Tuesday, January 24, 2012

South Coast NSW

Oscar was back and we hit the road for a three day road trip!  New South Wales – the state that Sydney is in – has a massive stretch of coastline.  Despite the sizable distance, the coastal stretch south of Sydney extending all the way to the border with the state of Victoria is called the South Coast.  As that is a roughly seven hour drive, the region is by no means small.  We set out to see the area, though given our time constraints we only made it about three hours down to a place called Jervis Bay.  That area was absolutely marvelous and is deserving of its own post to follow.  But first, I present some other highlights of South Coast NSW!

We started Day 1 at the Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk!  Australia is home to four of these tree top walks, and Illawarra Fly is the third one I’ve checked off the list.  I still reckon that the first one I did in Western Australia was the best, but this one definitely had the best view:

The lake is Lake Illawarra and just beyond that is the city of Wollongong – Australia’s ninth largest city.

The Illawarra Fly is built on the Illawarra Escarpment – the remnants of an old mountain range.  Because it’s built on the side of a mountain, it was really easy to get high up.  When they say tree top, they mean it.

It was here that Oscar and I took the first of many “self-portraits” over the course of our trip.

Now, at this point, I’ve seen kangaroos in the wild.  I’ve seen emus in the wild.  I’ve even seen koalas in the wild down along the Great Ocean Road.  And from the looks of it, I thought I might be lucky to catch a glimpse of a wombat!

Unfortunately, we didn’t see any, even though we waited by the designated wombat crossing.

Next stop:  more views at Saddleback Mountain.  The steep drive up – which almost put our rental Corolla to an early grave – was well worth it:

Later on, we checked into our hotel:  the historic Coolangatta Estate!

Built by convicts in the 1800’s, the site has been restored and now operates as a resort and winery.  Their 2003 Semillon was delicious and we bought half of a case.  We bunked in “The Cottage”.

Nearby was the famous Seven Mile Beach.  Stretching from the town of Gerroa in the north to the mouth of the Shoalhaven River in the south, the beach – as its name suggest – is one of the longest in New South Wales.  Indeed it was long – and more importantly – it was empty.  There was nobody to the left!

And nobody to the right!

And nobody right behind me!

The beach was ours!  All seven miles of it!

On Day 3 we drove back to Sydney along the Grand Pacific Drive.  Now, we didn’t actually know it was the Grand Pacific Drive until near the very end when we bumped into this sign as a lookout point and realized that it was the exact drive – from end to end – that we just did.

The Grand Pacific Drive is NSW’s answer to the Great Ocean Road down in Victoria – except it’s not nearly as well-known… or as fabulous.  Which is probably why I had never heard of it.  That being said, there were some pretty spectacular things along the way.  In addition to Seven Mile Beach National Park, we passed through the town of Kiama with its pretty lighthouse.

More famous, however, is the Kiama Blowhole!

Ok, so it doesn’t look like much… until water comes out of it:

I need to remember to not hold the camera vertically when taking videos.  Sorry.

The geology behind it is quite interesting… if you’re a nerd!

Lucky for me, I’m a complete nerd.  Do you have a problem with that?

The drive also takes you through Wollongong:

And we pulled over so that Oscar could play on the historic waterfront canons.


Oh lord.  Trip’s over!

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