After my night at Lake Wallaga, I crossed over to the ocean side of the road to do the cliff walk.
Back on the highway, I was taken inland to a quaint heritage village by the name of Central Tilba nestled in amongst green rolling hills, quite well-known, apparently, on the tourist trail but a first for me.
Wandering around the perfectly-restored colonial buildings, I felt like I’d stepped back in time. The village deserves a post of its own so I’ll leave it for later, except I just loved this:
I must have gone through Narooma but I have no memory of it and, strangely, no photos. I missed other spots suggested by the lady at Stella’s Vintage Tea Room in Pambula, as well, but I wasn’t too worried. I can always come back in the future – at any time. Aah, freedom.
I came to Moruya, a town of around 4000, set on the banks of the Moruya River. I stretched my legs for awhile, photographing, needless to say, old colonial buildings, then continued with a view to finding accommodation in Batemans Bay.
The Catholic church is a bit austere from the outside but very pretty inside.
Batemans Bay surprised me. I imagined a village but it has a population of around 17,500. Traffic was heavy so I avoided the centre of town and found a motel on the outskirts, run by a woman who grew up where I live, and we had a discussion on what should and shouldn’t be happening in the area.
It happens so often when you’re on the road, you meet someone who’s mother lives around the corner, or your kids went to school together or, as a friend related to me, you’re in a village in England on your honeymoon and your ex-boyfriend walks past. That’s scary.
My motel was across the road from the bay and so I was able to spend the early morning on the beach photographing the sun coming up.
Just 53km up the road is the fishing port of Ulladulla, famous for its seafood and picturesque harbour; well, everything’s picturesque along this coast. It’s a pristine and well-to-do-looking place. In fact, there are so many yachts, I wonder if you have to have one to be allowed in. My mid-morning caffeine fix was at a relaxing cafe by the name of The Tree House.
Energised by my coffee and, I vaguely remember, a slab of carrot cake, I returned to the car. My original intention was to end up in Wollongong but there was an international cycling event on and I couldn’t get accommodation, so my final stop on my trip up the east coast would be Kiama.
I passed through Milton, founded in 1860 and an important regional centre during the 19th century. It’s undergone a resurgence lately, due to the Princes Highway running through the centre of town, and also due to an influx of ‘seachangers’. It looks like it’s doing quite well, which is terrific, considering the hard time businesses have had in the last three years.
It was such a pretty town to wander around.
Again, Kiama was much bigger than I expected. In fact, I got a little lost in the suburbs. A sign pointing to the town wouldn’t have gone astray – or perhaps I missed it. I do that.
Kiama is quite famous for its blowhole, discovered by George Bass, mate of fellow explorer, Matthew Flinders, on his exploration of the coast south of Port Jackson (Sydney).
To save money, I stayed at the Grand Hotel. I like staying in old pubs. They’re basic but who needs a television when you’re on the road, the rooms are often small but you’re only sleeping there, and then there’s the advantage of having a drink – or two – and then just falling up the stairs to your bed. Still, best I don’t do a review of the Grand Hotel, Kiama.
You probably need to pay a bit more for accommodation. If you did, I’m sure Kiama would be a beautiful place for a holiday. I didn’t see a lot of it, as the last couple of hours of the afternoon were taken up in the hotel watching the AFL Preliminary Final to see who would get into the Grand Final. I wasn’t too worried, though. I think I prefer the smaller places, quieter, less razzmatazz, so to speak.
In my next episode, I take the Illawarra Highway across the mountains, almost getting knocked off the cliff on Macquarie Pass (horrifying for a nervous driver) by an angry sports car driver, to the Hume to head down to the river.