Named so for its sparkling blue-green sea, the Sapphire Coast is a gem on NSW’s far south coast, positioned halfway between Sydney and Melbourne. Opera singer Claire Lyon’s career has taken her all over the globe – starring in The Phantom of the Opera and touring with Josh Groban – but it’s this sublime stretch of Australian coast that she misses the most while she’s gone. “My fiancé has holidayed here his whole life,” she explains. “He brought me to his family beach house in Merimbula on one of our first dates and a year later, proposed to me whilst paddle boarding down the Pambula River, so it’s a very special place for us.” Their favourite spots include clear and calm bodies of water, a must-visit dog beach and some chic little restaurants, spanning Merimbula, Pambula and Bermagui. It’s a quintessential relaxed Aussie beach holiday, but done in style…
“This little espresso bar, right on the jetty, is great for a morning coffee and croissant. It’s a fantastic beach for families and you can even hire stand-up paddle boards and kayaks.”
Fishpen Rd, Merimbula
“You’ll find me here (lining up in the queue!) three to four times a week. Get the organic stone ground sourdough, and don’t get there too late in the day – they’ll be sold out!”
26 Quondola St, Pambula
“Valentina only recently opened and it’s been packed out ever since. They have gorgeous cocktails, a stunning view of the lake and an amazing selection of share plates. Highly recommend!”
2 Market St, Merimbula
“This gorgeous little restaurant has fast become one of our favourites in the whole country! Set in what was the old Pambula bank, amongst the heritage buildings of Pambula village, it’s run by husband-and- wife duo Renee and Hugh. The food is exquisite and service excellent. They offer a set menu which changes every two weeks – we try to get there each time we are in town.”
22 Quondola St, Pambula
Pambula River Mouth
“Surrounded my national park, the stunningly clear, shallow water is great for swimming and paddle boarding.”
Bergamui Blue Pool
“This is the most incredible ocean pool – it looks like something out of a Slim Aarons book.“
“This waterfront cafe in Merimbula is perfect for brekkie or lunch. There are some beautiful healthy options and great coffee – though they close at 3pm so don’t get there too late. There’s also a great beach for families just below with lots of rock pools for exploring and snorkelling.”
Lake St, Merimbula
The fine print
How to get there
The Sapphire Coast stretches from Bermagui in the north to Eden in the south. Depending on where you stay, it’s about a six-hour drive from either Sydney or Melbourne.
From May to November, Eden is one of the best places to spot whales on their annual migration. It’s been dubbed the Humpback Highway!
What to pack
Relaxed linen dresses and flats.