By Cathy Anderson
They say all that glitters is gold, but surely what they meant is that it’s sapphire.
The glorious stretch of the NSW far south coast between Bermagui to Eden, known as the Sapphire Coast, is rich with rugged and rocky beaches, friendly country towns and stunning national parks including Mimosa Rocks, Ben Boyd and Bournda.
The Sapphire Coast has had its share of bushfire damage, with Ben Boyd National Park suffering greatly.
Cam Read and his partner Tess Miller operate Sapphire Coast Guiding Co. (formerly Light 2 Light Coastal Walks), offering three-day guided camping and walking tours from Boyds Tower, south of Eden, to Green Cape Lighthouse, but these are on hold as the park is partially closed.
“Some areas were just absolutely decimated, but others got burnt quite lightly and are coming back really strong,” says Read.
The walk’s reopening is being fast-tracked and their tours are expected to continue from March 2021, but in the interim, the pair are offering three-day walking tours in nearby Mimosa Rocks and Bournda parks.
Visitors can either camp at Hobart Beach Campground in Bournda for three nights ($895) with a day trip to Mimosa and two-day walks within Bournda (including gourmet campfire cookouts), or stay in apartment accommodation in the township of Tathra and be picked up each day.
Walkers can expect a huge variety of landscapes, an appearance by native wallabies, goannas and kangaroos, and most trails are easy to moderate.
“Bluewater lagoons, tidal lagoons, and a lot of vegetation changes, which I think is something that really interests people,” says Read.
“We’ll go from thick Melaleuca forest, that looks like you’re in the little fairy tunnel, and then you hop out into towering, spotted gum forest with prehistoric cycad plants.”
The pair are also collaborating with local businesses to develop an e-bike mountain bike tour and kayak tours to paddle out and explore local oyster farms.
Popular with visitors from the Gippsland region, the Sapphire Coast is largely undiscovered and underrated by NSW tourists, which makes it an ideal destination if you’re yearning for an adventure into an unspoilt coastal environment with few crowds. And did we mention the whales?
The highlight for a lot of people would be September through to November, when the whales are migrating,” Read says. “Recently there was a mega pod of hundreds of whales feeding off the coast.
At one point, there were water spout, blowhole mists, just covering the horizon. It was incredible.”
NEED TO KNOW
- Tours leave from Tathra, about 525km from Sydney if following the M31 via Canberra
- Tours run all year except during Christmas holidays
- Short walks are three days in Mimosa Rocks and Bournda national parks with camping ($895) or accommodation in Tathra ($1095).
- Bookings: sapphirecoastguidingco.
- Light 2 Light three-day guided and fully catered tour in Ben Boyd National Park will resume in March 2021. Bookings: light2light.com.au
- Group size is maximum of 10