merchandise.
Or bring your own picnic and enjoy some time out next to the shady dams and BBQs.
Educational Talks are at 11am & 2pm.
Train rides and animal feed bags are also available for all the family.
Potoroo Palace is open 7 days per week throughout the year from 10am to 4pm (closed Christmas Day). We’re just a short 10 minute drive from Merimbula.
Light to Light Camps
Walk the wilderness coast with the support of Light to Light Camps.
The iconic 2 night/3 day Light to Light Track follows some of Southeast Australia’s most spectacular coastline.
Located in Ben Boyd National Park in Australia’s Coastal Wilderness region, the 31 kilometre track passes rock dating back over 400 million years, a marine environment with incomparable diversity, coastal heath and forests of Banksia and Ti-tree.
Ancient Aboriginal shell middens on the shores showcase a resource-rich ocean. The stories of an incredible and long-lasting relationship between whalers and Killer Whales adds to the mystery and wonder of this place.
This place is very special. Explore it at your own pace without the burden of tents, food and water, and be spoiled at the end of the day with delicious dinners, a hot shower and luxurious camp beds, sleeping bags, sheets and towels.
We’ve got you covered.
Merimbula Marina, Whale Watching & Ocean Adventure Tours
Merimbula Marina is a family owned and operated business, and the crew believe in responsible and respectful whale watching practices. They have a deep love of the ocean and all its amazing creatures and enjoy sharing this with passengers.
Cruise in comfort aboard the 16 metre super cat, ‘True Blue’, with three viewing decks offering 260 degree views, informative commentary and morning or afternoon tea.
Enjoy peace of mind with a 100% guarantee for sightings! If whales aren’t sighted during our whale watching cruises from September to November, you receive a full refund.
Check out the daily photos and whale reports on Facebook. Like our page and download photos taken from your cruise for free!
If whale watching is not your thing then consider a tour of Merimbula’s coastline, enquire about a fishing trip or take a Marine Discovery Tours (oustide of whale watching season).
Bookings are preferred.
Adults $69, Families $199 (2 adults, 2 children with $30 for extra kids from the same family). See the website for all ticket prices.
On The Perch: Aviaries, gifts, cafe
Walk among birds from around Australia and the world at On The Perch aviaries, gifts & cafe, at Tathra.
Meet the keeper at 11am & 1pm, or team up with with one for a whole day for a rich, behind the scenes experience.
On The Perch has eight exhibits (including four large walk-in aviaries) set up as regional-based habitats. There is also a ‘Chicken Run’ for the little and big kids. With about 75 species of bird on display, you can learn about birds from Australia and around the world and discover for yourself how local efforts to conserve and rehabilitate threatened and endangered species are making a real difference.
Take your time to explore walk-in aviaries, bring a small gift of blue for the bowerbird and visit the website or Facebook page to check the calendar of events.
Open 10am to 3pm. Last entry is 30 minutes prior to close.
Kiah Wilderness Tours
Nature at your own pace….Kiah Wilderness Tours offers small group kayak tours on the beautiful Towamba River, just south of Eden.
- Morning Tour (3 – 4 hours)
- Lunch Tour (3 – 4 hours)
- Afternoon Tour (2 hours)
- Full Day Tour (4 – 5 hours)
An estuary that wanders through stunning forests and green pastures, the river winds its way to Twofold Bay. It is pristine and quiet, with an impressive diversity of both bird and marine life. Each sit-on-top kayak is kitted with a pair of binoculars so you can check out the wildlife up close along the way.
Tours are tailored for a maximum of six people, crafted to suit your experience and abilities and designed to allow you time to enjoy the wilderness. You can request time out for a swim, photography shoot, or to cast a lure. Morning or afternoon tea in the form of plunger coffee and freshly baked goodies is served on one of the many sandy beaches on the river’s edge.
No experience is necessary as the kayaks are designed for easy paddling. Guides are accredited through Australian Canoeing / Paddle NSW.