We had spent the last few months cooped up in the big smoke that was Sydney, so much so that our ‘Country Mouse’ urges were crying out for some outdoor stimulus. With a free weekend coming up we agreed that we would leave the city behind for a few nights.
About two months prior to this we had gone down to Melbourne to meet up with old friends passing through – Ollie and Neem. That same weekend a bunch of our Sydney friends had gone to a place called Kiama for a music festival. With that name fresh in our memories and not hearing terrible tales about it we decided to check it out.
After work on the Friday evening we jumped on the train at Town Hall and began a 2 hour excursion to Kiama. Situated 120km south of Sydney our journey brought us past Botany Bay, the Royal National Park and Woollahra with some stunning sea views from the windows of our carriage.
Karen had found us an AirBnb room for the weekend and the owner had kindly agreed to pick us up from the train station in Kiama. He was a very nice chap and soon enough he was showing us around our little apartment that he had created on the annex of his house – as well as providing us with bread, milk, butter and even asking if we wanted scones the next day. What a host!
The countryside in Australia means that everything is shut from around 8pm onwards so we travelled to Kiama armed with steaks for the BBQ. To build up an appetite we decided to walk around to the headland of Kiama Town along the coastal path, the fading light of the Kiama Lighthouse to guide us by.
When we got back to the apartment we received what can only be described as a real live version of ‘A Bug’s Life’ as we were ‘assaulted’ by numerous beetles! Oh the countryside!
The next morning we set off into Kiama Town Center.In the Aboriginal language Kiama is derived from the word ‘kiarama’ – which translates as the place where the sea makes a noise. Which is fitting as the main attraction here is the Kiama Blowhole. On it’s best days like below, it can shoot up to almost 25 metres.
But not today 😦
On our way to the blowhole we passed the local War Memorial – this time an Arch and also some local market to get to the blowhole.
With the local attraction done, Karen had the idea to walk to Gerringong, which according to her research was
just a simple coastal stroll along some paved paths
Fact: The Route is a Moderate (Class 4) with the following guidance:
There is no formed track and visitors need to exercise extreme caution near steep slopes and cliff edges. Children should be supervised at all times. Please note that Werri Lagoon is sometimes open to the sea. At such times the walk will be closed at Werri Lagoon.
Add to that we were advised to watch out for (In no particular order):
- Wild Sea Eagles (Think Father Jack and his glasses!)
- No Toilet Facilities
- High Winds
- Potential flooding in areas
With the Blowhole and the main strip of Kiama explored – we had no choice but to embark on the ‘stroll’. Armed with a smartphone and bottle of water each we soon overtook an army of Boy Scouts with more equipment than the German Alpine Corps. But you do not need anything to enjoy scenery like this…
The Kiama walkway is flanked on either end by a pair of Aboriginal Dreaming Poles that were erected to promote the
Wodi Wodi,Dharawal South Coast culture and heritage. It was so great to see the second pair of poles as this marked the end of an amazing, but
tiring, 15km hike.
We had arrived in Gerringong. A small town that owed it’s existence to its rich volcanic and rain swept soil – quite unique in Australia before a huge boom in population due to the construction of Basalt Quarries.
An interesting aspect of this is that a huge number of families from Northern Ireland, in what could be considered an early version of a ‘Chain Migration’, that migrated to work in those quarries. I guess they would have been experts considering the geological similarities to the Giant’s Causeway.
Gerringong is also the site of first flight from Australia to New Zealand by Sir Charles Kingford Smith in 1933. (Sydney airport is named after him!!)
Most appropriately for us, Gerringong is the home of some great ice-cream.
With about an hour to wait until our return train ride we worked out that we could do a 20 minute visit to nearby Berry – a cute inland town where everything was named after it. Berry Hotel, Berry Inn, Berry Station, Berry Chocolate Shop. (I wonder if the only music they listen to is Chuck Berry!)
What a great day out. The only way to finish this day was to have some Japanese food. Luckily Kiama was able to provide…
Day 2 – Second bite of the cherry!
We took our time getting back to Sydney – starting with a short trip northbound to see Cathedral Rock.
Before spending the afternoon swimming in the Minnamura River and soaking up the rays.
Then it was a short-ish train ride back to Sydney and normality. Not a bad way to spend a random weekend.