TURN LEFT FOR PAR­ADISE

A de­tour off the Princes High­way re­veals a hid­den gem in south­ern New South Wales

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - ESCAPE - BRIAN JOHN­STON

BOWL­ING

along the Princes High­way south of Bate­mans Bay it’s easy to miss the turn-off for Tuross Head. Of course, for those in the know, that may be a good thing. This sleepy lit­tle town gets a frac­tion of the crowds of bet­ter-known, high­way-side desti­na­tions.

But if you’re look­ing for a get­away with a re­lax­ing am­biance and a su­perb set­ting, then slow down and turn left. Tuross Head shouldn’t be missed.

The town sits on a head­land wedged be­tween the Pa­cific Ocean and two mag­nif­i­cent lakes. It’s also ringed by fine beaches and shaded by im­pres­sively large Nor­folk pines.

By lunchtime, you could be set­tled in at the Tuross Boat­shed and en­joy­ing fish, chips and salad on the wa­ter­side deck.

It’s a beaut spot not just for a lazy lunch but for an af­ter­noon’s pad­dle, too. Rent a kayak and set off across the la­goon, where you might see seals sun­ning them­selves on the rocks. Even more re­mark­ably, in win­ter you might spot snow on the dis­tant peaks, even while you’re soak­ing up the sun and water sparkles off your pad­dle.

Fish­ing is an­other pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity here­abouts. Tuross Lake, which hasn’t been com­mer­cially fished in years,

has abun­dant bream, flat­head, garfish, floun­der, mul­let, trevally, whit­ing, snap­per, crabs and a whole lot more. There are pho­tos tacked up in the boat­shed of happy fish­er­men who’ve caught big fish, in­clud­ing a grin­ning boy called Hugh O’brien with a mul­loway al­most as big as he is. The boat­shed sells fish­ing bait, tackle, fish­ing rods and gear, and you can rent tin­nies too if you want to try your luck from mid-water.

For surfers, One Tree Point is the place to be. For golfers, the lo­cal Tuross Head Coun­try Club has lovely views of Coila Lake and a friendly club­house.

Tuross Head also of­fers sev­eral scenic walks, one of which is a cy­cle­way as well, and fol­lows the dream­ing track of the lo­cal Brinja-yuin peo­ple along the coast. Head­lands pro­vide ter­rific views over nearly de­serted beaches and, dur­ing the sea­son, whales are of­ten spot­ted in the ocean be­yond.

When it comes to views, even accommodat­ion here­abouts has scenery at­tached. Tuross Lake­side Vil­lage has on­site vans right on the Tuross Lake waterfront, as well as tent and car­a­van sites. Many of its per­ma­nent car­a­vans are owned by fish­ing en­thu­si­asts. Paved ramps and a gen­tly slop­ing beach al­low you to run your boat up, or moor right in front of your cabin. You can rent 12-foot tin­nies with out­boards, kayaks and ca­noes and take a sunset pad­dle onto the lake, where the evening light is stun­ning. Or you can just sit on the ve­randa of your cabin and watch the pel­i­cans do the pad­dling against a back­drop of im­pos­si­bly blue water ringed by blue hills.

It’s hard to beat your own bar­be­cue din­ner in this set­ting, though Tuross Head also has plenty of seafood eater­ies.

You could do worse than head to Red Box Pizza, which has a huge range of wood-fire piz­zas, from tra­di­tional favourites such as Hawai­ian and Mex­i­cana to gourmet va­ri­eties such as roasted zuc­chini with moz­zarella, fresh tomato slices, herbs, mush­rooms and cracked pep­per.

For desert, try pear pizza topped with caramel sauce and a scoop of caramelise­d fig gelato. It’s about as deca­dent as the view across the dark­en­ing water, and cer­tainly worth a de­tour from the Pa­cific High­way.

Row­boats on Lake Tuross.

Din­ing at the Boat­shed. The view from One Tree Point, and, be­low, the Lake­side Tourist Park.

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