About Elka Wood

Elka Wood is a freelance writer, parent to two young kids and has a deep love for her home community of the Bega Valley.

Circumstances dictate that Elka and her family move between the US and Australia and she rediscovered a childhood love of writing and storytelling working as a reporter at a small newspaper in Montana, her husband's home state.

In between writing jobs, Elka has worked in the non-profit sector, as a caterer and as a fisheries technician, taking DNA samples from trout in a freezing stream in the middle of the night.

During long winters in Montana, she blogs at Aussiemerica.com.

Elka loves meeting new people and believes in the commonality of the human experience - and that everyone has a story to tell.

All Articles

South Coast tourism operators rolling with more punches due to COVID-19
"We're getting very good at giving refunds!" quips Tegan Abbott, manager at Narooma's Big 4 Caravan Park, as she reflects on how many reservation changes she and her staff have processed in the last six months, first as a result of bushfires, then the COVID-19 lockdown and most recently following the closure of the Victorian border on 7 July. The...
Tilba Tilba and Narooma Land Care broadens scope to focus on climate resilience
Having focused predominantly on fireweed control for the past five years, the Tilba Tilba and South Narooma Land Care team is broadening its scope and wants you to be a part of it. The group's efforts to control the South African weed have included lots of removal by hand pulling, as well as using South African Dorper sheep, which, unlike...
Bodalla Local Aboriginal Land Council now powered by the sun, thanks to local generosity
On Tuesday, 23 June, the Bodalla Local Aboriginal Land Council hosted a gathering to acknowledge the generosity of two local organisations, Micro Energy Systems Australia and Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance , which worked together to donate a new solar system to the land council. And despite it being mid-year, the system is already producing 17-20 kilowatt-hours per day. “It's anticipated the...
“Magic” renovation underway at Eden’s Hotel Australasia
As Neil Rankin, owner of Eden's Hotel Australasia, shows me around the old building – which is currently hidden behind scaffolding – he can't hide his excitement, stroking the faded, apricot-coloured 1920's facade. "Before it came down a month ago, no-one had touched it since it was covered up in the 1950s, but it's still in great condition," explains Neil. His...
Tourism paradox: the Sapphire Coast needs visitors but fears COVID-19
The South Coast desperately needs tourism dollars so our local economies and businesses can recover from a summer of setbacks and financial losses. But with a developing COVID-19 hotspot in Victoria and 30 new cases in the last 24 hours, there are questions about whether welcoming a horde of Victorian tourists for the winter school holidays is really a smart choice...
Common cold “dobbing in Aussies” for not social distancing, says Rural Doctors Association
Health & Wellbeing
Have you been slacking on using hand sanitizer when entering a business or building? Rural doctors are warning that the spreading patterns of the common cold are worrisome as they indicate that if a local COVID-19 hotspot develops, it could spread quickly. While in the peak of social distancing and handwashing practises to prevent the spread of COVID-19, an unintended...
After bushfire and COVID-19 delays, Co-Work Merimbula is now open
Although Zoe Joseph had planned to open her new business, Co-Work Merimbula, much earlier this year, she is diplomatic about the delays that have meant she hasn't been able to open the doors until now. "I'm fairly well practised at accepting what is out of my control," she laughs. "And on the upside, people have come out of COVID-19 restrictions...
Push to rename national parks to reflect Indigenous heritage, not colonial history
Prime Minister Scott Morrison's remark on 11 June that Australia was “a pretty brutal place, but there was no slavery", in response to Black Lives Matter protests across the country – which he apologised for afterwards – has been followed by a push in some parts of the community to reconsider the names of popular NSW South Coast landmarks. Those arguing for name...
Winter’s busiest south coast weekend a success despite COVID-19 restrictions
It was a challenge South Coast business's rose to meet: greeting an onslaught of eager tourists over the June long weekend while adhering to strict COVID-19 social distancing protocols. According to the region's Crime Prevention Officer, Senior Constable David Bates from Batemans Bay, the business community has been largely successful in their efforts, despite record crowds over the weekend. "As...
“You all think I’m stealing”: Black lives and police interactions in Bega
Following the killing of African-American George Floyd in the US city of Minneapolis last month, many Australians are calling for action to address Aboriginal deaths in custody and protests were held in all major cities last week. So how does it feel being black in rural Australia in 2020? For 19-year-old Tekeisha Thomas, a Yuin woman from Bega, there's a...
Meet the online moderators keeping your community notice board civil
Many local communities embrace the concept of online notice boards which connect people, facilitate an exchange of information,  and help keep us safe. Last week, I saw how useful these notice boards can be after responding to a post about someone needing egg cartons just minutes after wondering what to do with the teetering stack of cartons on top of...
Batemans Bay art initiative gathers Postcards from the Fire
Arts & Culture
Creative Arts Batemans Bay (CABBI) has launched a community healing project called Postcards from the Fire, in which anyone affected by the past summer's bushfires can submit photos and stories. "Postcards is a virtual gallery on Instagram and Facebook of what the 2019-2020 bushfire season made of our world, as seen through the lenses of our community members," said CABBI...
Chefs back at work at Tathra Hotel after community support through COVID-19
Six overseas workers who were not eligible for Federal Government JobKeeper payments during COVID-19 restrictions have been supported by Tathra Hotel owners Cliff Wallace and Sayaka Mihara, as well as the Bega Valley Social Justice Advocates, who sought public donations to help the hotel continue to pay the chefs while they couldn't work. "Unfortunately, the government would not include our chefs...
Nelligen director a finalist in Sydney Film Festival
Arts & Culture
Nelligen's Robynne Murphy is one of 10 finalists in the Sydney Film Festival's documentary category for her film, Women of Steel, which centres on the 1980-1994 campaign by Wollongong women for jobs in the BHP-AIS steelworks. This is the second time Robynne – who is known locally for her work as a volunteer truck driver for the Nelligen Rural Fire Service...
Regional property sales trends throughout COVID-19
Living in cities has always had an advantage over regional areas when it comes to the arts, career options, income and choices for eating out. But while society has been homebound during COVID-19 isolation, people living regionally have claimed the huge advantage of big backyards, acreages to roam in, beach views and easy access to beautiful, socially isolated locations. This...
Backcounty operators given go-ahead for upcoming ski season
While it has been confirmed that the 2020 NSW ski season will go ahead, it's not yet clear how ongoing COVID-19 social distancing restrictions will change how snow lovers holiday this year. The CEO of the Australian Ski Areas Association, Colin Hackworth, said "it would be really helpful" to have a firm start date for the ski season. He is...