Mystery Road Trip – Canberra Day Long Weekend

After a week of temperatures in the mid 30’s and a hectic work schedule, it was great to load up the van and head for a long weekend at the coast. Mr P loaded his kayak and fishing gear, hopeful to provide at least a lunch or dinner.

Our destination was Mystery Bay  on the NSW Far South Coast. Fortunately the road workers along the King’s Highway decided to finish early and the stop and go men had packed up by the time we passed Braidwood. After a stop at the wonderful IGA in Moruya we made it to the campground by early afternoon, keen for that long awaited swim. What a shock, the sea temperature had dropped from 24 degrees on Tuesday to a shivering 18 degrees, very refreshing.

The cold ocean temperature and warm land temperature caused a thick sea fog to roll in and by Saturday midmorning it was a real pea souper. The fish weren’t biting as much due to the cold water as the fact that Corunna Lake has silted up again after being opened by National Parks in July. I walked the track around the lake near the highway to pick up a decent tally of birds.

Sunday morning and we decided to take a drive over to Bombala via Mt Darragh, stopping at Candelo village and Six Mile Creek on the way. We stayed the night at the lovely little caravan park on the banks of the Bombala River. It was a full house and we were lucky to snag a great unpowered site with a view the river reserve. The Canberra Caravan Club were in for the weekend pow wow. Vans with cutesey  owners’ name plaques (“Wes and Betty”) great fun for some I suppose, please shoot me if I ever think this is a good idea. Plenty of good birding spots with a highlight of a Collared Sparrow Hawke and Blue Billed Duck.

A quick stop on the way home at the little lake at Nimmitabel for a cuppa and wander around.

Just a little TLC needed
Just a little TLC needed
Six Mile Creek Campground
All in working order.
All in working order.
Candelo skyline


Australia Day Long Weekend Road Trip

Australia Day marks the end of the Christmas holiday season on the South Coast of NSW. This now means that all our favourite weekend haunts are not so busy. After an afternoon fish at Preddys Wharf at Moruya we drove down to Potato Point and parked at our favourite picnic area and toilet block. We didn’t want to attempt the road in the the National Park during the storm and in the dark. Dusty does not have great  undercarriage clearance, the low hanging water tank takes a bit of a pizzling on dirt tracks. After a top up with water and and a dash to the loo we set off to find the spot Mr P had located a few weeks earlier. This area is a maze of tracks and after a couple of wrong turns we found the spot in time for breakfast on the lake and what a view.

Saturday morning paddle to Borang Lake

I had hoped to photograph the 2 Little Eagles that I had spotted last weekend, so loaded the camera and tripod and set off after breakfast. Given the windy conditions, this was going to be a challenge. Midway down the creek past Horse Island the wind picked up from the south, I made good time with the tide in my favour reaching Borang in 1 hour and fifteen minutes. The paddle back was fine until I was  back in the open lake. My little boat had taken in quite a bit of water by the time I reached camp on the southern side of the lake. Round trip time 4.5 hours of paddling, I was shagged and no Little Eagles.

Sunday Morning and the north easterly was up early again, so we decided  to drive over to Coopers Island and explore that part of the river system. We have often given these bucolic dairy farming areas a wide berth because of the flies, but with the breeze today they weren’t too bad. It was a beautiful paddle downstream in to Trunkatebella Lake and upstream towards Tuross.
We decided to explore the camping possibilities along the river near the bridge on the drive south to Bodalla. Given that it was Australia Day proper, there were lots of Aussies, water skiing, jet skiing and sitting in plastic wading pools eating sausage sangers  so we opted for a quiet spot down stream of the bridge. We had the area to ourselves, probably because this part of the river does not have deep water access. A great spot for some more fishing and exploring of the river.

Fishing and birding

The windy conditions didn’t help, but we managed to eat fish each day with a nice bream to bring home. On the birding front I spotted 45 species, with this one seen on the shore of the lake closer to the beach, I think it’s a Black Fronted Dotterall and other suggestions?

Red Necks at Tuross

That was the sales pitch used by real estate agents in the 60’s and Tuross Heads is still a gem of a spot and our destination for the 2nd road trip of Summer. A later start from Canberra saw us at the Rustic Pizza again for our pickup at 6:50pm.

There are camps that are just too good to share, some of you may be able to guess the location of this one.

Great overnight camp


The reason why we were up so early.


Perfect paddling conditions

Tuross Lake is the breeding site of several endangered bird species. Before the king tides and heavy swells of the last 2 days there were 70  Fairy Terns and Little Terns nests on the  sand spit at the lake entrance. By Sunday morning these were reduced significantly. Hopefully it is still early enough in the season for these birds to lay more eggs.

Another endangered species Sooty Oystercatcher

Both Sooty and Pied Oystercatchers were observed either with chicks or sitting on eggs.

These Red Necked Stints breed in the Arctic and make the long distance flight to Tuross to escape the Northern Winter. Another species at risk.
These Hooded Plovers put on a great decoy display, that involved Mrs Plover running around pretending to have a broken leg. Thankfully she finally settled down and went back to nest sitting all under Mr Plover’s watchful eye.
Frank (20months) and his dad out collecting drift oysters, love the raft!
This is a popular spot for kayaking, the locals have cleverly dredged a channel from the beach the deeper part of the lake, all under the guise of digging for oysters.

Our first roadtrip for Summer

Destination Preddys Wharf.

An early start meant that I was able to get away from work by 3pm. The Friday afternoon traffic down the Clyde was orderly, probably the increased police presence helped. A wet road, down a mountain needs  a bit of respect.  At least 3 drivers were having a bad start to their weekend.

A stop in Moruya, for bait and a wood fired pizza, at a new place I had spotted on a previous trip. We opted for the Moruya River, great choice, just the right amount of anchovies. It was raining by the time we arrived at Preddys Wharf. So beer and pizza and wait for the rain to stop, in my case in bed early with my book.

Fish for lunch and diner, was the challenge and Mr P came up trumps. Shovel nose shark fillets and a nice pan size bream. Saturday morning and not a breath of wind, perfect  glassy conditions for my paddle up the Moruya River to the heads. Of note was a flock of 30 Little Terns, perched on the rocks.
After a trip to the Moruya markets and a stop in Broulee for the SMH, we headed to Tomakin, by now the sun was shining and we launched the kayaks and paddled up the Tomakin River. Mr P dropped a very nice bream, bigger than the earlier catch. I obligingly paddled back and collected the landing net from Dusty.
We decided to camp the night at Windsock Beach and try the beach for some salmon. No visible gutters along the beach and a large school of dolphins meant that the beach was not going to be fishing today. Fortunately there is always birding.


Noisy Friar Birds