Friday, September 14, 2018

A Short Trip to the Southern Highlands

The daughter’s grandma died so she made a quick trip ‘home’ from New York and stayed with her mother on the Southern Highlands.
We went up that way to see her and catch up over lunch.
View from Cambewarra Mountain Outlook

We drove to the small historic village of Burrawang from Nowra on the coast via the Cambewarra Mountain pass into the Kangaroo Valley and then up the Barrengarry Mountain pass to the Southern Highlands.
Both passes are narrow and winding with many hairpin bends and are quite steep in places. It can be a bit of a challenging drive but not too much if you take it easy.
Kangaroo Valley Suspension Bridge (1898)

A 10℃ lower temperature at 700m above sea level on the highlands made for a pleasant change from a very unseasonably hot day at home.
The Burrawang village hotel has been refurbished and it serves great food in its lovely back garden.

We spent the night in Bowral, one of the main towns in the region. The area is a popular weekend getaway for Sydneysiders. Being at altitude and experiencing relatively cold winters they are able to grow lots of exotic cold climate plants like bulbs. Bowral is famous for its tulip festival. Plenty of daffodils were already in flower.

The co driver did some quilt store shopping before we headed out to eat. We came across, by chance, the Eccetera Trattoria and Pizzeria.
Wow! What a find!
For entree I had marinated fried sardine fillets Sicilian style served with lemon and aioli and the co driver beef fillet carpaccio, rocket, apple, balsamic, parmesan and crostini.
For a main we shared a delicious pizza washed down with an Italian Pinot Grigio.

Some of the best Italian food we have had in Australia.
Next morning we found the Gumnut Patisserie for breakfast. Pastries to die for and great coffee.
After a walk around town to shed the kilojoules, we headed a few km down the road to Berrima to a quilt store well known to the co-driver.
Berrima was established in the 1830s and is widely recognized today as one of the best preserved examples of a Georgian village on the Australian mainland.

The sandstone gaol, recently reopened for low security inmates, and courthouse are significant historic buildings.
Then it was time for the return journey.
We decided on a different way stopping at Robertson to see the Big Potato.
Now, some Australian towns build 'big things' their areas are famous for as tourist attractions. These include a merino ram, prawn, lobster, banana, pineapple. You can see a selection here.

The Robertson one has to be the worst. Despite all efforts to have it removed the locals want it to remain. Its alternative name is the Big Turd for obvious reasons.
Then it was down to the coast via the Jambaroo Pass, another winding and much narrower road than the one up. Trucks and long vehicles are banned from using the road. Thankfully there was little traffic and the trip through the dense temperate rain forest on the eastern side of the escarpment was wonderful.

The road eventually ended up at Kiama on the coast and from there the highway south to home is very familiar territory.
A nice night away. Great to see the daughter and we will catch up again in New York mid next next year.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Willinga Park / Sculpure on the Clyde / Part 1

Willinga Park is an 800 ha (2000 acre) property behind Bawley Point that has been turned from a run down cattle farm into a state of the art equestrian centre.
Not everyone welcomed this development and there was considerable disruption to the amenity of the area during its construction, which continues, as well as on event days.
But it has provided a much needed boost to employment in the area and seems to be a little more tolerated as time goes on.
For the last week they have had on display the outdoor work in the Sculpture on the Clyde exhibition. The indoor work is in Batemans Bay, a 25 minute drive to the south.
We went along on the first day of spring which turned out to be a warm sunny day.
Much of the area has been beautifully landscaped with numerous native plants and trees as well as a water features. As with all properties in our region the drought has taken its toll on the pasture areas which are sadly very brown.

Coffee, picnic hampers and blueberry ice cream from the Clyde River Berry Farm were available. We spent two hours walking the suggested route which had a total of 53 works on display and then stopped in the shade of some huge spotted gums for our soft serve fix.
As with all sculpture, some resonated and others didn’t.
Work ran the gambit of abstract to quirky, examples of which are shown below.