Article courtesy of The Magazine of the Bentley Drivers Club NSW Region, May/June 2014
AT this time last year we made a visit to the Crookwell Potato Festival.
Unfortunately that day was a complete washout for the festival but the BDC had a fun time sheltering in the CWA having scones and tea and then visiting Sydney Vintage Car Restoration before heading off to a drier Braidwood.
This year we decided we would head north and Wingham was the chosen spot, 300kms north of Sydney close to Taree on the Central North Coast, a good long run for the Bentleys.
Driving from Sydney on Friday, some showers were met on the way and steering the car with crossed fingers for good weather over the weekend was not easy.
The Friday afternoon destination was the Golf Club Motor Inn at Wingham an extremely pleasant four star Motel overlooking the golf course.
With the northern destination members arrived from all points of the compass. Arthur and Margaret Ackling from Armidale, Jane and Peter Wilson from Tamworth, Carol and Robert Bourke from Burradoo and new members James and Cherry Heaton from Gerringong plus as Robert unkindly said, a City slicker, namely me.
After first feeding, with Smiths Crisps from the mini bar, the huge golden carp that were in the large pond underneath our balcony, we all headed off to our first venue and dinner for Friday evening.
We all know that when venturing out into Australian country towns that you have to take what you find.
However what we found at the Bent on Food Restaurant in the small town centre of Wingham totally surprised us.
The food and wine list were as good as you can find anywhere. The atmosphere was more of a deli/café style but the food first rate, befitting a flash CBD venue and so was the service and attention from our host Donna Carrier, Nick Samaras is the head chef.
The case full of Tourism Awards should have given us a clue to the high standard.
Paula from the Golf Club Motor Inn had recommended the restaurant and she had also helped put the itinerary together. Because Wingham is a long way from Sydney trust was placed in her judgment and it proved to be perfect.
The first port of call on a glorious sunny Saturday morning was only 5 minutes away but a step back in time to the Lincoln Brickworks.
No mass production but the finest bricks produced by wet and dry pressing methods and then fired in their kilns. We were shown the process at all stages.
If you need bricks to match your heritage buildings or want high quality material, custom made for new and different buildings this is the place to go. Renowned architects are on their client list.
Second call, after a 30 minute drive, was on the side of the Ghinni Ghinni River at the charming Other Side Gallery and Teahouse.
We had our own table looking out at the garden flowers and river, having tea and home made scrumptious cakes (this may be denied by some on diets).
Plenty of good art on display to study before heading back to the Highway.
We drove along the Highway for a while and headed off towards the sea at Laurieton.
Entering the Dooragan National Park we had a long, incredible, climb through beautiful forest, on a sealed road, until we reached the lookout at North Brother Mountain.
Amazing, spectacular views up and down the coast.
We could even see in the distance where we heading for lunch at Bonny Hills.
We met a couple of Para gliders that were intent on jumping off the cliff and seemingly going further than we had driven.
Time for food and we headed off along the coast road to The Fat Fish Restaurant at the Bonny Hills Surf Club. A table had been reserved for us, oysters, fresh fish, chips and cold wine on a sunny day overlooking the beach, Bentleys parked on the grass, couldn’t be better.
What couldn’t be better was the building the Surf Club and restaurant occupied.
A match any day for the Bondi Icebergs, Bonny Hills must be in a marginal electorate!
The last port of call for the day was something completely different, a visit to the Koala
Hospital at Port Macquarie. A lot of the inmates were bush fire victims and road accidents.
Such vulnerable iconic Australian animals that were being carefully tended by the volunteers.
Afterwards we headed back to Wingham. I chose to go back the way we had come, mostly off the Highway. Buzzing up and down the Highway over the years I never realised how beautiful the coast in this part of Australia is, it was worth another look.
Arriving back I even managed a very quick 9 holes of golf in 1½ hours, striding to my room extremely hot and bothered.
The final event for the day was a short walk to the Restaurant at the Golf Club, Caddies.
No concern about RBTs, we just had to be careful about walking down the hill afterwards.
A few drinks on the balcony at the clubhouse as the sun set before we had good wholesome food in the bistro.
We were the last to leave after being politely ejected.
Last year, after dinner at Braidwood, Robert Bourke and I demolished a good portion of a bottle of Cognac; thankfully no chance this year.
Sunday morning was another glorious sunny day and we set off in various directions in the Bentleys after the farewells, checking the oil and water first of course.
Jane and Peter Wilson sent an email afterwards,” Thanks for a most enjoyable and relaxing weekend. We enjoyed the opportunity to participate in a Bentley Club activity, renew friendships and meet other members. The programme was most interesting with spectacular views; varied activities, good food and ideal weather.”
I think that sums up what the Bentley Club is all about.
See you at the next event?
Sharing knowledge of R Types, Messer's Ackling and Heaton.
How to make bricks, Lincoln Brickworks.