Every morning, across the world, a band of intrepid enthusiasts wake up before the dawn and find a vantage point where they can photograph another sunrise. This is one of those photographs. The beach is just north of Batemans Bay at a small village called South Durras. Just weeks before it was taken, a fire raged across the headland in what has become known as the Black Summer. The placid scene says nothing of the real dramas that had so recently occurred but speaks to the determination of nature to move on.
I camped up in this country a couple of years ago with my son and his partner. We drove up from Canberra and through the rolling landscape in the middle of summer. The grass was long and glistened in the wind as we drove by. In the distance, the hills took on a blueish tinge and the tarmac shimmered in the heat of the day. We stopped off at one of two slab timber huts that was built around the beginning of the twentieth century; a lonesome looking place where it’s the owner, a man named David Bradshaw, had lived alone for some twenty-eight years before succumbing to the elements at the ripe old age of seventy-nine
We pitched our tents high on a ridge above one of the many lakes that have been formed to provide water to the Snowy River Hydro Scheme. These are deep and cold and are stocked with trout from the trout hatcheries in the area. Clearly a draw for the many fly and spin fishermen keen to get away for a few days of fishing
Plants at this altitude suffer from the harsh conditions that they face all year round; in winter it is snow and ice while the summer brings high temperatures and little rain. As a result, the shrubs are scrubby low growing woody things and the trees that do grow here often have that tortured shape crafted by the wind and cold. Here in the national park the grasses had dried out and gone to seed. It seemed shorter than that which can be seen blowing in the wind as one drove up the Monaro Hiway. Lichens grow well in this climate, clinging as they do to a range of hosts from rocks to tree branches.
I woke early after a sleep interrupted by a squalling storm that threatened to flatten my tent, despite being tucked among large boulders. The sun had come up watery but soon had burned off any effects of the night before and the warmth was pleasant on my back as I took a walk around the hills behind the camp. It seems that the animal life that can be seen up here was made up of those that had been introduced as the only other species I saw was rabbits. Again these little guys have made the most of the wild country and have established large warrens all about the banks and mounds.
A flock of Yellow Crested Cockatoos, with their raucous calls, were checking out the ground for some early morning sustenance. As I came close they flew off with even louder calls as if in the indignation of my presence.
I came across several brumbies as I made my way across the hills. I also discovered a crisscrossing of trails all over the hills where the brumbies had created single file bare-earth tracks as they made their way to and from their favoured feeding grounds
While waiting for an appointment this morning, I decided to have a coffee at Infusion Cafe & Thai on Plaza Parade. As soon as I entered the place I had a feeling that I would be able to sit and relax and get some words down for my very neglected blog posts. Maybe because this is a lower foot traffic area or maybe it is the airy dining area but the atmosphere here has a very relaxed feel. The welcome was warm and friendly and I had barely sat down before my coffee was being served at my table in the courtyard.
I was planning a cheeky Facebook post of some photos that I had taken of bees and flowers and I settled in to do some writing. The coffee lived up to it’s aroma and life was good. I relaxed….. A good feeling
Ettore, the owner, appeared and served up a caraf of water just in case I was dry and we chatted amiably for a while about the cafe. It appears that it was due to open just two days before the Covid restrictions came in and the guys doing the fit out were unable to come up from NSW. Not being set up to do take-a-way, they were on hold for several weeks. Taking the positive, Ettore said that it had given them some time to sort out some loose ends.
After a while, Nuttida, co owner and wife to Ettore, came out with a plate containing two little leaves called bettel leaf which where covered with nuts and sauce, and asked me to try. They are to become a part of the menu and I have to say they were extremely tasty. The sauce was quite sweet which was offset by the slight bitterness of the leaf and Nuttida said that they were planning to add this dish to the menu.
I am so looking forward to Asian cuisine when this Covid bug finally goes back to where it came from.
With Ettore calling Italy home and Nattida from Thailand, this is truely an international restaurant
It was interesting having a chat to Nattida about her origins in Thailand and the reasons why, here in Australia, she goes by the name Jenny or Jane. She told me she came to Australia to learn to speak better English and has stayed.
All in all the restaurant hasn’t been here for long however, if you are wanting a nice relaxing coffee or meal, Infusion Cafe and Thai is not going to disappoint. You can find it in the Plaza Markets on Plaza Parade. Good service and good people