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Illawara 2016 — Day 1: Kiama

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The long week­end over Easter is eas­ily the most anti­cip­ated long week­end of the year. After all, it’s a four day break mid-year. This year, T and N suc­cess­fully con­vinced D and I to escape with them to the Illawara Region south of Sydney for three days.

First stop is the Kiama Coast Walk from Minnamurra River to Kiama Blowhole.

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The walk 8.5km one way with a recom­men­ded time of 3 hours. After I’d man­aged to con­vince T and N that T’s grand plans of mak­ing the return walk of 17km in the same 3 hours was unreal­ist­ic, and that catch­ing the train back was more sane, we parked the car at Minnamurra Station and walked south towards Blowhole Point.

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A short walk from the sta­tion is Minnamurra River. Without a map on hand, we had no idea that the river itself was the start of the Kiama Coast Walk.

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Instead, we walk through some res­id­en­tial streets lin­ing Jones Beach.

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At the south end of Jones Beach, T’s adven­tur­ous side takes us through some rather shady look­ing bushes that back up into people’s private back­yards. We’re greeted by this beau­ti­fully green body of algae-covered water.

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A nar­row path leads us to the beach, but not around Bombo Headland. It’s pretty deser­ted.

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Pretty flowers line the path.

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So we back track through the rather shady look­ing bushes.

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Back on Cliff Drive, there’s an expans­ive view of the hori­zon between Jones Beach and Bombo Headland.

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A steep trek down a hill with ants crawl­ing up my shoe and legs, we spot Cathedral Rocks.

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The sign explains ‘the rocks are rem­nants of the edge of a lava flow that has been eroded by the sea. The lat­ite, com­monly known as colum­nar basalt, owes its name to the char­ac­ter­ist­ic ver­tic­al columns that are forumed dur­ing the uniqque cool­ing pro­cess of this type of lava’.

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Towards the south, we see Bombo Headland, described as a ‘basalt “grave­yard“‘.

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Walking close to the train tracks towards Bombo Beach, we spot some more pretty flowers.

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Just before reach­ing Bombo Beach, we see Bombo Headland Quarry.

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We finally reach Bombo Beach!

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And find out we’re halfway through our planned walk.

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We spend a couple of minutes think­ing about how to get across to the oth­er end of the beach and con­clude that walk­ing along the entire length of the sandy beach is the only option as the only paved road is a high­way.

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Walking on sand along the entire length of the beach is ridicu­lously tir­ing as the sand shifts con­stantly.

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Bunches of these sea plants are dot­ted around the sand.

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These suc­cu­lents seemed to have a more per­man­ent life above sea level.

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The sand is firmer towards the edge of the beach. There’s lar­ger shells too.

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The drier areas of the beach are covered in tiny shells.

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There are tiny holes in the sand all over the beach — I won­der what anim­al lives in them?

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Half way along the beach and there’s still a fair way to go!

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D and I try to exper­i­ment with the most effi­cient way to walk on sand — heel first, flat foot — but we don’t seem to find a sure meth­od, although walk­ing quickly seems to help.

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Two-thirds across the beach, the clouds have almost cleared to reveal beau­ti­ful blue skies.

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We come across a beach ver­sion of a scare­crow com­plete with sea plant hair.

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The water from a storm­wa­ter drain pools into a make­shift lake just before the ocean.

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Exhausted from the shift­ing sand, we trek uphill on Gipps Road with the train tracks in the fore­ground and Bombo Headland in the back­ground.

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At the top of Gipps Road, we look down the gently slop­ing Collins Street.

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Only to take the steep trek up Collins Street in the oppos­ite dir­ec­tion lined with col­our­ful houses.

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Coming on Pheasant Point Drive, we get wide expans­ive views of Bombo.

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Kiama is a super hilly town!

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Coming down to Shoalhaven Street, we finally see what we came all this for, Kiama Blow Point.

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There’s no beach, but there are rocks lin­ing the walk around the coast to Blowhole Point.

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There aren’t many people on the rocks, but the seagulls more than make up for them.

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D and I aren’t beach people. It’s been a very long time since we’ve see so much of the coast.

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Around on Blowhole Point Road, these men are get­ting ready to take their boat out.

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Pelicans are appar­ently enough of a thing in the area to war­rant a sculp­ture. We saw one!

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We take a look at the Fresh Fish shop, which is more like a cafe. Or it was so hot that D and I only checked out their drinks menu before decid­ing to hold off.

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It seems as though almost every­one owns a dog in Kiama. I’ve not seen so many even in Newtown!

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There are plenty of boats moored around the area.

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And only a bil­lion park­ing spots for cars. I will nev­er under­stand why we didn’t just park at Blowhole Point, see­ing as it was what we came for and there were lit­er­ally no oth­er people on the walk between there and Minnamurra. Plenty of people made pit stops in their cars, though.

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The sea really does shine!

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There’s a free pool full of kids. I’m not sure if it’s sea­wa­ter, though, as I got whiffs of chlor­ine.

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It would be quite the exper­i­ence swim­ming to this view.

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Further along, we hit the rocky parts of Blowhole Point. There’s plenty of sig­nage about the dangers of climb­ing on the rocks.

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And the view up towards the view­ing areas for the blowhole and Kiama Lighthouse.

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This is where the water comes in to the blowhole I ima­gine. Look at the colum­nar basalt.

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Kendalls Beach is in the back­ground.

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A plaque explains the dis­cov­ery of the Kiama Blowhole.

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The large crowds are quite vocal every time a spout comes up from the Blowhole.

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We’d vis­ited the blowhole once dur­ing an unmem­or­able trip to Nowra after high school in 2007 that I have not much of a memory of it.

The Blowhole is can spout water over 20m into the air, but it was rather weak when we arrived. We got a few spouts but noth­ing amaz­ing.

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Next to the Blowhole is the Kiama Lighthouse,‘established in 1887, 10 years after the cre­ation of the Robertson Basin, a man made har­bour to ser­vice Kiama’s sup­ply of crushed blue met­al and pav­ing blocks for the streets of Sydney.’

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The light­house was recently spruced up to cel­eb­rate 100 Years of Anzac (2014 – 2018).

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By the time we get to Blowhole Point, T’s come around to the idea of catch­ing a train back to Minnamurra.

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So with 20 minutes until the next hourly train, we head down towards the sta­tion near the town centre.

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Kiama Post Office is built in a Victorian Italianate style of archi­tec­ture you tend to see only in towns now.

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A sculp­ture sits out­side the Town Hall.

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And finally, after a 7 minute train trip, we’re back at Minnamurra.

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We pile back into the car en route to our hotel, Pioneer Sands, in Wollongong for some much needed rest.