Hunter Robs 5 Day run

02 April 2024 / story Barry Luttrell, Denise Birrell, Jill Power, Gail King, Elaine Gazzard..Photos by Jill Power, Wendy Mulholland, Denise Birrell, David Gazzard, Graham King

All David's pictures can be found here

Day 1

Rob’s South coast adventure started with us all meeting up at Mooney Mooney Rest area, we then set off making our way through Sydney, meeting up for lunch at Tees and Greens Cafe in Wilton. We then visited The Australian Motorlife Museum and all agreed it was one of the best exhibitions of historical vehicles and old world memorabilia we have been too. From there we headed to Kiama, some visiting the blow hole before checking into our Motel, fabulous first day to start our trip.

Day 2
We started moving out of Kiama to Saddleback Rd, someone staying behind to look for the missing water bottle. Hoping that is our only drama for the day. A cooler morning driving the curving, banking, hilly roads perfect for MX-5’s. We stop at Saddleback Mountain Lookout. With the water bottle found we were altogether again. Lots of photos and Wow what a view we could see all the way back to the north to Wollongong and south to the lovely sparkling beaches of the south coast. The dramatic scenery on the hills covered with mist were eery and pleasant all at the same time. On to Fountaindale Rd then on to Jamberoo Rd up to Robertson a favourite of the Illawarra Chapter. We felt like Hunter in the mist. Very green and lush a perfect place to have Galloway cattle if you are not sure what they are, they have a brown head and behind and a white strip right down the middle. Have to admit it was my first Galloway. We got two really good bursts going up the mountain till members of the public thought they could drive on our road lol…. Down into Kangaroo valley with a tanker, we crossed the Hamilton Bridge to have morning tea at Fitzroy falls picnic grounds and a walk to the falls to stretch our legs. While wondering around Liz found a leech hitch hiking on her leg. Thanks to the trusty National Park service removing the leech and saving the day. The back road to Berry was full of amazing corners and tropical canopy which was thick and cool. Berry a well know country town was delightful. Pies at the bakery still very tasty, the shops are lovely but pricey. Our next comfort stop was at Ulladulla down by the dock, the water lapping on the small beach was relaxing and calming to begin the final leg of the day to Batemans Bay. No issues on the great roads to Batemans Bay. Zorba’s Motel what can I say. The most wonderful view from all the rooms and so central to everywhere. what a pick. We had drinks and nibbles on the lawn in front of our rooms perfect end to the wonderful day.

Day 3

We woke on Wednesday morning and from our motel balcony overlooking beautiful Batemans Bay, the day was looking rather overcast. Our spirit was not dampened as we all headed down to the jetty at 11am to board the boat for our 3-hour lunch cruise up the Clyde River. For lunch we were served locally caught Grenadier fish, chips and salad. It was enjoyed by all!
We continued our cruise up the river listening to the Captain’s informative commentary whilst viewing oyster lease after oyster lease. We missed you Chris as I believe it would have been great bird watching/spotting for the enthusiast. All we managed to spot on the river bank were shorn sheep!!
We continued up the river to the historic town of Nelligen, established in 1854. We disembarked for a wander around and to stretch the legs. This historic town was a popular stopover as miners passed through on their way to the goldfields. Back in time steam boats bought supplies down from Sydney and delivered to Batemans Bay and then up the river to Nelligen. The cargo for the return trip to Sydney was fresh produce and wool.
After returning at 2.30 pm we had free time! We met up again at 5pm for socializing and of course, drinks and nibbles before heading out for dinner.
A great day out in Batemans Bay.

Day 4

Walk in the park returning for 8.45 and 9.00am leave from Batemans Bay and up the Kings Hwy to Braidwood. Compared to the Princes Hwy the Kings Hwy is a great drive consisting of 60km of smooth running surface through scenic undulating terrain and up the ranges to the Southern Highlands. It is also the main route between Canberra and the South Coast and obviously benefits from having adequate maintenance $$. A few trucks were encountered and also some road works as expected. (and cattle crossings) The forest areas are showing signs of recovery after the fires that decimated the South Coast.
Braidwood is a trendy small town with a number of boutiques and coffee shops. About 20 minutes here for checking out the shops and getting coffee and something to eat.
Leaving Braidwood we travelled through to Goulburn checking out rebuild progress as we passed the old Wakefield motor racing track and then for an early lunch, and refueling if required, at Goulburn.
Regrouping on the outskirts of Goulburn (one car had left early to travel to Lithgow) we then travelled to Taralga and then on to Oberon via the backroads. This was an easy run with little traffic and great scenery and a few twisty sections just for fun, together with some rough surfaces and more roadworks. Roadside trees were just changing to their Autum colors adding to the scenery. Unfortunately there was significant road kill along this section especially wombats.
Afternoon comfort stop, coffee and ice creams in the main street of Oberon then on to Lithgow. This section of road had significant roadworks on the ranges. Spectacular views across the Blue Mountains and western plains.
Arrived at Lithgow and travelled via the city center to our motel for dinner, bed and breakfast. We dinned together tonight, as this was the last evening of the tour. Elaine recognized Rob’s effort as the trip organisor and leader and also John’s assistance with run sheets etc.
We need to mention that David left his shirt behind at Batemans Bay after he was asking if “the person” had checked the fridge, the room, the bathroom etc !! so hard to get good help.
And so ends another day on the road.

Day 5

Following a very ample breakfast provided by the Lithgow Workers Club we met in the carpark for a 9am departure. As pre-arranged Jenny, Barry and Bill left the run so 10 cars continued. The morning was crisp but the weather was beautiful for our last days run. Rob lead us on nice curvy roads to Mudgee where we had a half hour morning tea break.

Some Points of Interest along the way:
. Leaving Lithgow we passed the Mt Piper Power Station which David informed us was the main source of power for NSW outside Hunter valley Power Stations.
. Passing the turnoff to Glen Davis Rob said they had a large Shale Mine and the oil ran machinery during WW1. It sits on the Capertee river.
. Lake Windemere near Mudgee and is a popular Recreational area. It also operates in conjunction with Burrendong Dam and is used for agriculture and household needs in the Cudgegong and Macquarie Valleys and well as providing flood mitigation and environmental flows.
. Craigmore Winery is the original winery in Mudgee which now has as many wineries as the Hunter Valley.

From Mudgee we came across major roadworks caused by a landslip. Following on we had a really good run down the mountain through hairpin turns down through the Goulburn National Park. Two young Emus were enjoying a stroll along the side of the road. We stopped at the Bylong Showground for a group photo taken by David and his drone. The Bylong is such a good road for the MX5 providing plenty of fun driving through to Denman. At Denman following a cool refreshment and food for some we said our farewells and went home our separate ways.

From Rob

I would like to thank all the Members who participated in the 5 day South and West Run 18th – 22nd March thank you to David and Elaine , John and Chris who preformed Tail End duties over the 5 days , a most important role in any convoy run and a Great big thanks to John Purcell for the help in assembling the daily Run sheets and timing spread sheet , to which I made changes to as the run progressed . Without the help the of these people the run wouldn’t have been as successful so again thanks.