For a short period of time the waiting spot for Deliveroo deliveries was right by my house, so I could wait at home and I had heaps of time to write blog posts and faff on the internet. Of course Maggie was to hand to help sorting through my notes.
Australia has heaps of stunning flora and even in the city I keep finding pretty strange flowers and trees in bloom.
They even celebrate it on their stamps. Commonwealth or no, instead of the Queen, they show off their diverse plant life to the world when posting per snail mail.
The weather has massively improved so instead of soaking in the monsoon style rains, we are now roasting in 35 degree heat. So when I am roo-riding I love it when the evening breeze brings a tiny bit of relief.
Pretty as this city is, we were getting itchy wheels and so set off south one weekend with some friends from Aidan’s work. We swerved along the winding road of the cool and shady Royal National park just south of Sydney and made a first stop at Stanwell Tops. It’s a great lookout over Sea Cliff Bridge, where the road goes off the cliff and stands above the water.
Many bikers meet here on their ride outs and we got chatting to a good few of them. They warned us of riding at dusk in the outback as kangaroos and wombats famously walk out into the road straight in front of you. And if you see a helicopter in the sky, race for cover: a vast herd of cows is about to charge at you, being shepherded by helicopter across ranches the size of a small European country.
Of course Pippa drew lots of attention with all her stickers giving away where she’d been. And someone pointed out that the Greek flag was up side down. Oops!
We had quite a ride ahead of u yet so we followed the coastal road, soaking up the sunshine and the views. We reached Kiama just in time for a perfect lunch break to cool down and shush our grumbling tummies. It is a quaint little town with one main street crammed with cafes and shops that sell bikinis and useless things to tourists. There is a little market by the water font too, but sadly it wasn’t market day.
Sometime early on in my trip the spindle in the speedometer gear box gave up. So I could no longer see how fast I’m going and had to make an educated guess comparing revs and the gear I was in. It also meant the kilometer counter had stopped and I had no idea how far we’d gone and therefore how soon Lea’s tank would be empty. So I relied on Aidan to keep an eye on Pippa’s mile-counter (she’s from England, remember) and do the correct conversion calculations. We kept filling up lots anyways, just in case.
A quick stop to stock up on supplies and cool down in an air-conditioned shopping mall and we were off, racing past Jervis Bay, where we’d initially intended to stay. But we weren’t sure if there would be a chance to wildcamp and our friends knew of a free campsite not too far off.
The Meroo National Park camp ground is basic with just a drop toilet, but it’s free and super pretty. You camp in laid out spots in the forest and then it’s a one minute bumble to the beach, which you basically have to yourself. We grabbed the last free spot and set about pitching our tents. Susan and Lawrence had just bought their new tent and air mattress and were having a bit of a fight with them – and losing!
Eventually they had it all set up though and we went for a stroll down the beach.
It was tempting to go for a swim. But the bluebottles stranded on the beach put us off as we were unsure how poisonous they are. We found out later that they only kill you if you have an allergy. But we weren’t willing to test if we had one.
So we contented ourselves with a bottle of vino and collecting pretty purple sea shells. It was so tempting to stay a whole week but sadly working life wouldn’t allow it. Only a few more weeks…
I had read online that there is a total fire ban in all of New South Wales at this time of year. But The other campers had sparked up fires so we thought it would be ok and carefully cleared a space to have a safe little cooking fire to prepare dinner on. The branches we’d found were relatively damp, creating heaps of smoke that helped keep the persistent mozzies away. A bunch of incense sticks we still have from India did the rest.
While we were setting up another couple had arrived. Unable to find a free spot they’d asked if they could join. And of course they could. They returned from their beach stroll and pulled up their chairs by the fire and we sat till late sharing stories.
The next morning we introduced the other two to cheesy beans on toast and Turkish coffee. They loved the handy little camping stove but I’m not sure how convinced they were of the breakfast. It was February 14th, so maybe they had had something else in mind for a Valentines breakfast?
By lunchtime we’d finally packed up and reluctantly left the site behind. Curious about what we missed, we stopped by the whitest beach in the world (apparently – I don’t know if it’s true). Not surprisingly it was full of bikini-clad people soaking up the sun which somewhat ruined the pretty pristine white sand scenery.
So we didn’t stay long. Lawrence had made a new plan. He knew of a bunch of oyster farms nearby with big, creamy oysters not to be missed. The first place was closed, but the people sitting outside waved us on to another unassuming farm across the shallow river with a queue outside a window in a green and blue ramshackle wall.
The oysters are kept in square wire baskets at the bottom of the water. It takes about four years for them to grow and it’s well worth the wait! Freshly brought in and cracked open behind that little window, they are a taste sensation. Upon the farmer’s invitation we pulled up a bunch of chairs in the shady shed and devoured them there and then.
The way back took us through farmland and cow country. We stopped in Kiama once more for a late lunch and returned to Sydney just as the rain clouds began to cloak us in a cool misty shroud.