This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1999 Travels March 7

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John set the alarm for 4.45am, wanting to leave early. This was far too early, in my opinion! There was morning fog about when we woke. It was about 6.30am when we got away, so we had dawdled getting ready. By then it was barely daylight – just enough to see a little by.

It took us a couple of hours to get through to the south of Sydney, but the traffic had been very light. We probably had about as good a run as it gets, ever.

John wanted to take a “straight line” from Berowa, through the maze of ordinary streets in Sydney suburbs and over the Ryde Bridge, to the road south. But we went this navigator’s way – via the signposted South Coast route: Cumberland Way, Western Freeway, Heathcote Road, Princes Highway – all easy to find and follow!

It was raining as we headed south. The steep descent for 6kms on the Mount Ousley Road down to the Wollongong bypass made John tense, but it all felt very much in control to me. It was a pretty extreme piece of road – we probably will not do too many others like that.

We needed a toilet stop in Kiama – don’t think it was related to that prior nasty descent! Had to go right into the town and it was not easy to find our way around and out again. Had a coffee stop near Nowra and then proceeded on to Sussex Inlet. Had to turn off the highway and take a minor road for the last 15kms or so, to get there. Along the Princes Highway we were passed a few times on double lines by crazy drivers – the NSW drivers seem very bad about observing double white lines!

There were several places along the coast we could have chosen for this overnight stop – this one was chosen rather at random because it “sounded nice”. Sussex Inlet has a busy little village centre, but we went to Snappy Gums Caravan park, on the Springs Road – rather out in the bush.

The park cost us $15 for the night. It has a rather run-down air – gardens of weeds, a non-working phone box, lots of permanent holiday vans, a handful of permanent residents. We were able to leave Truck and van hitched up and parked on the grassy sites at the back of the park, in solitude. It was quite pleasant! The amenity block was close. Here, were many insect bodies on the floor and spiders in the basins – obviously not used much at this time of the year. But under the debris, the surfaces were reasonably clean. One had to put 20cents in a meter for a shower – but at least the meter was IN the cubicle, unlike at Evans Head.

There was very little setting up to do. Had lunch, watched the Grand Prix on TV – an interesting race as only eight cars finished.

After that, went for a bike ride, though it was quite hot and humid by now. The bikes were a way of having a look around the area, without unhitching. We rode further down the Springs Road, to Swan Bay and Cudmirrah. It was not a huge ride – about 8kms, but there was one big hill on the way back, that was not fun.

At the Swan Bay inlet, which is currently closed off from the sea by a sand bar, we walked to the ocean. There is quite a good looking caravan park there – Swan Bay Caravan Park. It is listed under Cudmirrah, rather than Sussex Inlet, and is better looking than any of the others we saw. They all seem mostly geared to permanent holiday structures.

I am not sure we would want to come back to this spot. There have got to be more pleasant places along this stretch of coast. It did occur to me, in the heat, that it would not feel a very safe place if there were bushfires about.

I got my bike speedo working again! Pressed the little white button on the back, and all the other buttons simultaneously – not easy to do – and voila.

Tea was soup, beef mince curry and rice and fruit.

TV reception here is good – surprising in the midst of the bush.

It is a relief to be clear of Sydney – that was rather hanging over our heads, the past few days. We wanted to follow the coast home, rather than go through the hotter inland routes, at this time of year, and have a stay at one of our favourite places – Tathra. So – Sydney was the price that had to be paid!


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