True story: I get extremely broody if I don’t get far away from city life and connected with nature as often as possible. We’re talking teenage-angst-OMG-ennui levels of broody. So, a road trip down the South Coast of New South Wales was just the medicine needed. We traveled down to Gerringong, Kiama, Berry and Jervis Bay and had a fantastic time. Here’s what went down…
Friday 6 May: Daniel and I worked a full (and painfully long boo hoo) week at our respective jobs and then hit the road as soon as traffic died down a bit. Honestly, the most frustrating thing about Sydney is escaping the city with any expediency. If you take 20% of the continent’s entire population, mix in a myriad of bottlenecks and a dash of poorly timed traffic light patterns, you can imagine how often you will chant ‘namaste’ during a roadtrip. This time, we were heading south and it was pretty much the same lunacy we experienced when we drove north to Forster a month back. Nevertheless, we started the adventure around 7pm and were cruising down the South Coast soon thereafter.
We did a quick stop over in the university town of Wollongong to have a bite to eat before arriving safely in Gerringong, which would be basecamp for the weekend. Our awesome new friend, Anthony, has a wonderful vacation home there (and grew up in the town) so we were well set-up for an adventurous weekend together as the three ozketeers. (As a quick sidebar educational moment for you and me, I just researched and learned that “gong” means “stream” or “creek” in Aboriginal language, hence why so many towns in Oz end with it. The more you know!) We were journeying down to Jervis Bay super early in the AM for SCUBA diving so Friday was basically done-zos.
Saturday 7 May: By the grace of the SCUBA Gods, we were awake and on the road by 6am for our diving day. We drove 45 minutes from Gerringong to Huskisson on Jervis Bay to meet up with the dive shop operators at the aptly-named Dive Jervis Bay. We were on the boat by 8am and headed out to some amazing dive sites situated along Beecroft Peninsula near Point Perpindicular Lightstation.
I couldn’t get any pictures or quality video to back this up BUT we saw a pod of dolphin, a fur seal as well as a young whale breaching during the commute out to the first dive site. It was truly fantastic and certainly set some high expectations for what we would experience under water.
Sadly, we did not get to see either of those incredible types of mammals on the actual dives (MEGA-BUMMER-POUTY-FACE). We did have two really great (albeit colllllllllld!) adventures in the ocean at both The Labyrinth (formally known as “Whorehouse” back in the salty machismo dog days) and Pinnacle Rock.
All told, I would have to say that the swim through of The Labyrinth grotto and hanging out with the Weedy Seadragon were two unforgettable moments. Those two alone are worth a future visit to Jervis Bay and a splash back in their frigid and friendly waters.
After the dives, it was pig-out time at the local pub called The Husky where all three of us scarfed down some seriously delicious fish n’ chips. I know, I know…it’s a bit hypocritical after celebrating how amazing all of the sea life is but a boy’s gotta eat, right? And besides, the chips were TOTALLY vegan.
Somehow, we were still buzzing with energy and decided to drive further down Jervis Bay to the infamous Hyams Beach, which is recognised as having the whitest sand in the world. I don’t know how true that is (and refuse to research it as it’s way more meaningful if I just let myself believe) but I can tell you it was pretty damn amazing. Plus, IT FREAKING SQUEAKS.
An unsurprising thing happened once we got to Hyams Beach and put down our beach towels. WE PASSED THE F OUT. No seriously…within two minutes of capturing a quick video and a few drool-worthy pics, we were all three deep asleep on the beach. It was one of those idyllic and dreamy moments where the sun wasn’t blazing, we were flat-out exhausted from diving and there was literally nothing more important in the world than a nap. Following that blissful hour, we started the journey back to Gerringong with I, the trusted driver (who is still totally terrified and slowly acclimating to driving on the other side of the road but hey…trust me guys, I’m fine. *awkward grin with braces if I had them*).
Anthony gave us a quick tour around Gerringong during the return trip, which included one of the most amazing cemeteries I’ve ever seen and another totally stunning beach. Having lived a formidable chunk of my life landlocked in the midwest, this type of easy access to sand, sun and sea hasn’t yet sunk in…
After the Gerri and Werri tour, it was time for dinner in Kiama, a town just a short distance north. We settled on Chinese, as one does in a coastal Australian town, and then popped on over to check out the Kiama Blowhole (and no, pervs, I will neither set nor take any bait on this one – that would give me no glory). We were there at night so even though the audible side of the blowhole was awesome, the visual was a bit challenging. But that didn’t stop us from enjoying one of the most spectacular and clear evening skies I’ve ever seen. I looked directly in to the Milky Way. I could see its outline and form – and then I shit-you-not, a shooting star perfectly dove past our field of vision. When these types of magic moments happen, I try my very best to snapshot them in my mind, and I think I locked this one in for life. Guys trust me…it was shocking in its magnitude and terrifying in its ability to reduce you to space dust. Something to keep in mind when your #FirstWorldProblems start to stack up.
Sunday 8 May: typically on a Sunday, my main goal is to simply not think about Monday. Thankfully, Anthony suggested we head over to Berry NSW which distracted and surprised us with its incredibly high ranking on the Adorableometer. Berry is a little village just a short drive inland from Gerringong, and it has become a mecca of cute, quaint and kitsch. You eat perfectly Instagrammable food, shop in hodge-podge-yet-high-design stores and walk around the streets wondering whether you should call a real estate agent like now or maybe think it through a bit.
Following breakfast, a few purchases in the Berry shops (of which I have exactly zero buyer’s remorse 2 weeks later) and an accidental binge on hot cinnamon donuts, we headed back home to Sydney. My nature tank was 100% refilled, and I was already daydreaming about our next South Coast adventure. To be continued, I suppose…
XOXO – JW