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Tathra

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Places to stay

Hobart Beach

              

A very nice campground is located halfway between Tathra and Merimbula within Bournda National Park at Hobart Beach. Facilities include toilets, hot showers, a laundry, an undercover area and a volleyball net. Fire is allowed in designated fire places.

To get there, leave Canberra towards Cooma, then along the road down to Bega. From there drive towards Tathra, and about 5km before you reach Tathra turn right (southwards) along the Sapphire Coast Drive (Highway No. 11). A couple of kilometers down the highway is a road on the left heading to Hobart Beach. The last two kilometers are dirt road. A map of the area can be found here.

Fees are $10.00 per adult per night, plus $7.00 per car per day (or alternatively get an annual pass).

Reservations may be necessary during high season (Christmas, New Year's Eve, and school holidays), although you can't book outside these times. Contact:
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Merimbula district office
Phone: (02) 6495 5000, fax: (02) 6495 5055


(Why are they smiling?)


Tathra Beach Tourist Park

              

Hobart Beach Campground offers all the comfort you can possibly want (short of residing in a five star hotel).

Coming into Tathra from Bega you pass a school on the left hand side; keep going until you get to a little church (also l.h.s). Turn left after the church and follow Andy Poole Drive downhill. Passing a fish & chips and a food market l.h.s. you find the caravan park r.h.s.

Fees: an unpowered site will cost $30 during the peak season and can fit a car and two tents.

Reservation: 1300 527 010


Other Accomodation possibilities:


Boat Ramps

There is a boat ramp at Kianinny Bay just south of Tathra. To get there, drive into Tathra and follow the Boat Ramp sign towards the right (into Davidson Street) after the petrol station. Turn into Kianinny Street which is pretty steep down to the boat ramp. Facilities at the boat ramp are parking, toilets, and a picnic area. A while back, there was a fee of $5.00 per boat launch per day, that can be paid at the Tathra Hotel (though the Hotel didnt seem to know about it...).

Other boat ramps in the area are in Bournda National Park into Wallagoot Lake (so it's usually impossible to get out of the lake into the open sea) and at Mogareeka Inlet at the northern end of Tathra beach (north of town) where the Bega River goes out to sea. (again, the rivermouth is often closed to the sea).


Dive sites

Tathra Wharf (shore dive)
A famous shore dive, under or right of the old wharf. Take the main street through Tathra and follow the sign to the Historic Wharf. There are two entry/exit points. You can scramble down the rocks in front of the car park. Climb down along the wall, as there are small patches of concrete which make it a bit easier. Rest assured it's easier to come up.
Alternatively, go around the west side of the cafe building, down the stairs and underneath the wharf. This entry is less scrambly but you'll have to duck down low with a tank on your back to get under the wharf beams.
Once in the water, either swim out to the right for a long nice shallow dive with soft corals, sponges, all sorts of juveniles, the occasional PJ shark, or even seahorses. Another possibility is to dive under the wharf. Watch out for fishing lines -- it's good advice to take a cutting device! Marine life here is abundant, with lots of morays and octopuses, juveniles, rays and groupers as well as schools of yellowtails cruising around. The maximum depth you get under the wharf is about 9 meters. This site is quote exposed to NE wind and swells, in that case you'd be better off at Merimbula Wharf.
Kianinny Bay (shore dive)
This is a dive to do at or near high tide, if at all possible, otherwise you'll wind up clambering over rocks before getting anywhere (not partularly dangerous, just a nuisance). Also check the conditions and stay clear if it's looking rough outside of the bay. Jump into the water at the end of the walkway, then snorkel along the left side of the bay (the boat channel is towards the right).
Once you've reached the outer side of the boulders, you can start descending. Keep left all the time, and dive around the corner. In about 16 meters you'll reach the sandy bottom. On a good day, this dive site can be spectacular, with great scenery of large boulders, schools of yellowtails swimming around, nudibranchs, PJ sharks and bull rays, all kinds of puffer fishes and leather jackets. The maximum depth is around 17 metres.
Tathra Pinnacle (aka Twin Peaks) (boat dive)
This is a boat dive about 1.5km offshore. Launch from Kianinny Bay boat ramp and head 8km north, crossing Tathra Bay. The GPS coordinates (WGS84) are S: 36d40.115', E: 150d01.056'. This is marked in the club GPS under TPINAC.
The pinnacle is actually two pinnacles (the dive site is also named Twin Peaks) around 15 meters apart, with a narrow slot in between, They start at around 8 metres and go down to about 28 metres. If the visibility is good and no current hinders you, try to swim in figure-8s around and between the pinnacles, gradually ascending. The bottom around the pinnacles has lots of kelp beds, while the pinnacle walls are covered with sponges, and lots of fish life cruising around.
Tathra Bommie (boat dive)
We dived just south of Kianinny Bay, south-east of a rocky bommie. There was a wall from about 22 meters up to around 2 to 4 meters.
Little Kangarutha (boat dive)
Driving further south from Kianinny Bay boat ramp the whole coast line seems to be very promising for exploration diving. We measured depths around 15 to 20 meters. Little and Big Kangarutha both are apparently good dive spots. They are 5-10 minutes boat ride south of Kianinny Bay.
Merimbula Wharf (shore dive)
About 30 minute car drive south of Tathra, diving the wharf in Merimbula offers a shallow dive at about 10m.
Finding the wharf: coming from the north (from Tathra) you will enter Merimbula on the Princes Highway which hits Market St at a T-junction. Turn left (uphill) and when you get to the top turn right onto Main St. Follow Main until it branches right into Lake St (there is a little sign to the Wharf) and follow that to the end.
Entry into the water involves a short climb over rocky shore area and plunging from a rocky ledge into the ocean. Swim out straight east until you see an underwater drainage pipe (~30m from shore). Follow the pipe to its end. There is a little dropoff along which you can find octopus, sea horses and discarded caterpillar tracks. This site is quite exposed to S/SE winds and swells, in that case you'd be better off at Tathra Wharf.
SS Empire Gladstone Wreck (boat dive)
About 7km south of Merimbula, just south of Haystack Rock is the wreck of the SS Empire Gladstone, an ore carrier which struck the rocks and sunk here in 1950. It is a large wreck (135m long) in only 10m of water. Due to the shallow depth and extremely exposed location, it can only really be dived in extremely calm conditions. It becomes extremely surgey even with small swell from any direction.

Air fills

Unfortunately the dive shop in Tathra closed in the last century, so the closest facilities to fill tanks are in Merimbula:
Merimbula Divers Lodge
15 Park Street, Merimbula NSW, 2548
Phone: (02) 6495 3611, Fax: (02) 6495 3648
http://www.merimbuladiverslodge.com.au
Get a diver's card for ten fills.


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