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Travel guide Sapphire Coast

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Sapphire Coast
  • Feeding at Potaroo Palace
  • Green Cape Lighthouse
  • Learning is fun!
  • Secluded Ben Boyd beach
Everyone in Australia has a favourite family holiday place. The place that you might have gone to when you were a child, or that place that you go to with your family on holidays, every chance you can get. For us it’s Tathra on the NSW South Coast.  
We know the area quite well, but there are always those wonderful spots that you always say you should visit but often don’t. This time we vowed to visit as many as we could. We based ourselves in Merimbula in a holiday house and this time we had more than just our family; we were accompanied by Greg’s brother Vince, and our niece Theresa. Our children, Jasmine (7), Jemma (5) and Teddy (15 months) are used to travelling, but the extra people made this adventure even more fun for them.
Working closely with Sapphire Coast Tourism, we put together a wonderful itinerary that was not too full, but included some of the area’s best family-friendly attractions. This was the first time that we had put together an itinerary and the best thing about it was that we didn’t waste our mornings deciding what we were going to do each day. We knew exactly what time the tours were, and what time was best for the places we were visiting.
We started our visit with a trip to the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre in Eden. We were taken out by Sharee and Jade on a Rocky Shore Ramble across a little cove in Eden. Here we all learned about the shells, animals, fish and seaweed we were seeing – the girls became a little worried about what they were walking on after a while!  After our ramble we explored the centre, where Jemma loved photographing Matilda the octopus as she swam and played in her tank. The discovery table was also a highlight for all three children, as they could pick up and play with all manner of dried fish, star fish, sand, sea sponges, sea horses and lots of other sea life from the area.
We all learned so much and also just how fragile the ecosystems are. Certainly a place that I highly recommend visiting, especially for families.
Potaroo Palace was our next stop, for a close encounter with some land animals! This is a lovely wildlife sanctuary and the kids’ favourite animal was Luna the albino echidna. Once again, Jasmine amazed me with her courage in trying new things, such as hand feeding the kookaburras.
Potaroo Palace was a wonderful place to spend the day, with lots of grassy areas perfect for a picnic lunch. Jemma chased the kangaroos around trying to feed them, Teddy fed the swans and we all witnessed the keepers’ pure love for the animals. This is what makes Potaroo Palace stand out for me.
Another fantastic place we visited was Wheeler’s Oysters. We took the tour around the factory and were shown how oysters are farmed (which was pretty amazing), how they are sorted and packed and then the best bit - how to taste them!  I had never thought about this process before and it is incredible how a few simple ideas have revolutionised the industry in recent years. While I love my oysters, I normally only eat oysters ‘Kilpatrick’, yet the fresh oyster straight from the south coast waters was absolutely delicious. 
From oysters to fish… after many years saying we would visit the Merimbula Wharf Aquarium we finally did! We made sure we were there for the fish feeding at 11:30. Situated just under the Merimbula Wharf Restaurant, the aquarium houses sea life native to the south coast region, along with a few 'Nemos' – or clownfish - because it wouldn’t be an aquarium without them. It was fantastic to listen to passionate people who have a great local knowledge. The large tank has lots of sizeable fish and was the start of our feeding tour, yet to my surprise not the only feeding! 
Our tour took us around every tank in the aquarium as they fed every fish, crab and octopus in there – well to be fair, the octopus fed itself as it opened the jar to get its lunch out. We were shown actual cray fish shells from the cray in the tank, to massive mud crab pincers, the kids loved the hermit crab that squirted water at them all and they were able to ask all those questions that we didn’t know how to answer.
If you visit the aquarium, make sure you stay for lunch at the restaurant.  Sit by the window or on the balcony and drink in the breathtaking views. The perfect excuse to do very little and enjoy every second!
As with all of our adventures, we always leave time to explore the national parks, and there is no shortage of them on the south coast! Ben Boyd was one that we particularly wanted to visit, so we headed off down past Eden. The best thing about national parks is the dirt roads. Most of them are fine for 2WD vehicles but there are so many that you could spend days driving them all. Each time we took a new road we would pop out at the most incredible lookouts, secluded beaches and gorgeous little camping areas. We headed out to Green Cape Lighthouse and found some wonderful places like Disaster Bay, Pulpit Rock, and of course the lighthouse itself, set on a windy but beautiful point.
About the author
Rachel Power, her husband Greg and their three children, are the faces behind The Great Aussie Road Trip, which aims to inspire families to experience Australia. On the Great Aussie Road Trip website you will find travel journals from the Power family, and their 'Guest Family Bloggers', so that you can read first-hand experiences. You will also find plenty of amazing photography to make you dream of visiting the locations yourself. Visit www.GreatAussieRoadTrip.com.au for more information.

About the author
Rachel Power wrote this article

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