Monday 6th August.
Be prepared for many photos in the post this week.
I woke to warm sunshine, unadulterated by clouds, streaming in through the kitchen window at 7am.
I took a walk to the beach while the CO-PILOT slept on. It was 9° when I was eating cereal and cold milk for breakfast. My walk first took me along the break-wall and the river entrance where I could see the township of Moruya in the distance. An interesting fact is the granite used for the break-wall was quarried locally.
This is the same granite used in the four Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylons. Around 250 stonemasons moved to Moruya to cut, dress and number the blocks before loading aboard three specifically built ships to carry the stone to Sydney. Incidentally the huge granite centre block of the Sydney Martin Place Cenotaph is also from the Moruya quarry. It weighs 20 tonne, has been polished to a high gloss and workers at Moruya were fearful the weight would be too great for the ship and would cause it to sink. Thankfully that never happened.
Walking back the other way were the rocks and steep cliff faces. I hoped to be able to walk to the deep cliff crevice where we saw the seals yesterday. I was unable to reach that place as another deep cleft in the cliffs halted progress. This cleft ended in a cave carved by the action of the waves.
There were no seals around the rocks this morning. Perhaps I was too early. Despite that I sat on the rocks and enjoyed the sound of the waves washing in and out of the cave while small honeyeaters and robins and wrens chirped in the shrubbery in the cliffs above. The sunshine, the sea, the sounds of nature are the reasons we took on this journey which started two years ago. Just to be able to sit on this rocky headland and enjoy by absorption is therapeutic. If I can enjoy this calm once a week it will be enough. Of course every day would be so much better. A lone surfer was in the water when I arrived at the river mouth. Later, after breakfast I did the walk again with the CO-PILOT.
After visiting Moruya for groceries we were once again on the Princes Highway heading south but not for long as we reached the little town of Bodalla, famous for its dairy produce, particularly cheese and turned off to the coastal village of Potato Point.
A local visited us and gave a potted history of the name. Once there was a jetty in place to take on dairy produce and deliver other goods for the village of Bodalla. The location was only known by its aboriginal name. During a big storm, a ship carrying a cargo of vegetables, mostly potatoes was trying to make the relative calm of the jetty.
The ship was wrecked and miraculously all on board survived (that piece if news is incredible as the rocks around the area are like thousands of huge knife blades) the cargo washed into the sea and for days afterwards potatoes were recovered from the rocks.
Henceforth the area was called Potato Point. I do not know if that is the full truth but the local man insists it is. We walked around those rocks and I must comment how difficult that was with the knife like rocks ready to snap an ankle or cause a fall on to the sharp edges. I heard a fisherman cursing at something in the water. A family of five seals were swimming around his bait. I watched as they swam close to the rocks and caught a fish, slapping it against the water only a few metres from my position on the rocks.
Later on our walk back to our campsite in the gathering dusk, we disturbed an Eastern Grey Kangaroo. Once more I was too slow with the camera. The big Eastern Grey stood well over two metres and probably weighed as much as me but he looked to be all muscle. He looked down on us for a few moments before going about his business.
We are camped beside a delightful watercourse with the sound of the surf nearby
Judging by the afternoon coolness we expect a cold night.
Tuesday 7th August
It turned out to be the coldest August night in New South Wales in 12 years. For example Tumut recorded a low of -6° and when I ventured out from under the warmth of the doona at 7am discovered the temp inside WWWGO was only 5°.
A walk along the beach in the brisk morning air showed the waves lapping the beach were leaving a red line on the sand. I noticed some movement and on a closer inspection found the red spots were in fact tiny creatures with a similar look as a prawn. In fact there were prawns of various sizes mixed among the red as well as a clear jelly like creature like a torpedo shaped fish. The seagulls liked whatever was in the mix as they walked along the beach pecking away in a feast stretching along the entire beach. Local fishermen thought the red creatures and prawn mix may be krill and the reason why so many salmon are along the coast feeding.
Later in the morning we found a dolphin shaped jelly creature which had a firm dorsal fin and what seemed to be another fin on the belly, a snout, eyes and what appeared to be a mouth. It was also alive so I returned it to the ocean. Local pro fishermen had no idea what it was.
We drove another 30 klms to Dalmeny on the outskirts of Narooma and set up camp in the caravan park overlooking the ocean.
As the nights have been particularly cold and bad weather predicted for Thursday we felt being in a van park with 240 volts would be to our advantage.
We dined with Ilya and Judy N at their home. They were neighbours when I lived in Kanahooka many years ago. It was wonderful catching up with them again. (Last time was in 2009 on our way to Tasmania)
Wednesday 8th August
Along with Judy we visited the Narooma Marine Rescue Headquarters in Narooma.
Ilya does a radio watch on Wednesday each week.
After his shift at midday we had chilli squid at Taylors Seafood on the river waterfront.
Thursday 9th August.
We woke to a relatively warm morning so I set off along Dalmeny Beach to a set of rocks as my target. I had been told there were a number of Diamond Back Pythons usually sunning early in the morning. Not this morning. I spoke with other people walking the beach and they either confirmed a sighting or they had heard the same story. I did see dolphins surfing and nearby two family groups of seals lazing around on the surface of the ocean just beyond the breakers.
The wind picked up in the afternoon, rocking WWWGO in our exposed position on the hill. The wind continued into the night.
Friday 10th August
More wind and the swells are picking up. The wind feels like it is coming directly off the snow. We spent the day looking around the main streets of Narooma and the break-wall at the river entrance.
We had to wear our quilted coats, beanies and gloves and fight to stay upright in the wind.
Saturday 11th August
After another unsuccessful walk to the end of the beach to find the Pythons we decided to drive to Central Tilba.
This is a Heritage listed town and most of the buildings were erected somewhere around 1870.
The area was once a thriving dairying and timber cutting area which fell into decline some years ago. The locals re-invented the town and it is now a busy little boutique town.
The local cheese factory, ABC Cheese, (the cheese is actually made in Melbourne) has a shop outlet. Another eatery also sells local produce.
We were keen to find another Ploughmans Lunch to rival the one fondly remembered when we were in Tasmania. The shop did not even know what a Ploughmans Lunch was but once we explained, an antipasta plate was offered. For the price we received a huge platter with three cheeses of our choice (a brie, a blue vein and a crumbly matured, chilli and pepper cheddar called Firecracker) salami, loads of crackers, olives, dolimades, beetroot dip and hommus dip. It was too much to eat in one sitting. They even gave us a plastic tub to take the leftovers with us. Walking around town was a little like stepping back in time with the shop fronts clearly from another century. We also walked the steep hill behind the town to the “lookout” at the water tank. We were dressed appropriately as the wind was still fierce enough to blow us off our feet and was cold into the bargain.
On our way back to WWWGO we stopped at Mystery Bay to see the big waves crashing over the rocky shoreline.
In the days we have been camped at Dalmeny we have gone to sleep with and woken to the sound of the surf. The last two days have seen huge seas and although the sound is much louder it has not affected our sleep. No two days are the same.
It was another long and enjoyable day. I took many photos and I have difficulty culling them to just a few each day.
About 80 Klms along the Princes Highway is the town of Bega.
We visited the Bega cheese factory and had a Ploughmans lunch. I was disappointed as much of the lunch menu was pre packed and placed in a refrigerated cabinet. (The lunch was not in the same league as the Ploughmans lunch we had at Pyengana Dairy Company in Tasmania) We then drove on to Tathra where we found the historical Tathra Wharf.
Built in 1860 it played a large part in bringing goods to the area as well as being a passenger terminal and export for cattle, pigs, bacon, dairy products and timber.
The wharf has a trendy café with stunning views across the bay.
With the large swells crashing nearby rocks and pumping into Tathra Beach it was a good background to a great cup of coffee.
A sign outside announced today was a Stitch and Bitch Sunday so craft people who knit, sew, crochet etc, get together, have lunch and coffee and umm err, knit, sew, crochet etc. Included in the group were a couple of men, one happily knitting and the other just as happily crocheting.
Now there is a sight you do not see every day. The photo opportunities were endless and included about 20 people fishing from the wharf. Fishing for shark is prohibited!
Although it was getting late in the afternoon we drove on to Gillards Beach in the Mimosa Rocks National Park. The wind was stong and cold and the surf was whipped into frenzy of froth so we did not linger or even stay for photos in the failing light. The tourist drive roughly follows the coastline and lakes and includes photogenic one lane bridges all the way to Bermagui. As the light was failing we did not stop for photos. A pity really but that leaves an excuse to visit again.
Now that we have spent some time along the south coast I am now pleased to say that this section of coastline along with rivers, lakes, estuaries, bays, cliffs and scenic drives is every bit as good as those experienced on the north coast. Surfing spots are great as well. The wineries and cheese makers and other local produce and boutique towns has an appeal which is hard to describe. If you get a chance, visit the south coast of New South Wales.
We were home at WWWGO by 5.30 and could still see the huge swells and breakers rolling into the beach.
It is just after 10pm and I can hear the surf rolling and crashing on rocks and beach no more than 200 metres away.