Each summer, Canberra turns into Egypt. I’m not referring to the position of the Prime Minister as Pharaoh and nor am I likening our monuments to the Pyramids. I simply mean to say that just as Moses led his people to the Promised Land, so too do many, many Canberrans ditch this Promised Land for the South Coast.
Being situated in Canberra, we’re incredibly lucky that we have the Snowy Mountains two hours one way and a beautiful coastline just two hours the other. Only last fortnight, my friends and I were due to go to the snow for one last ski session before the end of the season and following a friend’s minor accident, we made a decision literally the night before our departure to divert our attention and head to the sea. Where else can you make such a call?
Anyway, the pilgrimage of so many Canberrans to the coast is a much hallowed practice and I thought I might shed a little divine light on the tradition for the benefit of our guests. Here are my top tips for heading down to the South Coast this season.
Bungendore Country Butchery
About half an hour out of Canberra, there is a town called Bungendore which you will pass. Very few travellers actually end up stopping here because it is so close to Canberra. However, a five minute stop at the butchery will repay you manifold. The simple establishment, located on the parallel road to the main drag does a brilliant ham. Cheap as chips and incredibly flavoursome, it will lay the foundation for a brilliant lunch to be eaten further down the track.
A further half an hour from Bungendore, you will reach Braidwood. A classic, homely New South Welsh country town, Braidwood is full of character. Considering its situation as a logical midpoint on the journey for many of the commuters, it is a popular place to break for luncheon. My suggestion is the bakery. Located on the main street with people constantly flowing in and out, the bakery has created a name for itself based on its wide range of fresh, succulent and wholesome pies which will make you want to bid farewell to Four ‘n’ Twenty and Mrs Mac forever. Moreover, if you grab a couple of their fresh sourdough buns, and stuff some of the ham from earlier into them, you will prepare yourself a sandwich fit for royalty.
The Muffin Shop
One of the many South Coastal destinations is Broulee. A favourite for Canberrans and quite popular in the summer, Broulee is a small town with a very relaxed mood. Nestled on the crest on Mossy Point lays a small café: The Muffin Shop. Not overly flamboyant, but family friendly and simple, this eatery has some killer muffins. The raspberry and white chocolate and choc-chip muffins are personal favourites of mine but it’s nice to relax there even for a little while with a coffee and a sandwich too.
Tuross Heads is one of the more southern towns of the coastal route. The town boasts three beaches: each worth a visit and a swim. But in my opinion, more serene than watching the sunrise over the unending ocean is dining over Lake Tuross as the sun sets. Looking over the lake is a small fish and chips shop with humble character but a big heart. Doing the simple things well means a great deal in my book, and thus O’Brien’s delivers on many levels. The view paired with the delectably fresh fish in the shack-like atmosphere is enough to calm even the most frivolous of souls.
So next time you bid a temporary farewell to our own Canberra in search for the sea, consider perhaps stopping on the way and enjoy the journey just as much as the destination!