This walk was created by linking a number of pre-existing trails that connect the Merimbula and Tathra Wharfs. The Wharf to Wharf Walk was officially opened in late June 2021 and in all honesty it was just something that didn’t even come up on my radar. Perhaps the best known walk in this region is the Light to Light Walk that is of a similar distance. While you could be forgiven for thinking that its only worthwhile doing one of these walks they are different enough and each has something unique on offer.
You can commence this walk at the Merimbula Wharf or the Tathra Wharf – there are advantages of each wharf as a starting point. We opted to start at the Tathra Wharf as we were based out of Merimbula which is a larger coastal town with a larger range of accomodation and restaurant options. While this walk can be done year round, I’m not a fan of doing the longer distance walks in the summer heat. We did the walk in March which worked out well with the maximum temperature being around 23° Celsius. This section of the NSW coast is southern enough that winter minimum temperatures can approach close to 0° Celsius so if you do choose to do this walk during winter come prepared.
Unless you plan on shuffling cars you will need to arrange transport to your starting point – the Wharf to Wharf website (see link below) provides some links to some options for getting to your chosen trailhead.
This is a 27 km trail but my GPS on the day showed 30.65 km without any of the optional side trips and given the time I took to do this walk that 30.65 km may be more accurate. We chose to do this walk in a single 11 hour day which works well if you have the fitness and don’t mind powering through. If you want a more relaxed trip then there is a convenient campsite at the midpoint of this walk at Hobart Beach. This campsite has lots of facilities but you need to book prior to turning up. Speaking of facilities there are a number of toilet facilities along the way but come prepared with a trowel and toilet paper just in case the built facilities don’t quite match you personal needs.
The Wharf to Wharf Walk parallels the coastline and with the exception of a short section in Bournda National Park, I was within earshot of the ocean for almost the entire trip which is something I love about coastal hikes. The trail itself consists of formed trail, management road (short sections) and beach walking.
While this walk has its own designated trail markers to assist with navigation we recommend that you carry a copy of the trail notes (see link below) to help with a few locations along the trail where its not quite clear where to turn. From my perspective a small number off additional trail markers would provide a bit more confidence on route selection. I only really had one section where I wasn’t quite sure where to go but if in doubt have a bit of a look around and you will usually find where you need to head.
As mentioned this walk was created by connecting pre-existing trails through public coastal reserves, flora reserves, beaches and Bournda National Park, providing a connected walking experience along the stunning coastline between Merimbula and Tathra. If starting the walk at Tathra Wharf you spend a short time out in the open until you reach the high point of the nearby headland. As you make your way along the coastline you will spend equal amounts of time in the shadows of trees as well as being out in the open and in full sun. One of the reasons I liked heading south was that as you approach Merimbula the sections end up getting shorter and you feel like you are coming to the end of the hike which is very helpful if doing this walk as a day hike.
One thing to note with this trail is that you have a number of inlet crossings along the way. On the day I did my walk the shallowest of these crossings was around 30 cm with the deepest at the upper thigh level (see photos below). If there have been periods off heavy rain and its a high tide, this may force you to choose alternate route options which are identified in the track notes. In addition, because this was a particularly rainy year, some of the inland lakes were at their high points and I had one section walking through about 30 cm of water for around 100 metres and a number of other shorter sections where my feet got wet so come prepared! There are a few sections on this trip that involve beach walking and I was initially surprised at the lack of people until I saw some signs warning people about dangerous currents – looking at the sea conditions I wasn’t surprised.
Due to the periods of rain prior to my walk there were a number of fallen Melaleucas and the odd Eucalyptus tree along the trail which required me to skirt around vegetation but it didn’t slow me down too much.
Animal and plant life is going to vary through the year and this part of the coastline is well known for whale watching so if you pick your time, you just might be lucky. The wildflowers will be at their peak in springtime but even in Autumn when I did this walk there was still enough flowers to keep me happy.
Animal life wasn’t abundant but my highlights for the trip were two Red Bellied Black Snakes, one juvenile Kangaroo (which scared the life out of me because I was so focused on looking out for snakes so failed to see it until I was about 1 metre away and it hopped off), a number of Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos and a tortoise making its way down the centre of the trail. Gill who was supposed to do this walk ended up becoming car support when our transport failed to show up in the morning so she ended up doing a few kilometres here and there and also saw a large goanna on trail as well.
While I expected to enjoy this walk I didn’t think I would like it as much as I did – it really is a great walk So whether you choose to do this as a single day or two day walk its well worth a visit!
Signage on trail near Tathra
View from the Tathra Headland Lookout
Trail info signage
Coastal Rosemary in flower
Oh so pretty
Fungus on trail
Boulder Bay, nice and calm and very secluded
Boulder Bay – its very easy to see how it got its name which the beach bing made up entirely of rocks
Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos in flight
Morning tea seat
Crossing a wet area
Gill at lunchtime at Wallagoot Gap
Inlet crossing – on this day the crossing was around 25 cm deep
Wallagoot and Bournda Beach
Exiting to Hobart Beach Campground
Shelter at Hobart Beach Campground shelter
Tortoise on trail
Juvenille Kangaroo along the trail. I was so focused on looking for snakes that I didn’t realise it was there until I was within 1 metre
Snake on the Wharf to Wharf Walk
Along the beach, the beach again
Inlet crossing 2
Banksia on trail
View from the lookout at North Tura Road car park
This is th access point back onto the beach again and the water is actually the trail. On this day it was around 30-40 cm deep
Pittosporum in fruit
Tim after crossing Merimbula Creek near the trail end. I went a bit deeper than I usually do on these sort of crossings but the weather was warm so I didn’t mind
Approaching Merimbula Wharf
Merimbula Wharf trailhead
This 7 minute video contains photos and videos to show you the walk from start to finish. This is a lovely walk and one that is still unknown by many people (video to be uploaded in the next 2 hours)
Tathra Wharf – one of the possible starting/finishing locations
Approaching Merimbula Wharf which is the other starting/finishing location
This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker