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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2003 Travels April 11

FRIDAY 11 APRIL     CANBERRA

After breakfast, decided we would drive out to Bungendore, a township some 40kms east of Canberra, to visit the well regarded woodwork gallery there. Somehow, we hadn’t managed to see this at all, on previous visits, despite recommendations from John’s wood working friends. It had won many tourism awards over the years.

We took the Federal Highway, towards Goulburn, then turned south just beyond Sutton and had a pretty drive down to Bungendore. This was a quaint little village, very geared to tourism. It reminded me of some places in Tasmania.

The gallery kept us engrossed for more than three hours. It contained high quality work which John found very inspirational. Items ranged from smaller – and more affordable – things that might, in particular attract overseas tourists, like wooden rulers, small boxes, to very large furniture pieces. There were the things one would expect in a gallery featuring woodwork – bowls, platters, lamp bases – and creations more from left field.  So much of the furniture was exquisite and intricate. Very humbling in some ways. The gallery was large, with multiple rooms, so there was scope to display items to their full advantage.

After that we moved on, briefly, to a nearby specialist leather works shop, which was a contrast to the wood gallery. It was crammed full, with a mix of quality and kitch, but with the wonderful, pervading smell of leather.

Then it was back to Woden shopping complex, for a late lunch, which was far too costly for what we got: $17 for two toasted filled rolls and two coffees.

Whilst there, I had a watch place check out my malfunctioning watch. He found the battery was alright, but said it probably needed a good clean. I didn’t think that had been done since it was new, some fifteen years before. I did not have enough time in Canberra for that to be done, so bought a new, cheap watch, for $30 – really needed to have one for where I was going. Hoped the new one would last the season!

I also bought a book on share trading. Just a little light reading!

Time then to head back to the van, after a really pleasant day.

Given the “modern” layout of Canberra suburbs, John did not want to try to go out and find a fish and chip shop, so we had a light soup tea.