Between where we live on the coast and the beautifully rugged Budawangs which form part of the Great Dividing Range to the west is the Clyde River valley. This area is home to many State Forest areas as well as National Parks. It is also home to many people who want to get away from it all and live a quiet secluded rural lifestyle. Many have small acreages, hobby farms as well as larger commercial cattle enterprises.
Photo: James Lamb
The area has quite a history. Two minor gold rushes in the mid and late 1800s brought it to prominence and subsequently it was a centre of a thriving timber industry. Brooman the main centre no longer exists apart from a dilapidated road sign.
The area is serviced by some pretty rough, narrow, winding, unsealed roads and a labyrinth of fire trails. There is a definite lack of signage and it’s not too difficult to take a wrong turn and get a little lost.
The co driver’s quilt group is meeting out that way on a property for their Christmas lunch in a few weeks so we thought we would take an exploratory detour on our way to Batemans Bay for date day and lunch at Innes Boat Shed.
The road west took us out of the lush temperate rain forest country of the coastal strip and into the river valley. Turning south, we followed the very windy road along the Clyde to Shallow Crossing where we crossed the river on the water covered causeway.
From here the river widens as it heads to the old port of Nelligen and eventually spills into the ocean at Batemans Bay. The country here is tall timber, mostly spotted gums, with an understorey of cycads eg.burrawangs. It was a pleasant river drive for the most of the way. We only came across two other vehicles the two hours we were on the road.
Once in ‘the Bay’, we headed for the Boatshed for our monthly fix of fish and chips (and potato scallops). This simple place sits over the water and serves the best fresh fish and chips in the area. It has been there for 50 years. No credit cards, stand in line to order and pay, no table service, clean up after you! The local council awarded a developer a contract to redevelop the site. The locals were appalled that this institution would be pulled down and replaced by a modern glass and aluminium monstrosity but all protests and petitions were in vain. However the global financial crises apparently sent the developer to the wall.
Innes remain there on a monthly lease. We all relish this stay of execution.