I had a wedding to photograph down the NSW Far South Coast and always try to tack on a day or two either side of the wedding to explore and do a bit of sightseeing … and taking photos! haha

It was a 7-hour drive to my wedding location and I had scheduled to meet up with the couple at the family farm to scout the property ahead of the wedding day, so that meant this day was just about driving to get there for our scheduled 4pm catchup.

Exploring the Sapphire Coast

I had seen so many places along the Snowy Mountain Highway I wanted to stop to take photos and was already was planning to drive back through the Cooma to Bega section of the countryside the following day. However I got to the Cooma side of Brown Mountain, a windy stretch of road, and heavy fog had dropped on the area and I could barely see a few metres in front of me. Just before heading down the mountain I couldn’t resist jumping out of the car to take a few photos.

Where To Stay On The Sapphire Coast

The closest town to my wedding location was Merimbula, a small coastal town on the Sapphire Coast.

When I travel for business, I like to stay in Airbnb accommodation as it’s like a home away from home. Plus the host is a local to the area and your best information source for good eats and local attractions. When I’m traveling for destination weddings, I’m always limited on time, so I want to fit in as much as possible and skip to just the best of that area, so the Airbnb Host is a great travel guide.

Start Your Day Exploring With A Good Breakfast Said Every Seasoned Traveler

Starting the day with a good breakfast … lets be honest coffee! … I headed down to the Merimbula waterfront and coincidently ended up at the Waterfront Cafe.

I try to be adventurous with menu choices so went for something I wouldn’t usually find on a breakfast menu – sometimes this pays off and this was one of those times. I had the Zuchini, Pea & Mint Fritter with Crumbed WA Sardines, Romesco Sauce, Poached Eggs, Fennel Sofrito & Radish and it was sooooo delicious, earning Waterfront Cafe a well earned 5-star rating and added to my good-food guide and must-eats in Merimbula on the Sapphire Coast.

Exploring The Sapphire Coast In One Day

After breakfast, I drove the short 5 minute drive around to Pambula Beach and found only a handful of other people, but note it was a Friday in Autumn. There is nothing more relaxing than a peaceful beach.

A Drive Through The South Coast Countryside

After leaving Pambula Beach, my destination was to head back to Nimmitabel, a quaint little town I passed through the day before. But I also remembered there were other spots along the drive too where I wanted to take photos.

I’m drawn to rundown heritage style cottages and found a couple of cuties in Candelo, a little town about a 20 minute drive from Bega.

A little further along the Snowy Mountains Highway, as I drove back up Brown Mountain (no fog today), I stopped at the Fred Piper Memorial Lookout to take in the view. Its a great spot to stop to have a break from the windy mountain drive.

Sweet Treats In Nimmitabel

Next stop was the quaint little historical town of Nimmitabel. There isn’t a lot there besides a cafe, pub, antique shop and rest area for weary travelers. But I have to say Bertie’s Cafe is definitely worth the stop.

The day before I had stopped for a quick coffee as I drove through (and grabbed a homemade sausage roll) as there wasn’t much in the way of decent food stops along the Monaro Highway, until Bertie’s that is.

The homemade sausage roll was delicious and not anything like your bought sausage roll from a bakery or truck stop. The coffee was great too and I could even get almond milk … winning! Bertie’s Cafe is in the middle of the Nimmitabel main drag.

But today I went with coffee & sweet treat, a caramel tart.

I then walked off my sweet indulgence by wandering through town to take a few photos.

A Picnic In The Park Bega Style

I decided to travel back via Bega, and after grabbing a plate of Phoenician Street Food from Byblos I headed to the park, spread out a blanket and indulged in a relaxing picnic for one.

The Wonderful Bar Beach In Merimbula

All this driving has made me weary so I head back to Merimbula and decide to take a drive to Bar Beach to explore.

At Bar Beach I was reminded, being a photographer and having a camera is a tool that enables an introduction to talk to someone new. I saw a person standing by the ocean with a camera in hand and I sparked up a conversation. 4 hours later I had discovered she was a German tourist traveling around Australia in a 4WD and had a passion for photography. We shared some banter and took photos of the sunset together and became Instagram friends. Just imagine if I didn’t have a camera, I would never have struck up that conversation with Michelle. Ive learnt being a photographer is more than just clicking the shutter to take a photo, its about people, building relationships (even if just a delightful afternoon of chit chat) and storytelling. How lucky am I that photography is my job, but also a conversation starter! So let’s chat …

The Wedding Day

I woke up Saturday morning and the rain had truly set in. In fact, I knew this before I woke up as the sound of rain had woken me throughout the night. Some might think rain would put a damper on a wedding day and cause disappointment, but as a wedding photographer you learn to accept what you are dealt with and make the best of the situation, so I was still as enthusiastic about Emma & Will’s wedding on the family farm as I had the day before when the sun was shining. Check out photos from Emma & Will’s country wedding in Bega Valley here

While the rain had set in for the wedding, we were graciously delighted with a sunny afternoon which continued into Sunday.

Time To Say Goodbye To Merimbula & The Sapphire Coast

As I said my goodbyes to my Airbnb host Gillian, I headed north along Sapphire Coast Drive all the way to Tathra. The first few photos are looking out from Tathra over Wild Horse Bay. Just look at those stunning turquoise blue ocean.

I happened to land in Tathra on a day when they were planting trees to regenerate the Tathra headlands which had been destroyed in bush firesread more about it here.

After grabbing a coffee at a Tathra cafe, I kept driving north until I came across Cuttagee beach where there wasn’t another sole on the sand. Just the wild ocean and waves crashing onto the shore.

As I headed north towards Sydney at this point the clouds came over and it pretty much rained the entire way home, so for the next 4 or so hours, so I will leave this one here. I hope you enjoyed spending these last few days with me.


Explore the NSW South Coast - Best Travel Destinations on the South Coast & Sapphire Coast inc Merimbula, Bega and more
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