With spring here and the weather warming up, humpback whales are making their annual migration from the warm waters of Queensland south toward Antarctica. As they make their way down the east coast of Australia, NSW’s Sapphire Coast becomes one of the best places in the world for whale watching.
CW’s recently spent a weekend on the Sapphire Coast taking in the scenery, a local brewery, secluded luxury accommodation and, of course, the sight (and smell) of whales.
We stayed: at Currajong Retreat – a luxury private getaway on an angora goat farm nestled in the Sapphire Coast hinterland 40 minutes from Eden.
Offering secluded glamping accommodation set on a cliff, each safari-style tent is magnificently appointed with a modern kitchen and ensuite, timber flooring, a cozy fireplace, and a completely private balcony with a barbecue and freestanding outdoor bathtub, offering views down to the river and valley below.
Home-cooked dinners and breakfast hampers are personally delivered to your door of an evening and morning, with Jenny and Grant able to cater to dietary requirements.
We happened to visit during peak “kidding season”, which meant the property’s paddocks were littered with dozens of adorable baby angora goats.
After taking the scenic three-and-a-half-hour drive from Canberra, we arrived at Currajong Retreat mid-afternoon and got up close with the kids, cuddling and even bottle feeding them.
A special shout out to Pepper and Sprout, two beautiful, extroverted little kid goats who could easily be tourist mascots for the entire region.
We went whale watching: with Cat Balou Cruises from Eden. Having made the 40-minute drive from our accommodation to be there by 7.45am, we were out on the water by 8am and had a close encounter with a whale pod before 8.30am.
The boat then travelled an hour toward Merimbula to see another whale before returning to Eden, where we disembarked by 12.30pm.
Over the course of the trip, we were greeted by scores of dolphins who came up close to ride the boat’s bow waves, plus plenty of diving seabirds.
The Sapphire Coast’s rich and fascinating history of European settlers’ interactions with the whales – initially whaling but for the last 90-odd years conservation and protection – was well explained over the course of the tour.
We ate and drank: At the relaxed, fun and welcoming Longstocking Brewery. Located just outside Pambula at the country themed Oaklands Barn, Longstocking Brewery has a wide array of delicious beers and ciders brewed on site, and mouthwatering oysters farmed just up the road at Pambula Lake.
Owners Pete and Joey took over the brewery two and a half years ago and pride themselves on running an establishment that’s equally inviting for women and families as for men, while providing entertainment by way of regular live music.
With at least a dozen of their own beers and ciders available at any time on their rotating menu, a beer chart on the wall allows those without great knowledge to make an informed decision on what to order.
Longstocking Brewery | Oaklands Barn, 3546 Princes Hwy, Pambula. W: longstocking.com.au