I had promised you reader, a post-drive review of mods Round 2, after going on a night-time cruise with my mate? Well, even after that night, the outcomes of the second round of mods was still inconclusive. D’oh! But fast forward to October, we joined a bunch of guys and their WAGs on a sports car cruise from West Hoxton to Burrawang- a sleepy village located in the Southern Highlands of NSW (137Km Southwest of Sydney CBD).
West Hoxton is a suburb located in West Sydney, a 43 minute drive (48Km) down the M5 Motorway. We had arranged to meet the guys here, as it was a built-up suburb with coffee, while on the fringes of Sydney so that we could easily point our cars south and head down to our end destination. And although ‘the Beast’s’ performance was still indeterminant and the downsides of the mods (scraping undercarriage on steep inclines, wrong colour rims, and a not-crazy-enough exhaust system) greatly outweighed the upsides, when the boyz started to show-up and checked it out, those who were more familiar with the car definitely noticed the changes. And guys who had never met the ‘Beast’ before, they too knew that the car was non-stock. *Thumbs-up*. And as people complemented on the transformed look from the OEM parts, I have to admit that I was inwardly doing fist pumps! One person even made the bold statement that the same colour rims with the body colour of the car was actually better than just having shiny gloss black rims!? I’m sure he was just trying to make me feel better from ordering the wrong colour combination, but hey! I’ll take that compliment….
And it was evident that things do change over time (2 years on), let’s call it the progression of time. Two years ago we met-up at Pie & Co Bakehouse, a suburban savoury and sweet pie store. But where the café used to stand, now was ‘Hotties Original’- an American style grilled meats joint (but just between you and me, I think it’s just a re-branding for tax evasion purposes- as inside it still looks the same and no sign of grillers, but they’re def still selling pies though). And over coffees we naturally chatted about our cars and mods. And when it was time to head out, we led a sports car convoy of Japanese and Euro cars down to the Southern Highlands.
West Hoxton to Burrawang
The first portion of the drive was uneventful – approximately an hour on a motorway, before we started our loop back North to approach the Southern highlands from the South – enabling us to pass through Macquarie Pass en-route to Burrawang. Whheee! Well, there wasn’t much ‘Wheee!’ as there was always slow traffic ahead of us. Although we didn’t get much of a chance for a ‘spirited’ drive, it was still a bit of fun driving at the edge of a cliff and doing that crazy 140 degree hairpin turn.
And then we were in the village of Burrawang, total population of 361 persons according to the 2016 census. Describing it as a sleepy town is an understatement; a general store, a primary school, and the Burrawang Village Hotel were pretty much the totality of the main drag in town. But as we pulled up in our convoy of cars, Burrawang this afternoon looked like a sight out of the Inner West suburb of Newtown – with cars parked on either sides of the street (later we found out that a charity was hosting a function at the hotel). As mentioned previously, nothing seems to be able to halt the passage of time, as the Burrawang Village Hotel had also dramatically changed in the prevailing 2 years since we were last here. Two years ago, the hotel looked like and felt like it was stuck in a 80s time-warp, our car club were the only patrons at the Bistro all afternoon long. But today, we were one of half a dozen large tables for 15+, set out on the back lawn of the hotel. And the entire hotel had seen a recent refurbishment, new lick of paint, new couches, more modern music, and younger staff, it felt like and looked like an entirely different place! And the kitchen did a commendable job of pumping out meals and feeding the masses, I was expecting a long wait but in less than half an hour, our table all had our food in front of us.
I had the salt and pepper squid, it was really tasty – the squid was sliced lengthwise, thus each strip was at least 15cm in length, lightly crumbed and fried. The crumb contained spices (like Lay’s ‘Light n Tangy’, and a light squeeze of lemon juice topping off the flavour profile. Yum!) The chippies were good as well, and the accompanying salad had a tasty Thai dressing. All of our dining companions enjoyed their meals as well, and as we whiled away the afternoon in the sunlight, we enjoyed the time with good mates and good car talk.
To get back to Sydney, it’s a straight run back up the M5, or after your visit to Burrawang you might elect to visit the larger nearby centres of Bowral and Mittagong, where there is much more to see and do!
Exploring Bowral, you can see and do:
Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame– A must see for all Cricketing fans, a museum to remember Bowral’s favourite son, and a museum to mark all the historical stages of development of the ‘Gentleman’s game’.
Corbett Gardens– a public garden in the centre of Bowral township, all year round you can check out the floral displays in the garden, and in September it is the home of Tulip Time – an annual display of tens of thousands of tulips in bloom.
Mt Gibraltar Reserve– for those who are looking to connect with nature, Mt Gibraltar Reserve is a unique volcanic core which pushed through the region’s natural sandstone, creating an 800m high mountain for bush walkers to scale. Located in the reserve are Mittagong Lookout, Jellore Lookout, and Bowral Lookout, each offering a scenic view of the Southern Highlands.
Centennial Vineyards– for those who would like to check-out and pick-up a premium drop of wine, there are award winning vineyards in Bowral, like Centennial Vineyard. The vineyard produces slow ripening cool climate grapes, ideal for wine making. Grab a bottle or two before they’re all exported over to the Asian market!
Fine dining- And if you’re in the highlands for a special occasion, why not top off your visit/stay with a fine dining experience – Bowral is home to renowned restaurants like Biota Dining, Oneesta Cucina and Ludo.
Illawarra Tourism Route– and for those who want an extended scenic drive, take the Illawarra Tourism Route, a 120Km drive which starts in Bowral and ends up at Fitzroy Falls. Along the way, pass through rolling hills and pastures of farming country, stop and check out the falls, experience the changes in vegetation as farmland turns to rainforest, and along the way elect to have a picnic or try one of the many cafes! End your drive at the seaside town of Kiama, and come back to Sydney via Wollongong!
Exploring Mittagong, you can see & do:
Nature and Reserves- Lake Alexandra Reserve, Perennial Hill Gardens, Box Vale Walking Track, and Mittagong Lookout
Museums- Sturt Gallery
Food & Drink- Marist Wines, Artemis Wines, Tertini Wines, and Eden Brewery