An admirable community project has protected 77 hectares of wetlands for native bird species. The well-managed realm of mangroves and salt marshes is threaded by walking and cycling trails, including an easy 3.4km loop trail along which you can spot black swans, royal spoonbills and other birdlife.

The river plain has been trodden by the Thaua group of the Yuin people for millennia. When European settlers arrived in 1835, the land was converted to dairy farming.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby South Coast NSW attractions

1. Nature Boardwalk

3.33 MILES

Following the estuary for 1.7km, the boardwalk is a pleasant stroll past mangroves, oyster farms and melaleucas. You'll spot seabirds, scuttling crabs and…

2. Merimbula Aquarium

3.85 MILES

Get to know your wrasse from your kingfish at the aquarium beneath the very good seafood restaurant Merimbula Wharf. It's an educational, if not very…

3. Potoroo Palace

5.16 MILES

Warmly run Potoroo Palace, a not-for-profit animal sanctuary, has a menagerie including echidnas, dingoes, koalas and native birds. Keepers have an…

4. Killer Whale Museum

9.55 MILES

This long-running museum satisfies appetites for tales of seabound adventures, local Aboriginal history and blubber-based medical cures. As its…

5. Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre

9.81 MILES

There's a school-classroom feel to the family-focused Marine Discovery Centre, which has touch pools full of harmless creatures and a dark room that glows…

6. Whale Lookout

10.07 MILES

Between late September and late November, a good spot to look for whales is at the scenic lookout south of the wharf. This can also save you the time and…

7. Boyd's Tower

12.52 MILES

At the end of Edrom Rd is the turn-off for Boyd’s Tower, built in the late 1840s from Sydney sandstone. It was built as a lighthouse, but the government…

8. Davidson Whaling Station

12.58 MILES

Eleven kilometres along Edrom Rd there’s a turn-off to the historic Davidson Whaling Station on Twofold Bay, last used in 1929. Have a picnic in the…