Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Starting the Finnishing of the South Coast

This is the report on our visit to Moruya and Mallacoota with our Scandinavian friends Liisa and Maija: hence the additional 'n' in the title of the post!

The day of departure (Thursday) did not begin well.  As the marine forecast for the Friday was rather rough I rang the Narooma Visitors Centre to check departure times for the Montague Island trip on Thursday.  It turned out that despite their earlier advice there were no longer evening trips from Narooma to the Island.  The National Parks Service had got tenders for the trips and it had been won by someone from Bermagui (a good bit further South).  Not happy.

IMPORTANT CORRECTION:  I have since been informed by the National Parks Service, in answer to a complaining email, that this is just not true!  Evening tours are run from both  Bermagui and Narooma (subject to weather and minimum number of punters.  I have no idea what the Narooma Visitors Centre were up to!

I should also note that I got a text from Liisa saying that they saw Little Penguins in Melbourne: presumably at the St Kilda Jetty.  So all they are really missing is a seal (and a live whale).

There is a possibility of putting a good spin on this.  I was in such a bad mood that I forgot to pack both my battery charger for the camera and the linking cable.  The good bit is that I can blame it on the National Pukes Service rather than senility.

Having got that out of the way we loaded the car and headed off.  First stop was Bungendore to check the Wood Works Gallery which as usual was full of good stuff.  On, on to Braidwood where the Bakery provided the ingredients for a nice lunch.  I then decided to divert through Mongarlowe to check the orchids in the Cemetery and hopefully to find some waratahs along a river.  Unfortunately the idiots who run the cemetery had mown most of it again so all that were around were a few donkey orchids.  Leaving in despair we also saw no waratahs as we drove on.

Going down Clyde Mountain was fine, enlivened by me, but none of the passengers, seeing a large (say1.5m) goanna beside the road.   We shifted our kit into the house and took ourselves off to Congo to check the reef and go for a walk along the beach.  Unfortunately the Parks have now claimed most of the area so dogs are banned from the car park area completely.  The Eurobodalla Council has banned them for most of the time from the rest of the beach (I suspect as a result of prompting from the Parks Service).  They have completely stuffed up what used to be a very pleasant community.  The beach from which dogs were banned on timeshare (to avoid inconveniencing other users) was completely devoid of people!

We proceeded to South Broulee where the beach was dog allowed and had a very pleasant walk, noting the large number of bluebottles washed up on the sand.
Unlike some of our previous pooches Tammy avoided running across their streamers (note that the sting of this specimen stretched for >1m) and stinging her feet. This was a return to pleasure.   Also of interest were the White-faced herons perched over a billabong ...
and the barnacles extruding body parts as they reside on a cuttlefish'bone'.
 We had a very enjoyable and traditional meal of fish and chips from the Swans cafe in Moruya.

We passed the evening looking at photographs of Finland: all excellent taken by Maija or a friend from Joensuu.  We also learnt the Finnish word for Thule roof-top box: anopinkuljetusilaatikko which literally translates as “Mother in law transport box”

Day 2 began with a walk to the beach (about 2km each way).  Quite a lot of birds seen en route including this Peaceful Dove.
The forest - essentially a Burrawang understorey with Spotted Gums (Eucalyptus maculata) and Old Man Banksias (Banksia serrata) - growing on the sandy soil was rather dense.
 The most interesting sight was some beach hauling going on.  This was some fishermen solving the problem of Australian Salmon on the South Coast.
It was good to see that they had a Fisheries licence on one of the trucks rather than relying on 'traditional rights' for a very non-traditional method.  So apart from buggering up the "natural order of things" and destroying recreational fishing there was little problem from this activity!  By the time we got back to the house it was getting rather warm.

After a small period of R&R we headed off to Cullendulla Creek.  The aim here as always was to walk around the mangroves, hopefully seeing a horde of crabs.  Alas things were rather quiet, apart from a pair of dollarbirds perched in a tree.
We then drove along George Bass Drive so that our friends could experience more typical South Coast living conditions for a suitable period (and about 30 minutes is the most I could handle).  The shopping area at Bateman's Bay seems to have got even worse – something I had not thought possible! 

We then shifted up several gears of desirability by calling in to Guerilla Bay to check out the base of some cliffs
before patrolling the walk to Burrewarra Point.  Although the flowers were not as dramatic as some places we have been the Banksia serrata were extremely fine, in  all stages of growth.

A group of feeding Yellow-tailed black-cockatoos provided some colour and movement (and noise).   As always the scenery visible from the cliff tops was spectacular.

Our final stop was the rock platform at Broulee hoping to find a collection of attractive shells.  There were a lot around, but all had an inhabitant so were left in position.The viewing of images from Finland was completed this evening.  They were very interesting to see, and we have concluded that taking a pen-drive (memory stick, whatever) full of images when going to visit people in foreign parts is a very clever idea.  It has caused me to resurrect the concept of a Daily QOL (Quality of Life) improvement, in which we try to think each day of something we have seen or done which improves the quality of our lives.

Day 3 was principally a transfer day from Moruya to Mallacoota. However there were a few hopes for good things along the way.

In fact the good things began before leaving, as a Channel-billed Cuckoo flew over the house we were using as I took Tammy for a walk.  My first for this season.

We swung by the Moruya Markets which have gone up market since we used to attend in the 1980s.  It still seemed pretty good although the heavy horses being used for tourist rides caused the small dog some grief. 
We then headed South with a first stop at Narooma to pick up bus tickets for our friends to get from Mallacoota to Melbourne on Monday.  This was achieved with no problems, although I supect due to the good nature of the lady serving them, rather than the system which seemed very antiquated.  A brief visit to see Montague Island from the Narooma Cemetery – noting the bumpiness of the sea, and being glad we weren't on it-  and on South.

Our next stop was Central Tilba where various shops were inspected and a few things purchased.  I liked this image of a combination of Silky Oaf (Grevillea robusta) and Jacaranda in the street.
We then took the coast road from Bermagui to Merimbula passing through a few interesting villages and localities but not stopping.  We did pause to take a photograph of the Shadow Cabinet in discussion at Wallaga Lake.
We passed on to Eden, hoping to see a seal or two.  We failed on this, although some other folk saw one from the land end of the wharf, while we were at the damp end.  They (and Frances who was guarding the small dog on shore) saw some dolphins.  Drat.  The collection of fish-hooks on this long liner were attractive, although possibly not in the sense of 'pleasant' from a fish's view!
 On South and into Victoria!  Part 2 follows

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