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  • Writer's pictureLila Greyling

All roads lead to Rome

Life has been busy. I needed to get away. So, I arranged to meet up with my dad down south for some much-needed R&R. While I could've hit the Monaro Highway and turned on cruise control for an easy-yet-bland drive to Mallacoota, I decided that the drive should be part of the holiday. After charging up my camera, I navigated to the coast so I could soak in the natural beauty and clear my head along the winding road.



BUNGENDORE


Bungendore is a small historic town with a number of gift and specialty shops as well as historic buildings built with stone, brick and timber. It is known for the well-preserved colonial buildings, prominent cool-climate wineries and abundant farmer's markets.


As this was the first stop of the day, I was keen to keep driving, but had to take a moment for a few photos!


BATEMANS BAY

The Bay is a favourite to a lot of Canberrans as it is the closest seaside town to Canberra and it’s an easy two-hour drive to take you from the office to the beach.


Batemans Bay is situated in the Eurobodalla region on the NSW South Coast and was named by Captain James Cook in 1770.


Well known for many reasons, the area displays magnificent fresh seafood and beaches and sits in the heart of Australia's Oyster Coast.


There is so much to do and see in the Eurobodalla Shire with much loved spots like the foreshore with the well renowned Innes Boatshed and JJ’s at The Marina, Tuross Heads and Corrigans Beach.


MOGO

One of the quaintest towns you’ll ever encounter is Mogo. It takes about 5 minutes driving through the main street but there is so much to see and enjoy. The town was established during the Gold Rush after an alleged gold find in 1851. Bimbimbie, the last gold mine in the area, closed in 1984 which left the town to survive as a sleepy highway town.


During the 1990’s it came back to life with a growth in regional tourism. Today, Mogo is home to a variety of tourist-centric stores including art galleries, furniture stores, potters, and cafes.


Another great attraction is the Mogo Wildlife Park. It is a private zoo which specialises in endangered species breeding programs. Although on the smaller side for a zoo, it is home to many exotic species.


The town might be small, but it has a big list of attractions that has to be enjoyed like the Mogo Trading Post, Mogo Fudge and Ice Cream and the Mogo Wildlife Park.


BODALLA

Another cute as a button town on the NSW South Coast which was founded on the back of cheese production and dairy farming in the 1860’s, is Bodalla.


The Bodalla Dairy is a must visit. The dairy was founded in 1989 and in 2008 they built the Dairy Shed Cafe and Bodalla Dairy, a micro-dairy in the heart of town.


They wanted to create a space where they can keep the milk brimming with fresh grassy goodness and alive. It gives them the opportunity to bottle milk exactly the way they want – by hand with locals.


Another special thing they do is animal feeding twice a day where you can bottle feed their poddy calves, which as a cow lover I love!


I visited one of the smallest bakeries I have ever stepped in at BodallaBakery, where they have a lot on offer including incredible picnic boxes which you can pre order and enjoy as part of a lovely day out on the South Coast.


Depending on if you’ll enjoy the box on the day of pick up or the day after they cater accordingly with a variety of sandwiches, baby quiches and pies, an assortment of sweet treats, scones with all the trimmings or a sweet and savoury nibble box with nuts, charcuterie items, crackers and cheese and some delicate tarts.


NAROOMA

The name Narooma has been derived from the Yuin word "noorooma" which means "clear, blue water". Driving along the waters edge that is indeed all you see with the crystal-clear water calling your name.


Dubbed as one of the most picturesque towns on the NSW south coast, Narooma has stunning cobalt blue waters and a beautiful old steel bridge. There are many photo opportunities along the way, but one that has to be stopped at is Australia Rock on Bar Rock Road.


The rockface has a hole in it which has been named Australia Rock as when you look at it from the correct angle it bears a resemblance to the shape of Australia.



CENTRAL TILBA

At the foothills of Mount Gulaga you will find the charming village of Central Tilba offering you a chance to visit the past and walk through well maintained colonial heritage villages.


The tightly held town is filled with colourful old-world shops snuggled among a forever green landscape.



There is history around every corner, like the historic two-story Dromedary Hotel which still has much of its original charm and feel, where people have gathered for over 120 years at the, the charming lolly shop across the road with a very old-school feel inside, shelves packed to the brim with all sorts of treats to discover and a relaxed and leisurely feel hanging in the air rewarding the choice of walking through a time gone by.


Akolele and Barragga Bay

Akolele is a Metropolitan location I drove through, but I was taken aback by the beautiful green and sea landscape and had to take a moment to stop and take it in.


Barragga Bay is just south of Bermagui and on a clear day promise loads of fun on the beach and clear water. The only official clothing-optional beach of the Sapphire Coast is the next beach over known as Armands Beach (who knew!).



Mimosa Rocks National Park

I did further research into the Mimosa Rocks National Park and to my surprise there is a lot more to do than what I saw when I drove through. The park is located near Bega on the far south coast of NSW and is a favourite for camping, birdwatching and fishing.


The name was derived from the Paddle Steamer Mimosa which wrecked in 1863 after running onto rocks at the northern end of the park. The road winds through surrounded by trees as far as the eye can see which left me calm but also feeling like I would not like to be stuck there at night!


Tathra

I took a bit of a detour to stop at the Tathra Hotel and am I glad I did. Hovering on the headland and surrounded by pristine coastline, the hotel has been a welcoming meeting place for more than 100 years.


The existing hotel was built in 1888 but prior to that it had a very interesting history. The Brighton was the first hotel in Tathra, and it was run and owned by Mrs Jane White from the White family from Bega in 1875. An inquiry was held after the mysterious destruction of The Brighton by fire in 1881 and the White family was called to provide evidence. Jane, who run and owned the hotel, was tried for arson but found not guilty.


The original Tathra Hotel (the second hotel) stood next to the present post office. In 1883 there was an inquest held there following the death at the wharf on the steamer Kameruka the day before of seaman Alfred Swansen. The jury at the inquiry found that Mr. Swansen’s death was an accident which occurred when he got entangled in the steam winch on board the steamer on 13 May


Due to the restricted refrigeration at the time, his body was held at the hotel as it was a requirement under earlier liquor laws that hotels had to be able to store dead bodies awaiting funeral arrangements and inquests.




J.W. Twyford built the existing hotel and kept boats and guns for guests use. In 2016/2017 owners Cliff Wallis and Sayaka Mihara decided to complete a full renovation of the bistro, bar and upstairs rooms and they removed all the poker machines and TAB creating the beautiful hotel it is today.


I enjoyed a magnificent cup of coffee on the deck, soaking up some sun and taking in the breathtaking views.

Eden

Eden is a historic town famous for its captivating whale history and the story of the wild killer whales who hunted with the Yuin people. Today it is known as one of the best whale watching locations in Australia. During spring thousands of humpbacks visit Eden on their way home to Antarctica.



The town is set in Twofold Bay, the third-deepest natural harbour in the Southern Hemisphere. A few must do’s in the area is the Eden Killer Whale Museum, the Killer Whale self-drive trail, Green Cape lighthouse in Ben Boyd National Park or just a leisurely stroll through the town with historic buildings marked with plaques with information.

Mallacoota

If you’re like me you’ve heard of Mallacoota because of the devasting fires in December 2019 but don’t know much about the town.


Mallacoota is a largely undeveloped coastal village, situated on the edge of the magnificent Croajingolong National Park - one of the country’s most ecologically significant and beautiful places. Listed by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve it has over 250 bird, 52 mammal as well as 70 native wildflower species.


With a handful of accommodation options in Mallacoota itself, we stayed at Karbeethong Lodge and it offered way more than what we bargained for. With spectacular water views, the lodge sits elevated on a 4476m2 with striking green grass and a country feel.


Built in 1904, Karbeethong Lodge was built with electricity, a remarkable feat for the time. All the bedrooms are segregated with their own ensuite but there is a communal kitchen, sitting and dining room to encourage guests not to sit in their rooms but to interact with each other and the surrounds.


It has been operating as a guesthouse since 1922 and there’s never been tv’s or a radio since it opened, leaving you to fully enjoy the sound of nature and silence around you.


The town is very laid back with not a lot going on for city people, so if you feel the need to escape and nurture your soul, this is the place to be. There are several beaches that you can visit, all in close proximity to each other and Mallacoota has a WWII bunker which was used as the Royal Australian Air Force’s headquarters at the time. The bunker has been restored by the Mallacoota Historical Society and the RSL and today it operates as a museum.



All roads lead to Rome. So next time, why not take the scenic route?






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