Polar cold snap to bring subzero temperatures, snow to parts of NSW


A pair of Antarctic cold fronts will bring subzero temperatures and snow to parts of NSW this weekend.

Sydney will experience a dramatic 10 degree drop in just a few days, with Friday’s 30C weather giving way to temperatures in the low 20s by Monday.

On the NSW south coast, temperatures will drop in two stages as the cold fronts succeed each other.

Friday’s temperatures between 22 and 25 degrees will drop to around 20 degrees by Saturday, and then down to a low of 17 on Sunday.

Not far from the coast, the Canberra region will be much colder, with Saturday morning temperatures of around 5C before the mercury will be expected to hover around the zero mark by Monday.

“The really cold weather will come by Monday or Tuesday, that’s because the cold front brings cooler air, and the wind needs to settle down before it gets really chilly,” the Bureau of Meteorology’s Jiwon Park explained.

Unlike the capital, the coast will be buoyed by unseasonably warm water temperatures.

“The south coast will remain a bit warmer because of the influence of the water,” Mr Park said.

“We are seeing sea surface temperatures remaining slightly warmer than usual.”

In fact, with the ocean temperature remaining around the mid-20s around Batemans Bay, and a few degrees cooler at Merimbula, south coast residents who want to stay warm may want to hit the surf.

The places where the polar conditions will really be felt include the alpine region, Monaro, the ACT, the southern tablelands and parts of the central tablelands like the town of Oberon.

“In parts of those areas we may see temperatures dropping down to below zero degrees during the early part of next week,” Mr Park said.

“There might even be some snow in some parts.”

In the Southern Alps, the snow level could drop below 1200 metres above sea level.

Where it doesn’t snow, the next few days are expected to be drier overall then the beginning of the week, Mr Park said.

“We’ve been under the influence of a moist easterly, and with the passage of the consecutive cold fronts from Friday to Sunday, there’ll be a replacement of that moist easterly by a cooler and drier southerly wind,” he said.

“It will be very dry.”



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Best things to do in Batemans Bay and Mogo, NSW


Welcome to Open for Business.

Each week, news.com.au in partnership with Tourism Australia and the National Bushfire Recovery Agency will shine a spotlight on an Aussie region devastated by the 2020 bushfires. The video series will provide ideas on ways to help, where to visit and cafes not to miss on your next holiday at home.

An enduring escape destination for couples, families and friends, the NSW south coast has plenty to offer.

But an adventure to Batemans Bay and nearby Mogo – both dotted within the Eurobodalla region – is where you’ll find Mother Nature’s best on show.

Beaches, rainforests, swimming, surfing, snorkelling, camping, fishing, hiking, delicious local restaurants and countless locally owned boutique shopping options complete the region, which has everything you could ever want in a holiday.

RELATED: Inside the hidden parts of the NSW south coast

RELATED: How Bateman’s Bay and Mogo recovered from the flames

The district’s reputation for quality produce and great food is also well founded, with charming eateries and working farms to visit, as well as enough bays and beaches to have you busy for weeks on end.

The south coast stretches from Wollongong in the north to the Sapphire Coast in the south, but a visit to Batemans Bay and into Mogo are two spots not to leave off your bucket list.

BATEMANS BAY

With a population of 17,500, Batemans Bay is the bustling coastal hub only two hours’ drive from Canberra and four from Sydney.

With cool small-town charm, fresh coastal air and some of the most stunning beaches in the country – like McKenzies Beach in Malua Bay, Denhams Beach, and the stunning Corrigans Cove – you’ll wish you never had to leave.

After the beach, head back into town for a quick game at Batemans Bay Mini Golf, cruise down the Clyde River to Nelligen or visit Birdland Animal Park in Catalina, which is home to more than 100 species of native birds and animals.

If shopping is more your scene, drop into the Batemans Bay Sunday Market, held the first and third Sunday of each month and peruse the stalls selling books, clothes, food, collectables, plants, gifts, antiques and more. For some stunning handmade jewellery, Juela Mogo is a hidden gem full of unique pieces.

To escape the hustle and bustle, head north to discover hidden gems like Depot Beach, Durras and Bawley Point, where you’ll experience the magic of the Murramarang National Park with plenty of hiking trails, beaches and even kangaroos.

Batemans Bay is the heart of Australia’s Oyster Coast. Appreciate the Clyde River oysters at

Pearly Oyster Bar and Farm and pick up a dozen or two of fresh oysters from the Wray Street Oyster Shed. Make sure you visit Narooma for its annual Narooma Oyster Festival.

The region is filled with crystal-clear waters, especially along the Batemans Bay Snorkelling Trail. This underwater adventure trail explores three snorkelling locations – Maloneys Beach, Sunshine Cove Beach, and Guerilla Bay.

No trip to the region is complete without a visit the Montague Island Nature Reserve, where you can snorkel with the fur seals and explore the historic lighthouse – or even spend the night.

MOGO

The quaint little town of Mogo was devastated by the 2019 bushfires, losing both homes and shops in the blaze. But over time, the town has started to rebuild from the ashes.

Only 10 minutes south and inland from Batemans Bay, Mogo is nestled in gorgeous bushland, and home to the iconic Mogo Wildlife Park, which is home to more than 250 animals, and one of the only two places in Australia where you can see the majestic white lion.

While living and breathing nature, explore the hectares of parkland at Murramarang National Park and Birdland Animal Park, home to an abundance of Aussie wildlife including the Eastern Grey Kangaroo and over 100 species of Australian native birds.

After exploring the zoo, make sure to stop into Gandary Bakers in Moruya – home to a little ‘locals gem’.

Serving up delicious doughnuts with a twist, such as lemon-filled or even with a layer of custard, you will be coming back for more of their baked delights considered “the best” in the region by locals. Oh, and you’ll want to leave room for a pie at Mogo Pies, where they serve up homemade pies which are considered the best in the region.



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What happened to Melissa Caddick, according to crime expert Tim Watson-Munro


A criminology expert believes Sydney conwoman Melissa Caddick was “too narcissistic” to have taken her own life and likely had a plan B.

Police revealed on Friday that Ms Caddick’s Asics shoe and decomposed foot were found on a south coast beach about 400km from her eastern suburbs mansion.

While detectives flagged the possibility that she took her own life, they cannot rule out foul play – a theory leading criminal psychology expert Tim Watson-Munro is leaning towards.

“I believe she had a plan, ” he told NCA NewsWire.

“It’s unlikely on impulse she would have ended her life.”

The 49-year-old is accused of stealing millions of dollars from investors, many of them family and friends, before using the money to fund her lavish lifestyle.

She vanished from her Dover Heights home in November, two days after it was raided by the Australian Federal Police and corporate watchdog ASIC.

Three months later, the remains of her severed foot were discovered on Bournda Beach on the NSW south coast.

Days later a succession of grim discoveries were made along the coastline, including intestines and part of a human torso.

None have been confirmed as belonging to Ms Caddick so far.

But Mr Watson-Munro is sceptical about her body being in the water for that long.

“The decomposition of the shoe would suggest it hasn’t been in the water for three months. While it’s not my area of expertise, if that’s the case a possible scenario is that she has been murdered recently or murdered and kept on ice for a while,” he said.

“A severed foot is a great throw off. They (police and public) see this and let it go.

“Of all the beaches and feet in the world, to find hers … what is the probability of that?”

He described Ms Caddick as “too smart”, and said it was a strong possibility she had an escape plan if her dodgy dealings were uncovered.

It is unlikely one of her clients would have wanted Ms Caddick dead, according to Mr Watson-Munro.

He said it was a more likely scenario is that other individuals were involved in her financial rort and “wanted to cover their tracks”.

“Or there is money buried somewhere that no one has discovered and it’s good to get her out of the way,” he said.

“But you can’t rule out revenge given the amount of money involved.”

The discovery of Ms Caddick’s foot raised more questions than answers, including speculation about where she went after leaving her home in the early hours of the morning on November 12, apparently for a run.

“Not turning up on CCTV requires a degree of planning. She could have gone anywhere,” Mr Watson-Munro said.

“When you have that sort of money at your disposal you can buy all sorts of talent who can keep you in a safe house for a fee or a split of the profit. One million takes you a long way if you disappear.”

There’s been more findings since Ms Caddick’s shoe was discovered.

NSW Police confirmed on Monday afternoon that remains had been found by a member of the public the day before at Warrain Beach near Culburra.

They will be forensically tested to determine if they are human or animal.

Human remains, including what appeared to part of a torso, were found on a Mollymook Beach last Friday.

The remains are undergoing forensic testing to help determine who they belong to, including whether they match the DNA of a male snorkeller who vanished while swimming off Batemans Bay in late January.

Two bones were discovered on Saturday evening at Tura Beach, near Merimbula, just a few kilometres from where Ms Caddick’s shoe was located.

They’ve since been confirmed as animal bones.

More remains were found by a member of the public on Saturday near Cunjurong Point.

Earlier reports suggest they resembled intestines. They are also being subject to forensic testing to work out whether they came from a human.

Investigators urge anyone who discovers remains to leave them in place and contact police.



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More remains found as mystery deepens


More remains have washed up on the NSW south coast, some within the vicinity of where Sydney conwoman Melissa Caddick’s decomposed foot was found.

But there’s a chance the new find could add even more mystery to the already complex case.

Police last week revealed Ms Caddick’s Asics runner was found at Bournda Beach on February 21. The remains of a badly decomposed foot were inside.

DNA testing, using her toothbrush, confirmed they belong to the 49-year-old fraudster.

Hours later human remains, including what appeared to a human torso, were found on a Mollymook beach.

The remains are undergoing forensic testing to help determine who they belong to.

If confirmed to be Ms Caddick, it would put to bed theories that she could still be alive.

However, there’s a chance they belong to a snorkeller who went missing off Batemans Bay in late January.

The 39-year-old man entered the water at Richmond Beach in the Murramarang National Park – about 200km north of where Ms Caddick’s foot was found.

He was never seen again.

On Saturday evening two bones were discovered at Tura Beach, near Merimbula, just a few kilometres from where Ms Caddick’s shoe was located.

The bones have been seized for forensic testing to determine if they are human or animal, a NSW Police spokeswoman told NCA NewsWire.

More remains were found by a member of the public on Saturday near Cunjurong Point.

Despite earlier reports suggesting they were intestines, police could not confirm the nature of the grim find, only that they would also be subject to forensic testing to work out whether they came from a human.

Several theories have emerged suggesting the conwoman may still be alive.

Earlier, Assistant Commissioner Michael Willing said police could not rule out foul play or that Ms Caddick might have taken her own life.

“We’ve been keeping an open mind all along … but given the fact she left personal belongings (behind) we’ve always considered the possibility she may have taken her own life,” he told reporters on Friday.

The businesswoman vanished from her $7m Dover Heights mansion in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in November last year just two days after Australian Federal Police and ASIC searched the property.

She was accused of swindling millions of dollars out of friends and family through her finance business Maliver Pty Ltd.

Her remains were found about 400km from her home.

Investigations have not been able to determine when she entered the water, but her foot was found dry and decomposed.

Police used modelling software to examine coastal patterns and determined an “object that entered the water around the Dover Heights area on November 11 could drift down as far as Bermagui”.

The link between the discovery of the Asic runner and Ms Caddick was made because footage captured her wearing that exact shoe on the night the corporate watchdog raided her home.

The particular model is not sold in Australia and can only be purchased from Israel.

Ms Caddick’s family, including her husband Anthony Koletti, were given the tragic news on Thursday night.

Despite making a major breakthrough with the discovery of her running shoe, several key details continue to elude detectives, including what happened after she left her Dover Heights property and even how she left.

Criminology experts have since disputed the idea she is dead, explaining a person can survive without a foot.

“When it was just a foot I would caution against the possibility that somebody is deceased. You can survive without your foot,” University of Newcastle associate professor of criminology Xanthe Mallett told Weekend Today.

There’s no suggestion her family had anything to do with her dodgy dealings or disappearance and suspected death.

Results from DNA testing were likely to come through later this week, a spokeswoman for NSW Police said.

FINDINGS TIMELINE:

February 21 – Asics runner with decomposed foot found on Bournda Beach, later confirmed to belong to Ms Caddick.

February 26 – Remains of what appears to be a human torso, including a belly button, wash up on Mollymook Beach. They’re undergoing DNA testing to confirm the identity. There’s a chance they could belong to a snorkeller who went missing in late January.

February 27 – Two bones found on Tura Beach, just a few kilometres north of where Ms Caddick’s shoe was found. Forensic testing under way to determine if they are human or animal.

February 27 – More remains found north of Cunjurong Point. Testing under way to work out if they belong to a human or animal.



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Vaccine rollout inspires Gladys Berejiklian to push national borders


NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has vowed to ramp up pressure on national cabinet to formulate a logical and uniform approach to domestic border closures now the COVID-10 vaccine rollout has begun.

With Prime Minister Scott Morrison among the first Australians to receive the Pfizer jab on Sunday, Ms Berejiklian said there were no more excuses for rogue state premiers to slam borders shut at the first sign of an outbreak.

National cabinet is due to meet again this month.

“I’m going to continue, at national cabinet, to press the issue of internal borders within Australia now that the vaccine rollout has started and (because) we‘ve seen no community transmissions in NSW for a serious (37 consecutive) number of days,” she told reporters at Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast.

“Even when do have (a case) we have managed it well. We should not shut down borders just because there are a few cases we might be worried about. That is no way to run our nation, internally.”

Domestic borders have reopened following various closures during the past few weeks. South Australia had banned travellers from Victoria during the Holiday Inn outbreak.

Western Australia only allowed travellers from NSW back in the state on February 16 for the first time since the outbreak on Sydney’s northern beaches in December.

Ms Berejiklian warned that if a national approach was not adopted, the economic effects would be crippling.

“I understand the international borders (being shut), but I don‘t understand the internal borders,” she said.

“We need to start thinking about the future because we run the risk of being left behind.

“We (Australians) have done incredibly well on the health side, but we also need to do well on keeping the economy going, keeping jobs going because the rest of the world is opening up.

“We do need to think about how we treat each other as states. ”



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Why city living is massively overrated


Oh dear, I have become one of those people.

You’ll have seen them if you’ve managed a few days away in a coastal community. Perhaps, like me, you also are one.

We’re pretty recognisable in our linen shorts and raffia thongs with our salt-encrusted hair piled into a top knot as we linger around the real estate agent’s window.

“Look at that,” we’ll exclaim to our partner or children, or even to ourselves.

And then we’ll all glue our noses to the window looking at the little teal fibro shack going for what we think is “a steal” or the hinterland property which comes with its own herd of goats.

As a city dweller I’ve spent years laughing at these sea dreamers – people who like to think they’d enjoy a sea change or a tree change but promptly forget their holiday fantasies the minute they step back into the office after Australia Day.

I scoffed at shows like SeaChange and 800 Words which painted every day as an opportunity for a surf, a coffee and some warm-hearted community problem-solving yet never showed July’s relentless rain or the stubbornness of the local council or the internet collapsing any time the wind blew harder than 20 knots.

But after years of dismissing these coastal towns and villages as cultural wastelands where the only entertainment is a chicken parmy and a meat tray raffle at the bowlo, suddenly all I want is a chicken parmy and a meat tray raffle at the bowlo.

Well, I’d also like good coffee and a shop selling boho dresses and a yoga studio but, blow me down, even the tiniest little hamlet offers this sort of amenity these days.

What’s more, you can walk to get your coffee or your jangly bracelets or your ashtanga hit, making the whole thing so eminently doable. It’s no wonder a lot of us have not just browsed the real estate windows but signed up for the sale alerts.

If COVID has shown me anything – other than the inside of my own home – it’s that urban living is massively overrated. And I live reasonably close to a beach!

Recently a friend texted on Sunday morning suggesting we meet for a swim. Unfortunately, my bike had a flat tyre so I had to drive but clearly the entire city had decided that the combination of a 28C day, blue sky and a relaxing of lockdown restrictions was all the encouragement needed to head to the same spot.

I drove around for 25 minutes looking for a park before abandoning the catch-up.

“I’m sorry but it’s just too stressful,” I texted, which felt pathetic despite being true.

I’m not sure if it’s the economic punch of the pandemic, the distance from family who I’ve now not seen for more than a year, the discomfort wrought by proximity or a summer governed by restrictions, but I suddenly feel the sharp edges of city life.

A $194 ticket and two points on my licence for overstaying four minutes in a parking zone felt like a hardness too far.

A woman had fainted in the optometrist as I waited to collect my contact lenses; the parking ticket gleefully issued by wardens lying in wait a sour reminder not to help anyone in distress.

Even the cultural citadels I’ve long embraced have lost their allure. Galleries require a booking, queues and constant steering through the spaces, theatres are so constrained their seat allocations are permanently “exhausted” and a trip to the cinema loses its appeal when you have to remove your mask to shove in a choc-top.

When I went to see The Dry I spent most of the session in discomfort because I was so concerned about squeezing past anyone to get to the loo.

Yet my ventures to regional climes are refreshingly free of these tensions. There the ocean swimmers turn obligatory fitness into a morning-long chinwag, the bakery will break open a packet of rolls to give you the exact number you need and the cafes are churning out old-school milkshakes rather than maniacally disinfecting every table and utensil.

Whether it’s Batemans Bay, Blueys, Bellingen, Burleigh, Bargara or beyond they’re barefoot and breathing in the days with a certainty that life doesn’t get much better than this.

Even the free campers – the only fly in the soothing ointment that is small town life – are dealt with swiftly, if not by a ranger then a local proficient at de-valving a tyre or four.

The only arguments are between those who claim their idyll is better than the next but they are united on one point: they all pity Byron Bay.

This is not my time to abandon city life. Who knows if it’ll ever be. But after 30 years in three of the world’s most enlivening cities the pandemic has posed an alluring alternative.

My neighbours moved their business and their two young sons to Bellingen last month. “Come and visit,” they implored.

“You’ll probably never leave.”

angelamollard@gmail.com; twitter.com/angelamollard

ANGELA LOVES…

DAD SHIRTS

I’ve been wearing these oversized shirts all summer, either over a bikini or knotted over denim shorts. Cotton On has fab versions for $39 or LMND is great for fab shades of lavender, blush and royal blue.

THERMOCLINES

Some loathe it but I’m always delighted by the abrupt temperature changes in the ocean or in a lake as you hit a pocket of warm or cold water. The magic of nature.

PODCAST

Some actors make better podcast hosts than most and David Tennant (Doctor Who/Broadchurch) is best in class at eliciting terrific anecdotes from his guests in David Tennant Does a Podcast. Tim Minchin’s musings on becoming a sex symbol are hilarious.





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One year on from bushfires town feels forgotten


It’s hard to believe it has been 12 months since the Black Summer bushfires ravaged our little community of Bateman’s Bay on the NSW south coast – and we’re still struggling.

It feels like an eternity ago – but it also feels like it was only yesterday we woke up at the crack of dawn to the gut-wrenching news to get out, the fire is coming. Evacuate.

Experiencing a bushfire first-hand is more horrific, more emotional, and more exhausting than you could imagine.

One day, the sky is blue – and the next, it’s blood red, with ash raining from the sky. The thick, black smoke chokes you, blinds you. With no power or reception, you don’t know what the fire’s doing – or even if the people you love are still alive. It is the most terrifying thing you can possibly imagine, especially when you see the hungry flames devouring everything you’ve ever known.

RELATED: Terrifying Aussie weather prediction

Every single one of us who went through it was impacted. You didn’t have to lose a house or a loved one to feel that heart-shattering grief: because even if you didn’t know the people affected, they’re still people in your community. And it’s heartbreaking to see them struggle. People are still living in tents. People are still struggling to find homes, with too high demand. Yes, some have rebuilt their lives, but so many haven’t.

And that pain, that fear, that terror – it stays with you forever.

RFS Long Beach Brigade volunteer Kirsty Vickers, who’s 21-year-old son Michael – also a volunteer firefighter – lost his Nelligan home after he’d battled all through the night to save houses nearby, says not enough has been done.

RELATED: Aussies dodged a COVID bullet via bushfires

“We were forgotten by March,” she said.

“COVID kicked in, and it was more important to fix that instead of putting a roof over families heads. The big charities didn’t do enough. They didn’t want to help young families or renters. I had to fight to get $5000 for my kids who lost everything.

“There’s still people homeless. Michael and his young family are on their third lot of temporary accommodation. We forked out billions to help with COVID … why not help fire victims?”

Kirsty also believes there should be a fund to help RFS volunteers who lose everything while they’re busy saving others.

North Batemans Bay resident Hayley Gray and her family were evacuated from their home a few times before Christmas and were on constant alert the entire fire season.

“My sister and I would take turns on who would stay awake and keep updated on the fires so we knew when it was time to flee,” she said.

When the New Year’s Eve fires threatened the farm her nan and uncle lived on, she and her sister rushed to their aid, only to be stopped at Dunns Creek Road to turn around.

Her family survived, but the farm didn’t — and heartbreakingly, shortly after, her nan passed away.

RELATED: New powers to combat fires

“The house our family lived on for more than 100 years turned to ashes. We lost so much but I think we are one of the lucky ones because we still have a home to return to. My uncle is living in a pod and plans to build a house on the property.

“But my son is still petrified of fires and smoke. My nephew is scared another fire will come for us again.”

Many of us – myself included – have survivor’s guilt. We diminish our experiences, because others had it much worse. When in reality, we all experienced a natural disaster.

Bimbimbie’s Nicky Robinson says once the next big story came along, fire-affected communities were brushed to the side.

“It’s 12 months on and I can honestly say it feels like yesterday my whole world was devastated. We had great support for the first six weeks, and then zip: nothing.

“I often hear people talking about how green everything is and how quick our recovery has been. There’s never been a mention of the 1800 water bottles it took us to get through the first few weeks, the electricity we went without for 60 days, the buckets I’m still showering out of and the rubble we had to live with for five months.

“If there was one thing I would shout to the world, it would be: why have we been forgotten?”

Mogo resident Sara Gardner is still battling with the public trustee to release funds. The family lost everything, including two houses, a mechanic workshop with tools from the 1800s, and custom stables with more than $60,000 of horse riding equipment – but because the insurance was in her mother’s name (who battles dementia and doesn’t have a power of attorney), she hasn’t seen a single cent.

Now living in a recovery pod, which took months to arrive and even longer to have electricity and septic installed, the family says they’ve slipped through the cracks.

“We were given money from the Red Cross which mostly went on generators, fuel, food, water and electricity, covering our everyday needs. We are still struggling. I don’t even know where to start to ask for help. I’ve tried, but have been let down too many times.”

The recovery pod – a 20-foot shipping container with four bunk beds, a kitchen bench, a fridge, washing machine, shower and toilet – only has a 2000L water tank. And for a family of five, it doesn’t last long.

“You use the washing machine, and half the water’s gone already,” says Sara.

The family aren’t allowed to modify the pods to add gutters or catchments and when it rains, it leaks, causing the family to spend more than $1000 on tarps. Their biggest need at this stage is a large water tank, as well as grocery and Bunnings gift cards, and donations of dog food and horse feed for their nine dogs and four horses, who are mostly rescues.

Heartbreakingly, for some, the fires were the last straw, including 53-year-old Kerry Reinhardt, who took her own life. Her partner, Craig Virtue, says she sought help many times.

“The bushfires and COVID pushed her over the edge. While nothing burnt around us, we were constantly on watch for ember attacks because there was still so much to burn.

“Not having a psychiatrist anywhere near here, and then having to wait for months to see one all added to it too. She never got to see one in the end. For Kerry, the bushfires were the beginning of the end. We just didn’t know it.”

There’s vacant lots where homes and shops used to be. Businesses have closed down. There’s blackened trees, and while some have green fuzzy growth, many are husks with no leaves and no life.

So many people can’t talk about it still. So many want to forget the memories; of seeing unspeakable things, like fire bombs the size of semi trailers, fleeing animals with charred paws and nowhere to go, and watching birds fall from the sky. And when COVID-19 came, we couldn’t mourn the trauma we’d experience – we were too worried about the people we love catching this dreaded virus.

When we hear, see or smell smoke, sirens and helicopters, we’re thrust back into our trauma. We look around, searching for the ever-present danger in our minds. We wonder: will it come back to finish the job?

I’m lucky. I didn’t lose my house in Malua Bay. But I did see my community ravaged. I did have to lie to my crying godchildren that everything was going to be okay when the sky went black, without any idea if it was true.

I saw the world I’d grown up reduced to ash and flame. And I knew some of the people who lost their lives; one of which, I went to school with.

I see and hear the impacts of this trauma every single day; so many with PTSD, depression and anxiety that’s increased as a result of our experiences – but also a greater appreciation for life, and a greater love for each other.

We will live with these scars forever, some more so than others. We might not be on your screens, but we are here.

Please, remember us.

Please.

To help Batemans Bay and the surrounding areas you can donate via the South Coast Donations Logistics Team, Batemans Bay Baptist Church or Wild2Free inc (animal sanctuary).

Zoe Simmons is a journalist with a passion for making a difference. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter for more.





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Holiday spots we’ve been ignoring too long


As we get busy exploring our own backyards this summer, some unlikely places have found themselves front and centre – and in hot demand.

These spots are usually overlooked by people planning summer holidays but in 2020 they’re finally starting to get the recognition they deserve.

Obviously these destinations are all dependent on any state borders you may need to cross to get there and what the rules may be at the time.

Caloundra, Queensland

Often overshadowed by its bigger, flashier Sunshine Coast neighbours, Caloundra is proving to be “just right” this year, coming in sixth on TripAdvisor’s 2020 Summer Travel Index. Dubbed “the Southern Gateway of the Sunshine Coast” and just under two hours from Brisbane, Caloundra has a vibrant town centre but its main prize is its stretches of golden sands – from the main tourist drag of Kings Beach to the more secluded Currimundi Beach. You can also dip your toes in the most northern point of Pumicestone Passage, the waterway that separates Bribie Island from the mainland.

Batemans Bay, NSW

With its crystal-clear beaches, the fresh fare that comes being at the centre of Australia’s Oyster Coast and only two hours from the national capital and four hours from Sydney, it’s easy to understand how Batemans Bay earned a high rating on Expedia’s most-in-demand destinations for summer 2021. Even if spending all day on Surf and Denham beaches is not your thing, there are plenty of other activities, like kayaking on the Clyde River, cycling the foreshore trail, scuba diving around the cliffs and bushwalking through nearby national parks. Expedia reports both Kiama and Jervis Bay further up the south coast are also this summer standouts.

Inverloch, Victoria

Tucked in northeast of Cape Patterson, Inverloch is a quintessential seaside Victorian town offering the best of both worlds – the safe waters of the turquoise-coloured Andersons Inlet as well as the brilliant beaches of the Bass Strait coastline. It’s a two-hour drive from Melbourne, adding to the reasons why Inverloch’s BIG4 Holiday Park has reported a 155 per cent increase in demand this year. The scenic Bunurong Coastal Drive, regarded by locals as a ‘mini-version of The Great Ocean Road’, shows off a range of great beaches and natural attractions like The Caves, reputed to have once been the hide-out of pirates.

Hobart, Tasmania

Hobart may not usually the first place that comes to mind for fun in the sun, but this year the capital of the Apple Isle is a star performer, with Flight Centre reporting bookings 41 per cent up from last year. For all the history of the city centre and the majesty of Mount Wellington, one of the major reasons people are Hobart-bound is the reopening of MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) which has been closed since March due to COVID. Now, tickets to the grand gallery are in demand, so bookings are essential. On Hobart’s steamier days when temperatures can hit 30C, head to Seven Mile and Kingston beaches to cool off.

Perth, Western Australia

For people from other states who want to get as far away as possible, it makes sense that Perth – all the way on the other side of the country – is Skyscanner’s top-trending summer destination, with new searches increasing 39 per cent each week. Behind closed borders for most of 2020, there’s real appeal in exploring the city and its superb surrounds like Margaret River and Rottnest Island. But for those just after days on the beach, there’s always-popular Scarborough, family-favourite Brighton and the surfer’s paradise of Trigg.

Mount Gambier, South Australia

This stopping spot on the road between Adelaide and Melbourne has become a favourite in its own right this summer, with demand for accommodation riding high according to BIG4 Holiday Parks. In Mount Gambier, be sure to get your lakes right as the sapphire-coloured gem Blue Lake and Valley Lake in town are lovely to look at but not for swimming. Just 14km down the road, however, the Little Blue Lake is the place for a dip. Then there’s the sunken gardens of the Umpherston Sinkhole, while the city itself is situated on the slopes of an old volcano, so there’s no shortage of trails to explore.

The Top End, Northern Territory

The triple treat of Darwin, Kakadu and Litchfield National Park is a winner, as Flight Centre reports the Top End has experienced a 347 per cent increase in bookings over the same time last year. Darwin beaches are mostly off limits due to the box jellyfish, but there’s plenty of history and culture to explore in the boom northern city. It’s a day trip to the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, complete with its rugged landscapes, while only 90 minutes in the other direction to the Litchfield National Park, where one of the best thrills is swimming under the thundering double waterfalls at Florence Falls.

This article originally appeared on Escape and was reproduced with permission



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New South Wales braces for severe weather


A huge portion of New South Wales is bracing for heavy rain and flash flooding as a storm surges across the state with warnings in place on Wednesday evening for more than a dozen cities including Sydney.

The torrential downfall comes after a week of persistent rain has caused flash flooding in northern NSW and Lismore.

The long list of cities and regions expecting to be belted includes Newcastle, Canberra, Gosford, Wollongong, Nowra, Batemans Bay, Armidale, Orange, Goulburn, Tamworth, Moree, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga and Albury.

Intense rainfall covered parts of NSW on Wednesday following a sustained downpour in various regions since the beginning of the week.

Images captured at East Lismore detail the extent of the flash flooding, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning more is expected heading into the weekend.

A major flood warning has also been issued for the Orara River at Coutts Crossing near Grafton.

“Over the coming days, severe thunderstorms could produce large hail and damaging winds as well,” meteorologist Neil Fraser told NCA NewsWire.

“We’ve had a fair bit of rain up at Lismore that has added to the flooding through there – since 9am this morning 180-odd millimetres had fallen.

“And there’s no let up really for the coming days until the weekend.”

Other regions that copped a short and heavy downpour include Kunghur, where 83mm fell in two hours, and Hillview, where 46mm covered the area in just an hour.



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Australia’s best fish and chips at Innes Boathouse, Batemans Bay


The silky slivers of white flesh dissolve in my mouth, while the crispy golden batter encasing them gives a satisfying and surprisingly grease-free crunch.

It’s the first time I’ve ever tried a piece of flake with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and it’s a winning combination. The sour kick cuts beautifully through every mouthful, adding a modern twist to a classic holiday dish.

I’ve just stumbled upon Australia’s best fish and chips. It’s an inviting indoor/outdoor eatery, right on the water by the main shopping strip in Batemans Bay.

It’s called Innes Boathouse (though the sign simply reads “The Boathouse”), and it’s in the heart of the beautiful NSW south coast.

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Now, I’m no stranger to a local chippy, especially on coastal road trips. Like anyone who grew up holidaying at the beach, I consider myself a bit of an expert, ranking each paper-wrapped dinner by freshness, saltiness, and crispiness.

After all, a piece of fresh fish eaten right by the water, together with fat-but-crispy chips and a fruity soft drink, is one of life’s simplest pleasures.

Discovering this one was a happy accident. I was looking for the supermarket, planning to have a beachside picnic, when I spotted the collection of well-occupied tables, shaded with big black umbrellas, and pulled over to have a closer look. It’s a cloudless day, but the sting has disappeared from the sun, and a gentle breeze is rustling the fronds of the lone palm overhead.

There’s a deck outside, with well-spaced picnic tables, so I pick a spot right next to the railing. Watching the boats bobbing up and down in the water, while pelicans and seagulls compete for space on the nearby jetty, closes the loop from trawler to table.

Tomorrow, I’ll try the prawns.

Innes Boatshed is located at 1 Clyde Street, Batemans Bay. Do you think there is a better fish and chips out there? Tell us in the comments below



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