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.
- 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.
PLANTS AND ANIMALS YOU MIGHT SEE
MangrovesRiver Mangrove (Aegiceras corniculatum)
Grey Mangrove (Avicennia marina var. australasica)
SaltmarshSamphire (Sarcocornia sp.)
Strapweed (Posidonia australis)
Eelgrass (Zostera marina)
Paddleweed (Halophila ovalis)
BirdsPied Oyster Catcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Eastern Curlew (Numenlus madagascariensis)
Invertebrates in the mudOyster farms border the waters edge walk (Saccostrea commercialis)
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 vegetationButterflies, spiders
Rare/ Endangered Biota
WaterlifeWhiting (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)