The forest area at Bodalla was absolutely Marvelous. Strictly speaking, it is only an overnight stop. i.e. 24 hour maximum stay, but I bent the rules a little and stayed for 4 nights. In my own defence, however, so did several other people. I guess if it was crowded I would have moved on, but the opportunity for walks through the forest and so on was too great a temptation.
The first day, I went for a walk down a (signposted) bush track to Lake Mummaga. The trees in the forest, it turns out, were Spotted Gum and Blackbutt. During the walk I came across a 4wd track which looked like it headed towards the ocean so I investigated only to find that a gate had been put across the track and a "No Trespassing" sign put up by the local aboriginal lands council. Now I have the greatest respect for the Aboriginals and their efforts to obtain and retain native title to their traditional lands, but I have to admit I feel a little disappointed when they restrict access to areas which should be open to all Australians (and visitors too, for that matter). If the area was a sacred site, I could understand it, but sometimes I think it is just a "dog in the manger" attitude.
The next day (Monday 2nd Feb) I walked down the 4wd track in the other direction and came to a good gravel road (Brou Lake Road) which led straight down to the ocean at Brou Beach.
The day was a little overcast but it was nice and warm. The town on the point is Dalmeny, which I later visited.
On the Wednesday morning I decided to pack up and headed south. I called in to Dalmeny to get some essentials and then Narooma. I noticed a turn off to Tilba "Heritage Village" and detoured to have a look. It's very nice and being only a couple of clicks off the highway, worth a look, but it isn't really heritage, it's a bit too "touristy" for mine.
Just north of Bermagui, I couldn't resist a side trip to Camel Rock.
Bermagui was nice, some very helpful ladies in the tourist information centre, but to tell the truth, the beauty in this part of the coast is in the areas between towns, rather than the towns themselves. The highway between Bermagui and Eden is simply full of wonderful beaches alternating with picturesque rocky headlands.
From Bermagui I took the coast road down to Tathra and on to Bega, where a visit to the famous cheese factory seems to be obligatory. Strangely enough, in the visitor centre, you can buy all the cheese you could wish, or other "unique" souveniers, but you can't actually tour the cheese factory. Must have something to do with the modern fetish for hygiene.
One thing that did stick out in bega, they have a very impressive church and the most impressive war memorial I have ever seen outside of a capital city.
About 20 clicks south of Bega, on the road to Merimbula is a sign for a rest area at Yellow Pinch Dam. The rest area is nothing special, Toilets, BBQ areas (in a total Fire Ban) and room for about 8 or 10 vehicles, but the opportunities for bushwalking are terrific. Again, this should probably only be a 24 hour stop, but in my own defence, there are no signs limiting a person's stay. Another pair of Grey Nomads I spoke to had been there for 4 days and there was a guy in a van who I suspect may have been a permanent resident.
The dam has restricted acces (no fishing, boating swimming etc.) because it is Merimbulah's water supply.
The next day I took a walk through the bush for about 3 1/2 hours.Pretty up-and-down, but a bit of exercise might turn flab into fab. Lots of old mine workings in the area, all nicely fenced off by Parks and Wildlife I presume. They all seemed to be verical shafts about 10 metres or so deep, so it would seem there wasn't any large scale mining in the area. Found what appeared to be a home-made oven, whether for cooking or for processing gold I couldn't tell.
Managed to get to the top of a ridge and the view through the trees was stupendous. In one direction I could see Merimbulah about 10 Km away and in the other direction farmlands stretching to the Great Dividing Range.
The next day was fiendishly hot, so I just sat around in the shade all day and did nothing. 44 degrees C and the air was so hot and dry it was difficult to breathe. In addition, the radio was full of fire warnings in the local area and during the day you could hear the sounds of the water bombers flying back and forth. It seemed like a good idea to just stay put and suss out the situation for a couple of days.
The washing is starting to pile up so it must be time to spend a day or so in a caravan park. Garden of Eden in the town of Eden seemed like a likely spot. Another Grey Nomad "Xtrail51" was also there so an opportunity for a natter over a bottle of Swan Valley Red. Now I don't want you to think that Eden is boring, but this sign was in the caravan park.
Did the tourist bit while in town and took lots of pics for the album. For a relatively small town, there are some very interesting things to see and Twofold Bay itself is amazingly beautiful.
I have seen a blog by another pair of GN's who have been putting their travel diary in day-by-day and it looks like a good way to do it, so from this point on I may do the same unless I spend a few days in the same spot looking under rocks and pushing sticks into holes. They have also put a link to Google Maps on their blog, showing their travels and if I can figure out how to do it, I will try to do the same.
Well, I guess that should be enough for now - See you soon.