The Southern Coast Roadtrip


Waiting in the car to leave

Possibly the biggest appeal of roadtrips to me is the fact that the car is the easiest way to escape the Australian sun. The fallacy of this, however is that as much time is spend inside the car, there is also a substantial amount of time spent outside it. Besides, there’s not all that much you can do inside a moving car.

Yesterday, my family went on a roadtrip south in what seemed to be a three hour drive down to Nowra and Kiama. My father had originally planned to go to Bateman’s Bay, but there are only so many hours in a day and a car can only ever go as fast as the speed limit dictates. We passed many small airports on the way, but I don’t know how feasible that would be as an option cost-wise.

My father of course wanted us out at 8am, but this never goes to plan and we bundled out of the house 45 minutes late to a breakfast at a Chinese-Western fusion restaurant. For some reason with family I’m never particularly hungry in the mornings. When we were in Hong Kong I would never eat a great deal even though I knew I didn’t have to pay and there was a long day ahead. Perhaps it has to do with how we eat at home in general, since I would always eat a great deal whenever I was on school camps.

Southern Gateway Centre

At any rate, we headed back to the car where I began to listen to podcasts to pass the time, getting slowly more and more nauseous as we trundled along the highways. At some point I figured out that putting my head against the ledge the door makes when it meets the window and using it as a pillow helped though.

Out first stop was the Southern Gateway Centre, which featured a lookout point. We were miles away from anything really interesting, but it was a good view of the bays, the beaches, the horizons.. Well, what do you expect from the Southern Coast of NSW?

Once we were done with toiletry businesses, we went off on our way again to Nowra where I continued to feel ill and we had a quick lunch at a takeaway Thai place where the food was overpriced but very hot — exactly what I needed on an already scorchingly hot day. A no-brainer. Still, it refuelled us for the next hour and a half we would spend exploring the Fleet Air Arm Museum, provided we could find it first. Thank heavens for mobile phones with GPS.

Fleet Air Arm Museum Fleet Air Arm MuseumFleet Air Arm Museum

Fleet Air Arm Museum, Nowra

Regardless of whether you’re a fan of army and military aircraft, this place is a real history book with even Japanese and Vietnamese items from previous struggles. I didn’t spend as much time reading the plaques as I should have, in fact I probably just took a picture of the text and moved on, but it was still a experience seeing these creations of steel that would be flying through the air, yet was compact enough to pack onto a ship.

Albeit these are miles smaller than commercial aircraft taking passengers overseas, but imagine trying to land these on a ship in the middle of the ocean. There were quotes about that through the centre, making you think about just that, especially with their scale models. You can see some of them models ships and planes at my Flickr.

While the temperature of the air downstairs was pleasant and cool to preserve their planes, the air upstairs was warm and still and rather unpleasant — I got inside to get out of the heat! Given they also had planes hanging near the ceiling, I don’t think it would have been particularly beneficial to them either, not to mention I was afraid of getting squashed, but you’d hope they know what they’re doing.

All the same, it was a good idea to explore all the places, because arguably the ‘vintage’ cameras was my favourite find (other than the helicopter that looks like it was lifted from M*A*S*H, and might have been — I haven’t checked!). I do love a good gift shop though. Doctor Who reference, anyone?

Kiama Lighthouse

Kiama Shenanigans

Funny I should mention Doctor Who, but that’s for another time. An hour after we left Nowra, we were in Kiama on the dot of 5. So just in time for all the stores there to be shut. Promptly. I would comment that people there exhibit a very Australian attitude and were clearly getting ready to close shop exorbitantly early, but I’d probably be guilty of the same thing.

Arriving there, I remembered I’d been to Kiama before. I’m not sure who, when or why exactly, however it was definitely as part of my school camps. I’d no desire to fall in the ocean or against sharp rocks so I stayed to the grassy slopes while my family explored. Unusual, because they’re always the first to caution against perceived ‘dangers’. Perhaps they felt safer with the installed rails.

Wandering, wandering we went past the closed Pilot’s Cottage and down by the sea where a place happily declared ‘Fresh Fish’ and proceeded to wait for an unusually long time for a ‘half-basket’ of fried seafoods. There was a cafe next door and gelato, but at that point I was tired enough to just want to get back to the car and enjoy my podcasts in peace.

First Westpac opened in Australia

It’s never quite that simple. My family continued back to the town centre of Nowra, photographing the first Westpac that was ever opened as well as commenting on the highly creepy nature of the bust mounted above the door. Then again with the wandering in the scorching hot sun with my black clothing and hat for company (the clothing of choice for roadtrippers).

My parents decided on dinner in Nowra before we headed back since it was a 2 hour drive back home and we settled down in a high-class Japanese restaurant that was closer to our tastes rather than the Western restaurant. I would have been more than happy to devour a soba salad all by myself, but my family wanted to share everything so share they did — all while being needlessly loud about it.

A nice place, if somewhat pricey. I regretted choosing Japanese at first but it went surprisingly well. My brother wanted to head back to the lighthouse for some night photography so we did, however the winds were frigidly cold and it was all I could do to huddle next to the car since my dad had locked it and carried the keys away with him as he took photos with his iPhone. Then the long drive home to fainting into bed.

All in all an interesting day?