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Boardwalks - NSW, Merimbula Top Lake Boardwalk & Walking Track

Google Earth: 36°53’12.47 S; 149°54’36.61 E

The Merimbula boardwalk skirts the northern shores of the Top Lake section of Merimbula Lake – a complex estuarine embayment on the southern coast of NSW. The estuary is straddled by the coastal city of Merimbula providing a backdrop of low intensity urban and tourist development. The boardwalk is described as a delightful and utterly unique place in the centre of town. It offers a place to stroll along the edge of the lake, enjoy a cold icecream, or a meal in one of the cafes or restaurants.

The Merimbula boardwalk is one of a small selection of mangrove public boardwalks in New South Wales. It has the distinction of being the most southerly situated of any mangrove boardwalk in Australia, and the highest latitude mangrove boardwalk in the world. The site offers an excellent opportunity to identify the two local mangrove plant species. Each are found elsewhere but the local variants are well worth inspection for their unusual southern Australian characteristics of mostly diminutive size, sturdy structure and relatively small leaves.

In general, the walk offers a fine example of mangrove habitat in a temperate setting. The mangrove species and their associated animals are special to this region of Australia with the River Mangrove, Aegiceras corniculatum, at its highest latitude site in the world. This tidal wetland is special because of the unique circumstances in Australia where this climatic setting elsewhere would be occupied only by salt marsh species. Here the vigorous saltmarsh often compete unusually with the mangrove plants. The shoreline of the estuarine lake is sandy with occasional rocky outcrops. Mangroves and salt marsh plants are found scattered at times densely and reaching 3-4 m in height along the edge, and occasionally in stands to 10 m wide.

The boardwalk and walking track were constructed by the Bega Valley Shire Council and CALM (NSW Department of Conservation and Land Management) in a project called the Merimbula LEAP (Landcare and Environment Action Program) and Greencorps Project funded by the Commonwealth Department of Employment, Education and Training, Some signage information was supplied by the Australian Government Survey Office. All signage was produced and approved by the Sapphire Coast Nature Society, NSW Fisheries, Bega Valley Shire Council, and NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service.

Location Details

  • Distance/length: 1.75 km one way.
  • Location: two entrances, each has a carpark at the water’s edge: 1) off Lakewood Drive from Merimbula Drive; 2) on the north west side of the Market Street bridge crossing.
  • Walking Time: 60-90 mins.
  • Address: Merimbula 2548 NSW, Australia.
  • Directions: Follow directions using Merimbula street map to Market Street or Lakewood Drive.
  • Contact: For more information phone the Bega Valley Shire Council, Environmental Services Section. Phone : (02) 6499 2148, (02) 6499 2143 or (02) 6497 4100 or Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit the Bega Valley Council Web site
  • Facilities

  • parking
  • Wheelchair access
  • No restrooms
  • Dogs
  • Picnic tables
  • No BBQ facilities
  • No shelter
  • No bikes
  • No playground
  • No drinking water
  • No fishing
  • No boatramp
  • Information sign
  • No information centre
  • No guided walk
  • cafe
  • No lighting


  • Mangroves

    River Mangrove (Aegiceras corniculatum)
    Grey Mangrove (Avicennia marina var. australasica)
  • Saltmarsh

    Samphire (Sarcocornia sp.)
  • Other Plants

    Strapweed (Posidonia australis)
    Eelgrass (Zostera marina)
    Paddleweed (Halophila ovalis)
  • Birds

    Pied Oyster Catcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
    Eastern Curlew (Numenlus madagascariensis)
  • Invertebrates in the mud

    Oyster farms border the waters edge walk (Saccostrea commercialis)
    Mud Oysters
    Ark Cockle (Anadara trapezia)
    Soldier Crabs (Mictyris platycheles)
    Blue Swimmer Crab (Portunas pelagicus)
    Blue ringed Octopus (Hapalochaena sp.)
    Big-bellied Seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis)
  • Invertebrates in the vegetation

    Butterflies, spiders
  • Rare/ Endangered Biota

  • Waterlife

    Whiting (Sillago ciliata)
    Common Stingray (Trygonoptera testacea)
    Yellowfin Bream (Acanthopagus australis)
    plus a semi-resident seal is often seen under the bridge.


Norm Duke, The University of Queensland, Centre for Marine Studies, plus Colin & Rujee Duke, Marcia Jones (6 Aug 2006)

Community Volunteers

A key feature of MangroveWatch is its close partnership between community volunteers and scientists from the James Cook University’s Mangrove Hub. Together they are systematically recording basic data as video and still imagery for assessments of estuarine habitat health.

Armed with expert support, training and advice, MangroveWatch volunteers in key regions are actively contributing to the monitoring of local estuaries and shorelines. An important goal in this phase of the program is to develop a network of like minded groups with the aim of producing public documents that describe important issues affecting local estuaries and mangroves, and their overall health.

Getting Involved

If you would like to find out more about us or if you like to initiate your own MangroveWatch group within your area, please contact someone at the Mangrove Hub. We will be happy to help.

  • Mangrove Hub Facilitator
  • Dr Norm Duke
  • MangroveWatch Ltd
    ABN: 44 153 297 771
  • PO Box 1250,
  • Elanora Q 4221
  • Mangrove Hub Email

Mangrove Watch Brochure

You can download our fact and information sheet (see link below) to get more information about the MangroveWatch programs.

Mangrove Watch Brochure