We landed in Sydney, in the middle of hurricane season on the east coast of Australia.
The season is not long in coming to do its thing. We stretched the trip as far as we could to the back of New South Wales.
At eight-thirty at night, after seven hours of driving with quick stops, we surrendered to exhaustion and the night. We are at the gates of Batemans Bay. Canberra, the mysterious Aussie capital appears at almost the same latitude, but inland.
The original plan revolved around exploring the Jervis Bay region. It seemed like a good idea to do it from there and we looked for accommodation.
During the Australian summer, the prices were somewhat frightening, especially since we expected to continue traveling for nine or ten months.
We ended up renting a humble cabin at a campsite surrounded by forest.
Dismayed, we prepared to sleep when the storm generated by a cyclone that had ventured to southern Australia unleashed a deluge on us.
A battle of such intensity that it seemed to us that it could blow through the roof of the cabin.
With a rhythm marked by lightning and thunder, these, long and booming on a scale that bordered on the absurd. The storm became doubly distressing: we could barely keep our eyes open due to exhaustion.
At the same time, the rain, the flashes, the noises and the fear of being swept away by an expected flood, all together, prevented us from closing them.
We remained in this impasse for a long time. Until tiredness takes over and rescues us from the storm.
When we woke up, the worst was over, but, even though it had weakened, the rain continued throughout the morning.
Finally, the Sunny South Coast of Batemans Bay
We left the cabin around 11am. Two hours later, the clouds gave way to some sun.
We were back on the road, heading to Surf Bay and then South Durras.
Throughout this area of New South Wales there are coves and beaches with landscapes and surf idolized by surfers.
We were more inclined to enjoy the scenery. Without us expecting it, it is South Durras that keeps us longer.
We crossed the River Clyde which flows into Batemans Bay, heading north.
Durras, one of New South Wales' many Pacific Lakes
In Benandarah, with the unusual lake of Durras ahead, we return to the coast, to an open cove of the same name. We never got far from the lake.
Its fresh water almost entered the ocean.
At that time of year, only a strip of grass almost two meters high separated them.
And, almost on the sand, another, smaller one, covered in lush grass.
This fresh grass attracted a community of kangaroos who enjoyed their peaceful marsupial life.
The kangaroos, the first ones we saw in that second trip to Australia, attracted us and our always voracious photographic appetite.
We started photographing them from a distance.
Unable to resist, we got closer.
Animals tolerate what they tolerate. Suddenly, a dozing mother gets up.
When he sees us take another step towards one of his cubs, he first tries a kick, followed by a punch.
We dodge in time to avoid broken facial bones. Relieved, we returned him to his sacred space. We indulge in less risky missions.
We walked along the beach, with yellowish sand that, despite the weather, still contrasted with an emerald-turquoise South Pacific that invited us to exchange everything for swimming.
The fascination with the beach and the eucalyptus trees that, for the most part, surrounded it soon wore off.
Aware that, inland, another somewhat labyrinthine lake world extended, we returned to the car.
Fish, Pelicans and Fishermen
We lead to discovery.
We head down a winding, dark road lined with yellow-black diamonds warning of the presence of kangaroos and wallabies.
The road leaves us over an immensity of dark water that seemed deep to us.
All around, sitting on garden benches, others with their feet soaking, fishermen were competing for fish from the lake.
Nearby, a sign informs which sizes are allowed to fish depending on each species.
It had dozens of species illustrated. As we got closer, we realized that it was a legislative framework applicable to the state of New South Wales, not just Durras.
Anyway, we quickly confirmed that the lake was full of fish. How do we find out?
Well... apart from the dozens of fishermen, there were many more Australian pelicans floating in its waters, equally immersed in the aquatic environment.
Some were grouped together next to the dock ramps that served a few houses scattered around.
Heading to Northern New South Wales
The whimsical outlines of the lake and the 44km forest and coastline of Murramarang National Park to the north, force us to head inland.
On the way to the state's main thoroughfare and here and there around it, the settlers and their descendants had cleared portions of wooded New South Wales for cattle and dairy farms.
Turkish cows dotted endless explored pastures.
Peace-loving families exploited that large-scale farming and livestock farming.
Artistic mailboxes lost in the green expanse made the postman's job easier and identified them: “Anderson. Wickam Hill.”
We were, however, spending too much time in each new place we stopped and too far from the area of the itinerary that we had established as the focal point. We decided to approach, without unjustified detours, Jervis Bay.
As we expected, accomplishing such a challenge proved to be complicated.
Until then, the South Coast ascended through new national parks, forests, beaches and seductive lakes. Unwillingly, we only stopped in Huskisson, a small port village (less than 800 inhabitants) located at the mouth of the Currambene River.
Huskisson and New South Wales' Naval Past
In colonial times in the middle of the XNUMXth century, Huskisson found himself in a civilizational quagmire for which few saw a solution.
After a decade, judicious investment in a naval shipyard changed its destiny. Between 1864 and 1977 (until 1940 without even having electricity), the town built 130 sailing and steam vessels of considerable size, including four boats that the United States Navy used against the Japanese Empire in the New Guinea campaign.
He also delivered many more trawlers, barges and small ships to private individuals, most of which were not even registered.
By itself, Huskisson's estuarine location would mean little or nothing.
It should be added that, to the east and onwards, stretches the vast Jervis Bay, made famous when the Aussie inhabitants of Sydney quality Melbourne They discovered, early on, that its beaches had the whitest sand and the most crystal clear and colorful sea on the entire South Coast.
The same family that developed the shipyards, the Dents, opened Huskisson's first hotel in 1893, as well as a series of seaside inns.
Today, Huskisson houses a kind of thematic mix of its history.
We found Currambene full of boats.
The Famous and Pristine Jervis Bay
For fishing, but above all for recreation, always ready to set sail with visitors to Jervis Bay. As we walk along the riverbank, we come face to face with a companion of a tour to Uluru rock that we participated in two years ago, Kevin.
A South Korean based in Sydney, Kevin had taken a few days off to relax in Jervis Bay. We chatted a bit.
He advises us to check out this and that beach. It's something we rush to do.
We enter the bay through its Hyams beach.
There we were amazed by its surreal whiteness, instead of coral, made of quartz, of silica grains almost as translucent as water and which exacerbate the dominant emerald and bluish tones that the sun's rays generate depending on the depth.
We have to confess that, at the time, the scientific part of the issue did not cross our minds.
The bad weather and our photographic obsession had made us postpone our well-deserved dives for too long. There we recovered them.
There we renewed them, from time to time, during an invigorating walk to the tip of Murray Beach.
After the storm came the calm. Rewarded with the South Coast, we extended our discovery of New South Wales for almost a fortnight.
Followed by Solomon Islands.