Le Tour Cote d’Sapphire – Cup Day long-weekend

 A big thankyou to Glen and Pam for organizing this trip. We were the beneficiaries of their extensive local knowledge gained through numerous family holidays in the area.

As promised this was a true Campbell style laid back and relaxed tour, with lots of stops for coffee, cake, galleries, gardens and points of interest.

There were 18 participants in 9 cars

– Glenn  & Pam Campbell, Porsche 911

– Ian & Carol Mallows, Mazda MX5

– Phil & Judy Barnard, Porsche Boxster,

– Graeme & Deborah Hollingsworth, Mercedes 500SL

– Gavan & Judy Budge, Lotus Evora

– Wayne & Colleen Eccles, Mazda 6. – Sweep Car

– Ken & Bev Purcell, Nissan 370z convertable

– Rob & Heather Coustley, 2016 Mustang V8,

– Merv & Karen Swingler, Mustang Convertible

We met for coffee at 9.00am each morning before heading out for the day.

 Friday 28th Oct (distance approximately 477km)

Leaving Bairnsdale at 9.00am and travelled to Cann River for coffee and cake then on to Merimbula, arriving at approximately 2pm. The afternoon was spent exploring Merimbula. Waterside walks, shopping, magnificent local oysters or just relaxing with coffee and cake!  For dinner the more adventurous took the courtesy bus to the Merimbula Golf Club while others wandered into town for dinner at an Italian restaurant.

Everyone except the Hollingsworths had a 2-way radio so were able to follow the lead car’s (Pam and Glen) instructions. Great. Except they neglected to mention the kangaroo poised on the side of the road, that then lept over the barrier, lost its footing on the slippery while line, sprawled across the bitumen, then made its way across the road in front of the cars.  The Mallows warning of “Kangaroo! Kangaroo!” was a little too late for some of us but luckily no one came to grief.

Saturday 29th (distance approximately 85km) we explored the Sapphire Coast Hinterland to Wyndham, Mt Imlay for views and wild flower search and identification then on to Candelo village for coffee and cake and a chat with the locals.

A great drive to Bega, a stop at the Cheese Factory, coffee and cake optional, Tathra for lunch or coffee and cake.

Dinner at the Mexican Restaurant was a hit, but I don’t think they served cake.

Sunday 30th (distance approximately 160km) was an all-day tour, but lots of stops for coffee, cake galleries and gardens.

North Bermagui, Fisherman’s Co-Op for lunch (coffee and cake optional).

A wonderful winding road to kept the boys happy, which also set a few in car  “air bags” off before a stop at Central Tilba for coffee and cake (of course!) and browsing in the numerous shops. We made our own way back to Merimbula and a quiet night after a long day.

Monday 31st (distance approximately 75km)

We headed south to Eden and an extended stop at the Whale Museum, which is filled with lots to see and really interesting displays. This was followed by a scenic drive before lunch, or coffee and cake on the Wharf.   Another scenic drive onto Pambula, finishing with coffee and cake or a beer at “Oatlands” which houses the Longstocking Brewery, café, gift shop, gallery and plant nursery.   There were lots of negotiations on how many plants could be fitted into the various cars on the way home!

A group catch up for some pre-dinner drinks at Rob and Heathers’ unit was a great opportunity to debrief after a great 4 days. It also gave the girls a chance to marvel at Heathers’ amazing quilting skills.

Dinner was at the Turra Golf Club and some of us were brave enough to take the courtesy bus.  Not sure Wayne will ever get a on a bus again, but whatever happens on camp stays on camp.

Tuesday 1st (Melbourne Cup Day 477km)

We all made our own way home. Total distance approximately 1274km

All in all, a successful weekend with only one (very good) dirt road, a couple of short stretches of bitumen resurfacing, no one got caught speeding, (caught being the operative word!) and no mechanical mishaps!

Thanks again to Pam and Glenn.

Words by Graeme Hollingsworth, photos by Phil Barnard and Glenn Campbell.

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