We decided to take our Sunday drive to Sassafras which is 2 hours south of Wollongong or 45 minutes south of Nowra. So why were we going there?
The drive as always was nice and being the first weekend in school holidays the road was surprisingly quiet. At the moment it is worth noting though that some of the views are spoiled due to the construction of the Berry Bypass.
We turned off the princess highway at HMAS Albatross in Nowra and headed into the bush. We then made our way along Braidwood Road, dutifully following the GPS.
We made a stop at Jerrawangala lookout which had views out to Gerroa, Ulladulla, Jervis bay, St Georges Basin and Swan Lake. We didn’t have a very clear morning but you could make out the water and a few ships in the water. The lookout is about a 3kilometre drive down a dirt road off Braidwood road.
From there it was about a 15 minute drive to Sassafras Nuts. You could tell we were there when the landscape changed to more spaced out trees.
When we went down the drive there was a little green shed on the left and the parking on the right. We got out of the car and there were chestnuts everywhere. No not the brown nuts you are thinking of.
Chestnuts grow in a spikey brown ball that you have to squash with your feet to open and pull the brown nut out.
We made our way to the shed and were greeted by the owners that explained that they were expecting a bus soon and we should buy our walnuts ($10 a bag) now before we go off picking. They explained that the freshest nuts are under the green and red ribboned trees. We then chose our buckets. They had two bucket sizes, the smallest being a 6 kilo bucket and the big one being a 12 kilo bucket. The chestnuts to pick are $6 a kilo.
So us four pickers headed off with our two buckets to pick until we were sick of it or until we couldn’t lift the buckets.
So after half an hour of being spiked we headed back to the shed with our 13 kilos of chestnuts and we made it just before the bus.
Sassafras nuts is a commercial chestnut and walnut farm and has been around since the early 1980s. They have over 1000 chestnut trees and several hundred walnut trees. The walnuts are in a higher demand so you cannot pick them.
The farm is open to visitors from mid-March to late April. The only requirement is enclosed shoes and gloves but still expect to be spiked. They open from 8am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday.
We enjoyed a picnic under the chestnut trees before heading home.
We stopped at Tianjera Falls on the way out of Braidwood Road where we saw a tiny trickle of the rocks and endless trees.
For a different experience it was amazing. I took my nonni with me and they were like two little kids in a lolly shop.
Of course Nonno took the chestnuts home to roast all 13 kilos of them.