Highland Gardens

02 April 2021 / Story: Anne Zattera Photos: Anne Zattera, Anda Clayton, Brian Clayton


Friday, 26 March 2021

 Our group of a dozen small car enthusiasts meet at 9.45 at Ernest Arthur at South Nowra to fuel up on caffeine. After many days of torrential rain and flooding, today the sun is shining and we enjoy the warmth on our faces. The coffee is very good, so is the camaraderie of our group.

We meet a couple of new friends from Sydney, David and Cathy. Welcome to our South Coast Chapter, aka lunch-a-lot.

As the crow flies, South Nowra to Sutton Forest is 66km. However, our run is taking us on a more scenic route of 110km. Hey, we have fun little cars, why not take that road less travelled!

Our leader today is Kerry. Kerry and Lesley have two great stops planned for our day.

We start our engines and down go the tops to make the most of this glorious weather. Fall into line and we slowly negotiate the bedlam that has become the norm during the construction of the new Nowra bridge. But soon enough we make the right turn towards Shoalhaven Heads and we can allow our little cars to get up to the approved speed limit. We head towards Gerroa, through Gerringong, towards Kiama. I love taking the MX5 around the Kiama bends, the car hugs the road and is perfect for those curves. The bright blue ocean sparkles in front of us. We head towards Jamberoo and its charming little town. The crepe myrtle trees are still in flower. The scenery is now quaint and village like as we leave the coast and head towards the Southern Highlands. Robertson, Moss Vale and finally Sutton Forest.

We arrive at Red Cow Farm. The old-world cottage has a picket-fence which immediately captures our interest. We are greeted by the owner and two well-behaved dogs who are obviously used to visitors. We head off in different directions, exploring the garden rooms. The sounds of gurgling water and magpies calling, the sun is shining. The most peaceful of experiences. We are all taking many photos, I’m sure to try and copy in some very small way an idea for our own gardens. We chat to a lady working in the hazelnut woods. We admire the koi in the ponds and the manicured hedges. The clematis are the most amazing blues. An old bell is framed by a wall with planted arches that perfectly mimic it’s shape. We walk past statues which look as though they have been there forever. We speak quietly to each other so as not to disturb the serenity. So much to take in, but it’s time to head off to lunch.

Burrawang Village Hotel is our lunch venue. The street is lined with trees that are beginning to change colour. Autumn in the Highlands is a magical place. We have a long table under the shade of magnificent old trees, leaves crunching under foot. The view across the hills is spectacular. The food is hearty pub food. We spend a couple of hours chatting and relaxing, soaking up the atmosphere. All good things come to an end and even though I’m not quite ready to leave, we must head home.

We say our final goodbyes in the street before we start our engines. We form a line, but wait, we have a slight problem. Bob and Linda’s car won’t start. We stop to see if we can help but then the trusty little MX5 springs to life. So, after that brief false start, we all of us this time fall into line and head home. We are on our final leg, but we make the most of the roads and our Mazdas. Heading towards Fitzroy Falls, winding our way towards Kangaroo Valley on its twisting roads, we eke out every moment of this special day.