Roadtrip: Canberra – Merimbula

Not every holiday we take involves jumping onto a jet plane.  Instead for a nice week away we decided to head for the region of Merimbula & Sapphire Coast slowly travelling up towards the South Coast of NSW.  There’s going to be a few other posts about this trip so check out the links below.

Getting to Merimbula

To make this a little more comfortable on the varied road conditions and unsealed carparks we left the Megane GT220 at home and hired ourselves a Mitsubishi ASX through Hertz.  Ultimately it proved a good move with the more relaxed ride and increased ground clearance making some of the National Park access roads a much more comfortable affair.

Canberra to Merimbula Navigation
Canberra to Merimbula Navigation

Our route from Canberra was one new to both of us and turned out to be both thoroughly enjoyable and much smoother than the more traditional route travelled by Canberrans to the South Coast.  We’d taken a leisurely approach to departure time and meandered along the highways.  Stopping at Cooma for lunch before a relaxed break at the Fred Piper Memorial Lookout before descending down to the coast visiting the Bega Co-Operative Heritage Centre.

After stocking up on local dairy goods we completed the journey arriving at our (almost) Beachfront accommodation and wandered out to the beach to take some photos.

Unlike a lot of our Driving Daytrips where we end up spending 5-6 hours in the car this leg of our holiday was all about slowing down into a week of relaxation.  Stepping down into a more relaxed vehicle worked, and we made a point of stopping at any and every lookout or “point-of-interest”.

Sometimes it’s nice to step into the “Slow Lane”.

Gunning Fireworks Festival – 13th September 2014

The Gunning Fireworks Festival is not a new thing, having been held for some 10 years as a trade display before becoming a Community festival in 2010.

The 2014 Festival was our 2nd, we were captivated in 2013 and after looking at our hand-held footage from the Lumx FT3 and iPhone knew we could do better in 2014.

Last Years Fireworks Show:

All about this year:

So last Saturday (13th September 2014) we rugged up and headed out to Gunning.  It’s a 45 minute drive on typical rural Australian roads.  single lane in each direction, potholes and roadkill to remind you of the dangers of the road at night.

We found the Gunning Showground bustling with people enjoying the sideshow amusements.  A stop at “Ze German Hut” for a Bratwurst in a roll was mandatory before finding a ringside location.

When I saw ringside I mean about 75-100m from ground zero of the displays.  You don’t so much as watch the Fireworks as sit inside the display.  As with 2013 we started out behind the VIP area.  The crowd filled in around us and we waited for 18:30 when the action was to begin.  The photos don’t do the sheer volume of fireworks on the Showground justice.

As darkness falls the anticipation builds and then it’s on.  One by one single shots are fired, each announced by name; “Shot 5, 4 inch giant red ring” this continues for well over one hundred shots, some made up of hundreds or thousands of individual fireworks.

After the trade display is done there’s a pause while the setup for the finale is completed.

Then it starts.  The finale display is amazing, it’s almost too close, the crowd is coated with falling ash and debris, an occasional still light piece falls still lit and fizzes about the feet and stamped out.  The “pooh” and “ahhhh” continues, a monsoon of fire.  Yes we’re so close that the human field of vision can’t take it all in, we’re so close that with each massive mortar explosion we can feel our organs compress.

And then, in a crescendo of explosions it’s over and we start to shuffle out.

There’s just one stop to make.

The last Kransky of the night, sustenance for the drive home.

Once I edit up the video I’ll link it here!