Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Caves, Sea Creatures and Skateparks.

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on May 18, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Limestone formations

Limestone pillar

Royal cave

Boys being boys

Well  we left Phillip Island intending on a few free or bush camps but the weather forecast is for more torrential rain and floods so we decided to get as far away as possible in one day!  Wilson’s Promontory was high on our list to explore with some great walks and magnificent scenery but they had a massive storm in late March, getting 325mm of rain in just 24hrs which basically decimated the roads and the camp grounds at Tidal River.  It made the news, even when we were in Perth so we pushed on to Bairnsdale.

We stayed at the Bairnsdale Holiday Park, another Big 4 Park and the staff were so very helpful and lovely.  There are a few things to do here but the weather is just horrible with no end in sight to the rain so we’ll stay 2 nights so we can do the Buchan

Free camp at Genoa

Lollipop anyone

Caves and have a look at Lakes Entrance but keep heading north.  The Buchan Caves are underground limestone caves, thought to have been carved out by rivers millions of years ago and the limestone formations have occurred from the dripping water that seeps through the ground above, causing the formations of stalactites and stalagmites.  We toured the Royal Cave and thought it was okay but not as good as the caves in NT.  The caves have concreted floor walkways and when you get into the guts of the cave it gets very humid.  I had to keep wiping the lens of my camera just before each shot so it didn’t look cloudy all the time.  There were some amazing formations in the cave and there is a huge calcite-rimmed pool with a glistening thick calcite waterfall. We lunched at a local cafe then headed back via Lakes Entrance.  We drove through the main street and we could see that if the weather was better it would have been worthwhile to stop here for a couple of nights also.  We stopped at the lookout on the western-side of town and

Mad scientist No1

the kids had fun with the fixed binoculars, pretending they were artillery guns.  Yep the rain is getting to us all!

Mad scientist No 2

We packed up in the rain and headed further along the Victorian coast through Orbost and Cann River.  We stopped for lunch at a gorgeous little rest area called Thurra River Rest Area (Camps5 # 7)  There is a rainforest walk here and drop toilets but nothing else and would have been a good overnight stop if it were a bit later. We pushed on to Genoa and thought we’d head out to Mallacoota, which is right down on the coastline.  There were a couple of caravan parks, right on the beach that were quite busy considering the weather but we just took a walk around and to have a look then went back to Genoa where there was a free camp along the riverbanks, (Camps 5 # 3).  It was a lovely spot, nice and quiet and a few other campers as well.

Eden Jetty

We got to Eden and went to the tourist bureau to see what there was to do in town.  We went down to the wharf and had a walk around while we waited for the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre to open.  It only cost $15 for the family and inside there was a  video playing

Tathra wharf

about the area, showcasing the whales, a room with an electron microscope and a couple of normal microscopes and lots of different marine creatures and plants to look at under them.  The electron microscope was hooked up to a screen on the wall so you could see the results on a huge scale. There was also a few wall aquariums and a ‘touch and feel’ table and a touch tank with some new anemones – they were pretty cool and so soft! The staff were very friendly and informative and they try to promote awareness and sustainability of our coastal regions through the centre and their research. We grabbed some delicious fresh fish and chips for lunch from the shop next door and headed down to the jetty to eat, watching some very friendly pelicans annoying the fishing

View from the hill

View from other side


trawlers who had just come in with their catches.

Bega Cheese Museum

Next stop was Tathra. We stayed at the Seabreeze Holiday Park, another Big 4 Park.  It was a very family orientated park and as we are in school holidays the kids are looking forward to seeing some other kids. We don’t normally book ahead as we sometimes change our minds and take the ‘path less travelled’ which has taken us to some glorious places. We got the bikes off and went for a bit of a ride but the bike path doesn’t go into town as it is up a mountain but it did go for about 2.5km in the other direction.  Then Wade saw it, a skate park, only 200m from the front of the park. So armed with their rip-sticks off we went to mix it with the locals  There were a lot

Joel's wanna be yacht

Bateman's Bay Bridge

Beach near Caravan Park

of younger kids there on scooters and older ones on bikes but they all behaved themselves (not sure if was because of the parental presence or not).  I took a walk along the beach, up across the rocks and past the old, now restored Wharf and around the headland.  It was so beautiful and even with the clouds the sunset was still gorgeous. There is some fabulous maritime history associated with most of the coastal towns around here. We went to Bega to the cheese factory only you can no longer do a tour of the manufacturing, so we looked through the museum upstairs and did a mini cheese tasting and bought some very yummy cheese to take home.  After racing back to the car in the rain we were happy to see the sun when we got back to the caravan for some relaxing and the kids went back to the skate park. Wade had made a few friends at the park and was most disappointed when we said we were moving on to Bateman’s Bay tomorrow.

We travelled up towards Bateman’s Bay, stopping in at Bermagui to have a break and a look around.  It is a nice place and the wharf area has been done up very nicely.  We kept on up the coast picking out homes along the way that would be really nice to live in:) – just dreaming, you know, like if you won lotto……………..! We stayed at a caravan park in Bateman’s Bay but when we went to the tourist bureau we didn’t find much that we wanted to do.  We decided to get up-to-date with the washing, cleaning, odd jobs and the kids schoolwork. We managed to play a few games of tennis, always with the music playing and always a lot of laughs.  We also took a bike ride into the town centre and while we were there, we got to watch the main bridge lift up in the middle to allow some tall boats to pass through.  We let the kids ride on ahead and Joel and I wandered through the local harbour, with him selecting which yacht he liked best. Back to the van to pack up ‘cos we are heading to the cold, cold capital next.

Till next time,



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