Merimbula Wharf is the site of a steamer wharf, built in 1901 and used by the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company until the 1950s to transport cargo and passengers. The original wharf was not maintained and deteriorated until 1979, when it was condemned and burned in a demolition by the NSW Department of Public Works.
A smaller fishing platform now sits on the site of the original wharf, but the remains of the original wharf are scattered around the dive site.
Merimbula Wharf is located at the end of Lake Street, Merimbula. There are some buildings here occupied by "Merimbula Aquarium and Wharf", and a useful car park. There are long ladders on either side of Merimbula Wharf, but these hang over a shallow bottom and so are dangerous for diver entry, and the first rung starts above the surface and so is too difficult to use as an exit point.
Instead, divers should use the nearby rock entry point. Take the path leading up the right side of the "Merimbula Aquarium and Wharf" building (as you face the building), it is sign posed as the way to the bathrooms, and leads up the hillside and above the concrete sea wall. About half-way up the path you are level with the top of the sea wall and there is a park bench on the other side of the sea wall. The park bench is at the start of a well defined dirt path down to the rocks.
Once on the rocks, the entry point is a v-shaped slot between the ledge and rock about 3 meters into the water. The slot is sheltered from direct swill but the water level will still rise and fall. Exiting via the slot can be difficult at low tide or with moderate swell as lower water level can require scaling the vertical sides of the slot. For this reason there is a ringbolt fixed in the rock to which divers should tie a knotted rope to help with exiting the water.
Once in the water, Merimbula Wharf an inclined boulder field from 2 to 13 meters depth, then flat sandy bottom out into the channel. The wharf itself only extends out over water of 2-3 meters depth. Bull rays can sometimes be found cruising under the wharf.
Head down and over the various ledges until you reach the sand at 12-13 meters. Explore the rock ledge in either direction. Attempt to find the dumped bulldozer tracks. As you work your way back up the tiered rock ledges and amongst the boulder field, look for octopus, nudibranchs, and shrimp.
From the south east corner of Merimbula Wharf a PVC pipe heads out at an angle, nearly to down to the sand at 12 meters. There is plenty of life along the pipeline, and a tulip garden off to the right from the end of the pipeline.
The route along the pipeline passes plenty of bommies and rock ledges.
Water temperature varies from 14 to 22 degrees. Visibility ranges up to 25 meters.
Merimbula Wharf is suitable for divers at all experience levels. The exit can require some physical effort to get back onto the rock ledge. Very unfit divers should consider only doing this dive at high tide, with low swell, and make sure to use a knotted rope at the slot entry/exit.
Merimbula Wharf is very popular for local fishermen, who have as much right to be there as divers. Good relations depend on common sense. If the wharf is packed with serious fishermen, usually early morning or at dusk, then conduct your dive heading away from the wharf. In the middle of the day, with snorkelers about and teenagers jumping from the wharf, then divers are fishermen are probably not so much of an issue.
"Merimbula wharf study first local Centenary project", Merimbula News Weekly 16 May 2001 <available at http://www.merimbulanewsonline.com.au/news/local/news/general/merimbula-wharf-study-first-local-centenary-project/254041.aspx>.