Friday, 27 December 2013

The pelicans of Eden (and the Highways)

This is the first post of four covering our Christmas visit to Mallacoota.  Links to the other posts are at the end of this one.

After a very hot night we got up on time, did a few chores and were heading off towards Mallacoota by 9:20.  After a stop in Queanbeyan to refuel we hit the Monaro Highway heading to Cooma. 

The traffic seemed heavier than we expected in both directions and some drivers seemed very slow, even allowing for people wanting to stick to the speed limit.  Eventually we got some clean air and decided it was three proto-pelicans that had caused the blockage. 

We took the usual Polo Flat bypass around Cooma and headed out towards Nimmitabel.  As always the scenery was barren and we wondered if it was ever green.  This trip some new powerlines, looking like the Martians in H G Wells “War of the Worlds”gave us something to look at. 
Then we had the North end of a queue of three cars heading South to look at.  And at and at and at.  They were driving well below the limit and due to the density of cars coming towards us I couldn't overtake all three in a swoop.  Why wouldn't the others do their share?

The front vehicle was an Avis rental vehicle and I concluded that at least one of the others - a green Hyundai -  was related to that.  When we got to Nimmitabel the green car pulled off.  As we were planning to stop at Lake Williams
for comfort purposes I didn't bother about the Avismobile.   To my surprise Mr Plod was running a breathalyser operation
at the Lake: this wouldn't be a problem for me  but as it turned out we got to the entrance to the parking area before the cop so turned in.  I noticed that the green car pulled in behind me, but the driver didn't get out to use the facilities.  After a minute or so they drove off again, coming out on the far side of the cops.  Que?  Frances solved it:  they didn't wish to offer their breath  to Mr Plod and thought it would be a bit obvious to just drive straight through!  Socially a pelican – or possibly a vulture – but at least part of their cortex was still functional.

By the time we got to Brown Mountain the Northern side of the road before the top is State Forest and has been pretty much 'harvested'- read trashed by the timber industry – but at least they had left a few trees.  we had caught up to the Avismobile but it pulled over before starting the descent.  This was National Park and as enjoyable as ever: I do like tree ferns.   

At the bottom we stopped at the Bemboka Pie Shop for bread and a pepper steak pie.  Yummy!

The scenery on the coastal plain was a great contrast to the Nimmi desert.  Green, lush and low cloud.  
The next stop was the traditional visit to Eden Smokehouse for various fish products that will  be taken home (apart from the ones we scoffed for Christmas dinner).  Other traditions followed were calling in at the wharf to look for seals (and as traditions demands) not seeing any.  We saw a Silver Gull which had chosen to camouflage itself on a car which matched the colour of its legs.
We also saw colourful fishing nets 
and pelicans (the original model).  

Frances was told of a plan to rejuvenate Eden by building a wharf to accommodate cruise ships.  The proponents of such a scheme possibly haven't realised that
  • what is needed to attract cruise ships is something for the passengers to do.  I can't imagine the Killer Whale Museum being enough (or being able) to accommodate a couple of thousand curious party people; or
  •  people on cruise ships don't spend a lot on shore as they get most things they need (eg meals and booze) free on the ship.

 Just about as we left Eden the low cloud started to deliver rain, through which tradition we were driving when we entered the Great State of Victoria. 

As we entered the final leg we saw the sign warning of lyrebirds and, as we now expect, saw a lyrebird running for cover almost immediately. 

Unloading occurred and we decided to wait for the rain to stop before going for a walk along the Inlet bike path.  This provided a brief look at an Azure Kingfisher and a surprisingly good look at a pair of Eastern Whipbirds.  A couple of patches of exotic vegetation were attractive (don't worry, you'll get plenty of native stuff later in this series).

Our evening meal was (another tradition!) barramundi and chips courtesy of Lee's Takeaway.  
Although the food on offer is mainly pizza and Fish'n'chips all the junior staff are of the Chinese persuasion both in appearance and strong accent.  The exception is Lee himself, who looks like Genghiz Khan and sounds like Crocodile Dundee!  (Click on the image to check out the amusing sign on the butchery next door.)

Links to other posts

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