I had last visited the tranquil village of Narooma in those heady days of the 1980s when my state-of-the-art De Havilland Offshore 15-footer negotiated the notorious Wagonga Inlet bar to head to Montague Island.
Every day in Autumn we would take on yellowfin tuna that you would give an arm and a leg for these days. You occasionally hooked a marlin but that was only if a tuna ignored your bait long enough to allow the beakie a chance.
Alas, those heady days are past but Narooma has lost none of its charm. It took a short trip down south a while back to reinforce that this picturesque village is still one of the best places on the coast and well worth another trip to reacquaint myself with a place that had been so kind to me in the past.
Narooma hasn’t changed that much over the years and still relies heavily on the tourist trade so there is quite a large choice when it comes to accommodation.
One of the long-standing places is Easts Narooma Shores Holiday Park, which covers the whole eastern side of the highway from the bridge to the hill before the town centre, providing uninterrupted views of the inlet and entrance.
Accommodation ranges from unpowered tent sites to luxury spa cabins right on the waterfront. You can’t go wrong.
Apart from the game fishing, which is still some of the best in the world, there is an abundance of estuary, rock and beach options to keep everyone happy. This trip I took on the estuary in my Stessl Edge Tracker but that is another story.
The park has a four-star rating which is very good seeing it doesn’t have a shop on site – it would be tough to compete with the ones straight across the road.
There are 270 tent sites, most with power, and four sites even have there own ensuites, which is pretty flash camping. Many of the sites have water frontage and are dead flat on lush green grass.
A walk around the park, which will take about 30 minutes, shows that there are plenty of showers and toilets and the whole place is very neat and tidy.
Many holiday park toilets and showers these days don’t open with keys, but use PIN numbers instead. If you are forgetful, write it on your hand and hope it doesn’t wear off until you can put the number to memory.
There are plenty of rubbish disposal points and bins. One of the annoying things about many parks is the lack of rubbish bins, or there is only one central dump point for the whole camp, but not here.
There are plenty of taps handy so you are not visiting one boggy tap for 20 sites to get water. LPG refills and ice are available at the office.
Well-equipped laundries are at each end of the park with washing machines and dryers. There are barbecues around the park and a great covered barbie area with washing-up facilities right on the water.
The park also has 49 cabins ranging from comfortable 1.5-star units up to luxurious four-star spa cabins with full kitchen facilities, fridge/freezers, air-conditioning and TV with DVD.
Many cabins (some even are wheelchair-accessible) have full water frontage with spectacular views of the inlet from under the giant Norfolk Island pines. These units are very spacious; on the swing-a-cat meter they are 10 out of 10. Even the bunk bed systems were cleverly designed to prevent even the most restless sleeper from falling out.
The heated swimming pool looks more like an oasis with its landscaped surrounds and blue water.
And then there is The Pillow. This is fabulous for wearing out the kids and it is as it sounds – a huge pillow set into the ground about 10 metres by six metres made of heavy-duty vinyl kept inflated by a pump pushing air into it constantly.
You can get some pretty serious bounce out of this thing and I saw some more experienced kids doing full flips. Adults who spend more than 15 minutes on this implement will wonder what hit them the next day; it really works the leg muscles and you just don’t feel it at the time. Nonetheless, I dare you to have get on and have a bounce. It is quite addictive and your legs get better after a week or so!
If the weather turns nasty and you still need a swim the enclosed Narooma heated pool is at the end of the park and there are kids’ playgrounds at the southern end of the park as well.
The local bike track runs right along the front of the park next to the water so you can hop on the bike and look for fish and you don’t have to go far to find them. We saw mullet, whiting, bream and flathead each time.
On the other side of the river, just over the bridge, a boardwalk better than a kilometre long is a must. On one side you have forest with the bellbirds ringing out and on the other you can fish the inlet. There are rod holders and bait boards built into the stainless steel structure at regular intervals.
It is absolutely fabulous and terrific foresight by someone who has actually worked out that if you provide good facilities for people they will come to the town and spend their money. Aside from this it is a very pleasant walk so everyone is happy.
There are heaps of other things to do in Narooma with plenty of shops including several great tackle stores with great restaurants, some right out over the water and others with spectacular views.
But Narooma is fishing, with offshore and estuary charters, golf at the famous course featuring Hogan’s hole, horse riding, bushwalking, diving at Montague Island, drives into the mountains or local craft centres such as those which abound at Tilba.
Narooma is a great place to visit and a great place to stay is the Easts Narooma Shores Holiday Park. For bookings call 02 4476 2046.Reads: 617