Narooma, swimming, fishing and wooden boats

No work Friday, meant that we headed to the coast early. Mr P took Dusty down  the mountain on Thursday and I hitched a lift with No1 daughter and No1 grandchild on early Friday morning. We made for Batemans Bay, we had a date with family to make our Christmas puddings.

Puddings made and Mr P arrived showing off his fishing spoils from the previous night. We hit the road south at around 2 o’clock for a night of fishing up the river. No joy on the fishing front, it was a perfect night though for dinner around the fire and a bottle of red.  Saturday dawned and I set off for an early morning paddle, at that magic time when the mist  rises off the water, before the breeze comes up. P kept up with the fishing, but apart from being bitten off by a stingwray it was pretty uneventful.
Nice flathead
After a clean up of rubbish from  around the camp site we headed into Narooma for the Wooden Boat Afloat at Fosters Bay. It was a picture perfect day for snappers, Narooma has the most amazing blue water and you need a just the right light to show it off.

Fosters Bay has some really cute boat sheds. After a wander through the sheds set up as art galleries and some lunch we drove over to Bar Beach, to do what everyone does at Bar, sit and chat with mates, swim and more chatting. Fortunately we made the most of the glorious weather before the Southerly hit on Sunday mid morning.

Overnight Campers Steal Prime Real Estate

I have been following the ongoing dispute between grey nomads and local councils over the closure free camps sites and rest areas along the east coast of Australia with interest over the past months. These councils are being lobbied by members of the powerful Caravan Park Owners Association.

These same caravan park owners were not at all concerned when they filled their parks with en-suite cabins and drove many of the local motels and hotels out of business a few years ago. The reasoning behind the closures is usually the high cost to up keep the primitive facilities and the need to provide a sustainable alternative.

The  desicions to close many of the sites is exacerbated by the fact that some backpackers just don’t get that it is not OK to wash your dishes in the public toilet sink or throw your rubbish in the bush if there is no bin. Let alone when you crap in the bush you need to dig a hole and bury it.

How do we educate our visitors to adhere to these simple principles of Leave No Trace?

  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Always leave a camp site cleaner that you found it
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimise campfire impacts
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate to landowners and other visitors 
Simple no frills camp sites are part of our easy going way of life that need to be maintained and protected. The other alternative is a lineup of Big4’s in every town. Let me know your opinions.

Swinging Bridge, Wee Jasper, NSW

Saturday morning.

We had an important engagement, on the DC social calendar on Saturday morning, No1 grandchild’s No1 birthday party. This meant that we would not be on the road until after midday. 

Wee Jasper is about 100 klms. from Canberra and after  a stop at the shops in Yass we  arrived around 3 o’clock. There are 4 camping reserves in the area, run by Wee Jasper Reserves. We checked out Billy Grace, Swinging Bridge and Micalong Greek. Billy Grace and Micalong Creek have flush toilets and were well patronised. We chose Swinging Bridge and apart from a couple of fishermen we had it to ourselves. None of us minding the long drop loos. 

 The camp sites are  spread out along the bank of the  Goodradigbee River with of plenty of  shade. Best of all you can have a camp fire (you need to bring your own wood) we did and also scavanged some from the other side of the river. The kayaks came in handy for this. The birding was great especially from the water though it was delinately too cold for more than a quick swim.  I managed to tick off 23 species on my bird list, add to that a number of small birds that were too quick to identify. The new prototype sailing kayak was given a test run more on this in the weeks to come.

Wee Jasper is close enough to Canberra for us to delay our return till  early Monday morning, enabling the un-retired to be in the office by 9 o’clock.

How to find a good camp spot.

I use a list and lots of research to locate a good camp spot. My ideal spot will tick most of these boxes.

  • Camp fires allowed
  • Free or low cost camp site
  • Location, location – waterfrontage
  • Shade
  • Views
  • Toilets
  • Showers

5 ways to find a good  camp site
  1. National Parks Camp site list or post a question on Free Camping Australia’s Facebook page.
  2. Do a search on Flickr this will give you an idea of how the site looks.
  3. Word of mouth, chew the fat with other campers or ask a local at the Tourist Info Centre.
  4. Google Earth is great for finding that elusive spot.
  5. Follow other bloggers who are passionate about camping.

What do you think? What’s your experience. Do leave a comment.

The new addition

After a couple of trips loading the kayaks into the back of the van, it was decided that we needed a trailer. One that would give us some additional secured storage space and not be too heavey. Gumtree was consulted and we came up with this little beauty. The Venter trailer brand is from South Africa and we picked this one up in Sydney 2nd hand.

Shallow Crossing Camping Experience

This post is from a couple of weekends ago, when we took the van to the backwaters of the Clyde River inland from Batemans Bay, for some birdwatching and kayaking. Our trailer was not yet ready and we had to load the kayaks into the back to transport. They fitted, but it was a bit of a pain. Shallow Crossing is where the fresh and salt water meet. The water level is dependant on the flow and the size of the tide, we have a very low clearance so we timed out drive to coincide with low tide.

The  camp site runs along the river bank, it has plenty of shade shelters with picnic tables and you can light a fire. There are hot showers and drop toilets. We did not see Jim the owner while we were there, I presume that he must have been away as the ammenities were never cleaned and it looked like it had been sometime since the rubbbish had been removed.

Having done our share of campsite cleaning it didn’t worry us, but I was tempted to give Jim a few tips should he have appeared to collect the site fees.

Kangaroo Valley October Long Weekend

A weekend away from our haunts along the south coast always takes some research. So after looking up the  NSW National Parks website and some good tips from Loving the South Coast’s Facebook page we decided on Bendeela Campground at Kangaroo Valley for Saturday night. Then we would see how the weekend went.

Bendeela was a big surprise and I love a free campsite. The security man on the gate who took our registration number and licence details said that at 11am when we arrived there were approximately 1,000 people on site. BUSY…. we looked around and everything was very orderly. It is amazing how organised campers can be without heaps of signs and rules and regulations. No fires and no camping along the river bank..simple. By 10pm that night all I could hear was the distant hum of the power station up river.

The water was a bit to chilley for a long swim, we made the most of the glassey conditions on Sunday morning and put the kayaks in. The paddling is great , plenty of bird and animal life and almost no currant.