The water ways

The water ways

By
Lyndey Milan
Contains
13 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742707846
Photographer
Stuart Scott

Australia is an island nation with more than 10,000 beaches, including some of the most magnificent in the world. It’s also one of the most urbanised and coast-dwelling nations with more than 80 per cent of Australians living within 100 kilometres of the coast. No wonder Australia has a reputation as a water-loving country!

The Shoalhaven region on the south coast of New South Wales is a majestic stretch of coastline endowed with beaches, bays, rivers, national parks like Jervis Bay National Park, historic country towns and natural attractions.

The biggest champion of the area is international chef, author and TV presenter Rick Stein. He has the award-winning restaurant Rick Stein at Bannisters in Mollymook. This coastal cliff-top hideaway is in a boutique hotel, also with poolside cocktail and pizza bar. It reminds Rick of his home in Cornwall and, once he met the local fishmonger, Lucky, he knew he could do well there. According to Rick, ‘to say this comes from somewhere specific … it just gives people a little, sort of, emotional tie to that food … And you say something like Clyde River oysters … or Illawarra prawns, you think, “Oh, where is it? Where is the Clyde River? What’s so special about them?”’ So it was very special to forage for seaweed and periwinkles with Rick himself, who’s been a friend for 17 years.

Sydney rock oysters (the name of the species not the location) are grown in innovative floating baskets along the Clyde River, while further up the Clyde River Berry Farm offers pick-your-own blueberries, boysenberries, loganberries, youngberries and tayberries – all of which are derived from raspberries and blackberries. There are local providores and an increasing number of wineries.

Inland, Bundanon Homestead and Arthur Boyd’s Studio – this significant artist’s gift to the nation because ‘you can’t own a landscape’ – is open every Sunday. Best of all, kangaroos come down to feed before dusk on Pebbly Beach where, like me, you can get the holiday photo of a lifetime.

Jervis Bay, nearly 200 kilometres (124 miles) south of Sydney, has the whitest fine sand in the world and is home to between 80 and 130 bottlenose dolphins, so you’re pretty sure to get a sighting if you take a cruise out from Huskisson. Whales can be sighted from mid-May to late November and swim all the way up the coast.

Whale sightings are also popular at Port Macquarie in northern New South Wales where the town green is beside the dazzling waterway. Here the maritime climate means that seafood, tomatoes, macadamia nuts and more vineyards flourish. You can ride a camel on the beach or visit The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital – for over 40 years the only hospital in the world dedicated to the preservation, conservation and care of wild koalas.

However it’s not all beaches – there are also beautiful lakes and rivers throughout Australia. The Hawkesbury and its tributary, the Nepean River, virtually encircle the metropolitan region of Sydney. The Hawkesbury wends its way west and north of Sydney for 120 kilometres and is known for the lush fertile farming land on its banks. Near Ebenezer, Melanda Park – which previously farmed cattle, kale, citrus and potatoes – is now home to some very happy – and hungry – free-range pigs. Australian pigs are said to be the most ethically raised in the world and here I learned that in Australia we’re not allowed to feed pigs swill (restaurant or kitchen waste or anything that contains meat) but only fruit, vegetables and plants.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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