This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2008 Travels June 16-18

MONDAY 16 JUNE  – WEDNESDAY 18 JUNE     BATEMANS BAY

On Monday, after a very leisurely start to the day, drove across the bridge – an experience in itself – to the shopping centre. There, we walked around, getting an idea of what shops there were.

I was hoping to find somewhere good to buy fresh local seafood, but nothing like a fishermans’ co-op was evident – or a fishing fleet, for that matter.

After lunch, John went off to play bowls at the local club. I got him to drop me off by the Information Centre, so I could have a browse in there and pick up information about possible local destinations, now we had a new schedule to plan.

Then I walked through the back of the shopping area, to the main street, and then made my way back to the van, walking over the bridge. It turned out to be a very pleasant walk, despite its urban nature.

Batemans Bay was named, way back in 1770, by Captain Cook, for a member of his crew.

I extended our stay here for another two nights, and paid another $68.

John had only an average time at bowls, but at least it gave him something external to think about.

Batemans Bay outlook

Tuesday’s activity was to go driving – up the range, as far as Braidwood.

The drive was an interesting one. Our previous visit to that area, as far as Bungendore,  had seen us approach from the Canberra side and return that way. This trip up – and down – the Clyde Mountain, was certainly one that I was pleased we were not doing with the van on the back!

An initially somewhat hilly section, after we turned off Highway 1, onto the Kings Highway towards Canberra, gave way to the very pretty valley of the Nelligen Creek. The road crossed the Clyde River and then followed the Nelligen Valley for some way. The little village of Nelligen looked quite lovely, and we noted that it had an attractive looking caravan park, for future reference.

Then it was up, and up, the Great Dividing Range and Clyde Mountain. The steepest section was 5kms long and I thought that vehicles would regularly overheat going up this part in summer. Whilst John’s Canberra family might love their new coastal retreat, I suspected that the regular weekend 180km each way commute there, up and down this highway, would become quite tedious. Not a road one could relax at all on, and it would be worse in the late afternoon, with wildlife like kangaroos and wombats venturing on to the road. The benefits of the weekend relaxing would be negated by the tensions of the drive home, methinks.

The Braidwood township was old and historic, the area having been first settled by Europeans in the 1820’s. A lot of old buildings still remained, giving an interesting streetscape.

I had for some time, wanted to have a browse at the rather renown quilt shop here. Quilting, or patchwork, was something on my “try one day” list, when I had more time at home, because I did not see it as being a portable hobby compatible with a small caravan. The shop was fascinating and awe inspiring. I came away not at all sure that I had the abilities to make such brilliant creations. Need to think some more about that!

We continued on to Bungendore, another historic village, visited before, from a Canberra base. John wanted to further check out the excellent wood wares gallery and shop – to see if they might be prepared to stock some of his timber creations. We wandered about in there for some time. Some of the items they had in stock were just awesome – so beautiful and creative. In the end, John was so impressed by the quality and uniqueness of the gallery contents that he decided not to ask about his products!

We also looked at the goods in the nearby leather goods shop. Again, produced by craftsmen with great love for the work they did.

Bought lunch – a pie for John and sandwiches for me.

Then we drove – carefully – back down the winding highway, to camp.

On Wednesday morning, we went back to the shopping area for a few supplies and another wander about.

Then went driving, along the road that hugged the coast, for some way. It took us through a series of strung-out housing enclaves that were like suburbs of Bateman’s Bay. After some kms of this, at Broulee, we turned around and went back the way we’d come. I did not, overall, find Batemans Bay particularly impressive, either as a holiday destination in its own right, or a potential retirement location.

The intriguingly named Tollgate Islands, just off Batemans Bay

I couldn’t think of anything else I really wanted to do at Batemans Bay, so we spent the rest of the day back at camp. It was too chilly and breezy to sit outside the van, so I read indoors, and John mucked about on his laptop.


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2008 Travels June 15

SUNDAY 15 JUNE     DURRAS TO BATEMANS BAY   15kms

After breakfast in the van, John spent some time mixing with the two boys – to whom he was, effectively, a stranger. They talked about fishing, of which they had not done much, and surfing, about which John knows nothing! The younger lad was still getting used to conversing totally in English – in Brussels French had been his “first” language. The five-year old was effortlessly biligual. I wondered how many languages he would end up speaking by the time he was grown up, given step-daughter’s regular overseas posts.

The resident lawnmowers at Durras

Mid morning, the family left to drive back to Canberra, because the elder boy had a birthday party to go to. We did not know about that until yesterday, and John was put out about this, though he did not say anything to them.  No mention was made of any plans to return to the beach house in the next few weeks.

House at Durras

So – our visit, for which we had been waiting about for, for over two weeks, in the cold and damp, lasted less than 24 hours! Not really an experience that left us feeling like valued family……especially disappointing, even demeaning, for John. I felt so sorry for him.

We had not unhitched van and Truck, yesterday, so departing was easy. We drove back to Batemans Bay, which had looked interesting as we came though it yesterday.

Went into Easts Riverside Holiday Park – a Big 4 one. After discount, paid $68 for two nights on a powered site.

Set up, had lunch, then went for a short drive to suss out the town and its shops – most of which seemed to be shut today.

The park was quite pleasant. It had an outlook across the large Clyde River, to the town, and out towards the open ocean as well. The turn off to the park was just before the long bridge that spanned the Clyde River inlet here. The bridge looked like one produced from the old time Meccano set, and was quite pretty at night, with the various lights on it. In the bridge centre was a lifting section that allowed larger vessels to pass under because the bridge itself was quite low. I wondered how often the traffic on the highway got held up for a passing boat?


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1999 Travels March 8

MONDAY 8 MARCH   SUSSEX INLET TO TATHRA   278kms

We didn’t set the alarm, but were up at 8 and away at 9.45, heading south.

There was rain, on and off, through the day, and it was cooler than yesterday. Much better for driving.

This was a slower leg than I had anticipated. The road was bendy and hilly and quite often narrow. Driving required considerable concentration. Hard to believe that this is Highway 1! But it was a very pretty and varied drive, some of the way through green grazing farm country, some through forested parts. Occasionally we came close to the sea – or could see it in the distance.

Some small villages, like Mogo, are highlighting their history, to attract visitors. We were not really in stopping mode, with the van on the back, for most of the time.

But we did stop in Ulladulla to refuel – 74cpl.

We found a place to park the rig in Batemans Bay, and walked to the shops by the river, hoping to find a fish co-op. We found a river front, tourist oriented fish shop that was selling flake for $5.50 a piece! I thought it was a per kilo price and was about to buy a kilo, but John was a wake-up, luckily. So we left the shop, fish-less. There was a fishing boat docked behind the shop and John asked a lad on it – he said the nearest fish co-op is Ulladulla. We have already been through there.

Bought a focaccia loaf and ate it, in chunks,  as we drove along, for lunch. But before leaving Batemans Bay we did pick up some good tourist information at the centre there.

We stopped in Bega and did a grocery shop, to maybe save a trip in later.

Left the Princes Highway after Bega, to drive to Tathra, on the coast. This is a village in two parts – the main shops are at the top of a headland, but the caravan parks and a few more shops are  at the sea level – down a short, very steep, very bendy bit of road. Interesting! At least, we have driven this before – though not with the van – and knew exactly what it would be like. Needed low gear and a crawl down.

We booked into the Big 4 Seabreeze Caravan Park, for a week.  $13.50 a night, after discount, with the seventh night free. We had stayed here before, in 1997, in a cabin, on our way to S’s wedding in Sydney. We had to take a grassed site, as those with slabs were all occupied. It is ok, although the park feels rather crowded, overall. There is a nice pool – if it ever gets warm enough to use it! It is quite cool today.

After setting up, we went for a long walk along the beach, which is essentially over the road from the caravan park. Walked all the way to the Mogareekah Inlet mouth, which took us almost an hour and a half. The beach had a steep slope, in places, and the sand was a bit soft. There were several people fishing near the inlet. One man appeared to have two big salmon. We walked back along the walking/bike path beside the road. Much easier, but of course, not as pleasant, although there is bush on both sides of the road for much of the way.

Tea: soup, leftover curry and rice for John. I had salad. Then fruit.

Phoned K to report our whereabouts. He thinks V is in Melbourne, having flown over a week or so ahead of her husband, but he has not heard from her.

We only have a couple of TV channels here that have any sort of a picture. The park does supply cables one can hook into a relay – but John does not want to pay $2 per day for one.

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