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Tathra in New South Wales attracts grey nomads
Relaxing on the historic Tathra Wharf. PIC: Destination NSW

The small coastal township of Tathra on the south coast of New South Wales is one of the jewels in the Big Lap crown.

While it is has a rich history reflected by magnificent structures such as the iconic heritage-listed wharf, it is the stunning natural beauty of the area which takes the collective grey nomad breath away.

Located about 450 kilometres south of Sydney via the Princes Highway and 20 minutes north of Merimbula, Tathra boasts three kilometres of stunning beach sweeping around the coastline, while beautiful Bournda National Park is just to the south, and Mimosa Rocks National Park is just to the north.

This stunning proximity to natural wilderness does have its downsides, however. Earlier this year some 70 buildings in the town were destroyed during a devastating bushfire. But Tathra is as resilient as it is beautiful, and the community bounced back quickly and now offers visitors a warmer welcome than ever.

With a population of 1700, the town caters to the needs of travellers by offering a full range of services, shops and businesses, including the historic Tathra Hotel and, of course, some great beachfront cafes and restaurants. Fresh seafood is a speciality here and the area is famed for its oysters which are grown in the pristine waters of Nelsons Lake in Mimosa Rocks National Park.

Unsurprisingly, there are some great caravan parks in town and there are others – like the traditional style Secura Lifestyle Countryside Kalaru set on 12 acres – which are just outside. The Tathra Wharf, which opened in 1862 for the steam ships transporting goods and people along the south coast, is the oldest deep-water timber wharf on Australia’s east coast. It’s a great place for grey nomads to throw in a line and it also houses the fascinating Tathra Maritime Museum.

Among many other places along this part of the coast, the wharf is also a prime spot to watch the whale migration in spring. For travellers in the area in early November, a trip to the nearby town of Eden, for the Eden Whale Festival is recommended. Eden is also home to the Killer Whale Museum which houses the skeleton of a famous local killer whale and traces the hunting partnership between indigenous Australians and killer whales.

As mentioned earlier, Tathra is flanked by wonderful national parks. Bournda National Park has steep cliffs and a rugged rocky coastline, as well as gorgeous beaches, and some excellent bushwalks.

Similarly, the equally stunning Mimosa Rocks National Park, which is just five kilometres north of Tathra, boasts great beaches, caves, cliffs, coastal lakes and a heavily wooded hinterland, including patches of rainforest. Both parks boast a wide variety of birdlife and wildlife, ranging from cormorants and pied oystercatchers to sugar glider and echidnas.

From its historic wharf to its migrating whales and from its natural beauty to its vulnerability to nature, there is something about Tathra which makes it just a little bit different … and very, very special.

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