Wednesday 24th of May
Bruthen to Eden
It was a beautiful fine morning at Bruthen when we awoke. It had rained lightly overnight, but as the sun rose the tent part of our camper dried off long before we had to pack it away for today’s drive to Eden on the southern coast of New South Wales (NSW). We had showered after our bicycle ride of yesterday so we did not need do do such again this morning, so after breakfast we began the task of packing away the camper.
We had finished packing and were leaving the caravan/camping park at Bruthen by 10.30 and briefly drove back into the town to buy a souvenir fridge magnet of the town at the town’s Tourist Information Centre; our camper is festooned with fridge magnets of places we have visited in Australia. Having got our magnet we headed out eastward from Bruthen heading first for Nowa Nowa where re rejoined the Princes Highway, the main east coast highway of Australia; we had actually left this highway a few days ago at Bairnsdale.
We were about 10 Km east of Bruthen when I happened to inquire of Linda: “Did you pack the bicycle pumps?” “What pumps?” my faithful assistant responded. “The ones I left on the tail board of the ute.” Stopped the ute and had a look on the tail board where I found one of the two pumps. An immediate retracing of steps back to Bruthen to perchance find the missing pump. Luckily it was found on the roadway just outside the caravan park, and luckily undamaged. Thus at about 10.50am did we finally depart Bruthen for Eden.
It was an easy and pleasant journey then to Nowa Nowa and on to Orbost where we briefly paused for a cup of coffee and a few biscuits for morning tea before once again setting off towards today’s destination. All the way from Bruthen to Eden the highway passes through the dense eucalypt forests of East Gippsland. One of the main businesses in the area is thus logging and saw milling, though with much of today’s concern with habitat and sustainability, the saw milling industry of East Gippsland is quite reduced from around 30 years ago.
The forests of East Gippsland are quite beautiful to drive through with very tall timbers lining the highways and huge tree ferns filling the gullies between the forested hills. Because of the hilly nature of the area, driving is not fast, one must be prepared for low overall average speeds in the area. But why speed, the countryside is stunning. For those of you interested in trees, and particularly structural timber trees; one of the main eucalypt species logged in the area is the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus Regnans), also known as Tasmanian Oak. It is a magnificent tree with an average height of 75m, with specimens known to have reached 100m, which makes the Mountain Ash the tallest flowering plant in the world. It is also one of the strongest and most durable hardwood species. Note: Flowering plant, Californian Sequoias are not flowering plants.
Around 1pm we stopped at the small town of Cann River where we had lunch at a local cafe’. Cann River featured in one of my stories about my and a mate’s bicycle ride around Victoria a few years ago. It was from Cann River that Keith (of Inverloch) and I set off for the long and arduous climb on our bikes up into the Australian Alps. But that is another, past, story, so back to the present. From Cann River Linda took over the driving for the last 120 Km into NSW and to Eden. We finally reached our pre-booked caravan park about 8 Km short of Eden proper at around 2.30pm.
Having checked in we selected a nice grassed site for our camper and spent about an hour setting ourselves up. Now a note on our camper: Our camper sits on the tray of our ute, and it’s living quarters are a canvas tent that folds out from the camper body itself. So as with tents and such, there is much putting up of poles, and pegging out rope lines to hold the whole rigmarole together. Why do we do such a complicated thing, when say a small caravan would suffice, taking about 15 minutes to set up? We do it because we can go places no caravan, no matter how strengthened of high clearance, can get into. Linda and I have seen more remote places in Australia than anyone with a caravan can ever do.
Set-up complete, we drove the 8Km into Eden proper to visits a supermarket. NB: If we, like most people, don’t visit a supermarket at least once a week, a nervous breakdown ensues. Not really, we needed some assorted supplies for camping out for the next few days. For those of you familiar with Australian supermarkets will know the one we visited; starts with a ‘C’, ends with an ‘s’, and had ‘ole’ as the missing letters. The most current annoying thing about said supermarket is a bloody song they keep playing over their PA system. Some garbage about keeping prices down. Drives you up the bloody wall. Hell will freeze over the day Australian supermarkets have the lowest prices, or if they do, they are screwing the life out of the suppliers.
Having endured the annoying ditty and got our requisite supplies, we did a little walk of the town, Eden is not particularly large, but is a popular holiday destination as it is on the South Pacific coast. We then returned to our caravan park. Having packed our goodies away we took a short walk down to the beach onto which the caravan park fronts. Very pretty. A semi enclosed bay overlooking Eden harbour in the distance with lovely sandy beaches, and naturally the warm waters of the South Pacific Ocean. You would be surprised at the sudden change in ocean water temperature between Victoria that faces out onto the Southern Ocean, and NSW, that faces the South Pacific. There is a distinct 5 degree change at the eastern most point of Victoria at Cape Howe, a change for the warmer.