Southern Coastline Day 206 - Melbourne to Sydney

Sunday, Feb 14, 1999 at 01:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

We finished our touring with a quick look at Bells Beach, Torquay before driving right through Melbourne and out towards the East coast. We stopped for the night in the Holey Plains State Park which has camp sites for free use because it is not governed by Vic Parks. David climbed the watch-tower and we did a little bushwalk though to the banksia grove in the morning before driving on to Lakes Entrance via Seapray, the Coastal National Park, and Sale. With the weather still foggy and overcast Lakes Entrance didn't appeal so we found a little campground just the other side of town in the Lake Tyers State Forest (free). I felt like some driving as all this long-distance sitting has made me become quite bored. I had a few troubles with the trailer and got David all worked up into a rage because I couldn't reverse properly even though he was telling me how! Anyway, we found so many campsites in along Lake Tyers it didn't matter where we went we were alone. We didn't do any fishing but I believe there is lots to be caught there.

On Monday morning we lifted camp again with me at the helm, and drove to Malacoota. The roads were windy and narrow and after only 2 hours I was exhausted and handed the driving back over to David who got us safely to Malacoota by lunchtime. We spent 2 hours errecting our tarp to get some shade which ended up protecting us from the rain and then spent the afternoon fishing. David was the first along the beach to bring in a big salmon and then caught another on his last bit of bait. We cooked up a thai yellow fish curry with rice and slept in until 9.30am because it has turned dark and overcast just for something different.

We had a perfectly lazy day today spending most of it at our camp site overlooking the Malacoota Inlet. By late afternoon however, we drove to the beaches to go fishing for more salmon. I just don't seem to be having any luck with fishing at the moment so I took a chair and a book. When we got to our beach it was surprizingly crowded with other people beach fishing, kids playing and dogs running along the tide line barking at the incoming tide. It was one of those magical summer evenings and while David fished I went walked the full length of all the beaches almost back to the inlet (about 2.5km) and jogged the whole way back. I felt much better for doing some exercise and wondered why I have done more of it! I suppose you wouldn't believe me if I said I haven't found the time? Anyway, I ended up throwing in a line when I got back from my run and instantly caught a salmon! Since there was some action I kept at it and by 9pm when we returned to our camp we had 6 salmon, 2 caught by me and the rest caught by David. Interestingly enough I caught mine on lures and David caught his using pilchards.

We got talking to some locals last night who seemed to know what they were talking about and explained that the inlet is too shallow now for windsurfing and that's why nobody goes out anymore here. We decided to leave - figuring we may as well move on if it's not windy.

We've decided not to spend any more money that we absolutely have to so we can afford to set ourselves up when we get back to Sydney but that means no more scuba diving or tourist activities. David says we've got all the windsurfing gear and its free if there's wind so we are happy to fish and sit around and wait for the wind or drive further north!

We drove to Merimbula today, which was only about 80kms I think and we were both impressed with how pretty the town was. There seemed to be a good spot for windsurfing and sure enough around lunchtime the wind picked up and we were able to sail with about half a dozen others, including an 18 year old girl who had previously won the state junior wave title. She had been trained by the old guy Algie who runs the board school and hire by the river.

We stayed in Merimbula for another two days and really enjoyed ourselves because we could windsurf every day in beautiful clear water with shallow sandy bottom. David had a lesson from Algie and improved greatly. Looking back, we probably should have stayed longer in Merimbula but you never can guess what the weather's going to do. We were paying for a powered site at the caravan park, quite a splurge, but they had an indoor heated pool, steam room and water slide which we took advantage of. It was really very relaxing there.

There are still many potentially good spots to go windsurfing along the south coast so we decided not to spend all our time here and to start moving north. We drove all along the coast through the national parks and forests and visited the little towns of Tathra, Tuross Head, Batemans Bay, Ulladulla and finally arrived at St Georges Basin. We checked into a caravan park at Huskisson (Jervis Bay) but didn't go sailing as there was very little breeze.

We had been told by locals that the windsurfing all happened along the beach out the front of our caravan park so we spent the morning lazing on the beach until we felt the seabreeze come in. We then spent the rest of the day driving around looking for people windsurfing. We drove all around Huskission, Vincentia, even up the highway to Gerora (past Nowra) and finally looked at Sanctuary Point in St Georges Basin where we found about 50 sailboarders packing up for the day after a big interclub racing event. At least we knew where the best sailing location was now!

The morning was very much like yesterday, bit of sunbaking on the beach, anyone would think we were on holidays! Anyway, as soon as we felt a puff of breeze we were off to Sanctuary Point. There were almost as many people there as yesterday which was great fun. We rigged up the 6.0m and shared it between us. The locals have formed themselves a sailboarding club that has attracted members who travel from Canberra, Woolongong and beyond. They are very keen, all have both race boards and big slalom/fun boards. Every Sunday the club holds races and depending on the wind the course races attract about 40 sailers and the slalom about 20. I ended up going in one of the course races with my 6.0m on my tiny 260 slalom board and almost sank trying to point to the upwind mark. Oh well, it was fun anyway.

It had rained during the night and we didn't like our chances for a good nor-easter during the day so we planned ourselves a little exploring around the bay. We drove out to Currurong and took a bush walk to the site of the wrecked SS Merimbula, a 1930s steamer who ran around on a rock shelf here. Unfortunately, we couldn't visit the Pt Perpindicula Lighthouse today due to a Navy exercise in full progress. We treated ourselves to lunch out, burgers at the pub bistro, and watched a storm front pass over bringing both rain and wind. We hurriedly went to Sanctuary Point and found 3 sailers had been out but the wind had now dropped off. We waited for the rest of the afternoon but it didn't come back up so we occupied ourselves with reading and playing connect-4 and people watching.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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