This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2008 Travels June 9-13

MONDAY 9 – FRIDAY 13 JUNE     TATHRA

After an early lunch, on Monday, we went to play Pairs bowls at the Tathra club.

We drew against a very elderly pair of men, who looked like they could hardly totter along the green, let alone deliver bowls that would reach the other end! I thought we were going to have an embarrassingly easy game. As we walked out to play, one of the men remarked, in a slow, laconic drawl “Pennant players, are yous?” ……..They then proceeded to comprehensively demolish us! So much for assumptions……

On Tuesday, we decided that, rather than pack up today and move south to Merimbula, for the three days of bowls, then return back this way again, we would be better served by staying here and commuting to Merimbula in the mornings for the games.

We spent a couple of hours exploring the back roads and residential areas of Tathra. We drove very slowly through the hilly section, behind the beach, admiring some of the houses that would have brilliant views. I did have to admit to John that it wouldn’t be a bad place to live – IF one was looking to relocate from Melbourne to southern NSW.

One of the steep, tight corners on the way down to sea level at Tathra (Google)

From Wednesday to Friday, we had to get up early each day, in order to be in Merimbula by the appointed time for the bowls. Each day, I packed our lunches to take with us.

The drive there was a pleasant one, and took less than half an hour. Even though we were back and forth over the same road, it did not become boring. There was an interesting mix of bushland and cleared farming land, some of which was more hobby farm style, with large modern homes on. It was always late afternoon by the time we were returning to Tathra, and thus we kept a very careful watch out for kangaroos by the road.

This annual tournament was a very large one, attracting bowlers from far and wide and offering substantial prize money. In the world of lawn bowls, that meant very strong competition – well out of our league! We knew that – John just wanted the experience of playing here.

We were playing in the fours event, teamed up with assorted strangers to make up the four, none of whom were very good. I guessed that was really why they needed to rope us in to make up the numbers.

We had a rather mixed set of results, none good enough to put us anywhere near winning anything for our bowling.

Some of the other visiting players were from our home club in Melbourne. We had a bit of a chat with them, at one stage, but they were not John’s favourite people so we did not socialize much.

On Friday – the 13th, not usually an auspicious day for me –  there was the draw of a big raffle, for which tickets had been sold throughout the tournament. To my amazement, I won the second prize – a bowls bag, to be selected by me from the golf and bowls shop at Tura Beach, a resort type settlement just north of Merimbula. After the presentations to the bowls winners, and the raffle draw, we had to race off, to get to the shop before it shut, to collect my prize, as we did not plan on being back this way. Just made it, and I was very pleased with what I was able to select – about $120 worth! I had never had a new bowls bag – had been using my father’s very antiquated one. It made the whole experience worthwhile for me.

Friday fish and chips again for tea, from the local shop.


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2008 Travels May 31

SATURDAY 31 MAY     MERIMBULA TO TATHRA   25kms

We took our time this morning, getting up and getting ready to move on. With such a short distance to go, there was no point in hurrying. We were not expecting there would be much pressure on site availability, at this time of year, but still did not want to arrive too early.

Lowering clouds over Merimbula

Took the non-highway route, through the centre of town, and up past Tura Beach. It was a good road and, once out of hilly Merimbula, easy driving.

At Tathra, there was the really steep, bendy, but short, drop down from the Tathra village centre, up on its headland, down to the beach level where the caravan parks are. Stopped at the top, put Truck into low range and low gear, and ground our way down.

Booked into the Tathra Beach Caravan park – the one with direct frontage to the beach. I was a bit surprised at the cost – $28 a night – almost as much as the Big 4 park across the road. I wasn’t sure if it was a Council owned park, or not.

We opted for a site not close to other campers, of which there were few. Set up for a couple of days’ stay.

Not far from us was a row of little individual bathroom units, each room containing toilet,  hand basin and shower. These were not gender specific. I find such arrangements much preferable to the large communal blocks that are the norm, and wish more parks would adopt this idea.

In the afternoon, John went off to play bowls at the Tathra club, which was just across the road. Men only, so I had a lovely, free afternoon! I walked as far as the mouth of Mogareeka Inlet, along the sealed bike path that paralleled the road. It was a 4 km walk, altogether, and most enjoyable. Lots of titree and banksia scrub alongside the road, and on the large house blocks, ensured there was plenty of birdlife to look at.

I had driven Truck up to the shops, before lunch, and bought Saturday papers, so spent some time reading those.

I made a pineapple salad for tea, to accompany cooked sausages.

John came home with the news that he had organized for us to practice bowls, over at the club, tomorrow. If I must……

At night, we could hear the waves breaking on the beach – lovely sound to go to sleep by.


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2007 Travels May 29

THURSDAY 29 MAY   LAKES ENTRANCE TO MERIMBULA   320kms

We slept really well last night. The van bed remained so comfortable, even though it was now ten years old.

We made a leisurely departure in the morning. Drove back to the shopping centre, where we refuelled and I bought a few foodstuffs at Safeway, and a newspaper to read later.

Morning at Lakes Entrance

We had a very pleasant, untroubled drive through the forest and hill country of eastern Victoria and southern NSW, to Merimbula. John seemed to enjoy the driving. There was not a great deal of traffic and we didn’t even encounter any of the timber logging trucks that can make the driver a bit tense when they come up behind on the lengthy stretches where passing is not possible. There is a kind of Murphy’s Law about these vehicles. When they are in front of you, they are going too slowly. When they are behind you, they are going too fast!

The skies were mostly blue, with some weak sunshine – it was not all that warm.

We stopped at the village of Cann River to eat our lunch – again, I had packed sandwiches and filled our travel thermos with hot water for tea and coffee,  before our departure this morning, so we did not contribute to the local coffers, this time.

Victoria/NSW border

I’d chosen the Big 4 Merimbula Beach Holiday Park for our one night stay here. It was a bit tricky to navigate there, though, through the main part of the town. An uphill start at a set of traffic lights was a challenge – the Defender was a great towing vehicle but not powerful off a standing uphill start with the van on the back! As usual, John had to use low range gears to get going. Then it was up and down sharp little hills to find the caravan park. Merimbula is too hilly! I guess that does give some great views, though.

The park cost $28 a night. It was situated on the end of Short Point, and we had superb views over the sea and the beach to the north. There was a rock ledge below our site, that the sea was crashing on to, so we had the wonderful sound of the sea as a backdrop.

The park was an extensive one, with clean and modern amenities and a wonderful lagoon style swimming pool complex. It would be a great holiday park for little kids. Given the year we had been having, my mind turned easily to ways to occupy young children!

Caravan Park pool

After setting up for a one night stay – unhitched – we drove back to the main part of town, hunting for a shop that might sell gear to adjust the van brakes. John had left his at home, and was not totally happy with the van brakes. What was new? He had no luck finding what he wanted, though.

Overall, it had been a pleasant day.

I couldn’t believe how tired I became, how early in the evening. The fresh, sea air was already impacting, and I was ready for bed by 8.30pm.


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1999 Travels March 12

FRIDAY 12 MARCH     TATHRA

Today was warm but somewhat cloudy.

John has us playing bowls at 6pm, so that precludes any really strenuous activity through the day! He decided that we could go for a drive, after lunch, though.

While we were sitting around at the van, in the late morning, a big rig came in. It was a very large caravan – maybe over 8 metres. It was towed by a big American F-something. We heard a nasty, loud, metallic bang as he was backing his van in – it required several attempts and going backwards and forwards on hard lock to do so, due to his size on the average sized sites.

We went to Merimbula, via the most direct route. There, we did a little grocery shopping, and got some cash money.

We went for a short walk on the sand flats at the edge of the Merimbula Creek. The tide was coming in quickly and there were lots of little shrimpy things in the water.

We bought some fresh apples from a roadside seller.

On the way back to Tathra, turned off to the east and drove into Bournda National Park, down tracks to the car park and camp area, which we drove around, looking at. We did not get out of the Truck, though, to explore any further – John was not so inclined. So we can say we’ve “been there” – even if we have not seen any of the scenery beyond the camp ground!

When we got back from our drive, the American vehicle was being loaded onto a tilt tray truck. It had broken the steering box! It is a conversion from left to right-hand drive, so we wondered if that had maybe created a weakness?

Bowls was ok. I played adequately. Afterwards, John drove Truck back to camp, with our bags, then he walked back to the club, while I nursed a drink and waited for him. It is not far. Then we had tea at the club’s Chinese restaurant. It was good food. I had Mongolian lamb and John steamed duck and vegies. We drank some reasonably good house wine – a Brown Brothers dry white. It was the club’s big raffle night, but we did not win anything. We bought a bottle of Lambrusco to take back to the van.

Walked back to the caravan park. It was pleasant walking, as the night was not cold.