Twas a sunny day back in March when my wife and I pulled into the Gippsland town of Nowa Nowa, 20 minutes from the Buchan Caves where I was to visit later in the day. It was around 2pm, and I had to be at my cave tour at 3pm, so we needed a quick check in at the Nowa Nowa Motel (and Tavern?), however, when we pulled up to the front of the building on the dusty and stony car park, there was not a soul to be seen. Anywhere. If a tumbleweed or three rolled past at that point, I would not have been surprised (it didn’t). This was it. The haunting town of Nowa Nowa, with a lake, a gorge and a trestle bridge down the road, a general store attached to a service station, a caravan park across the road, and the Nowa Nowa Motel. And Tavern. Well it said that, but I don’t think the tavern was open at the time….
It was the motel where we were to stay which was the creepiest part of the town. Aside from the caravan park, this was the only other option, and with check-in opening at 2pm, I was expecting someone to be manning the office. But no, not a soul in sight. With the problems I’d had with reception when I was last in Gippsland (Noojee) I wasn’t expecting my phone to work, but luckily I did and luckily I had a number to call. I looked into the reception area through the glass door to see dated carpet, a desk and the impression that no-one had used it as a reception in years. So I called the number.
And I spoke to a lady with a thick Eastern European accent who asked if I was ‘Andrew’, to which I replied in the affirmative. She gave me a code and told me to drive around to where the rooms were, around the back past a tower that looked like a fire lookout. We had number three. There was a gardener doing his thing – an actual person! And we went up to the door of room three and punched in the code, opening the door to the room.
It was spacious, I will give them that. It had a wide screen TV, an air conditioner that was at least twenty years old, the box-shaped brown ones that they haven’t made in decades. In fact I would hazard a guess at least 30 – 40 years old. Amenities for making tea and coffee, three beds no less, quite low to the floor, and a rather loud mini-fridge. The bathroom was dated, small brown tiles and a lowish toilet, the shower was okay but dated with a crack in the glass on the door at the bottom. The shower was okay, but the hot water took literally a full five minutes before it began to flow. There was a sign to warn you of this and to tell you to run the water for a few minutes before the hot water would get pumped to the back rooms, one of which we were staying in.
I had to skedaddle to the Buchan Caves, but return after 2.5 hours to have a little look around the property. There appeared to be just one other person staying there, a few rooms along from us at the very back. It was eerily quiet. Apart from the sound of the gardener – actually the gardens were very well kept! The sign at the front was faded and needed replacing, there was some sort of restaurant or bar (perhaps this was the tavern) but it was in disrepair and couldn’t have been used for a long time. Everything looked like it was from the 1980s, red velvet coloured floors for example. Tables all clumped together, chairs on their backs and sides.
Found the gas water heater near the front – small and a long way from our room. Another room was open, they were half way through renovating it and I think many of the rooms weren’t in use because they were waiting to be renovated. Our room was obviously one of the few that they had completed. And it was… well it was done cheaply, in all fairness, and we were to discover that it wasn’t well sealed.
Our sleep was… not much really! Because of the mosquitos. Weren’t exactly sure how they got in, but the windows didn’t open or have fly wire, the doors – one at the front and one at the back – also were poorly sealed. And it wouldn’t have been hard for the mosquitoes to fly in through the fan in the bathroom.
I would lie down, be feeling very sleepy, and then that dreaded mosquito humming sound as one flew past my ear. Lights on, hunt the mosquito around the room until it was dead. Get back into bed, rest my head, about to fall asleep and…. mmmMMMMMMMmmmmm yes another one! This cycle repeated and repeated. In fact I tallied eleven dead mosquitos!
Morning came, and well we eventually got a few hours. It was just as quiet as the afternoon, evening and night. Was there a market for such a motel in a small town that very very few people stop at these days? I don’t know. I don’t know how such as place stays in business though to be honest.
We checked out the lake, it’s a lake – actually a few people came to the lake to kayak, so there you go! We checked out the gorge – well you get a nice view of a waterfall quite a way away, that was something, and the best thing was the very long, disused since the 1980s, railway trestle bridge just out of town. The photos tell the story. It was very impressive and in a beautiful spot.
But Nowa Nowa will always be about THAT motel. It was something else. We soon moved on on our journey.
Noise: 4/5 (took off a point for the mosquitos!)
Value for Money: 2.5/5
TOTAL: 12.5/25 (50/100)
Total Cost – $107 AUD
Thanks for popping by! May the Journey Never End!