Our entire plan for our road trip was to just keep driving until we felt like stopping, figuring it was the middle of winter and most motels would have vacancy signs up – I had a list of places that I really wanted to visit, but all the bits inbetween were totally open to suggestion.
The first leg of our journey was to drive down the scenic coast highway to Kiama – with a couple of detours along the way. The first detour was that I wanted to drive through the Royal National Park and see Wattamolla, as it had been recommended to me. It was a lovely drive on an early wintry morning. It was deserted at Wattamolla, so I opted not to take the bushwalk over to the beach, and instead just explored the area around the carpark – I think I’ll definitely have to return again in better weather and explore further afield.
After Wattamolla we headed over to the coast, and had a pit stop at Bald Hill Lookout where we were greeted with a treat of seeing some tandem hang-gliders … watching them getting ready for launch really brought back memories of when I did this myself in Queenstown, NZ. It was a real treat, although the wind chill up at the top of that hill was really bitterly cold. Mum was very wise choosing to stay in the car while I popped out for 1/2 and hour and took photos … then came back and attacked her with my cold hands to share the love LOL. My Mum would never fail to do that to me growing up, the evil sod she is, so it was time for some payback haha.
We eventually followed the coast past Woollongong and on to Kiama, where we were really fortunate that the wintry weather and high winds meant that the blowhole was performing quite well – it’s really difficult to get good photos of the immense spray of water that plumes high in the air, but we were intrigued by it and stood there for quite some time watching the spectacle and taking in all that lovely sea air.
After Kiama we continued to follow the coast road and had lunch at Shellharbour beach – we were well prepared with some sandwiches and snacks readily made up with a lovely thermos of coffee … there are definitely some benefits of taking your own car from home! I really loved the mosaics on the walls of the local public toilets (of all places), and we enjoyed watching the local surfers attacking the surf before we headed off on the road once again.
Our final sightseeing stop for the day was to make a quick visit to Berry, a picturesque village that has a relatively good needlework store (our key reason to visit Berry). While we were browsing in Sew and Tell, we ran into our good friend Amanda so we had extra time to catch up while we continued to wander through the various stitching stock. We bought a couple of things, mainly some JABC buttons for Christmas ornaments, plus a couple of Mill Hill ornie kits, some replacement Qsnap snaps and Mum bought a wee Lizzie*Kate chart. We didn’t find a great deal of items that we really wanted buy (perhaps a sad realisation that your stash is already out of control?!), but at least we can say that we’ve finally been! We also wandered around a couple more shops while we were there, then decided it was time to hit the road again as it was starting to get late.
By the time we reached Nowra, it was getting quite dark, and we figured it was a good place to stop … unfortunately we had trouble here finding a motel on the main road, finally resorting to one we found in a little side street … O.M.G. is all I can say here!!! The damned motel should be condemned! I have now learnt to ask to see a room if you’re unsure of the room quality before they swipe your credit card!! You couldn’t sit on the sofa because it was falling apart (literally!), the toilet didn’t flush properly, and there was no hot water running through any of the taps (guess who just had a strip wash the next morning … neither of us were brave enough to attempt a cold shower). The only good thing about it is that the beds themselves seemed OK and clean … and it turned out to be the only motel that actually had internet access the entire week we were away! While I had internet access, though, we tracked down the address of the local NRMA office so we could go and pick up an accommodation guide … worth every cent of the $20 book cost!!
I’ll continue on with Days 2 and 3 together shortly …