I’m a huge believer in exploring your own backyard. As someone who loves to travel, and craves it more and more all the time, but doesn’t have the money and time to take out of work to go flitting about the globe, I love to take the time out to wanderlust around my own beautiful country.
I’ve loved the countries I’ve traveled to, and don’t get me wrong, I’m hardly a seasoned traveler, but Peter Allen said it best when he said, “I Still Call Australia Home”. I love my country, a land of sweeping plains. Luckily, I get many opportunities to trek around the New South Wales countryside and I love visiting new places, even if they are just a few mere hours away from my front door.
This week I traveled down to Southern New South Wales to the Snowy Mountains. My mum had some people to visit in Cooma, so after she’d seen them, we drove through the Kosciuszko National Park towards Tumut. Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain in Australia and is actually not really that high when compared to other mountains of the world, but it’s all we’ve got. Being that it’s mid-October, the “Snowies” were or course, not snowy. In the winter seasons, the National Park is covered in lush powdery snow, but in the Spring/Summer months, it becomes a much eerier place.
A place of rare, unusual beauty, with an almost macabre quality. The region was hit with bushfires a few summers back, and a lot of the trees within the park, stand as nothing but white, dead husks, that look almost like bones that could topple down under a light breeze. The desolate and barren appearance of the trees is contrasted against the green shrubbery by the roads and the rolling green hills, home to kangaroos, emus and wild horses. The famous Snowy River glitters under the harsh Australian sun.
Driving through the park during these months is peaceful and quiet, and you very rarely encounter other cars. Driving through the mountains at dawn, which we did on our way out of the town of Tumut on our way to Bega, one can encounter all sorts of Australian wildlife. In the stillness of the morning, kangaroos roam the park, bounding across the road from time to time, narrowly avoiding the small amounts of traffic. We had one bounce across in front of us. You must take extra care, because hitting a kangaroo is not only sad for the kangaroo, but it will not do anything good for your car either.
The morning we drove back through, we stopped at a lookout, which was a window into a completely undisturbed vista of lush bush land as far as the eye could see. The only sound at dawn, were the calls of the birds and the occasional rustle in the leaves from whatever other creatures ventured below. It was incredibly serene and no photo does the experience completely justice.
The drive through the park, whilst beautiful, can also feel quite odd, as the harsh landscape can tend to give one an irrational sense of foreboding and the change of scenery once we exited the park and started the drive to the coast was much welcomed.
Bega is a small town on the far South Coast of New South Wales and also where the cheese comes from. We didn’t spend all that much time in Bega, as mum had a few more people to visit and I just waited in the car, but after she was finished, we decided to take our drive home slowly and visit the tiny town of Tilba.
Central Tilba is quite possibly the cutest town in the universe. It is so quiet and peaceful and set not too far from the coast. The main road is lined with shops, cafes, bakeries and a gorgeous B&B. We wandered town admiring the beautiful antique shop, the jewellery shop, the sweet shop, until we stumbled across my new favourite shop! The first thing I saw when I lay eyes upon the small store, located in a gorgeous little old house was the word “Patisserie”. Patisseries are great and all, but what I saw next, completely sold me. Bath Patisserie. A patisserie where you don’t get fat from indulging too much and you come out smelling amazing. That’s my kind of patisserie! Or course I was completely overwhelmed. Besides smelling amazing, the soaps were all handcrafted in Tilba and looked like slices of cake! The bath bombs they stocked all looked like cupcakes, pavlovas, whoopee pies! Delicious! And I don’t think I quite expressed just how amazing it smelt! The owner was a lovely man who was an ex-police officer who moved to the country with his family and how his wife and mother-in-law make amazing soaps! Of course I had to spend money there.
After our time in the beautifully smelling heaven of the Bath Patisserie, we topped off for a vegan lunch and coffee at the My Heaven on Earth Cafe, which was yummy. The service was so lovely too. I kind of fell in love with Tilba, and would love to visit again. It makes me want to pack my things and live in a tiny town and just write and enjoy the peaceful life.
The drive back up the coast towards home was slow and relaxing. We stopped for dinner in South Nowra and enjoyed the ocean views coming up over Gerringong.
It was a lovely two days away, something simple, but a good way to recharge the batteries and get away from the hustle and bustle of day to day life, and a good way to see some beautiful sights that I haven’t seen before that are within reach and don’t send me broke.
I highly recommend getting out of your bubble and if you want to travel, but don’t have the money or time, while you are waiting a toiling away to earn the money to do that big “around the world”, Instagram-worthy trip, hop in your car and start at home. Find some hidden gems in your own backyard.