This week

By Vita Forest

This week I have been

WRITING school reports!

READING

  • Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
  • A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman

VISITING Culburra  for the long weekend with Sui-Sui and Alessandro where we went

EXPLORING Nowra and touring beautiful old Meroogal

STOPPING for a drink at the fabulous Steampunk Dog and Monocle in downtown Nowra

COOKING up a storm at the beach house in Culburra

MOTORING up to Gerringong for a burger and chips and

MEETING up with Betty and Bob  who had the same idea!

EXPLORING

  • Crookhaven Head
  • Callala Beach
  • Currarong

STOPPING into lovely Kiama on the way home and seeing dolphins, a stingray and a rainbow.

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This week

By Vita Forest

This week I have been

ENJOYING a lovely holiday in Kiama and it’s surrounds

HAVING visits from my sisters and parents and Fleur (nice to share a favourite spot with others!)

SEEING many many creatures (more of that coming up in another post)

EATING lots of good things including

  • delicious gelato from the Kiama Market
  • duck pie from a farmers market
  • burgers from the fabbo milk bar at Gerringong

WALKING

  • from Kiama to Gerringong
  • from Kiama to Minnamurra

  • around Minnamurra rainforest

  • around Bombo headland

SWIMMING all around Kiama

REREADING Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta (Ah bliss!)

WATCHING the weather change from gale-force winds, wild seas and general chilliness to serene seascapes, hot sun and endless blue skies…

THINKING about planning next year’s holiday.

Holiday at home

By Vita Forest

With the children spending some time with their father, and myself still feeling rather worn out from the year that has passed, I recently spent a very good day doing really not much at all and feeling a whole lot better for it.  My day included:

  • Sleeping in then making a gourmet breakfast for one.  This included hot sourdough toast (which the butter melted into), a handful of spinach and rocket leaves drizzled over with Persian feta and olive oil and  a fried egg whose yolk broke and ran over the top of it all, orange juice made from a real orange and, of course, lashings of tea!
  • Reading, reading and more reading.  Finishing one book and immediately picking up another from the pile gathered from the local library from my To Read list.
  • Reading sitting at the table, reading lying on the sofa, reading lying on the booth seat with a cool, refreshing breeze brushing into the room through the open windows.
  • Later, much later, later than you would ordinarily expect to have lunch, I tied my favourite apron around my waist (a thick olive-green drill affair with pockets for any tools I might need – nothing dainty about it) and layered up, in my lovely Marimekko bowl of just the right size and proportions: segments of oranges with the skin removed, slivers of green kiwi fruit, slices of white nectarine with its blushing scarlet skin intact, the luscious contents of two passionfruit, three lychees which I broke apart with my thumbnails, nectar dripping over my hands and into the bowl as I tore the opalescent fruit away from the smooth brown seed inside and the gorgeous jewel-like seeds of a pomegranate falling over it all, as I held half a pomegranate cupped in my hand and whacked it with the back of a spoon, watching the seeds and juice splatter into the bowl below.
  • Occasionally the cats would chase each other across the mountain ranges of the furniture.  Brief bursts of scrambling, skittering and sliding before relapsing into their more usual tranquil resting that added to the atmosphere of peace and contentment.
  • Later again, I drove to the beach and plunged beneath the surface of the water, waking up every cell in my body in the salt water.
  • Later again I watched a few episodes of my latest crush on SBS On Demand and then went to sleep at a decent hour.

It doesn’t take much to have a deliciously decadent delightful day.  And that is what holidays are really about.

Kiama Coast Walk in Numbers

By Vita Forest

Gerringong

Werri Lagoon, near Gerringong

Another post hand-written while on holidays…

By Vita Forest

2 walkers – Saskia and Vita.

1 stop on the train – Kiama to Gerringong. $4 for my train ticket (because I left my opal card at home… $2 for Saskia, she remembered hers).

2 legs of the Kiama Coast Walk – Gerringong to Loves Bay and Loves Bay to Blowhole Point.

14km walk from start to finish.

3km walk from Gerringong station to the start of the walk at Werri Lagoon.

2 pairs of wooden dream poles covered with local indigenous symbols, at either end of the Gerringong to Loves Bay leg.

Dream poles, Kiama coast walk

Dream poles, Kiama coast walk

1 herd of black and white cows huddled together in an adjoining paddock.

Millions of golden dandelions covering the hills.

Dandelion covered hills, Kiama Coast walk

Dandelion covered hills, Kiama Coast walk

1 woman using the hillls over Werri Lagoon as an outdoor gym – interval training, jogging up and down the steep hill and stopping at the top to do push-ups or squats…

Millions of hidden insects in the swaying grasses, chirping and clicking.

Thousands of visible bugs in the vegetation – butterflies, crickets, flies hitching rides on the back of our backpacks.

2 girls overtook us on the walk.

1 train line disappearing into dark caverns beneath the hills.

1 handful of delicious, wild, sun-ripened blackberries picked from the bushes along the path.

Blackberries

Blackberries

Thousands of purple wildflowers tumbling down the steep escarpments.

Wildflowers on Kiama Coast walk

Wildflowers on Kiama Coast walk

4 sea kayakers passing below the cliffs as we walked in the opposite direction, 2 with tiny sails to take advantage of the sea.

8 pelicans flying in formation.

Pelicans on the Kiama Coast Walk

Pelicans on the Kiama Coast Walk

1 electric blue fairy wren balancing delicately on the barbed wire fence beside the path.

4 patrolled beaches along the route (Werri, Easts, Kendalls and Surf).

Near Easts Beach

Near Easts Beach

3 caravan parks.

1 stile over a dry stone wall near Easts Beach.

1 heron that stood silent and still before launching off over the cliffs at Easts Beach when I ventured too close.

1 amazingly refreshing swim at Kendalls beach.

Storm approaching, Kendalls Beach

Storm approaching, Kendalls Beach

Several rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightening as we neared the Surf Beach.

1 downpour just as we neared our holiday flat.

1 blister on the bottom of my right big toe.

29 degrees C in the middle of the day, 22 degrees after the storm.

2 tired but happy explorers sitting on the balcony with a cup of tea watching the rain.

Kiama

Surf Beach

 

This week

By Vita Forest

Kiama

Surf Beach, Kiama

This week I have been

READING The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (I’m afraid I would not recommend it. Saskia lent it to me to see if I would feel the same way she did about it. And I did. Thanks Saskia!!)

WRITING with a sharp lead pencil in my notebook as I’ve been –

VISITING Kiama and its surrounds on holiday with Betty and Saskia

SWIMMING in the glorious glittering ocean and in the beautiful Blowhole Point rock pool.

WATCHING dolphins swim around the rock pool at Blowhole Point!

WALKING around the coast at Kiama, two legs of the Kiama Coast Walk, the track at Minnamurra Rainforest.

CHATTING with Betty and Saskia.

PLANNING lots of writing.

LISTENING to Opera in the Domain in Sydney with some lovely work colleagues.

WAITING to get somewhere to write up and publish these posts! (working on the iPhone did not prove easy – any tips?)

Low on cost, high on life

By Vita Forest

Shelly Beach Manly

Go to the beach

It’s summer school holidays here in Sydney.  We tend to look for adventures that are low on cost but high on fun.  Here are ten things we do to explore, relax and have fun without breaking the bank.

  1. Have a picnic, day or night in a beautiful spot.  Sometimes we will have night-time picnics sitting on a rock overlooking the harbour – hard to beat!  Picnic with friends, or by yourself with a good book. Cost: food and drink (prepared at home).
  2. Take a swim at the beach.  It costs less than going to a pool and you get to enjoy the natural world too.  Cost: Free
  3. Take a walk in the bush or in the city, there is so much to explore.  Check out local council websites to find hints from the locals about interesting walks in the area, join a Meetup group of like-minded walkers.  Cost: Free or token payment for Meetup groups.
  4. Take public transport.  Step lightly, catch a train, bus (or if you are in Sydney – a ferry).  Take a trip to a new place and spend the day, take time to look out the window on the way.  On Sundays, we use our Opal cards for $2.50 all day travel in Sydney and its surrounds (up to the Blue Mountains, down to the South Coast or Southern Highlands etc). Cost: $2.50 on Sundays, more during the rest of the week (but maximum $15 for the day).
  5. Visit an art gallery.  We are lucky to have lots of excellent free art galleries here – the MCA, the Art Gallery of NSW, the White Rabbit Gallery, the Brett Whiteley studio, to name just a few.  Cost: Free
  6. Visit your local library.   We have fantastic local libraries with books, of course, but also excellent DVD and music collections.  Our recent “Alfred Hitchcock Film festival” was sourced through visits to local libraries.  Cost: Free
  7. Take time to read.  What could be more enjoyable than having time to read?  Sleep in and read all day, or take your book on a picnic (see Number 1).  These holidays, Lucy has been working her way through Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles, while Max is enjoying the Skullduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy.  Cost: Free (from a library) or raid your own or a friend’s bookshelf.
  8. Listen to a podcast or the radio.   These holidays I have been listening to interesting interviews on Radio National, including discussions from festivals that have taken place earlier in the year.  Lots of food for thought.  Cost: Free
  9. Do some craft.  While listening to the radio…  My Ann Wood boat building continues, I have also finished a cowl for Lucy and made some Christmas decorations.  Check out Pinterest for ideas.  Cost: craft materials or look in your cupboards and make use of old supplies.
  10. Be on the look out for free events.  At this time of the year, the Sydney Festival is on with lots of fantastic free events (Fabulous Flying Fox anyone?).  Last night we joined thousands of people for a picnic at the Domain to enjoy Symphony under the Stars.  Cost: Free

What do you do for a low-cost high-life adventure?

 

Are you in?

By Vita Forest

Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre

Are you in?

Sydney, as you might imagine, has a large collection of pools.  We went to one of them on Tuesday – the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.  It is not the closest pool, or the most scenic, but it does have other advantages.  We picked up Max’s friend Max (yes, two friends with the same name and even the same initial.  That’s what happens in real life) and I battled through the pouring rain in the car.

It is a large indoor complex with a selection of pools to suit all swimmers.  And the water is warm.  Warm enough to stay in for nearly four hours (when the free parking runs out).  There are pools to swim laps in, dive in, sit in and play in.  And even one whose floor can be raised and lowered depending on the activity (Water polo? No problem).  We spent a bit of time on the waterslide, in one of the spas, and on the wet playground (with its warning bell sounding when the enormous bucket of water at its peak was almost full and about to tip).  But the funnest of the fun was indeed the Rapid River.

This is an undulating circuit which careers around in a snaking loop, it starts with a great surge of water at the path’s opening which propels you forward with great speed immediately, and ends in a larger open area where you can catch your breath, swing off and hang out under one of the shower-like fountains, or keep your feet up and be carried around again.  It has jet outlets around the walls which push the swimmer forward and make it difficult to move backwards.

We spent most of our time here because this was the best place for a monster game of tip.  Tip has evolved somewhat since I was at school.  Now they use hand signals.  It’s quite easy and quite fun.  Holding up two fingers in a Peace sign means you are not “in”.  If only one is displayed (as if you have just thought of a great idea), you better get away from there fast!  If you get tipped, you have to give the tipper a ten second getaway.  This can also be counted wordlessly, displaying the diminishing timeframe on fingers disappearing into a fist…

There were lots of strategies; you could wait opposite a screen which showed live camera images from further down the river (when another player surged closer, you could swim on yourself), you could float by at the back of another group of revellers and hope that you might be mistaken for a piece of flotsam (like Harrison Ford did in The Fugitive), or you could slowly drag yourself the wrong way back through the current and huddle behind a bulge in the tiled wall.  And wait.  Sometimes it was a case of speed – crashing and diving through the crush of bodies, sometimes it was crouching in the stiller water like a crocodile with only your snout and eyes above water.

I was not the only adult in the river and I was not the oldest.  All of us had silly happy grins on our faces.

Because it was just a lot of fun.