Roadtrippin' Down Under - Part 2: The Eurobodalla Coast
MORUYA, Australia -- You'll recall that in our last instalment, we traveled from Sydney's southern boundary through the Illawarra region. Our last stop-over was in Nowra, and today we prepare for the second leg of our journey down the magnificent Eurobodalla coast. The temperate climate means you can enjoy the Eurobodalla at any time, and the locals say the oysters here are the best in the world. Throw in some great golf courses, and sounds like it might be hard to take, doesn't it?
Midway between Nowra and Batemans Bay are the twin towns of Ulladulla and Mollymook. Here lies a golfer's paradise with a fascinating story. Founded in April 1952, the original nine-hole Beachside layout was played on sand greens with a rented two room building serving as the clubhouse. After the opening of a separate 18 holes and clubhouse in 1977, Mollymook now offers the golfer the choice of two courses covering the full gamut of golf, from the amiable 9 holes set down by the South Pacific Ocean to the more severe 18 hole test of The Hilltop course.
"The Hilltop" is the hub of Mollymook Golf Club for the true enthusiast. The course is carved out of native bushland that looks out over the mountains. You will crack the ball through heavily tree lined fairways that are beautifully accented with the natural waterways of Blackwater Creek, so there is plenty of water to contend with. At 6216 metres from the championship tees, The Hilltop is a challenge in terms of accuracy and distance on the fairways. The greens, too, pose a dramatic test, being both large and undulating. Once on the putting surface, there may still be a good deal of golf left.
Recent renovations to both the Beachside and Hilltop clubhouses means that Mollymook now offers more than variety on the fairways, with a choice of two fine clubhouses offering multiple bar, restaurant and pro shop options.
Dinner at Tory's Seafood Restaurant in Ulladulla because, after all, who better to serve local seafood from a pioneer fishing family's own trawler than the family itself?
And, after blowing the day's budget on some truly great oysters and wine, cheaper accommodation seemed to be in order. Very comfortable lodgings can be found in the numerous caravan parks in the area, starting from a ridiculously low AU$9 (about $5 American) per night!
Day 5 saw us head down the Princes Highway towards the heart of the Eurobodalla.
Located at the entrance to the Clyde River, Batemans Bay is the major town in the region. The Bay offers a superb selection of great cafes, restaurants, galleries, walkways and parklands around the water edge. There is plenty to explore in the surrounding districts either along the coast to Tomakin or inland to the shopping haven of Mogo and out along the Clyde River.
But, of course, our time is precious, so it's straight to the Catalina Country Club to work off those delicious oysters. Catalina is 27 championship holes of easy-going action, free from mountain climbing and back breaking bunker shots. Flat landscaped fairways give you the green carpet treatment in every sense of the world. The courses are known as The Red, The White and The Blue and can be played in any combination due to the layout employed. The combination of The Red and The White course gives a total length of 6,071 metres, The Red and The Blue gives a total yardage of 6,075 metres and The White and The Blue gives a total length of 6,074 metres.
Now you're probably thinking that these guys are going to have oysters again, and you would be right! Jameson's on the Pier at Batemans Bay is a waterfront restaurant with stunning river and mountain views. And, once again, their seafood is sensational.
A quick drive down the highway to Moruya, and our headquarters for the night, which will be the Riverbreeze Caravan Park. Our accommodation is a cabin alongside the Deua River, and we are all set for the adventures which await us the next day.
Day 6 finds us at the Moruya Golf Club. The fairways have some tricky slopes, and the whole course presents a challenge to golfers of all abilities. You need plenty of course management to play to your handicap. The fairways are lush kikuyu, very even, and are in peak condition year round, with Kentucky blue around the greens. You won't have a bad lie on the fairway all day. The rough can be quite thick, even though it's short and you won't lose too many balls in it The greens are first class, with one huge double green (9 & 18) about forty metres in diameter, which the locals are rightly proud of.
And speaking of locals, we are invited back to a barbecue dinner at the home of one of the members of the club. Some seriously big steaks are consumed, followed by a couple of beers, and it's time to retire to our waterfront cabin.
Early on Day 7, we arrive in Narooma, a town which has become synonymous with great fishing over the years, and has a reputation world-wide as a mecca for blue water anglers searching out the mighty Marlin, tuna and other big game fish.
Now whilst a bit of fishing sounds like fun, this is a business trip, right? So let's get on to the serious business of golf. Narooma Golf Club is one of the most scenic and challenging courses on the South Coast, set around a modern clubhouse with stunning coastal views.
The front nine has vast, undulating fairways built along cliffs in full view of the Pacific Ocean and Montague Island. The second and third holes rival the famous holes at Pebble Beach. The back nine is played between tall timbers with a lake winding between.
Situated between the golf course and the surf beach, we find the Narooma Surfbeach Resort. Our home for the evening is a cabin with breathtaking views of Surf Beach. We reflect on our journey so far, and plan the next leg, as waves break gently in the background.
Ah, the life of a golf writer. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it!
January 7, 2003