The Wharf to Wharf Walk is an easy, picturesque hiking trail located on Yuin Country, along the NSW South Coast. Following the coastline, the walk is an amazing way to explore the area between these popular coastal towns.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Yuin people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

Connecting the historic wharfs of Tathra and Merimbula in the Far South Coast of NSW, the Wharf to Wharf Walk was officially opened in 2021. At around 27km long, the walk can be tackled as one big day, two days with a camp in the middle, or as three separate day hikes. The Wharf to Wharf connects many existing coastal tracks, reserves, and beaches, meaning that no extra infrastructure needed to be built.

History of the Wharf to Wharf Walk

The Yuin people are the Traditional Custodians of the land upon which the Wharf to Wharf Walk passes. Tathra Headland, at the northern end of the walk, is a ceremonial site with views of three significant mountains.

Tathra Wharf and Merimbula Wharf are both historic timber structures built in the 1800s and were most actively used during the time of coastal shipping trade on the East Coast of Australia.

Both wharfs have cafes and facilities open to the public, however the Tathra Wharf was undergoing some repairs at the time of our hike. The wharfs are popular spots for fishing and as vantage points for whale watching.


Hiking the Wharf to Wharf Walk From Tathra to Merimbula, Mattie Gould, Sapphire Coast, NSW, hiker on beach

How to Get to the Wharf to Wharf Walk

You can begin the Wharf to Wharf Walk at either end of the trail – at Tathra or Merimbula – and it takes around 20 minutes to drive between these towns.

Tathra is around 3.5 hours from Canberra, just under 6 hours from Sydney, and about 7 hours from Melbourne.

As I was meeting a friend to complete the hike, we had two cars on hand to complete our own car shuffle between the start and finish of the trail. There are local operators that can organise transfers for you. There’s easy parking at both ends of the trail and plenty of cafes nearby for extra sustenance.

Where to Stay Along the Wharf to Wharf Walk

There’s only one campsite along the Wharf to Wharf Walk – Hobart Beach Campground. It’s managed by NSW National Parks and must be booked in advance via their website. The sites are spread out among the trees and there are water tanks, toilets, and hot showers available.

As we were arriving from out of town for the hike, we camped at the NRMA campsite in Merimbula the night before our hike. There are several other campsites in Merimbula and Tathra, alongside pub or motel accommodation. These are popular spots during the warmer months so you’ll need to book in advance; we were hiking in winter so the whole area was much quieter and we had no trouble finding a place to stay.


Hobart Beach campsite

Skill Level


While many sections of the Wharf to Wharf Walk might be considered easy, there are some steep sections, sections close to cliff faces, and the potential for several water crossings along the way. There was decent phone reception across most of the hike (except at Hobart Beach Campground) but there are limited access points to the trail should you require emergency assistance.

If you’re camping overnight, you’ll need to carry all of your equipment, including food, as there are no facilities along the way. You’ll also need to carry your own water and bring a method of water purification if you intend to refill at Hobart Beach.

You’ll need to check local tide times and ocean conditions to see if the route has been impacted by recent weather events. Particular note should be taken of the possible water crossings where the lakes open to the ocean by Back Lake at Short Point, Bournda Lagoon, and Wallagoot Lake. When we hiked the route in August, all of these crossings were dry, however we read reports from other hikers that these crossings have been waist deep on other occasions.

There are very few trail signs for this route, so it’s a good idea to download the trail guide from the official website. Mostly the route is obvious to follow, although there are a couple of occasions when you’ll be faced with a few trail options that are less obvious.


Distance / Duration / Elevation

28.8km / 2 days / 790m

According to the official Wharf to Wharf Walk website the route is 27km long. However, including a few small side trails to lookouts and the trail to the campsite, our walk was closer to 29km over the two days. As you’ll see from the breakdown below, most of the elevation happens on day one (heading south) as you climb up and down to many small beaches. On day two, there are several much longer beaches with headlands between them.

Essential Gear for Hiking the Wharf to Wharf Walk

Note: this list is for hiking over two days, you’d need less if you’re tackling the Wharf to Wharf Walk in one day.

  • PLB or Satellite Messenger – because you never know
  • Hat and sunscreen for the exposed beach sections
  • Swimmers and lightweight towel
  • First aid kit (including supplies in case of snake bite)
  • Warm clothing for cool nights
  • A water purification method
  • Tide times relevant to when you’ll be walking
  • A gpx of the route – or the trail notes from the official website
  • Food and camping gear

Check out our guide to packing for an overnight hike!

What It’s Like Hiking the Wharf to Wharf Walk

Day 1 – Tathra Wharf to Hobart Beach Campground

Distance: 14.5km
Duration: 4.5 hours
Elevation: 580m
Navigation Data: Komoot record


Kianinny Bay


After parking a car near the end of the hike in Merimbula, Jon and I drove north up the coast to Tathra where we stopped for a coffee and picked up a sandwich before starting the hike. The trail begins at the historic Tathra Wharf and there’s plenty of parking nearby. At the time we were hiking, the Wharf was undergoing a little maintenance so we immediately had a short detour up the hill and onto the main trail.

Within 500m we were on the coast track and leaving the small coastal town of Tathra behind. Being close to town, we saw a few day hikers here, but it wasn’t long before we were the only ones on the trail. With the sun high in the sky, the winter day soon became warm and we were grateful for the slight breeze coming off the ocean as the track meandered along the cliffs and through the scrub.

After 2.5km we descended to Kianinny Bay, a beautiful picnic spot and boat ramp. Despite being early into the hike, I couldn’t resist stripping off and jumping into the ocean for a (very) refreshing swim in the cold ocean. The water clarity was sensational and it’s clear to see why this area is known as the Sapphire Coast. Once I’d dried off, we continued along the trail, ascending to the Kangarutha Track, a trail that we’d follow for the rest of the day.

The trail was hot and dusty throughout this section, which was mainly bush land of Bournda National Park that offered regular glimpses out to the South Pacific. At the 4.5km mark we stopped for our sandwiches at Boulder Bay. We had this quiet cove to ourselves. If it’d been warmer I would’ve jumped in for the second swim of the day.

We found our hiking groove in the following 7km and fell into the easy rhythm of walking the trail. Much of this section was in the trees and the shady trails were very pleasant. It was getting late in the day and the winter sun was beginning to drop as we reached Wallagoot Gap. This was a pretty viewpoint at a tiny cove, with steep cliffs creating a natural funnel that draws your eye to the ocean.

With the end in sight, we cracked on past the gap reaching the first and only sandy beach section for the day. With tired legs we were glad to only have a kilometre or so to walk along the sand before turning inland to our campsite at Hobart Beach Campground.

Hobart Beach is a basic NSW National Parks campsite, although it does have the added bonus of hot showers, which we gladly took advantage of. Tents pitched, we cooked up a light supper of noodles, shooing away a couple of inquisitive possums, before turning in for the night.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace



Day 2 – Hobart Beach Campground to Merimbula Wharf

Distance: 14.3km
Duration: 3.5 hours
Elevation: 210m
Navigation Data: Komoot Record

We hiked the Wharf to Wharf during the middle of winter and the overnight temperatures definitely reflected the time of year! It was cold! After a few warming coffees the sun emerged, melting away the memories of the cold night, and before long we were ready to hit the trail again. Unlike day one, the majority of day two was spent hiking along sandy beaches.

The first 3.5km saw us complete Bournda Beach, where we took the trail over the Bournda Headland, offering views of Bournda Island. If the tide’s right, you can walk along the sand at this point, but we were grateful for a short break from beach walking and enjoyed the slight change of scenery up high. This change was short lived as 500m later we were back on the beach. This time it was a 3km stretch along North Tura Beach.

At the end of North Tura Beach, we climbed the steps up to the Tura Beach headland walk, where we were grateful for a short forested section that offered some shade and respite from the exposed beach walk of the morning. Continuing the beach walking theme of the day, our next stop was a 1.5km section of Tura Beach. This was the softest section of beach so far and I won’t pretend that we were still loving it!

Thankfully, the route turns off the beach halfway along and turns inland for a short period. For 2km we traipsed the Mundooi Walk which followed forest and scrub between the beach and the Back Lake of Merimbula Creek. This trail was littered with signs describing the history, flora, and fauna of the area. Relatively short, it was actually a bit of a highlight and such a nice change from the beach.

The trail emerges onto Short Point Beach for a short time and here you may be faced with a water crossing of Merimbula Creek. We were lucky that the creek crossing was non-existent and could simply stroll the short distance up onto the headland.



Here we enjoyed our final look north along the coastline, before the route directed us through the streets of Short Point for the final 2km stretch to Merimbula Wharf. Our tired feet carried us across the headland, dropping down to get a glimpse south before spying Merimbula Wharf and our finishing point.

Merimbula town isn’t far away and we happily hot-footed it into town for the nearest bakery and an excellent donut and cold drink.

Read more: Sapphire Coast Road Trip – Narooma, Montague Island, and Fresh MTB Trails


Tips For Hiking the Wharf to Wharf Walk

  • Organise two cars for shuttle runs between the start and finish of the hike. There’s plenty of parking at either end and it’s an easy drive between the two. Alternatively, you can book transfers through a local operator
  • Book ahead for your stay at Hobart Beach Campground
  • There are no facilities along the route of the Wharf to Wharf, so you’ll need to carry food and water for the entire journey. There’s tank water at Hobart Beach Campground but you’ll need to treat this before drinking
  • We spotted plenty of wildlife, including echidnas, dolphins, seals, and sea eagles. If you’re lucky, you might even spot whales migrating along the coast


FAQ Wharf to Wharf Walk

How long is the Wharf to Wharf Walk?

The Wharf to Wharf Walk is 27km long, not including side trips to lookouts or to Hobart Beach Campground.

Where is the Wharf to Wharf Walk located?

The Wharf to Wharf Walk is located on the Sapphire Coast on the South Coast of NSW, near the Victorian border. It stretches between the towns of Tathra and Merimbula.

Is the Wharf to Wharf Walk free?

Yes. The Wharf to Wharf Walk is free to enjoy. There’s a small fee to stay at Hobart Beach campground, check the NSW National Parks website for current pricing.

When is the Wharf to Wharf Walk open?

The Wharf to Wharf Walk is open all year, however it’s very exposed, so whether it’s sunny or hailing – you’ll have front row seats. You’ll get more foot traffic in the warmer months but you’ll need to rug up against the cold in the cooler ones.

Is the Wharf to Wharf Walk good for beginners?

The Wharf to Wharf Walk is an intermediate hike. If you’re not confident carrying all your food and water, encountering steep cliffside sections, and managing water crossings you might be better suited to completing smaller sections as day hikes. The Wharf to Wharf Walk website has information about suitable day walks.

Is there water along the way?

The only fresh water along the Wharf to Wharf walk is in a water tank at Hobart Beach Campground but it’ll need purification, so make sure you bring appropriate supplies if you intend to refill.

Are there places to swim along the Wharf to Wharf Walk?

Yes! Being a coastal walk there are plenty of great spots to take a dip but be aware that most of the beaches aren’t patrolled and many have strong currents and rips. If you’re not a strong swimmer, it might be better to enjoy the ocean from the sand or settle for cooling your feet in the shallows.