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For years my only acquaintance with Nowra has been the bus station, the train station and the shopping centre. Not fair to judge a place by these things! On Friday my new determination to save trivial amounts of money while I spend gigantic sums without a qualm took me into Bomaderry Creek bushland, rather than the national park.

About 200 metres off the Princes Highway along Narang Rd is a rather unpromising parking area. However, as with many hinterlands I've explored a few steps from civilisation takes you into natural beauty. I strolled through a well-maintained picnic area and set out along a track which led me across slabs of rocks and through eucalypt forest.



A staircase took me down into rainforest, an old passion predating rock pools by a few years. My rainforest nomenclature has become shaky, but I recognised many characteristics: buttresses; thick vines; trunks splotched with rough circles of pink, black, orange, green and cream; leaves crinkled around the edges; moss-covered rocks; ferns; and the sound of running water.



The picnic area features a mosaic wall, marking Aboriginal occupation.


I ate my lunch at the end of a row of mosaic stepping stones, near a circle of stone gumnuts, looking through the bush down into the gully. I realised how much I've missed sitting in the bush quietly, and letting it work its calming magic. Although I could hear the highway traffic and the shouts of teenagers on the tennis courts, I was surrounded by tall trees and warm sun and I felt my agitations melt.