• Distance 27km
  • Altitude max 65m
  • Altitude min 1m
  • Duration 11 hours
  • Trail type End to End
Four Stars

Four Stars

Not to be missed

The Australian Hiker Experience Rating is a measure of the overall quality of a walk. It is intended to help you decide whether to walk a trail, not to measure anything objective. Consider this our personal take on the walk.

Grade Five

Grade Five

Very experienced bushwalkers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid. Tracks are likely to be very rough, very steep and unmarked. Walks may be more than 20km.

The Australian Hiker Difficulty Grading System is based on the australian standard for measuring trail hikes.

Parking
Toilets
Rubbish Bins
Camping Grounds
Showers

Wharf to Wharf Walk NSW (27km)

NSW South Coast

Nearest Town

Merimbula/Tathra NSW

Starting Location

  • Tathra Wharf, NSW (our preference)
  • Merimbula Wharf, NSW

Finish Location

  • Merimbula Wharf, NSW (our preference)
  • Tathra Wharf, NSW

Best time of the year to walk

  • Year round
    • Pay attention to heavy rainfall in the days leading up to commencing this walk as well as during the walk as it may impact whether you can complete the walk or may require you to take the diversions to avoid the inlet crossings
    • Avoid this walk if there are large coastal storms happening as the inlets are likely to be impassable

Wharf to Wharf Walk Review

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!

Tathra Wharf

Tathra trailhead

Signage on trail near Tathra

View from the Tathra Headland Lookout

Trail signage

Trail info signage

Coastal Rosemary in flower

On-trail seat

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

Ocean views

Trail signage

Crossing a wet area

Wallagoot Gap

Gill at lunchtime at Wallagoot Gap

Inlet crossing – on this day the crossing was around 25 cm deep

Beach walk

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

Merimbula Wharf trailhead

Trail Video

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)

Getting There

  • Merimbula is 249 km from the centre of Canberra
  • Merimbula is 457 km from the centre of Sydney
  • Merimbula is 582 km from the centre of Melbourne

Tathra Wharf – one of the possible starting/finishing locations

Approaching Merimbula Wharf which is the other starting/finishing location

Things to Know

  • Phone: There is reasonable phone coverage on this trail (Telstra) but there are some sections where you have no signal at all
  • Water: You need to bring your own water
  • Toilets: There are toilets on this trail at various locations
  • Trail: This trail consists of formed track, management roads and beach walks
  • Dogs: Dogs not allowed along much of the trail
  • Camping:
    • If you are camping at the Hobart Beach Campground (see link below) you will need to prebook your accomodation. The approximate cost as at 14 March 2022 is approximately $25 per night
  • Other: 
    • This walk can be done as a long single day walk or as an overnight walk
    • Come prepared to do inlet crossings

References

Disclaimer

This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker

Australian Hiker Newsletter

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