Saturday 24 February – The sapphire coast is gleaming

Author: Mrs A

Location: Wallaga Lake, Central Tilba and Bermagui

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”

(Sam Keen, American Author)

It was a slow and lazy start to the morning, already up to mid 20s by 9am and steadily climbing. We took advantage of the heat to put some washing on before jumping back in the kayak for a paddle. It was even hot on the water, the promised breeze not really cooling us down much, but allowing for a sail across to the southern end of the lake.We did a short 4km paddle before returning to shore, deciding that air conditioned surroundings would be more suitable on a 35 degree day.

The very quaint village of Central Tilba is just a 15 minute drive from where we are staying, so we decided to visit the cheese factory there. This was more of a treat for Mr A, there not being much in the way of dairy-free or sheep milk options that I could tolerate. Tilba reminds me of a real life Hobbiton, not because the residents are all short with hairy feet (though some of them are!), but because it’s a collection of ridiculously sweet little cottages with gardens overflowing with flowers and names like Foxglove and Honeysuckle. The surrounding county side is very much reflective of its distant past seeped in volcanic activity, with steep hills and large granite bolders, long since smoothed and weathered.

Central Tilba’s cheese factory has been there since 1891, at one point owned by Bega (a large Australian producer) but now back in private hands. Mr A purchased a good selection of cheese and yoghurt, already preparing the platter for next weekend when we have several friends from Sydney joining us down in Eden. We strolled around the other stores, all stocking artisan products, leather goods, jewellery, photography, chocolates and pastries, Mr A even being well behaved and avoiding the lolly shop in favour of maintaining his relatively sugar free status.The mercury remained high for the afternoon, so we retired to the air conditioned caravan to read and relax.

This evening we booked a night out, to the centre of all local action – the Bermagui Country Club – it sounds much posher than it actually is! It does have a restaurant with a great reputation for seafood though, and we can both testify that reputation is well deserved. I had a HUGE seafood platter which apparently came with chips that I didn’t even reach, and Mr A went for the Blue Grenadier, in large. Both dishes under $35 for a lot of food! Wine was a Barossa cold climate Shiraz which was very drinkable for just $25 a bottle (although when Mark went to order it the lady behind the bar brought out a bottle of white….perhaps wine is not often bought here?). We caught the free courtesy bus both ways and are now safely tucked into the caravan as a huge storm has rolled in, taking the temperatures down finally, and making for a very cosy evening. Cheers folks!

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