Cruising NSW: Narooma - Tathra

Trip Start Apr 05, 2011
Trip End Nov 15, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Sunday, March 11, 2012

We had visited the Newcastle Caravan and Camping show on our way through there a few weeks ago and flippantly entered one of the many competitions, you know the old 'why bother, we never win anything…'. We were stunned, surprised and elated when we got a call to say we had won a holiday, three nights accommodation in a cabin at Narooma.

Had we not won this prize we would have just driven through Narooma on our journey south and missed out on an absolute gem of a town.  Ideally situated on the coast surrounding the Wagonga Inlet and Lake, the town has the best of both worlds.  Our cabin was waterfront and overlooked the inlet with ocean glimpses across a breakwater.

We were so thrilled to be in a cabin, enjoying the luxury of space rather than the cramped confines of the caravan which as much as we love can be tiresome when we go through day after day of rain, which unfortunately had become the norm along the east coast.

An afternoon stroll along the foreshore had its rewards as the sun broke through the clouds and danced off the blue marbled backs of the marching crabs delighting in their low tide antics.  At the wharf several large sting rays moved gracefully along vacuuming the shallows.

Throughout the night it poured and this rain did not abate for the duration of our stay, here we were ideally situated on the most beautiful of waterways, the water crystal clear, perfect for our kayaks and yet the wind and the rain just wouldn’t give us a break.  We were however so grateful to be in a cabin with such heavy rain rather than the van.

Despite the rain we still managed to do some fantastic walks along the coast and around the lakes edges.  One walk was out along a brilliant boardwalk which follows the edge of the inlet and out to the breakwater.  Whilst we were saturated and windblown it was well worth the effort for the views along the coast and back over the town.

Every day we had a wave of Rainbow Lorikeets come through, landing on our verandah all keen to vocalize their arrival.  We’d crush some Weetbix and they would perch all over us as they ate from our hands.  Such bright colourful birds full of cheek, it was always a pleasure to have them entertain us.

Indicative of so many occasions this trip on the morning of our departure the weather had come good, the sun was shining, the wind had dropped and it was perfect kayaking conditions, we’ll just have to add Narooma to our list of places to come back to.

What should have been a short simple trip down the coast from Narooma to Tathra, some 75kms became 180kms as the road south from Bermagui along the coast was closed due to flood water as was the Tathra Road out of Bega.  We had zigzagged our way through the partially flooded town of Bega over to Tathra Road before finding it closed and on enquiry at the Visitors Centre were told to ignore the ‘Road Closed’ sign and just go through… they told us it was tidal so even if it was too deep when we got there we could just wait a couple of hours and the water would subside…  We opted for commonsense and abiding by the law and drove down to Merimbula and back up.  (Ironically the givers of the information were from Tathra and when we asked them which way they had come they said through Merimubula!)

Our chosen caravan park was quaint and rustic running along the back of the Tathra Beach sand dunes.  From here it was an enjoyable walk along the beach, up over the headland and down the other side to the Tathra Wharf.  A rare coastal relic, this beautifully restored steamer wharf, originally built in 1862 is a credit to everyone involved in its restoration.

The following morning we drove as far as we could along Tathra Road to see if it was open for access to Bega.  How the Visitor Information Centre could ever have thought the water would recede enough at low tide for us to drive through at that point during the flood is beyond us, as there was still a wide flowing body of water across the road knee deep.  Not wanting to trek the long way round back through Merimbula we opted to stay local for the day visiting the Mimosa Rocks National Park.

The namesake of the national park, Mimosa Rocks was an impressive pyramid of volcanic rocks forming part of the coastline.  Having viewed that, we set about a series of stunning forest drives as we ventured back and forth to the coast to visit the numerous inlets and beaches.  The drives were all gorgeous, the narrow gravel roads winding their way through eucalypts with the spotted gums lightening the otherwise forest of dark trunks, whilst the deep green foliage was brought to life as the odd ray of sunshine danced off their leaves.

On our last day we were delighted to find there was one lane open along the Tathra Road into Bega, where the flood waters were still partially across the road.  We were keen to spend time in Bega and explore, for my grandparents had lived there when I was growing up and I spent a lot of my school holidays visiting.  Fond childhood memories were rekindled as we drove along their street and whilst the house looks nothing like its former self (when it was surrounded by award winning gardens and treated with TLC) it was nonetheless worth finding

The crystal clear water of the Bega River I remembered was running a dark muddy brown from the floods and debris was strewn about its banks.  Despite the recent damage it really is a stunning setting for a town with the rolling green hills dappled with dairy cows which just happen to contribute to the most delicious cheeses. 

It had been a glorious day with the sun lasting the distance, we took one last walk along the beach to the mouth of the Bega River before relaxing with a couple of sundowners, our last night in New South Wales.

Highlights of Narooma – Tathra:

-          Winning a holiday!

-          Narooma

o   A waterfront cabin (and it was free!!!)

o   Walks around the inlet, coast and lake

o   Visits from the Rainbow Lorikeets

-          Tathra

o   The old steamer wharf

o   Mimosa Rocks National Park

o   Rekindling childhood memories in Bega (Rod just loved my stories!)
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