The Road Trip to Narooma was conceived as a self drive group trip early in 2020 as a way to support the areas worst hit by the horrendous bushfires. We had 46 people enlisted when COVID-19 hit and we were forced to defer the trip. Several attempts to reschedule the trip proved futile and eventually we abandoned the overall group event concept.
Thank fully, some smaller groups were able to escape the borders before lockdown - and they toured and supported the bushfire areas. Well done to these good people!
But for Heather and myself, December 2020, just before Christmas, was our first chance to do the tour and 'our bit’ for these areas.
Day One: Melbourne to Peppers Mt Broughton, Southern Highlands NSW
Given our time constraints, we changed the itinerary slightly and headed north on the Hume Highway to The Southern Highlands as a starter, before returning down the coast. We departed very early on Monday morning for the long drive and arrived at Peppers Mount Broughton mid afternoon.
Mt Broughton Golf Course
We were unable to play as the course was hosting the NSW junior amateur. Instead we walked the back nine and watched the field of young golfers and took some photos. Having visited Mt Broughton many years ago, it was good to revisit and remember the course. Memorable holes included the pretty par 3 tenth hole over water, and the short par 4 18th hole
Dinner at Peppers was very nice and the accommodation was perfect, both comfortable and convenient. Our choice of wines tonight was local - Artemis was the winery of choice - a chardonnay for H and a pinot for myself. Both were nice drops.
Day 2: Sightseeing
After the big day on Monday we slept in on Tuesday morning. After brekkie we headed out to explore the Southern Highlands. Our first stop was a real winner.
The Red Cow Gardens is a world class enterprise, boasting a number of outdoor garden rooms beautifully presented. There is enormous variation in the feel and the foliage from room to room. I particularly liked the use of bench seats, large pots, and statues to draw the eye and define the lines from room to room.
Then we headed to Fitzroy Falls National Park for some quality walking in spectacular native settings.
The waterfalls were good to see. The terrain reminded us of the Blue Mountains. It is real Australian bush territory and The Grotto was worth a visit.
We then travelled to nearby Moss Vale and visited the Moss Vale GC where the Junior Amateur tournament was also in full swing. Moss Vale was in wonderful condition and green as green can be. The fairways are all framed by imposing treelines. The view from the clubhouse over the course is terrific
It's a lovely place to play golf!
For lunch we headed to Robertson Pies- the best pies in the Southern Highlands and we were not disappointed. Yum!
Our second golfing stop was at Bowral GC- a somewhat understated golf course with modest old clubhouse. It is known as one of the best country courses in NSW, and is an easy walk. The tree lined fairways are pristine and the greens quick. It all makes for a very pleasant game and is perfect for holiday golf.
While in the area we visited The Milk Shed Art Gallery and The Old Pot Factory Emporium- and would recommend both.
Our final golfing stop was Highlands Golf Club in Mittagong. The club has no airs and graces but hasa number of quality golf holes.
We particularly liked the down hill par 3’s at 12, 15 & 18 and the strong par 4 8th hole. But the star of the show for us was the short uphill par 4 seventh hole with elevated green protected by a dam short left. It is spectacular hole and quite unique.
En route back to Peppers we drove down Golden Vale Rd and waved to the Southern Highlands home of Keith & Nicole. They were home but the security at the front gate suggested we shouldn't enter.
Back at Mount Broughton we walked and took pics of the front nine of Mt Broughton Golf Course. Holes 2, 3 & 4 were the standouts. Hole 2 is a dramatic long par 3 from an elevated tee with a carry over two water hazards.
The 3rd hole is a par 5 with an imposing tee shot over long rough- between trees and diagonally over the creek. The long second must be very well placed to allow an approach to a green protected by two enormous trees. Water laps on the left side of the green. It is one tough golf hole!
Hole 4 is an impressive mid length par 3 requiring an intimidating carry over the long rough.
Hole 9 is a tough par 5 which tightens as you get closer to the green. With the fairway bending around the creek on the approach this is a hole that requires both length and accuracy for success..
Day 3: Mollymook
We checked out of Peppers Mt Broughton and drove two hours to picturesque Mollymook by the sea. Our first task was checking the nine hole course down by the beach. It measures 1940 metres off the back markers and contains one par 5, 3 par 4’s and 5 par 3’s.
The greens are small and raised and the bunkers are fairly shallow and basic. It is a hilly sitewith occasional sea views and would be perfect for local kids to learn the game
Notable holes include:
- the par 4 third hole with water hazard central to all strategies
- the par 5 sixth hole, up and down and over water
- the closing par 3 ninth with ocean backdrop
The Mollymook Beachside nine hole course is fun and unpretentious.
Next we checked in to the Hillside Course at Mollymook GC.
The course was in lovely condition- green and manicured. This was a course that came highly recommended, so we were keen to check it out. Mollymook Hillside was well named it is indeed a hilly site. The front nine heads down from the clubhouse on the first hole and then remains on the river flats until climbing back to the clubhouse on 9. Trees frame each hole and dominate proceedings
Notable holes include:
- the par 5 sixth hole bending around the creek and then over reeds to a green set in a bend in the river. It is a very good hole
- the par 4 seventh is an impressive dogleg which requires a pretty decent tee shot long enough to leave a clear approach over the creek and between trees
The back nine heads to the hills with nearly every hole heading up or down the slopes. It is a tough walk - a cart is recommended for the uninitiated..
There are some classy holes including :
- the downhill dogleg par 4 tenth hole with water lapping the edge of the green
- the longer par 4 11th hole with island tee shot and water protecting the right side of the green
- the pretty par 3 12th hole with water again in play
- the par 5 13th hole with water protecting the front of the green..
- the pretty par 3 seventeenth hole
Mollymook is a great test of golf and a pleasure to play and is highly recommended.
Day 4: Mollymook to Narooma
After brekkie we walked along the beach toward Mollymook Beach - it was a great way to start the day.
Then we loaded up and headed for Mogo Zoo where we got up close and personal to lions, tigers, rhinos, all types of monkeys - the highlight was feeding the giraffes!
Mogo Zoo isn’t big, but certainly gives exposure to a nice collection of the most exotic creatures on earth.
Half an hour later we arrived at Moruya Golf Club and checked out the course - it was green and very very wet - they'd had a lot of rain overnight. The course is hosting the first South Coast Championship next year as a lead into the NSW Open and is regarded by those in the know as a top level course.
The terrain is reasonably flat. It used to be a nine hole course around a racetrack in the 1960’s. As the club grew they expanded the course to 12 holes and then the course grew to 18 holes under the guidance of long time member Jim Marsden in 1988.
Moruya will test any golfer- the flattish terrain is well treed and has water hazards to test the golfers mettle - starting with the long par 5 first hole. Water crosses the fairway at a point which will really stretch a lot of golfers to carry for two, and if they don’t, they will struggle to get home in three. Welcome to Moruya!
Notable holes include:
- the sharp dogleg par 4 fourth hole
- the teasing short par 4 seventh hole
- the longer par 5 sixteenth,
- and the huge joint green on holes nine & eighteen- it is so big it is quite unique
Moruya is a quality golf course, great test of golf, well maintained and good value.
After Moruya we drove 42 kms to Narooma where we checked into our room at Amaroon overlooking the sea and golf course.
Late afternoon we walked the course and took Louie the fly for a spin. With no wind and blue sunny skies it was perfect weather for a drone and we got some nice footage of hole 2, 3, & 18
What a day!
Day 5: Golf at Narooma
Staying adjacent to the course at Narooma GC, I rose at first light and took Loiue the fly for a look at other parts of the course. It was calm but grey - so not perfect for photography. But I did get some footage on holes 8, 15 & 16.
By 8.20am Heather & I were on the tee and enjoyed 18 holes of golf.
Narooma is a delightful course with many facets. The first 6 holes traverse spectacular clifftops with 'links like' holes and dramatic tee andgreen locations.
It is just a wonderful place to play golf.
From there the course moves through a number of low lying holes abutting tidal lakes. They are good strategic holes, testing and attractive.
And then the course changes up again and takes you into the hills and gum trees, before finishing on the cliffs again at 18.
We really enjoyed our day at Narooma!
Day 6: Narooma to Gypsy Point, Mallacoota
With news of COVID spreading again in Sydney we decided to get back to Victoria a little quicker than originally planned to avoid any possible quarantine before Christmas, We quickly packed our bags and checked out.
First up we checked out Bermagui CC.
The huge downpours over the last few days left the course a tad damp, but we nevertheless had a good look at it. The course moves from low lying tidal river terrain to typical aussie bush holes in the hills, and is obviously popular with the locals.
Notable holes include:
- hole 1 through the marshland to an elevated green
- the par 3 eighth hole with tees in the reeds and marshland and the green on the hill
- hole 14, a delightful short par 4 with water crossing the fairway- you may have to lay up off the tee!
Our next stop was a coastal walk just north of Bermagui where the feature is a rocky cluster in the sea just off the coast shaped like a horse head
Lunch was next- we stopped at the Memorial Park on the coast at Tathra.
Our next golf stop was Tura Beach GC north of Merimbula.
We checked out the course, took some pics and met with the professional before continuing our drive south.
Notable holes include:
- holes 4 & 5 on the beach
After meandering through Merimbula we popped into Pambula- Merimbula GC, one of the really popular golfing stops on the Sapphire Coast.
It's a lovely spot!
Next we stopped at Eden where we experienced the Lookout and the Rotary walk. Our final stop was at Gypsy Point back in Victoria where we dined and stayed at the Gypsy Point Lodge.
Just before dinner we 'bush bashed' a walk to Gypsy Pt, but never quite got there. The path dwindled to a track and then became so overgrown we gave it away- still it was nice walk!
Dinner at the lodge was perfect
Day 7: Mallacoota to Lakes Entrance
We further explored Gypsy Point, then drove to nearby Mallacoota. It really is a beautiful area with the lakes and the ocean dominating the scenery
Mallacoota GC was devastated by the bushfires and I had been communicating with Carol all year about the Road Trip so we were warmly welcomed.
The course is located very close to the ocean. On the front nine, Ti Tree that had separated fairways has been completely destroyed by the bushfires. New plantings will begin soon, but for the moment the course is relatively open like a links course.
The back nine has more fairways framed by gum trees and, whilst badly burned, they have regenerated since, giving an eerie look with green foliage on black trunks framing the holes.
Mallacoota is a gorgeous beachside town and while the golf is not as manicured as most, it nevertheless has it’s own unique seaside appeal.
Notable holes include:
- the short par 3 third hole. Located close to the sea the hole has a dip to carry off the tee and sets up well
- the medium length par 3 fourteenth hole set in a copse of gum trees which frame the fairway and surround the green
- the short dogleg par 4 fifteenth hole which requires a tee shot to be placed to allow an approach between, over, around, or under some gum trees encroaching into the immediate line to the green
Carol kindly gave us a detailed tour of the back nine and helped us with the history of the Club. After a quick morning tea on the beach, we were off again.
It took over 2 hours to drive to Lakes Entrance where we quickly checked into The Esplanade Resort, and then we were off to the golf course.
By 3.15pm we were on the course and had it to ourselves.
The front nine is predominantly a links course, with holes 3-7 running adjacent to the beach on the back of the frontal dune.
Combined with holes 1 & 2 in the tidal lagoons and it is a cracking opening nine holes.
The back nine is a little quieter and moves between some typical Aussie bushlandand some more tidal lagoon land at eleven and fifteen.
Fifteen is an outstanding par 3 from an elevated tee over water.
Lakes Entrance is a quality golf course in a gorgeous setting. It flies under the radar a little for such a good course.
Players move through a variety of terrains whilst playing eighteen holes- from linksland to lagoon flats to typical Aussie bush. There are some outstanding holes along the way.
And Lakes Entrance will challenge all standard of golfer- with or without the wind.
Day 8: Lakes Entrance to home
After watching the weather pattern I was hopeful for a perfect morning and rose very early. It was apparent to me immediately that we had a beautiful still and sunny day emerging. So we packed and checked out of our hotel and headed for the course.
With blue skies, and no wind, it was perfect conditions for the drone.
We took some really nice footage, but alas our time at Lakes Entrance was cut short when Louie ran out of battery!
It was time to go home!
The Travelling Golfer