Earlier this year on Australia Day, I completed the Kiama Coastal Walk with a couple of my European friends, Susanne and Anna. While potentially a little ‘un-Australian’ to hike on this annual celebration (I have spent many previous Australia Day’s at pubs watching cockroach races, drinking XXXX Gold and counting down Triple JJJ’s Hottest 100), I must have matured over the years to consider walking 22km on a public holiday to be enjoyable. Luckily, it was.
Armed with salad sandwiches, homemade biscuits, nuts and apples (oh goody!) we set off in the early hours of the morning to catch a train from Sydney to Gerrigong Station (yes, we are those fresh-faced girls toting our hydration packs at the train station while many of you are stumbling bleary-eyed, stilettos-in-hand, waiting for your transport home at 6:00am on a public holiday).
The train ride to Gerrigong takes a little less than three hours, far enough to allow us to escape the rainy Sydney day and be greeted with a cloudy, but generally rain-free day on the south coast of New South Wales.
The Kiama Coastal Walk itself is absolutely beautiful. Within the first 10km (from Gerrigong to Kiama Heights) you are spoilt with 6km of luscious green cliff-top walking along the coastline, that wouldn’t seem out of place in the Scottish Highlands.
Under misty rain conditions, we continued on until we reached a point at Kiama Heights overlooking Easts Beach where we ate our sandwiches quickly as the rain started to get a bit heavier. Deciding to continue to a more sheltered place, we continued to Little Blowhole in Kiama, passing onesie-clad Australia Day celebrators having beachside barbeques and entertaining themselves on their ‘Slip ‘N Slides’. Little Blowhole was pretty amazing and with the rain stopping, we stayed for half an hour and took about a thousand photos of the ocean spurting through a hole in rocks in every angle you can imagine.
Less than 2km further on, many more people were attracted to the Kiama Blowhole (a much bigger and more spectacular formation) and we stopped at the café there for a coffee and Susanne and Anna purchased some banana bread.
Now, during public holidays in Australia it is not uncommon for cafes to place a surcharge on food and drink purchases to help pay for the staff penalty rates. This may mean paying $5 for a coffee or 15% extra and on this particular day, Susanne and Anna paid a ridiculous $7 each for a slice of banana bread. Sure the café was in a fabulous location and I know I can be pretty cheap at the best of times, but I really couldn’t believe that a combination of banana, flour, oil, egg and sugar could cost that much- and they couldn’t either! So while I love banana bread as great energy snack for a long walk, it’s almost un-Australian to pay that much for something that doesn’t even graduate to a cake status.
So here is my recipe for Budget Banana Bread which will cost less than $7 for an entire loaf- a little more preparation but delicious nonetheless. You’ll need it for the Kiama Coastal Walk!
After the shock over the banana bread, we followed the coast north where the walk detoured along some roads to arrive just three kilometres away from a beautiful vantage point of Cathedral Rocks- distinctive formations of volcanic rocks on the coastline.
Continuing along the walk, we got a little diverted from the track and took a more “cross-country” route to access Jones Beach (it’s probably best to just follow the main path) before continuing onto Minnamurra Station to catch our train back to Sydney.
While I missed my cockroaches, beers and Hottest 100, I was really able to appreciate how lucky I am to be Australian and to live in such a diverse country with so much natural beauty on offer.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.
If you want more details on the Kiama Coastal Walk click here or visit:
www.visitnsw.com/destinations/south-coast/kiama-area/kiama-coast-walk www.visitnsw.com/destinations/south-coast/kiama-area/gerringong www.visitnsw.com/destinations/south-coast/kiama-area/kiama www.visitnsw.com/destinations/south-coast/kiama-area/blowhole