Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Culburra Beach and Point Perpendicular

We continued south down the coast and booked ourselves into a park at Crookhaven Heads (Culburra Beach), expecting a similar beachy seaside town to Kiama. 

The closest big town was Nowra (very simple and unexciting, besides a sensational produce market that was worth the drive in for). Crookhaven Heads and Culburra Beach were both very quiet towns, but our holiday park had the bonus of long car-free driveways and large green lawns, so we had a ball learning to ride new balance bike (Maxie) and skateboard (Tim, me and Dusty) and we made new good friends too. 

Also, plenty of beaches to explore ...

It was a good base point for exploring some very cool seaside towns nearby and Point Perpendicular lighthouse (inside the Beercroft Military Reserve, which is open to the public via security-issued tickets).

This lighthouse is the 'most painted' lighthouse in Australia.

The weather was really wild - crazy wind, we couldn't walk anywhere near the lighthouse as the pram was blowing away! But a quick look at the view from the cliff was breathtaking - totally raw and wild sea cliffs with beaches and bay heading inland. 

Pictures just don't do it justice. We bypassed Jervis Bay but we heard that it's worth going to. That'll have to wait until next visit, for us :) We were ready to head further south.

Wollongong, Shell Harbour and Kiama

After an amazing time in Sydney we kept driving south down the highway. Estimating our littlest boy would sleep a couple of hours. We picked the Shoalhaven area on the map and started searching WikiCamps for a holiday park with good reviews. We found one at Shell Harbour and booked in for 3 nights. 

We were blown away, when we arrived, by the continuing beauty of New South Wale's coastline - it was definitely getting better and better. The caravan was parked on the beach nearby an ocean bathing pool, so we spent our time around there playing on the sand collecting shells, and the boys had their first ever dip in an man-made ocean pool. 

We drove around the area of Shoalhaven. We found out this country seaside farming region is where the movie Babe was filmed. The rolling hillsides were just as green and stunning as they appeared in the movie. 

At Kiama we stumbled upon the Kiama markets - a very ingressive little growers market on the shelly foreshore. So nice to be taste testing local gourmet foods while the boys played on the very unusual black beach - the shells and gravel were black and Dusty kept himself busy collecting seaweed.


The boys were really excited by the Kiama blowhole, next to the lighthouse, too.  

The drive up to Wollongong was spectacular, through the funky seaside towns on the cliffs overhanging the ocean  and along the Sea Cliff highway - a stretch of highway going over the ocean. 

Wollongong really surprised us actually. We went there to check out the industrial buildings and machinery (cranes on the wharf etc) and then discovered the historical charm and picturesque town. There were these Coke furnaces in the side of the headlands, with an original brick-walked marina at the entrance to the bay, and 2 of the oldest lighthouses in the country, plus the military canons on the top of the headland. Really magical scenery, and plenty of space for the kids to go crazy.

This area is probably on the short list of places to return to one day. We were really beginning to see how much people appreciate farm life by the sea, and the culture of inspired Australians here was really inspiring for us. 

Sydney, baby!

Heading further south through NSW, we were driving down the highway towards Sydney passing these enormous rock walls, totally blown away by the changing landscape in the Mid-Coast. 

We had planned to NOT go into Sydney on our big trip, just because it could be a nightmare to drive the caravan through the city. But oh - as we got closer to Sydney, I just wanted to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge! On WikiCamps we found a caravan park not too far from the Highway called Lane Cove - and voila, we were taking a detour into Sydney. 

Our 2 days there were an amazing whirlwind. The caravan park was just off the motorway and centred in national park and wildlife reserve, and a short walk from the train station. We were so excited to be taking the boys into the city by train, then across the Harbour by Ferry (several times). 

We spent a fortune doing all the amazing things you do in Sydney ... Sushi at Manley, Ice cream at the Opera House, Pizza and Pasta at The Rocks, Lattes at Datlington Harbour, sweets by Adriano Zumbo in the Queen Victoria Building. We pushed the pram from Darlington Harbour up the streets of the inner city them back to the Opera House, then around the beautiful streets of Kirribilli, probably doing about 20klm by foot in one day ... We had short breaks from walking while riding on the ferry or train, while our littlest, Maxie, napped in the pram.

Took so many photos - can't possibly show everything we did, it was a whirlwind. We LOVED Sydney and our experience there set a new bench mark - will anywhere else give us this same thrill and excitement? Let's wait and find out :)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Werribee Mansion, Victoria

We've all been to the Historic mansion a couple of times each over the last decade but we made it a priority to go there again while in Victoria - and it is still a fun place to visit. Took us almost the whole day to cover the grounds and see all the cottages, work rooms, farm vegetable gardens as well as the mansion. Boys had fun trampling flowers and smelling roses. Playing in the mansion 'nursery'. And when we first arrived there was an area set up for 'traditional' activities - spinning yarn, making rope, stilt walking, hacky sack throwing, bowling, all wooden materials. Really good 'school day' for us all.