a little road trip to nerrigundah

A few weekends ago we had a little road trip to Nerrigundah.  It was one of those days where we woke up and knew that we needed to get out and about and up close and personal with this beautiful valley that we are so blessed to call home. Where to go? What to do?

I’d been wanting to head out to Nerrigundah for a long time now. The last time I went out there was about 30 years ago and I’d been living on this lovely, cosy childhood memory of my family and, I think, our german shepherd dog, heading out there in our white panel van. In my memory was this cute little old weatherboard general store, some sort of monument or statue and lots of open, lush green farming land. I remember Clydesdale horses and carts and harness gear. Memories can be funny things. But more about that later.

So, after trying to persuade Lew into coming for a little drive with us and promises of: ‘it won’t be long’ and ‘it’ll be good for your head cold to get out and about’, Pete and I headed off on our own. I’d been wanting to  take Pete {and Lew} out to Nerrigundah for ages so when Pete agreed to my suggestion of: let’s do a little road trip  to Nerrigundah, I was pretty chuffed.

So, to get to Nerrigundah from our place you go through the lovely Brogo, then you pass Quaama, and head on through the gorgeous little village of Cobargo.

 

a little road trip to nerrigundah

The gorgeous old Cobargo Bridge

 

A little further down the track from Cobargo there is a sign to the left that says Nerrigundah. That’s the way I remember going when I was a kid. No questions. No hesitating. We turned left.

Here are some snippets from our conversation once we were on that road, heading towards Nerrigundah. I think it’s the best way to tell this little road trip story.

 

a little road trip to nerrigundah

 

Kim: So, I’m not really sure how far it is to nerrigundah but I think it’d be probably half an hour or so.

Pete: Mmmmm.

We stop to take photos of the old machinery lying in the paddock. As you do.

Kim: Oh, I remember this bit. How pretty is it out here?

Pete: Yeh, it is.

I’m fairly excitable as we drive along. Childhood memories flood my brain and I start to babble, as I often do, about this and that. And that and this. And this and that. A lot of babble.

After a little while.

Kim: Oh, so …hmmm….I don’t really remember all this bush.

Pete: Really?

Kim: It was 20 years ago!

A bit more time goes on.

Kim: Well, it’s been well over half an hour. Oh, hang on, this bit is familiar. Yeh, we’re nearly there. I’m sure.

Another 15 minutes of driving goes by. More bush.

Kim: Wow there’s a lot of bush out here. I really don’t remember all of this bush.

Pete: So, is any of this familiar to you?

Kim: Ummm…not the bush.

The bush ends and a pretty, undulating clearing appears. We drive by a lovely old farm.

Kim: Oh my gosh, we are nearly there! This bit is familiar!…Oh isn’t this lovely. Yeh, yeh, yeh…we are almost there now, I ‘m sure we are. I remember this bit, honestly. Yep, yep, definitely nearly there.

More bush. More driving. More bush.

Kim: This is so not familiar. All this bush.

Pete: So, how much further do you think it is?

Kim: I’ve got no idea. Half an hour was about an hour ago. None of this bush is familiar.

I suddenly have a brain wave. Miracle upon miracle, my mobile has a couple of bars. I call  Lynda, my Nerrigundah-savvy, trusty bestie.

Kim: Oh my gosh I’ve got range. Hello! Lynda!

Lynda: Hello. Where are you?

Kim: We are on a little road trip out to Nerrigundah. How far is it?

Lynda: Well, ummm, where exactly are you?

Kim: I don’t flipping know! We’ve been driving for over an hour.

Lynda: Which way did you go?

That baffled me a little because I didn’t realise there were more options than the one we were already taking.

Kim: We turned left after Cobargo. That’s the way to Nerrigundah, right?

Lynda: Yes, but we never go that way. We go through Bodalla.

Kim: Bodalla! But that’s miles away!

Lynda: Well, Nerrigundah is much closer to Bodalla than it is to Cobargo. We go the quicker way.

I looked at Pete. He looked at me. Lynda had been on speaker phone. I could see the cogs quietly turning but he made no sound.

More bush. The phone went silent. No more range. Bush. Bush. Bush.

Kim: OK, so it appears that my memory has been a little hazy. I mean it was over 30 years ago. I know I said 20 but I forgot my age for a moment back there. {this kind of talk is quite common these days and I think it is here to stay as I enter the era of middle age hormones}. Lynda says it’s closer to Bodalla so that makes me think we’ve got a fair way to go still.

Pete: Yep, I heard her.

Pete: Well, I’m going to stop the next car that goes by and ask for help.

We both chuckled at the thought. So far we had not seen a single car go by.

Kim: Well, I’ve got this funny feeling that we’ll get really, really close to Nerrigundah and then there’ll be a tree fallen across the road and we will have to turn back.

Another bit of a chuckle. Glass is half empty people we had become.

More bush.

Kim: So, should we keep going?

Pete: shrugs and that ‘I don’t know’ sound that he makes without the words, just the sound.

We keep driving.

Kim: Oh, hang on, it looks like it’s clearing up ahead. Do you reckon?

I knew Nerrigundah was in a clearing.

Pete: Ummm…maybe?

Kim: Yeh, yeh the bush definitely looks a lot thinner up ahead.

Up ahead we are deep, deep in the heart of the back-of-Cobargo-back- of-Bodalla wilderness.

Kim: This bush is baffling.

Kim: Should we turn around?

Pete: Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

We agonise continually about whether to turn around or keep going.

we keep going. Almost two hours go by and still no sign of Nerrigundah. Lots and lots and lots more bush. And not many clearings.

Then suddenly, there was another clearing and signs of life. Houses. A man whipper snipping. Sign posts with arrows pointing 3 different ways. One of the arrows pointed back towards the way we’d just come. It said Nerrigundah.

Kim: What? How could we have missed it?

Pete pull the car over to the side of the road. Another miracle upon miracle, we have mobile reception again. I look up google maps.

Kim: Well, even though the sign points to Nerrigundah that way, it is actually to the left. That sign says Belowra not Nerrigundah.

Pete: Well, it’s closed.

The Belowra turn off had a big road closure sign. The other sign said Bodalla. Pete and I exchanged some confused, blank glances at one another.

Pete: Hey, look the first car is coming right now! Time for me to ask for directions.

Kim: No! They could be dangerous. Don’t do it! Hillbillies! Aaagh!!!!

The car slowed down as it sidled up next to ours. Both Pete and the extremely non-dangerous, non-hillbillie looking woman wound down their windows. The winding you do with push button electric windows.

The Woman: Are you guys OK?

She smiled a smile that said: I’ve seen people like you out here before. You have no clue where the heck you are do you?

Pete: How do we get to Nerrigundah?

The Woman: I have no idea, I’ve never been there. We’ve only lived in this area  a little while. Ummm.

Pete: How far away is civilisation?

The Woman: Bodalla is 10 minutes that way. You’re not far at all. Civilisation is near.

We laughed and said our thank yous and goodbyes.

Pete: Well let’s go down this closed road and see what happens.

We drive about 20 metres and realise that there is no possible way we are getting through. No tree down but a road blockage none-the-less. The sign says 3km to Nerrigundah. We got pretty close.

 

a little road trip to nerrigundah

 

I start laughing hysterically.

Kim: The first car that comes along! The road to Nerrigundah is closed! We are predictors!

I think there was a series of: I can’t believe we almost made it’s. And then all of a sudden Pete put the blinker on and swerved left.

Pete: I thought there’d be a detour. I bet this is it.

Kim: Hmmmm…

And so it was.

We had made it. Finally. 2 hours later. Past a lot of unfamiliar bush and a few almost familiar clearings.

 

a little road trip to nerrigundaha little road trip to nerrigundaha little road trip to nerrigundah

 

It’s a cute little spot, Nerrigundah, there’s no doubt about that but the build up and the long trip and my warped memory and the bit of lost chaos could’ve dampened Pete’s excitement just a tad.

Pete: So this is Nerrigundah? Pause. This is it?

Kim: hysterical giggling and no understandable words.

Kim: big deep breath to rid the laughing. Well, it is very cute but it’s not exactly like I remembered it. And hello, where’s the big clearing?

And then it dawned on me. I’d mixed up our childhood Nerrigundah trip with the other little trip we did out to Fergus McGuerter’s farm which happened to be  nowhere near Nerrigundah. That was the Clydesdale, carts and clearing memory. Woops.

It was over 30 years ago.

 

a little road trip to nerrigundah

 

The absolute highlight of this fun little mystery road trip was finding this beautiful old treasure. Now I definitely don’t remember ever seeing it last time I was there but oh, my goodness, I’m so glad I got to see it this time.

 

a little road trip to nerrigundaha little road trip to nerrigundaha little road trip to nerrigundaha little road trip to nerrigundah

 

What a gorgeous old church building. The pitch. The bare weatherboards. The simple finials. The shape of the fascia. The perfect proportions.

Dreams of turning it into a house distracted my mind on the way home. Oh, to live in an a little old, wooden church. I wonder whether the artist is still in residence?

And that was our little road trip to Nerrigundah. So many of our capers go a bit like this. Oh the memories we are making as we try to relive the hazy, skewwhiff old ones.

Do you like going on road trips? Have you ever been to Nerrigundah? Have you even heard of it? If you ever want to go we can give you directions. But you’d better hurry up because my memory can’t be trusted.

Kim xx

a little road trip to nerrigundah