31 May 2022

WinterSun Festival brings food, entertainment and adventure to Merimbula

| Albert McKnight
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People in wetsuits walking into water

Swimmers enjoy a dip during the previous WinterSun Festival. Photo: David Rogers Photography, courtesy of Sapphire Coast Destination Marketing.

There will be no winter blues in the South Coast town of Merimbula this June long weekend when the three-day WinterSun Festival brings food, entertainment and adventures to town.

Presented by Breeze Hub, this year WinterSun will coincide with the town’s popular jazz festival.

Breeze Hub owner Lynn McColl insisted the Festival is as much for visitors as locals.

“Wherever you are, it’s warmer down here!” she said.

Now in its second year, this year’s WinterSun was designed to “work together” with the Merimbula Jazz Festival, which will be celebrating its 40th anniversary.

“We knew that it’d fit in with the jazz festival and not compete,” she said.

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Ms McColl said WinterSun was also designed to increase tourism during the usually quieter winter months.

She pointed to the abundance of activities in the region including swimming, mountain biking, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and more.

“We think Merimbula is the new adventure tourism capital for the Sapphire Coast, so come and be part of it,” she said.

The WinterSun Festival encompasses a series of interconnected events that celebrate Merimbula and its region as a destination for cool weather adventures and cultural and culinary experiences.

There is a weekend-long vintage surfboard exhibition at the Hillcrest Motel on Merimbula Drive that pays homage to the town’s surfing history.

People in swinwear by the water

This year’s WinterSun Festival features two swims. Photo: David Rogers Photography, courtesy of Sapphire Coast Destination Marketing.

Winter is never too cold on the Sapphire Coast so there are two Salty Swims on 11 June.

The 100-m splash ‘n’ dash from the spit to Mitchies Jetty is back and a longer swim has been created called the Jetty to Jetty. There will be prizes to claim in this competitive 1.2 km lake swim from Mitchies Jetty to Spencer Park and back.

Pambula Surf Lifesaving Club will be watching over swimmers and Mitchies Espresso Bar will pump out coffee and pastries to keep everyone warm between swims.

StreetFest on Market that afternoon features live music by local bands The Chordroys, Scaramouche, Sugar Ants and more from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Expect food, beverages and festive vibes.

Merimbula’s Market Street will be closed to traffic to allow dancing in the street while Longstocking Brewery will operate the bar alongside Grand Matriarch Vodka and Breakfast Creek Wines.

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Sapphire Coast Eats will be serving pizza, Wheelers Oyster Farm will be shucking the goods and pop up kings J-Bird will dish up Asian fusion delights.

On 12 June, you can run or walk the Wharf to Wharf Walk, a challenging 27-km journey across the lands of the Yuin people between two historic wharves. Participants will take in rugged cliffs, spectacular headlands, secluded bays, lakes, freshwater lagoons and isolated beaches.

Sapphire Coast Guiding Co will set the course and provide maps and markers. The challenge starts at 7:00 am from the historic Tathra Wharf and those who finish by 2:30 pm will be in the running for prizes.

Cabins by the water

This year’s WinterSun Festival features two swims. Photo: David Rogers Photography, courtesy of Sapphire Coast Destination Marketing.

This year’s Merimbula WinterSun Festival follows more than two years of COVID-induced disruption to the Bega Valley Shire. Still, Ms McColl said as much as the pandemic had a terrible financial and emotional impact it had also “shaken loose” some of the “rusted on, traditional travel times”.

She said more people are working from home – or even a campsite – so it has freed people up to venture out to places they wouldn’t have gone to ordinarily.

To book a place at the event visit the Festival website.

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