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Published: August 7th 2007
With the exception of my Xmas trip up to Port Stephens I'd managed to spend 4 months in Sydney without ever going past the city limits ... in fact it was unusual for me to venture out of the centre. All a rather sorry state of affairs so I figured it was definitely time for another mini road trip. As it happened Pam was up for an adventure too so we planned to hire a car and head south... somewhere. We opted for the 'winging it' method as far as accommodation went, partly because we were to busy at work to sort anything out and partly because that's too much planning for me, but Pam booked the car and as we'd both organised to bunk off work early the idea was to meet at the car hire place after lunch. Everything was going well until I got back to my desk after a morning of meetings. All ready to make a dash for the door I found I had a voicemail from the normally megaorganised Pam..... 'ohps I've left my drivers license at home'. We met as planned anyway and after a few detours and phone calls (ohps I forgot my
drivers license was later followed by 'ohps I've lost my credit card' when she went to pay for the car) we were finally on the motorway heading out of town! I hadn't really realised before how much the city goes on and on and on and on and...... it seemed like we were driving through suburbs for ever. Finally we broke out though and found ourselves driving through the most beautiful bush and forested areas - green and lush despite the drought and surrounding us on both sides as far as you could see. Beats the view from the M25 anyway!
The original plan had been to stay the night in a place called Jervis Bay but as we pulled into town my immediate thought, to coin the first impressions phrase Sam would use when we traveled together - 'I don't like it here'. The fact that the only hostel was booked out and none of the other available options seemed particularly appealing or good value probably didn't help much... especially remembering back to some of the cute villages we'd seen but driven straight through on the way down. And OK perhaps leaving it till we arrived at @7.30pm
to find accommodation wasn't the best plan in the world but it was what we were stuck with ;0) So we decided to carry on down the coast, me driving and Pam choosing a random location from a travel brochure we'd picked up and phoning ahead. We weren't too sure what the motel would be like and contemplated doing a drive by if we didn't like it, but by the time we arrived in Mollymook it was late, we were pretty much out of alternative plans and the need for food had taken over. As it turned out our place was lovely - we had a balcony, mini kitchenette thingy and were literally a few minutes walk from the beach... not that we could see it of course because it was long since dark ;0) Having both been caught out before in the 'country' where restaurants often shut early (i.e. by 9pm if not earlier) we quickly checked in and headed straight out for a v yummy, absolutely huge and cheap meal at the local RSL.... with a well deserved glass of wine ;0)
Next morning saw us up early for a walk along the beach at Mollymook- the
sea was blue, the sun was shining and we were a world away from Sydney. Exercise done we retreated back to one of the nearby coffee shops for a well earned relax, breakfast and read of the papers. The rest of the day was spent driving down the coast to Batemans Bay, stopping at various points along the way. In fact our first stop was only a short drive away at Ulladulla where we treated ourselves to an ice-cream (I reasoned it wouldn't be hot enough to do that for too much longer.... well, it sounded like a good excuse anyway ;0)) and paid a visit to the Tourist Info place. The lady who worked there was really helpful and made some great recommendations - thanks to her we ended up at Wairo beach near Tabourie Lake, somewhere we wouldn't have thought of going otherwise. The beach is stunning, long, wide and pretty much empty - a few surfers out in the water, a couple of families on the beach and masses of space in between. At low tide you can walk out along a short sand bar to Crampton Island that's just off shore, which also creates a nice
sheltered area with calmer waters for swimming. We ended up spending a relaxed couple of hours there, swimming, sunbathing and, as we later found out, getting a weee bit sun burnt :0( Despite the slight lobster look it gave us I preferred the beach here to our next stop, Pebbly Beach, which is somewhere I'd wanted to go after reading that you can often see Kangaroos there. The cynical side of me remembered back to the wild macaques Sam and I had seen in Borneo which had cleverly worked out that humans + campsite = food. And sure enough there's a campsite here... But I was still really excited see them, the first Kangaroos I've seen on this trip to Oz... and no I didn't expect to see them bouncing around Sydney CBD :0) I'm still stunned seeing such large native wildlife - I've seen foxes in the forest at home but they don't quite compare to a kangaroo on a beach!
The following morning saw us back on Wairo beach, but with the weather not as sunny as the day before we settled for a long walk and a bit of surfer watching action before heading on back
up the coast. Lunch was at a v yummy veggie cafe in Milton before our route took us inland, passing through green valleys and small villages like Kangaroo Valley (no kangaroo's here tho) before reaching Fitzroy Falls. Unfortunately we didn't have time to do a long walk here but the stunning scenery over the tree lined Yarrunga Valley below reminded me of the Blue Mountains. The falls themselves plunge 80m down into the valley below and on the day we were there there was the most beautiful rainbow effect at the bottom. The pathways immediately surrounding the falls area have signposts giving lots of information about the falls themselves, the wildlife and plant life that lives here, all of which kept me quiet for a while.
Although we were only away for a weekend it seemed like so much longer and I returned home determined to try and get away more. Back in Sydney normal life continued.... work and trying to make the most of the remaining good weather! I've gotten into the habit of taking my book and heading off to Hyde Park for lunch - it's only a few minutes from work and whilst the noise of
the city traffic is never far away it's great to escape the office, sit on the grass in the sunshine and chill out at lunchtime. There are lots of English place names here, which I guess isn't surprising given where many of the early 'settlers' came from, but it still makes me chuckle as I set out to have lunch in Hyde Park, go to a bar in Kings Cross or shopping in Paddington etc. My slight winge might be that they haven't taken our traffic light system.... my god I don't think I've ever stood quite so long waiting for the green man at a pedestrian crossing! Five minutes after pressing the button and..... nope, still waiting for the lights to change... zzzzzzzzzz. Another difference from home is the recent state elections. After what seemed like an age of campaign ads on TV and listening to politicians in the news I decided that if I could vote I'd go for the party that actually promoted its own policies. At home I find the party political broadcasts on TV a little dull with all their dry policy detail, here though the party adverts are less politics and more character assassination
of the opposition.... makes for some very entertaining TV viewing but I did get rather confused as to what their policies were.... or indeed if there were any ;0)
Anyway, next up - Sam comes to visit from NZ and another mini road trip!
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