Another timeless day dawns at Pambula, a name derived from the Yuin Aboriginal word meaning "Two Waters".Pambula is a coastal village big in history, its peaceful lakes and idyllic river mouth a far cry from the hustle and bustle following the discovery of gold near the township in the 1880s.
Shopfronts give a nod to that era, with bull-nose verandahs, a town clock and a general lack of tall neon signs.
Browsing the main street you’ll discover a pleasing amount of specialty shops, such as an artisan bakery and coffee roasters, winery, whole foods, wood sculpture gallery, local art and picture framing, vintage collectables, boutiques and eco-focussed retail with a flair for the local. You will also find the usual necessary shops such as supermarket, post office, newsagent, bank and real estate.
At the southern end of the main street, Panboola Wetlands offers a tranquil nature experience that is popular for birdwatching and photography.
Great for laid back family holidays
One of Pambula’s charms is it’s close proximity to beaches, particularly Pambula Beach. It is patrolled and has an active and inclusive surf life saving club just behind the dunes. There is assisted access to the high tide line in the form of a permanent ramp across the soft sand. Pambula is also close to lakes, wetlands and country-side. It’s ideal for family holidays and there are families who have been coming here for four generations.
Beach comb the sweeping sands, collect shells washed up with the tide, explore life in fascinating rock pools, lunch with the kangaroos or take a horse ride through the wetlands and river flats.
Things to do in Pambula
The Ben Boyd National Park surrounds Pambula Beach and is also accessible via Haycock Road (unsealed but suitable for sedans), about 10 kilometres south of Pambula.
Nearby are short but beautiful beach and river walking tracks and some dog friendly beaches. There are many viewing platforms, offering excellent photo opportunities as well as a peaceful, secluded walking experience.
Panboola Wetlands are a must see, a haven for birdwatchers, walkers and gardners. The area has been the focus of a community project to restore and protect the 77 hectare floodplain and it is home to many species of birds, reptiles and flora – all just a few metres walk from the main street.
Within it are freshwater billabongs, salty marshland and mangroves, a former horse racing course and on its southern edge, the border to Ben Boyd National Park.
Pambula Lake is home to one of the coast’s oyster faming communities. The clean, clear waters of the lake produce some of the country’s finest Sydney Rock Oysters owing to the combination of fresh water moving down the Pambula and Yowaka Rivers, and the tidal exchange from the Pacific Ocean. On the shores of the pristine lake you can see how this important local industry works and take some tasty morsels home with you.
This meeting of waters means Pambula Lake offers excellent kayaking and fishing. There are boat launching facilities and plenty of parking right next to the oyster sheds.
Both the boat ramp and the oyster sheds are located on Broadwater Road, 8 kilometres south of Pambula.
Walking and bike tracks abound. A sealed bike and walking track connects Pambula with Pambula Beach, a distance of two kilometres or you can take a longer outing into Merimbula (four kilometres) past the airport and Merimbula lake.
From the Pambula Surf Life Saving Club, a short but delightful track takes the walker through avenues of native trees and strategically placed lookouts over the Pacific Ocean. The walk finishes at Jiguma Beach where the Pambula River runs out to sea.
The Lyons Park offers free barbecues, playground and amenities making this a great spot for a family outing.
Markets and other events
A quality and long running market is held on the second Sunday of each month drawing bargain hunters for many kilometres. There is a huge diversity of things on offer including home made foods, plants, collectables, second hand goods, new clothing as well as unique products such as home made dog jackets. The market is held in all weather and is mostly outdoors but there’s always a hot coffee to warm your hands in winter and a cool sea breeze in summer.
Each January, Pambula hosts it’s annual country show, always the first for the region’s show season. It is a wonderful way to see country life, with some unique experiences like the oyster shucking competition, a dog high jump and chook washing along with petting farm, wood chopping, children’s entertainment, exhibitions and equine and stock competitions in the arena.
On Sunday April 13, Pambula Motorfest will draw thousands of people and hundreds of cars, trucks and bikes to town. The action packed family day is a fundraiser for the local hospital and has lots of high voltage entertainment for families and motoring enthusiasts.
Accommodation in Pambula
Merimbula Visitor Information Centre
2 Beach Street, Merimbula NSW 2548
Phone: 02 6495 1129
Freecall: 1800 150 457
Opening hours: 9am-5pm Mon-Fri; 9am-4pm Sat; 10am-4pm Sun