As a young musician playing the many venues that used to exist in the early 80s me and my band at the time used to do a little road trip out of Sydney every few months. Just old enough to play in the pubs that employed us, we were brash 18 year olds smashing out our original tunes with a few covers thrown in to keep the punters on the dance floor. Believe it or not you could pretty much play three of four nights a week if you wanted to back then. Sadly that’s no longer a reality.
One of our favourite weekend runs started in Wollongong on a Thursday night, with the Friday at a room we affectionately called the fish bowl at Ulladulla’s Blue Marlin hotel, and was completed with what was always an awesome evening playing the historic Tathra Hotel on the Saturday night. The pub’s owner was your typical laconic larrikin, a fella by the name of Rob Little, who loved his music and was always a treat to play for. In fact, all the biggest bands in Australia played at Tathra Hotel because it was such a great venue. I could go on, but what goes on tour, stays on tour!
The pub has certainly changed since those halcyon days and although the old motel rooms that we ran riot in are still in service, the hotel proper recently went through major renovations, and the upstairs heritage rooms are so delightful. Spacious and fresh, with a little touch of yesteryear still felt throughout, and magical views right across the whole of Tathra and its beautiful beaches. The music still exists but is now a little more subdued. The cuisine has certainly stepped up from the old pub fare offered back then and now you can enjoy a top class meal in a stylish restaurant area or out on the deck with its ocean views. You don’t leave Tathra without popping up to the pub with over 100 years worth of stories.
If you are an oyster lover then you couldn’t be in a better place to indulge yourself than Tathra because it’s where you’ll find arguably the best oysters in the land! Owned and operated by the delightful Rodely family, Tathra Oysters has been winning awards for their mouth-watering molluscs for years and years. The waters around these parts are just perfect for the Sydney Rock variety to thrive and Jo, Gary and Sam have put in the hard yards and have been rewarded appropriately with plaudits of the highest order. They also just happen to be terrific people and I’ll always drop in and say g’day when I am in town. So, as I said, if you love oysters go and visit the Rodely’s, get yourself a dozen of these creamy, fat little beauties freshly shucked and get yourself a spot down the beach, or down at the estuary, and take in the gorgeous surrounds while delighting in probably the best oysters you’ll ever have.
If you’d rather eat at a venue that has tables and chairs and terrific ambience then head into Fat Tony’s Bar & Grill When you meet owner Anthony Little, who just happens to be Rob Little’s son, you’ll see that ‘Fat Tony’s’ is obviously a play on words. In fact it could be called Skinny Ants, but that certainly wouldn’t have the same ring now would it? Anthony’s passion for his business is extremely evident right across the board, something that’s obviously been passed down the family line. From his interaction with the diners, to the food that’s created and the drinks that he himself will probably formulate for you, Anthony loves his lot in life and it shows.
Along with Head Chef Hagen Wittner and Chef Rob Lennon they form a formidable team which is very evident with the whole experience here at Fat Tony’s Bar & Grill. A relaxed vibe fills the room and all I saw was happy customers, laughing, engaging and savouring every bite.
After an entrée of oysters (somebody stop me) I enjoyed a delicious dish of local chicken with parmesan and basil crust, semi-dried tomato polenta cake, almond butter glazed broccolini, confit garlic and a champagne laced cream sauce. Yep, your taste buds are salivating right now aren’t they? Don’t miss a visit to see the skinniest Fat Tony in Tathra when you visit!
An absolutely, perfectly picturesque spot for a delightful brekky, brunch or lunch is situated right on the water at the historic Tathra wharf. The Wharf Local has without doubt one of the most spectacular outlooks you could ask for, so to sit and enjoy local fare or a delicious coffee and cake here is a bit of a must-do when in Tathra. Not being a coffee fan, I enjoyed a most delightful juice and took in the view that had me mesmerised. They also have a unique collection of local artworks and assorted knick-knacks on offer, plus the wharf itself is a great for a spot of fishing.
When you indulge in life it’s always good to give yourself room for that next offering by engaging in some form of physical activity. Well that’s what I believe. It just takes all the guilt factor away. Tathra is obviously a destination full of physical adventure opportunities, its location and landscape alone allows for that. So, to allow me to indulge in the delicious delights on offer, I got active with the help of Aaron and Bronwyn at Tathra Beach & Bike.
First up was some SUP action on the main beach and a paddle across to the wharf itself. The water around the pier is crystal clear and it was easy to spot plenty of marine life, including some massive stingrays who looked very comfortable in the dazzling waters. During whale season you might just find yourself sharing the ocean with a migrating humpback as well, as they have been known to venture in close to the shore and wharf!
Back to the shop and I swapped the SUP for a mountain bike and hooked up with some local members of the local mountain bike club Tathra Mountain Bike Club. Stacey and Andy were so accommodating with a relative novice like myself and spent a short session checking that I could actually ride a bike! They then guided me along some of the over 50kms of mountain tracks. It was such fun, but with mixed emotions as we rode through some of the hardest hit areas that took the brunt of the fire. We also saw nature doing its magic with the regrowth already showing its much welcome face. I’m sure if you are either a keen rider or just a beginner like me, the friendly community that is Tathra Mountain Bike Club would be happy to help you out. In fact, that just seems to be the feeling I got from everyone I met. Might have to get the band back together for one more visit!
If you want more info on Tathra or any of New South Wales special spots, head to www.visitnsw.com