Kianinny Bay on the Sapphire Coast

Tathra is a small village on the Sapphire Coast in southern NSW. It wasn’t really on our radar when we planned a trip to Eden, but the more we researched the region, the more Tathra and Kianinny Bay came up.

Kianinny bay is a stunning spot in Tathra. There is a boat ramp there, a picnic ground and a lookout where you get a great view of this beautiful spot. Its sheltered water make it a great place for a snorkel or swim. You can also see huge stingrays follow the fishing boats in as they look for some fish scraps.

Here is a quick guide to Kianinny Bay and why you should put it on your itinerary if you are driving around NSW’s Sapphire Coast.

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Getting to Kianinny Bay

We drove to Kianinny Bay from Eden which took about 45 minutes along the Sapphire Way.

Bega is the closest town, only 20 minutes inland, or Merimbula is just over 20 minutes to the south.

In Tathra, there is a turn off from Bega Street to Kianinny Bay.

Chamberlain Lookout
Chamberlain Lookout

Chamberlain Lookout

Before you head down to the water, stay left and go to Chamberlain Lookout. You get a great view of the bay, headlands and the ocean.

It was blowing a gale the day we visited. And while there were big waves on the open water, Kianinny remained quite calm.

As well as the lookout, you can do a bit of rock hopping and get views looking north up the coast. There is a solitary picnic table if you want to sit and take in the views or try to spot a whale from May to September.

Parking at Kianinny Bay

There is a car park by the grassed picnic area as you first come down the hill from the lookout. There is more parking closer to the water but much of it is reserved for cars with boat trailers.

The day we visited it was too windy for boats to be out, so there was plenty of parking as there wasn’t a boat trailer in sight.

Stingray on the South Coast at Boatharbour Bay

Kianinny Bay Stingrays

Kianinny Bay is a great spot to come and see enormous smooth rays (we have also seen them at Narooma, Merimbula and Eden). Your best chance of spotting them is from early afternoon when the fishing boats come in. The rays have learned it’s a good time to grab an easy snack when people are cleaning their catch.

The stingrays are not aggressive and can be hand fed as they come right up the boat ramp. If you have never seen these huge stingrays before, they are an amazing sight and seeing them up close is always a thrill.

Kianinny Bay Swimming
Kianinny Bay Swimming

Swimming at Kianinny Bay

Because it is so protected, Kianinny Bay is a great spot to go for a swim, especially if there is too much wind for the beach. There are ladders and a low cement wall that make it easy to get in and out the water.

The one thing you need to be careful of is boats. If the weather is good, there can be a lot of boat traffic especially around lunchtime when they come back in.

Boats generally stay to the right of the bay (as you look out to sea) so swimming on the left side is the way to go.

If you have little swimmers, there is safer swimming near the picnic area and mouth of the creek

Sea Urchins
Sea Urchins

Snorkelling in Kianinny Bay

We love our snorkelling and thought Kianinny Bay could be a great snorkelling spot. Even on the very windy day we had, visibility was still pretty good.

Sadly though, fish were few and far between. We saw plenty of starfish and sea urchins but there was just the odd fish. While they were colourful and fun to see, there were not a lot of them.

A regular snorkeller here told us that spearfishing had taken care of the bigger fish that used to live around the bay which is sad. However, you are a chance of seeing a stingray.

Don’t be afraid of these gentle giants, they are in fact quite curious creatures and might even follow you around. Just give them plenty of space, relax, and enjoy the experience.

We didn’t get to see stingrays at Kianinny Bay, but we have swum with them at Narooma, where they happily glided right below us for several minutes which was pretty amazing.

Kianinny Bay Picnic Area
Kianinny Bay Picnic Area

Picnic area

There is a fantastic picnic area at Kianinny Bay too. There is a big undercover BBQ, area an excellent toilet block, a small playground and some picnic chairs and tables.

The picnic area has water access. It runs along an area with a small creek at the very back of the bay. It is a nice safe swimming spot well away from the boats.

During holidays and busy times, you might even get a visit from a coffee van.

Kangarutha walk
Kangarutha Walk

Walks from Kianinny Bay

If you have your walking shoes, Kianinny Bay is also the starting point for the 9km (one way) Kangarutha Walking Track through Bournda National Park. The walk starts in the picnic area near the bridge over the creek.

A challenging walk that has quite a few steps, tree roots and creek crossings to negotiate, you are rewarded with lots of wildlife and some great coastal views. The walk ends at Turingal Head.

If you enjoyed this story you might also like:

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Kianinny Bay
Kianinny Bay
Kianinny Bay
Kianinny Bay
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