Scotsman Robin's an old friend of the Kulas since 1971. Today he works for Adobe Systems in San Jose, California.
Eyes open at 6.00 AM. Temp 0 deg C. In the dark fog outside our window a kangaroo is having brekkie. As the fog lifts there is a beautiful play of light. First the hill tops appear as islands in a vast sea of white (the motel is high up). In the stronger light we can see the dark grey valley below. As the sun rises the town below bursts into light as the cloudbank disperses.
Why are we in this tiny town in the foothills of the Australian Alps? The Buchan Caves of course! Ruth and I arrive at the caves at 11.00 A.M. After delivering a list of No-Nos Keith the ranger leads us underground. “Some stooping but no crawling will be required,” says the sign. Guess who did not stoop enough – I collect a large lump and a graze to the top of my head as a souvenir.
After some minutes along a cramped man bored tunnel, some 30 of us emerge into the vast vault of the “King’s Chamber”. Stalagmites, stalactites and blankets of lime flow are in front of us. Remember the geology lecturer’s “as the mites (ants) go up the tights (pants) go down” help phrase as to which goes up and which goes down?
“Ooohs”, “Aaahs” and “isn’t it beautiful break” out. I have the impression of a chaotic jumble of shafts, vaults and chasms breaking off in all direction. Only the mites and the tites present a verticality and a reference for the mind to keep balance after we leave the horizon outside the caves. For 90 minutes we continue to walk through this pristine marvel of nature. At one point the guide switches off all the lights and puts the shits up all of us. To think that people originally mapped these caves carrying ropes, candles and matches. Up a steel staircase and through a steel door we emerge into sunlight. Kookaburras and kangaroos abound.
After a slow, tortuous, 1hour drive we reach Orbost where we have a lousy coffee. On to Cann River and another lousy coffee. We plough on through Eden, Pambula and Merimbula to arrive at Wolumla at 5.30 p.m. to be warmly greeted by Brigitte and Reiner (see Appendix 1). Lovely people.
Dinner consists of Braised Beef, gravy and veg. Absolutely delicious basic German cooking. Genuine comfort food! All this is washed down with some good red. We talk about the food situation in Germany immediately after WW2. There was a great shortage and the local people were very close to starvation. I did not pick up on this when I was a kid. The UN rounded us war refugees up feeding and clothing us from massive donations from the people of Australia, U.S and Canada. I don’t remember ever feeling hungry.
In bed by 9.30 PM
Returned Servicemen’s (military operations’ survivors originally) League Clubs in NSW and QLD have licence to operate gambling poker machines. The profits are poured back into the Club for the benefit of the community. The Clubs are huge, providing good, inexpensive food and drink. A lot of them provide international star performances and other attractions. The buildings and fittings are of an exceptionally high standard.
Morning at Buchan
Ruth over Buchan
More Buchan morn
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Last Modified: Thursday August 24, 2006