OZ and Tassie travel blog

9 December

Beautiful morning. Headed out for Sydney. So out from Huskisson to the Princes Highway and headed north. Passed through Nowra, not a very pretty town, across the Shoalhaven River and along the estuary to Coolangatta and on up the coast on the Grand Pacific Drive. Looked in at the little towns along the way but the beaches were heaving, well it was Sunday and the first hot weather they had had for a while. Beautiful beaches and great facilities, but too many people and nowhere for us to park towing a trailer as we were.

We drove on to Kiama, of ‘blowholes’ fame. Getting slightly lost as we drove through the town we suddenly arrived at the ‘Little Blowholes’ in a residential area, hardly anyone there but the blowholes were going full blast. The northeasterly winds we had complained about earlier were doing a great job here. Slat spray everywhere as the holes spouted jets of water and spray 20 metres into the air. Fantastic! We could see the little promontory where the main blowholes were but could see no spray. We drove around into the main part of the town, found some parking and walked up to the blowholes; nothing happening! The entrances to these blowholes faced south and would be great in the usual weather, but not today. Lots of tourists were standing around pointing their phones at where the plumes should be, but they were wasting their time. Lots of 19th century buildings, it is a pretty town.

We drove on and called in at Shellharbour, hoping for a similar town to Kiama, but it was just a huge new development, still under construction. We left, only to discover later the old town was one of the first settlements on this part of the coast. We followed the tourist route along the coast to Wollongong, NSW’s third largest city, right on the coast. It was busy. On now up the coast, calling in at Bulli to se if we could find parking near the beach, but it was just too busy, so we headed inland and found some parking in the shade at the end of a residential street on the edge of Lady Buller Park, a reserve under the escarpment. Nice place for lunch. Saw three goannas on the other side of the road, the largest chasing off the other two; he was about half a metre long, not sure what variety.

We drove on after lunch, the strip of land between the ocean and the escarpment getting narrower as we went north. Through Coledale (there had been coal mining here since the late 1800s and it is possible to see the coal seams in the cliffs) and Scarborough before reaching the Sea Cliff Bridge a wonderful piece of engineering. The Bridge swings out over the ocean in several sweeping curves giving great views of the cliffs and the ocean. It was only built as the authorities got fed up trying to repair the old road which hugged the coast and was often damaged by cliff falls, one of which closed the road for two years. We drove across it, then back to take photos, then back again to continue our journey.

Just north of the Bridge the road climbed up as the cliffs met the ocean and we stopped at Bald Hill, Stanwell Tops. Wonderful views up and down the coast. There were adverts for hang gliding which Ruth threatened to buy me for Christmas, but fortunately the wind was in totally the wrong direction. Memorial to Lawrence Hargrave who assisted in the world’s first human flight in the early 1900s. Lots of people, long queues for the ice cream van so we drove on a little way to Otford, just inside the Royal National Park. Stopped at the cafe and had a mango smoothie, but I think the mango had been in the freezer too long; it was pretty tasteless.

On into the Park, a beautiful drive, the road twisting and turning, rising and falling through beautiful open forest. We saw some amazing red flowers on top of stems 3 or 4 metres high, later discovered as Gymea Lilies, they were stunning. All too soon we emerged from the Park and hit the Princes Highway, just as everyone was returning to Sydney; the road was busy but kept at a steady pace. We swung off the Highway to see Botany Bay and drove the Grande Parade past Brighton, Monterey and Ramsgate!!! The bay was smaller than we expected and we did wonder what might have happened had Captain Cook landed at Jervis Bay further south and a much bigger bay, instead of Botany Bay. (There are several conflicting stories about why he missed Jervis Bay). Great view of Sydney CBD.

Time was now getting on and we had said to our hosts for the next couple of nights, Kathy and David Lumby, we would arrive late afternoon. Their hose was only fifteen minutes away and we made it on good time. (Kathy and David are the parents of Tricia who we house-sat for 18 months ago in Brisbane; they also lent us their house after Brisbane). We were all delighted to meet up again, Charlotte their granddaughter was also staying there. David cooked up a great barbecue while we all caught up with each others news.

10 December

A leisurely start to the day before heading into Sydney to meet with Rowan (the daughter of Ruth’s friend). Easy journey into the CBD on the modern air-conditioned double-decker train. Got off at Circular Quay to have a quick look around. Stonking great cruise liner parked in the harbour kind of spoiled the view, but we had to leave there to get to the lunch venue. Ultra smart cafe in the newly completed skyscraper. Great to catch up with Rowan and good food.

We walked around the shops a bit; odd to see the Christmas decorations in the shops and on the streets in the heat and humidity of central Sydney. We walked back to Circular Quay and just sat there for a while watching the ferries go back and forth and to see the cruise ship disappearing - hooray! Much better without it. Caught the train back to Kingsgrove and David very kindly picked us up.

They all wanted to see the camper trailer set up, so we did so; David, an engineer, was intrigued and impressed by the process and how easily the tent was erected. We all went off to dinner. Back and off to bed.

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