Tathra life after the bushfire
As we enter another summer season and with large parts of eastern Australia already under drought conditions, bush fires are again going to be a factor for many. You only have to look north to Queensland which has already experienced many major fires in a very hot and dry start to their summer fire season.
Now for most of us who have lived in Australia for any period of time we understand and are well aware of bushfires and their potential impact on towns, regions, livestock and of course people, but without getting into a debate about climate change the one clear fact that appears to be happening is the growing length and severity of the bushfire season in all states across Australia.
However, no matter the emergency the one thing that we Australians should be proud of is the great community spirit that these tragic bushfire events seem to bring out in most, this together with the ability to bounce back and rebuild both lives and property.
As a case in point I was travelling through the NSW South Coast recently and passed through the lovely coastal town of Tathra. Now as most of you will remember Tathra was very hard hit by bushfire earlier this year (2018) in fact it was another late season event with little warning that impacted the town on the 18-19 March 2018.The fire was fast and caught most by surprise and its effect was huge with some 65 homes lost, another 35 caravans/cabins also destroyed and 48 properties damaged. The truly most amazing thing was that no lives were lost or even serious injuries reported. The fire fighters did a tremendous job under taxing and difficult conditions.
One of OTR field editors John Ford lives in Merimbula and was in the area on the days of the event visiting family and John has written a short piece on the fire and a couple of his photos give you some idea of the tragic impact that unfolded. Now I was in Tathra in November so that’s some eight months after the bushfire and I was struck by the work going on in rebuilding and getting on with life that the town seems to exude.
I was able to spend some time looking around and taking some photos and chatting with a few locals and visitors alike and came away with a great sense that yes it hit us hard but it’s our home and livelihood so just let’s fix it and move forward.
Tathra notwithstanding the fires impact does have a lot going for it with a stunning coastal location surrounded on all sides by coastal wilderness and bush fringed beaches. With all the normal seaside activities on offer from surfing and swimming to first class fishing both local and offshore, walking tracks, bike trails, plenty of history and a top class selection of great food and drink to tempt you.
The beach at Tathra is regarded as one of the safest and best on the Sapphire Coast, at nearly 3km in length it stretches from the surf club at the southern end all the way up to Mogareeka Inlet and Fords headland at the northern end. The beach is patrolled every day during summer and the club which has been operating for over 100 years has great facilities with kids’ playground, BBQ and picnic tables.
One of the town’s most famous features is its historic wharf, in fact it’s the only such structure remaining on the whole NSW coast. Built in the 1860s it is a great location for some top class fishing, whale watching in season and has a small museum and cafe, simply a must visit for all. If fishing is your go then Tathra has plenty to offer with a great boat ramp and facilities at Mogareeka Inlet at the mouth of the Bega River just a few km north of town. For river fishing and paddling or if equipped with the right boat you can launch straight into the big blue at the Kianinny Bay ocean ramp home of the Tathra Fishing Club, a truly beautiful rocky inlet that apart from a really good ramp, offers swimming in a super large rock pool environment, together again with top class facilities including boat washing,toilets and BBQ.
The town is also blessed by the fact that it is surrounded by nature parks and amazing coastal beauty. In the north you have Mimosa Rocks National Park, this park offers a pristine collection of beaches, lagoons and stunning headland views. Mimosa Rocks NP also has some top camping options if you like getting away from it all but still close enough to enjoy the attractions and facilities of town. To the south of town you have the Bournda National Park while to the west there is the Tathra Forest
All this natural surroundings afford you an almost unlimited range of activities that you can partake in with walking and bike tracks taking you into some beautiful locations and with a peace and quiet that is to be savoured. Food and in particular oysters are also very much a part of any visit to Tathra and this region, Tathra oysters are one of Australia’s most highly awarded oysters and prized by the country’s top chefs. The oysters are grown in Nelsons Lake just to the north of Tathra and surrounded by the Mimosa Rocks NP, this family operated business has won numerous awards and you can call into the Tathra Oysters shop and select and try for yourself.
Tathra did have a really bad experience back in March 2018 and there is plenty of work and rebuilding still to be completed, however the town and surrounds are very much up and going. The natural beauty of the area is simply stunning and the scope and range of activities on offer is almost endless from the very active to just relaxing and chilling out. Camping options are aplenty with a number of top caravan parks on offer and great camp grounds in the local national parks.
If you get the chance to visit I would highly recommend the experience it’s a top destination with top class locals still moving forward and having a crack, which to me is the true Australian way.
Big 4 Tathra Beach Holiday Park. 02 6494 1350. www.big4tathrabeach.com.au
Tathra Beachside, 02 6494 1302. www.tathrabeachside.com.au
Tathra Beach Motor Village, 02 6494 1577.
Tathra Hotel, 02 6494 1101 www.tathrahotel.com.au
Tathra is located on the NSW South Coast between Merimbula in the south and Bermagui 31 km north.