Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A Travelogue

   We've just come back from a trip to the Sapphire coast and hinterland in NSW, primarily to visit Ian and Rose at Mogareeka, and Fran at Numeralla.
   We set out last Tuesday morning and drove to Lakes Entrance where we spent the night.  We had dinner at the floating seafood restaurant across the road from our motel;  Doortje's fish and chips were beautifully cooked and tasted superb.

   On Wednesday we followed the main road through Orbost, Cann River and Genoa, then across the border into NSW and on to lunch at Eden.  Eden is a very hilly town, but the views of the coastline and Twofold Bay are beautiful.

   In the afternoon, we drove through Merimbula and then Pambula, where I took a wrong turn and we enjoyed more of the "suburbs" than intended; and then on to Tathra and Mogareeka, which is on the north side of the Bega River mouth at the northern end of the Tathra beach.  Ian and Rose's house is up the hill overlooking the river mouth to the east, and being on a ridge, there are also views of the estuary and forest to the west.  Cunningly, the house has balcony decks on the east and west sides to take advantage of the stunning views. 

     Rose and Ian wasted no time in tempting us with lots of goodies and we were soon enjoying al fresco wining and dining, which included locally smoked ham and chicken.

   On Thursday Ian drove us north to explore the coastline further.  We walked to the inlet at Bithry, the property that was donated to National Parks by the architect Roy Grounds.  Manning Clark had a property on the northern bank of the inlet.  Then we went to Bermagui and had a beer on the verandah of the pub overlooking the harbour and coastline, a terrific view that includes Camel Rock.  We drove back to Mogareeka inland via Cobargo and Bega, and Ian bought oysters from the oyster lady as we passed through Tathra.

    Ian "shucked" the oysters like an expert, being careful not to spill any of the salt water they contained.  They were as fresh as is possible, unless we were to stand in the water ourselves and eat them as they were harvested.

   The oysters tasted so fresh, with that great combination of salt water and lemon juice.  I had the privilege of eating the last one!

   While we sat on the deck we saw lots of birds.  The trees were full of bell miners and lorikeets, and each evening a family of black cockatoos came to drink close by and sat in the trees a few metres away.  On Thursday evening Ian smoked some salmon in the barbecue and it was superb.

   On Friday morning Doortje and I reluctantly left Mogareeka and headed north.  We passed through Bermagui and spent some time at Tilba Tilba, a national trust town turned into tourist shopping, including Tilba cheese.  Further north we came to Bodalla, Moruya and Bateman's Bay.  We had a late lunch inland at Nelligen with a nice view of the upper reaches of the Clyde River.  The traffic from Canberra to Bateman's Bay was thick - Doortje counted sixty cars lined up behind a truck crawling up an incline.  We reached Braidwood in late afternoon and booked into the motel.  We had a surprisingly good meal at the Royal Arms pub.

   On Saturday morning, the park in the main street of Braidwood was bustling with Australia Day activity, sausage sizzle and lots of flags.  We headed south and found the turnoff to Cooma.  The road was pleasantly minor with negligible traffic, passing through peaceful farmland until we reached forested country and the road was unsealed.

   When we climbed up into the Badja state forest, we drove through low cloud or mist for some time.  The road was stony but fine for two-wheel drive traffic.

   Late in the morning we reached Fran's property east of Numeralla.  She was not home but a friend was there to show us the improvements she has made to the house.   

   The two-storey right-hand side of the house is new and very well done.  We continued west to Numeralla, where the Music Festival was in full swing.

    When we arrived,  Fran was in the middle of a dance class in the hall.  Here she is backlit by the light coming in the front door.  The tuned played by the band was instantly recognisable as the one that is always played when fiddle and squeezebox players come together!

   After coffee and a brief yarn with Fran, who was busy as an organiser of the festival, we headed off to Cooma, where a Turkish café provided some beaut olives, feta and flatbread.  An Australia Day shindig was in full swing in the main park, complete with car display and jumping castle, and speeches about immigration from the stage.

   That afternoon we headed off south through Bombala to Cann River and then west back to Lakes Entrance.  We met up with Helmy, Doortje's sister, and had a great Greek lamb meal at the Kalimna pub, which specialises in Greek food.  We completed the trip yesterday, the Australia Day holiday, driving back in holiday traffic but early enough to miss the worst of it. 
   Photos all taken by Doortje, except the one in which she holds an oyster! 

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