A Saturday on the South Coast

Every now and then, I’ll tag along with one of my friends who likes exploring areas of Sydney (and beyond) that have randomly popped up in one of her social feeds. We never know if the effort is going to be worthwhile but, at the very least, the adventure will make for a great story.

One Saturday, she picked me up at 5am and didn’t drop me home until 7pm. Everything in between was soaking up the south coast of NSW, including sunrise, beaches, hikes, cliffs, rocks, ocean, waterfalls, and sunset, as well as some of the most beautiful roads and scenery:

– Sea Cliff Bridge
– Port Kembla beach
– Nellie’s Glen
– Kiama Blowhole
– Bombo

We hugged the coast, we went inland; we saw the ocean stretch on for miles, we saw trees stretch up for metres; we saw the ocean creating salty spray and crashing waves on the rocks, we saw freshwater winding its way through the forest and cascading down in beautiful waterfalls; we saw the sunrise out of the ocean, we saw the sunset behind the mountains.

It’s hard to believe that just 60-90 minutes out of Sydney lies such varied and stunning scenery. From the beautiful engineering feat of the Sea Cliff Bridge to the gorgeous colours from a sunset at Bombo quarry, this was a gorgeous day. Who says you can’t wanderlust after your own backyard?

A Pirate’s Life For Me (Occasionally)

Despite my parents meeting in the Navy and having an affinity with the open water, my sea legs have let me down on two ocean-bound occasions. The first was when said parents encouraged my brother and me to join them as they sailed their yacht from Rose Bay to Kogarah Bay. We both spent all the time beyond the heads unceremoniously sick over the side while I’m sure our kin questioned their paternity. The second was when my best friend and I finally made it to the Great Barrier Reef but the water was so choppy that the majority of us lost our breakfasts before we even arrived.

That’s all very well and good, but what does that have to do with cruising? Please understand my full dilemma when one of my best friends proposed the idea of a short cruise for her 40th Birthday. There’s no way I would have turned her down (partly due to friendship, partly due to the explorer within, partly due to FOMO) but the idea of being trapped on a ship at sea for three nights with my track record was not an ideal scenario.

I am happy to report that I made it! I was not ill (or even really queasy) and it was a wonderful weekend away. All the assurance I had been given in regards to the size of the ship making it a mostly smooth ride were on point. In fact, I’d highly recommend it for something different and am glad to have crossed “cruise” off my experience list. Would I do it again? Probably not, unless it was another short one (at a bargain price) or the destination called for it (eg. Antarctica). I think more than four nights would get pretty repetitive (mostly in terms of activities and food) and I’d rather save time at sea by taking a flight.

That said, I had a great time. Sailing out of Sydney Harbour on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon was a wonderful way to kick off the getaway. And it’s pretty great to spend a weekend watching ocean sunrises and sunsets; being mesmerised by the ocean without land in sight; trying lots of different types of food (in casual or more formal settings); and I am always up for a round of bingo or trivia.

Sleepy Sydney Sunrises (May, 2017)

I love starting my day with the dawn. Even on the chilliest of mornings, the promise of golden hour can usually rouse me from my warm bed and down to the beach or the park (or the balcony, if I’m feeling particularly lazy) to bask in some beautiful early morning rays before continuing on with my day.

The approach of winter solstice means my chance of seeing the sun actually rise becomes almost impossible on weekdays and means a tiny respite (sleep-in) on weekends. Still, there’s no denying it’s a gorgeous time of day:

 

Gliding Down the Great Ocean Road

Two years ago, I finally visited the Great Ocean Road with some friends. While I was most interested in the destinations I had pinned out (Cape Otway, 12 Apostles, Lorne, Apollo Bay), I didn’t expect that one of the greatest pleasures would be in the drive itself. Lush green meadows, tree-lined roads, sheer cliffs on one side and ocean (in the most spectacular shades of blue) on the other.

As an avid explorer, I very rarely return to places I’ve already been but, this past weekend, I did just that and found myself back on one of the most scenic drives I have ever taken. Just an hour south of Avalon airport, the rural country roads give way to breathtaking scenery and the views from the car areΒ almost as wonderful as those from the stops along the way.

Last time, we focused on the road between Lorne and Port Campbell. This time, it was Geelong to Lorne. We stayed at Aireys Inlet, did some paddle-boating in Anglesea, stopped off at Queenscliff, Barwon Heads, and Bells Beach, and trekked along the coastline in between.

Given my affinity with lighthouses, I was most excited to be staying right beside Split Point Lighthouse, which Australians of a certain age may recognise as the one made famous by Round the Twist. Our holiday rental featured sweeping coastal views from each bedroom, as well as the kitchen/dining/lounge area and outdoor deck, which made for plenty of photo opportunities.

In our two nights, we saw stunning sunrises, sunsets, tidal changes, and had one beautifully clear night, on which I captured my first ever starlit sky. And, following on from such a fantastic stay, we’ve decided this will be our annual retreat. It’s serene, stunning, and simply spectacular… After all, what’s the point of discovering amazing places if you can’t go back to enjoy them?

Idling By On the Isle of Wight

With two weeks in London, there was always going to be a trip of some description on the cards. We all love travel, we love seeing places we’ve never been before, and we absolutely love being in each other’s company. So the obvious choice was squeezing five adults into a car to road trip down to Isle of Wight – accessible only by ferry! Two nights and we saw some of the most incredible sights; I still can’t believe that an island so small had so many varying landscapes.

Lapping Up First Light at La Perouse (2016)

I have been searching for any opportunity to practice on the DSLR, to the point that creating one ended up being the best option. An early morning at La Perouse seemed like a good way to work on settings and composition with rapidly changing light. Luckily, it yielded some good shots.