This week’s theme is ”Painted”, and I’ve chosen a painted buiding in Kiama, New South Wales from a recent road trip.
As I mentioned previously, we started off our day 3 quite leisurely sitting for a while at the edge of a beautiful misty and chilly beach, and feeling at one with the world – afterwards we opted to stop off at Ulladulla and filled up with petrol, where I spied a notice for a car mechanics … my right indicator light had started flickering at the speed of light, so I opted to play safe and get it checked out – within half an hour I was back on the road with a new indicator bulb installed, and a paid-up mechanics bill of an entire $5.00 – yep, “we’re not in Sydney any more, Toto”!! Bless the NRMA mechanics, is all I can say! The last time I had to have a headlight bulb replaced, and my engine VIN number sanded back slightly, it cost me $120+ … I think the next time I need mechanical work done, I’m going to drive down to Ulladulla!!! 😀
The majority of our day today was spent driving south of Bateman’s Bay to Mogo Zoo – it’s only a small private zoo, but what a wonderful time of it we had!! We ended up being there for about 3-4 hours, and loved every minute of it! There weren’t a huge number of animals to see, but what there was to see was really good quality, and you could get quite close up to most of the exhibits. The autumn colours were also very much present within the Zoo grounds, adding to the wonderful atmosphere (for us anyway).
I personally have an exceptional fondness for tigers, so I went a bit snap happy at the tiger enclosure, where there are more tigers in one place that I’ve ever seen in one zoo (mainly adolescents). We also had the opportunity to see white lions and could pat a dingo as they took them for a walk around the park, not forgetting the deer that we drove crazy with deer food! I also spent a considerable amount of time with a beautiful female chimp who was chattering away to us at the window of the enclosure, while hugging a plastic Shrek doll in her hand (apparently her birthday gift) – it was quite amazing being up so close and personal to a chimp and actually having interaction … I didn’t want to leave!
Seeing as we had spent more time than expected at Mogo Zoo, we opted not to go shopping at the beautiful and quaint Mogo village where a number of artisans had shops – instead, we retraced our steps back to Bateman’s Bay to follow the coast road down south for a while. Eventually we ended up at Narooma, where we spent the night at an even nicer motel room, and a so-so dinner at the Narooma Golf Club.
I forgot to include in our previous day’s write-up that we drove through Gerringong and Geroa on the way to Berry – this was one area that was recommended to me for a short break away, and I have to say that I agree with their recommendation. This is definitely one area I’d really love to return to … sitting on Seven Mile Beach for a few days would be such hardship 😉
Day 2 of our trip was probably the worst we had weather-wise, it bucketed down with rain all day. We decided to retrace our steps marginally to visit a Haven & Space warehouse that had been recommended by Amanda – where we saw large cushions that would be great on my sofa. Unfortunately they didn’t have the size we wanted, but I remembered there were more cushions at the Berry store we had previously been in … for some reason we hadn’t taken much notice of those the previous day, so we figured we might as well take the short track back to Berry once more, which also gave us more time to wander around the shops properly this time. We started off by buying a few little gourmet deli goodies from The Emporium (yum!), as well as finding the perfect cushion from Haven & Space (I’m now kicking myself that I didn’t buy two though!). We were also highly amused by a little booze shop window display, which had tasting notes on various items … including the following one that tickled my fancy!
Before we left Berry we managed to find respite from the rain for a few minutes in Berry Patchwork … where I managed to fall in love with the following BOM quilt – alas my credit card will shortly to winging its way down the phone lines to them, and I’m going to start receiving the blocks from the beginning of July. I think it’s all the beautiful blues and creams that made me fall in love with this one (called “Piece & Plenty”) – and the photo certainly doesn’t do this piece justice (this was taken from their website, not taken by me). Looking at the various blocks, I think the large variety of techniques will make this a really good learning project 🙂
The rest of the day was spent in a small shopping centre in Nowra, trying to find the local NRMA which was no longer there … but it also gave us chance to pick up some cheap polar fleece jackets and trackpants to fight the drop in weather temperature. We did finally find the NRMA and had a lovely chat with the lady behind the counter about our hideous accommodation, and she kindly gave us a free map of southern NSW which turned out to be absolutely fantastic value and we used it every day when planning our driving.
After we finished our shopping at the NRMA we hit the road once again, although we didn’t get too far on the road before nightfall – we ended up finding a lovely motel at a place called Mollymook. We were nervous about the accommodation room when we were told it would be $95 for the night (our decrepit fleapit the previous night was $90), and it was a total palace in comparison. Mollymook is yet another place I’d be more than happy to return for a long weekend away, it’s just lovely 🙂
Before we started driving on Day 3, we picked up a big cappuccino for me, and sat on a park bench on the beachfront watching the waves roll in and a solitary surfer heading out for a morning surf. It was a beautifully peaceful way to start the day 🙂
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 …
Before mum and I headed south for our big road trip, we headed into the city and took a ferry over to Sydney Zoo – we were lucky that the rain held off while we were out, though sadly the downturn in weather was just the start of what was yet to come for the rest of our holidays. I took quite a few photos that day, so here are just a handful of my favourites – especially the view of Sydney cityscape from the Zoo, what a stunning view that is!
Above are a small selection of animals on display:
Giraffes, Bongo (antelope), Striped Lemur, Lioness,
Red Tree Kangaroo, Gorillas, Otters, Meerkat
One of the main drawcards of Sydney Zoo at the moment is the little baby elephants – and they sure are cute to watch while they’re playing! 😀
We had a lovely day out – and now, after more than 3 years, we can say we’ve seen Sydney Zoo! Mum was a bit embarrassed at seeing the otters being very voyeuristic by attempting to increase the otter population in full view of the viewing window … 😉
The next morning we headed over to Alison’s for a stitching day with my some of my closest Sydney pals – then on Sunday we jumped in the car at the crack of dawn to commence our week-long road trip. Thankfully I’d already investigated a shuddering steering wheel the week earlier, and found a bulging tyre so after having that replaced we were ready to rock and roll and hit the highway safely 🙂
Oh my goodness, has it been almost one week already since Mum has gone home? Luckily she got her flight home just before flights were grounded due to volcanic ash cloud sent over from Chile (although I wouldn’t have complained if her stay was extended, as it was all over all too quickly as it is!). This trip has been one of the fastest ones ever, perhaps because we were “on the go” all the time without a great deal of time to just chill out and relax (although we still did do plenty of that each day).
One of the first stops on Mum’s visit was to have a lovely cooked breakfast at Omero’s on the Beach … followed by an hour just sitting on a park beach on the beach and watching the world (and the local birdlife) go by … it was a lovely start to the holidays!
Mum arrived in time to celebrate her 75th birthday, and we went out to Larousse French Restaurant in Brighton-le-Sands … I’m a huge fan of French cooking, their prices are reasonable and atmosphere cosy and friendly. They also have the BEST Crème brûlée I’ve had since falling in love with it in Paris … probably not the best thing to fall in love with, but what the heck … We started the evening off well, thanks to Tannia’s visit here last year, as we had a bottle of Moet champagne to crack open prior to dinner – I’d been waiting for a special occasion to open it, so this was the perfect celebration.
The next two days I worked, but on my first day off Mum and I hit the shops, starting with a couple of places in Alexandria I’ve been wanting to go to for a while – unfortunately roadworks made one shop impossible to get to (a kitchen warehouse shop), but I did manage a brief visit into The Remnant Warehouse where I picked up a Christmas quilting fabric for both Mum and I and some chiffon fabric for a work top – I also had to make a return visit to the sales counter when I spied a lavender blue dupioni silk on the way out the door, which I’m hoping will match my Quaker Friendship Book by With My Needle (I haven’t checked yet!).
We finished up with a trip to Dan Murphy’s … every Aussie’s favourite booze shop. The first time I ever visited a Dan Murphy’s store in Melbourne I remember saying “oh my, I’ve died and gone to heaven” … to this day we still refer to it as ‘heaven’. Never in all my life have I seen such an incredible array of alcohol under one roof – aisle after aisle of imported and local wines, beers and spirits make it my absolute favourite ‘adult supermarket’ 😉
I can’t truthfully remember what we did over the next week (which has nothing to do with consuming the shopping from Dan Murphy’s!), except I remember it included some housework (always a topic I try to forget immediately after doing it!), a wee spot of cooking on my part and a fair bit of relaxing with stitching in hand (of which you’ve already seen the finishes).
The next ‘big day out’ was to spend a day at Sydney Zoo which was a first-time visit for both Mum and I … but that’ll have to be the subject of the next post! 🙂
Yesterday it was the 90th Birthday celebration for my employers – and staff and family were able to get free tickets to an Open Day at the Sydney Jet Base. Unfortunately the weather was dreadful and the rain affected a lot of the offering on the day such as food stalls etc, but we had the opportunity to climb onboard a number of different aircraft and enjoy some live music throughout the day … and of course the SPECIAL highlight was when John Travolta flew his Boeing 707 to join us for the day. It was a real treat to see his plane taxi up to the crowds and watch him climb out of the plane in his pilot’s uniform.
Our CEO did the official opening speech, but John Travolta stole his thunder pretty quickly … JT gave a wee speech which was lovely, then he cut the 90th birthday cake and we all sang along to the Happy Birthday song with JT leading the group. Quite frankly it was a really special day, and one that will always remain as a true highlight for me … even the pouring rain didn’t hinder our enjoyment that much, and thankfully the main pelt-down waited until seconds after JT was whisked away after signing autographs and having photos taken with some lucky staff members.
Here are a few token photos from the day – if you want to see more, you can check out my Webshots album (yeah, there is a bit of overkill with JT LOL).
Then last night we had an early Christmas drinks party in Newtown – it was an entertaining end to a wonderful day, especially as my absolutely favourite person from work (or ex-colleague to be exact) was there, and it’s always a treat to catch up with him. All-in-all a blissful day … and today I intend to put a couple of stitches into ‘something’ while I catch up on some TV, I just can’t decide what to put stitches into! 😛