Les had already left when we got up, he had apparently just caught the 5.30 bus that would start his journey to Adelaide where he was to spend the next week doing some jobs around his daughter’s house. At 8.30 when Darolyn arrived with her basket of breakfast goodies we had already been entertained by the Rosella parrots on the veranda – both adults and some youngsters who had yet to develop their red plumage.
The breakfast was to the same high standard and magically produced in the little kitchen in the corner of the room. Throughout we chatted to Darolyn and heard more tales of the family and the highlights and one or two lowlights of running an establishment like Goldsmith’s in the Forest. While we were talking there was a lyrebird bathing in the pond just outside the window. It was all fascinating and difficult to tear ourselves away from. We must go back and stay longer – it is a real treasure of a location. Sadly we had to move on. There was a long drive ahead as our next stop was Batemans Bay – the holiday location of the Canberra glitterati we were told, but it was nearly 400 kilometres away.
Reluctantly we said our farewells and after a brief call into Lakes Entrance itself with its black swans and attractive waterside, we were back on the Princes Highway, getting ever closer to Sydney. The road continued its meandering, sometimes following the coast and sometimes somewhat inland. We were constantly crossing creeks with very unlikely names, some recalling those early pioneers and some obviously in aboriginal language. The morning progressed into midday and then early afternoon when we reached a place called Eden where we had been told whales had been sighted. It is apparently the time when they move up from their Antarctic habitat. Eden is a big fishing port and we found a cafe where we purchased a fish sandwich a took it to the look out point on the headland.
As we were finishing our lunch overlooking the sea, a lady returning to her car next to us said that the white recurring wave just off the end of the promontory we were looking at was a hump backed whale. Great excitement, but Keith even with his birthday binoculars was not prepared to commit himself to agreeing. So we shall never know. Perhaps we saw a whale, perhaps we did not. Who can tell? It was a lovely view anyway!
If you look very carefully you can just see a speck of white just off the end of the headland…….!
And so we drove on through the afternoon – the scenery was glorious. As the afternoon progressed the tree lined road opened out and it looked more and more like the Lake District. The drive is definitely a very close second to the Great Ocean Road for us. It was beautiful – the route often crossing wider rivers as we got further north. The sun was gradually setting to our left and the colours and reflections were amazing. It eventually began to get dark and we were running through towns and more built up areas and around 6.30 we reached Batemans Bay but could see little of it in the dark.
Our accommodation was a hacienda style establishment a little way out of town. I was pleased to get out and stretch my legs. Our hostess, Rhonda, greeted us enthusiastically (she had called at about 5.30 to confirm that we were going to arrive!) and was keen to tell us she had upgraded us at no extra cost – showing us our original room before taking us to our new upgraded ‘king sized’ location. Everything was absolutely pristine.
Knowing that the Batemans Bay Manor did not supply an evening repast, we had purchased some prawns at Eden and we dined on these with lemons helpfully provided by Rhonda.
The Bateman Bay Manor residents Handbook was an absolute hoot. It took the form of a book of regulations once you had read the ‘Welcome’ salutation! Every situation was covered! It was priceless – which the various items you could buy certainly were not. They came with a hefty dollar sign!
Nevertheless it was a lovely luxury after our long drive and our king sized bed even had a dual control electric blanket!