On Friday, we left Mallacoota, making a short stop at Gipsy Point near the start of the Mallacoota Inlet. From here we headed north and crossed the border into New South Wales. We drove into Ben Boyd National Park and stayed at Saltwater Creek camp ground. It was still quite early, so we set up camp and headed to the beach, which was less than 100m away.
The camp ground was nice but NSW have a completely different policy to National Parks to every other state we've been to so far. They charge daily entrance fees (mostly $7 but $16 for Snowy Mt NP, off-peak
) for most of the parks and usually charge ADDITIONAL camping fees (that rival caravan park fees) for sites with very basic facilities. They also don't offer a 'parks pass' for anything less than a year (WA, SA & Tas offer 2-month passes), and the 'All-Parks' pass that includes Kosciuzsko National Park is ridiculously expensive ($190) if you just want to spend a few days there, so we'll have to pick up the more reasonably priced 'Multi-Parks' pass ($65) in Merimbula (they only sell them online or in national parks offices)! At least we've since discovered
Ben Boyd National Park
that there are no camping fees in the basic but nice camp grounds in Kosciuzsko.
Anyway, Ben Boyd was a lovely place and there was another family camped next to us that was about to begin their 8-month trip around Australia in a camper trailer similar to ours. Annelies had a great time playing with Astrid. On Saturday we drove out to Disaster Bay Lookout and then Green Cape Lighthouse. We also stopped at Bittangabee Bay on the way back, where the other camp ground is located. Then it was back to Saltwater Creek for some more surf, sun and sand. Speaking of the sun, it was starting to take on an eerie orange glow, caused by smoke from the bush fires that were occurring over the ranges further inland. Fortunately, no fires were heading our way, but it meant we were keeping a close ear on the radio and also couldn't have camp fires because of the total fire bans.
From Ben Boyd, we travelled north, stopping at two lots of markets in Pambula where we purchased chutney and marmalade at one and fruit and vegies at the other. We needed to stop in Merimbula to pick
up our parks pass on Monday, so we decided to stay at Merimbula Beach Holiday Park for a night, which was very flash and expensive, but we made full use of the lovely pool as it was still quite warm. A cool southerly change came through in the evening and was expected to last all week, so we decided that now was a good time to head into Kosciuzsko National Park for the next few days as we knew there were no bush fire concerns in that area for the time being.
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