We packed and dragged our bags back to Helen’s. We then breakfasted at Sketch, sitting outside in the warm sunshine. Helen took us to the next car rental place before we said our sad goodbyes. Not as sad as usual though, as Helen will be coming over to the UK in a month’s time, hooray!
Helen was delighted that the wine order she’d collected last week at Heifer was duplicated: a delivery was made this morning. So the dilemma is: drink it or return it? Helen did the right thing of course and was punished by having to carry the heavy box down to the post office!
The new car was much newer than the Queenland one, but a little smaller which is ironic since we now have a huge case as well.
And so began our final road trip in Australia, before our long journey home. Manly to Melbourne, mostly along the coast road.
After leaving Sydney and its suburbs behind us, we were able to relax a bit and enjoy the scenery.
Coledale was a nice little place to stop, rugged and rocky.
This sculpture celebrates the life of all-round local good guy, Mike Dwyer. It just invites you to walk round and round and admire it from all angles.
It was quite windy and the sea was crashing onto the beach. Not surprisingly, nobody was on the beach nor in the water.
A little later, we stopped at Wollongong for lunch.
I went for a walk towards the lighthouse but was unable to complete the trek due to my inability to walk on water.
I did make friends with a pelican in the harbour, though. We swapped stories and fishy tales.
Today’s destination was Kiama Blowhole. It was windy enough for a good blow, but the tide was right out, so not much action today. Well, other than everyone walking around trying to keep their hats on.
If being blown along by the wind didn’t convince you of its strength, the white horses out at sea certainly would. Yes, it was windy, but the Sun was out and it was a bright afternoon.
The rock formations in this area are fascinating too, especially the attempt to emulate the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.
There’s a large area of what can only be described as a lunar landscape. And in the middle of all the desolation, there’s one small plant, one giant leap for plantkind.
Our b&b in Kiama was called Itchycoo Park so of course I had that song in my head all night.
The wind died down at some point overnight. The brief peace and quiet was disturbed though by a tradesman turning up early to demolish the balcony over our heads as a prelude to Neil, our host, building an extension, with a great view towards the northern Sun.
We returned to the blowhole in the morning where it was performing very well.
Today was Jenny’s birthday. I shouldn’t give away a lady’s age, but this is interesting. She is now 6². I am 8². If you add our ages, you get 10². Yes, we are like the squares on the sides of a right-angled triangle. Very special. That sounds better than saying that our ages now total 100, so I won’t mention that.
Liesel and I went for a walk on the beach at Gerroa. The wind had found us again and our legs were sand-blasted and exfoliated perfectly. Fascinating watching the little sand dunes form and move across the beach, like an old Open University Geography demonstration.
Despite the strong wind and the raging sea, we found a group of hardy souls, actually in the water, trying to learn how to surf. A Surf Skool in the Sea in a Gale.
Berry is a lovely, quiet little town. There are lots of interesting knick-knack type shops. We saw something nice or cute or unusual in most places, even some furniture that we like the look of, but of course, we didn’t buy anything. Except in the toy shop: that was totally irresistable. I just hope we don’t have to go out now and buy and even bigger case to put the new purchases in!
The wind in Berry wasn’t as strong nor as cold, so it was delightful just walking up and down the streets, window shopping.
I found one shop offering Intravenous Coffee, seems like a good idea, so I went in but they just gave it to me in a cup, like a normal coffee shop.
Proceeding southwards on the A1, we were surprised to see smoke in a few places. Just a few, late, controlled fires even though it’s very nearly Winter here.
By the time we reached Hyam’s Beach, a little later in the day, it was a colder breeze again. Neil had told us earlier that Hyam’s Beach claims to have the purest white sand in the world.
Well, it is white and soft and squeaky but I think the authorities at Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays might have something to say about Hyam’s claim.
What else does Hyam’s Beach have to offer? More black smoke over there, a couple of youngsters fishing, plus, at the water’s edge, a young couple reenacting that scene from the film ‘From Here to Eternity’.
But the pièce de résistance was without doubt seeing this cloudbow, which appeared fleetingly just before the Sun set.
The b&b today stunk: someone described it as ‘funky chicken’. It had the smell of an old person’s flat where they never open the windows, overcook all the food, and smoke. This hosts were friendly enough, admitted to smoking but only in the back of the house and they were proud to be cooking up two days worth of stew. Well, I hope they enjoy it because we certainly didn’t enjoy the stench it produced. We drove into Huskisson where we had a gorgeous meal.
Needless to say, we didn’t hang around in the morning for breakfast, we just wanted to get away before all our clothes became infected with the cigarette smoke and the stew grease fumes and the air fresheners that were fighting a losing battle. I just found it unpleasant, but poor old Liesel doesn’t have the most robust set of lungs at the best of times.
A few deep breaths of fresh air and we were back on the road.
To prevent landslides, there are a few places by the A1 (and presumably elsewhere) where they’ve sprayed concrete all up the hill, a common sight in Malaysia. But here, the colour they’ve chosen here is a better match to the background earthy colours.
We stopped at a place called Milton, where the views could be English pastoral scenes, evoking paintings by Constable.
Breakfast at Ulladulla was very welcome. The Sun was out, the sky was blue, hardly a breeze, we found a place mentioned in some of the literature, Native!, and it lived up to its reputation.
Boats in harbours always make me happy and I wonder if this is because one of my very first jigsaw puzzles, when I was small, depicted such a scene?
I had more fun than Liesel did in Ulladulla for which I feel very guilty. No I don’t. I sat in the library writing while she sat in the car looking out for Traffic Wardens, or Rangers as they are called here.
When I reached a stopping point, I went to meet Liesel and was delighted to find this sundial, with its unorthodox orientation and gnomon placement. It told the right time as far as I could tell, taking into account the equation of time and daylight savings, but I could see no reason why it was set up this way. It was erected in celebration of Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988.
Burrill Beach at Dolphin Point has no crocodiles, hooray, no mention of jellyfish, fantastic, so a lovely place to go for a dip, you’d think.
But even without those hazards, the high waves plus the strong winds were far too intimidating for us.
I went for a quick walk along the beach and had the place to myself again. At one end of the beach, there was no wind. One minute, I had to hold my hat on, the next I’m standing feeling the heat of the Sun on my back. Magic.
I tried to make friends with the oystercatchers, but they weren’t interested. I was intrigued by the structure of the beach’s surface here, though: usually you see roughly parallel lines in the sand, whether from waves or from wind.
Yet another reason why I regret not pursuing a geology course at some point.
Burrill Beach has many holiday homes and would probably be a great place to spend more time. But a lot of those homes don’t look out over the sea. There are tall trees in the way. Or, if you’re really unlucky, you look out over the caravan park that is right next to the beach.
Just when you’re thinking, ooh, we haven’t seen any wildlife for a while, we turn a corner in Kioloa and find a field full of kangaroos relaxing.
And if that wasn’t enough, just along the road, we passed by a house with several kangaroos in the front garden. These were not at all timid: in fact, they seemed disappointed that I didn’t offer them any food. But I swear the one at the front rolled his eyes when I asked, “What’s up, Skip?”
It was bright and sunny in Bateman’s Bay too and although we didn’t see much of the town itself, we did find some great sculptures.
The octopus on a buoy certainly drew our attention.
Our final stop tonight was at our b&b in Moruya. On the way, we passed this sign, so now I had another song in my head.
When we entered the premises, we held our breath but, phew, this place didn’t smell too bad at all. And relax!