This week

By Vita Forest


A glimpse of the harbour pool at Cremorne Point

This week I have been

READING Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (but not very much just yet)

WRITING Lapping (my last Kiama past from the last trip)

LISTENING to the wonderful ACO at the Tognetti, Tchailovsky, Brahms concert at the City Recital Hall and letting the music just wash over me!

SWIMMING and SKETCHING at Cremorne Point

CATCHING up with Gemma and Vastra and Saskia (how lovely!)

MAKING a fantastic collaborative artwork with my class – photos next week?

CELEBRATING my niece Pippi’s 8th Birthday


Fish and chips with a view before seeing the ACO




By Vita Forest

I was swimming back and forth across the pool.  The pool edged in rocks and shells and soft green moss.  I was swimming with my head above the water, legs moving like a frog below.  I was feeling the wind on my face, and remembering how yesterday, the high seas had sent waves over the sides of the pool, pushing me away from the rock wall.  How I laughed with a stranger as our bodies were swept back by the cold effervescent water that poured in from the sea.  But today, the seas have calmed, have dropped back down to a more civilised level.  The Surf Beach is open again, red and gold flags fluttering in the breeze, the whole bay no longer churning with white water.

I had swum in the surf with my kids, the waves still looking mighty big as they came roaring towards us.  But the bay was not completely awash with white water.  And the flags were out, and the lifesavers.  So it seemed alright.  But now I was back at the pool on the headland, stately stroking onwards in a kind of moving meditation.  Above me, a pelican arced overhead like a kite, doing its own kind of laps, floating back and forth over the meandering edge of the black rock headland, wings outstretched, held up there between the sun and the sea.

There were a few of us crossing forwards and backwards along the far side of the pool.  For exercise, for fitness, or was it a remnant of body memory from when we were kids?  When swimming meant racing or squad training, counting the laps, watching the clock, pushing your body until it felt like it would explode.  I have mellowed since then, but I still feel the need to swim up and down.  Now I do it at lower speeds with my head out of the water so my ears don’t ache and I can look at the scenery as I go.

There were others in the pool who had obviously never been competitive swimmers, whose eyes didn’t automatically divide the water with invisible lines, straight and narrow.  They splashed and floated across the pool, or hovered in pairs chatting by the rocky outcrops or leapt in right where I was about to swim.  I could see the look of frustration on the face of a fellow lapper, but really, who was right?  Why did we think that swimming should be done this way and not that?  And we were on holidays after all.  Did it really matter if we had to detour around the woman lounging on the blow-up bed holding herself in place with a hand cupped over a bulge of black rock?  If speed and straightness was really what you were after, you could always go to the chlorinated indoor pool up the hill, with its lanes marked out with rows of black tiles and by rigid ropes strung tight between hooks at either end of its fifty metres.

But I prefer this pool with its unruly edges, its uneven rock floor and the occasional fish that floats beneath our feet, causing the boy with the goggles to shriek excitedly, “Two fish! Really big ones!”  I prefer my fingers to stroke the green moss softening the jagged rocks on the pool’s edges, where you can stop and look out at the sea and perhaps catch a glimpse of a crab sidling along, emerging and submerging beneath the water.

When I climbed up the metal ladder and balanced my way across the concrete path, back to my towel, I heard a small girl announcing to her mother as she held up a shell, “Look!  He’s still inside his egg.  Look!  He’s still there!”  And they peered into the heart of the small rounded shell she had pulled from the rock pool at her feet, and I pulled on my hat and my clothes and walked up the hill and saw that pelican, still cruising back and forth along the rocky coastline below me.

Creatures of Kiama Part 2

By Vita Forest

More creatures seen on our recent holiday in Kiama and its surrounds…

  • On Blowhole Point… my mother delighted in sighting two willy wagtails, black tails swinging sideways as they called to each other and hopped about on the grass.  A bird she remembers seeing a lot as a child in Sydney but hasn’t seen locally for years.
  • On a few of our walks, we saw long-legged herons with blue-grey feathers picking through the wet grass, or rising heavily into the air.
  • Climbing up the hill towards Minnamurra… Lucy stooped to watch an orange ladybird exploring a blade of grass. We had just come from a lookout and read about the whales that migrate past that point, not right now though, we were either too early or too late.  From thinking about the blue whale – the largest animal in the world, to a tiny ladybird.
  • As we neared Gerringong on the Kiama Coast track… we came upon a field of black and white cows – Friesians, straight off the picture on the milk bottle. We were in dairy country after all, the lush green hills ridged with meandering bovine tracks beneath the long grass.
  • Driving up to Saddleback Mountain… we saw honey-coloured horses leaning over white timber fences, manes shaking as a woman walked toward them, hand outstretched. And later as we returned, we wondered if they admired that view all the way to Wollongong, or liked the cooling wind straight off the ocean.
  • And on that same trip… before we got to the top of that long ascending road that followed the spine of the hill, we had to pull over, stop the car, open the door and ‘encourage’ a large green stick insect (or was it a cricket?) to join the wide green world outside again. It leapt out the window, flinging itself back toward the grass with whirring wings, much to the relief of the rest of us.
  • At the summit of Saddleback Mountain… after parking the car, we walked through fluttering butterflies and hovering dragonflies, straight out of a scene from a Studio Ghibli film.
  • On the second last day, my sister Molly and I were walking back from Blowhole Point, around the headland toward the Surf Beach… when all of a sudden, a girl in the group just ahead of us pointed towards the water, “Dolphins!” and there they were. Three of them, black-bodies arcing out of the water then diving back again.  We stood and exclaimed as they reappeared again and again, chasing a school of fish.
  • And on the last day, taking one of our last swims in the Continental pool by the harbour… we swam out from the bay in the direction of the sea, and as we watched, a crab reared up above our heads and scuttled sideways along the edge of the pool, silhouetted against the blue water behind. Lucy lurched forward and it disappeared again, down over the side of the seawall, under the waves that the sea sent over the edge of the pool to splash us.
  • And heading toward our very last swim in the rock pool on Blowhole Point, we walked around the harbour and stopped near the boat ramp… and saw the most enormous blue and black spotted stingray with a long tail and huge eyes, dredging the shallow water for discarded fish with a pelican keeping it company. We had missed the stingray show (a new development since last we visited) but it seems the stingrays know the place to be for tasty treats in the harbour.
  • Arriving home later that day… we found two little cats very pleased to see us again.IMG_3053

Creatures of Kiama Part 1

Cormorant at Bombo Headland

By Vita Forest

Just letting you know – this is Part 1…

  • On top of a tall lamp post on Blowhole Point… on each of its three lights, sprawled three birds; two black cormorants chilling in the sun, and one pelican, asleep, tail up in the air, head down. How it stayed up there, I do not know.
  • On the Kiama Coast walk from Kiama to Gerringong… we heard again the scrabbling chatter of fairy wrens hidden in the dense scrub pressed into the hillside by the wind. And later behind Bombo Beach… a male in his iridescent blue finery danced around the bare feet of a man sitting on a bench and staring out to sea.

Kiama Coast Walk between Loves Bay and Gerringong

  • At lunchtime, between past Loves Bay and before Gerringong, when you can see no houses or roads and you truly feel you are away from it all, where we sat on the track, looking down on the waves smashing on the rock platforms and the shivering grass on the hills, there, at the most isolated point, who should appear over the crest of the hill, but two walkers and their dog, their friendly dog who saw our lunch and bounded down the grassy track, while we scrambled for lids and bags and clutched our food away from its eager jaws. (And not long after this, our peace was disturbed again, by the peal of a bell, not a bird but a mountain bike that we turned and saw negotiating its way down the grassy slope toward us while we grabbed our possessions again to make room for it to pass, Lucy snatching up her iPhone that lay right in its way, on this track, in the middle of nowhere, or perhaps not after all.  After that we finished our meal in peace).

Kiama Coast walk

  • At Minnamurra Rainforest… the scratch of claws amongst the ferns and dry sticks alerted us to the presence of a lyre bird. Then another crashed under the walkway where we stood and into the greenery beyond, trailing its curling brown tail flowers, like the fern fronds it was pushing through.  And we heard it trill and chatter and screech.  Max played a ring tone on his phone (he’s seen this done on YouTube, how they’ll copy other sounds) but this one was too caught up in its own crazy song to worry about sounding like a doorbell.

Cicada in the rainforest

  • And higher up in the rainforest… where we climbed to see the waterfall, we walked through a force field, a pulsing deafening din that you could feel in your bones – cicadas. We noticed some on the track – black bodies and beady red eyes.  But it was the ones that we couldn’t see, hidden in the trees that shook the air.
  • After lunching at The Boneyard, a delightful rocky bay just around the corner from Bombo Headland, while surfers straddled boards out on the break and snorkelers floated in the clear water closer in, we pulled on our backpacks and our hats and retraced our steps around the bay on our way to Cathedral Rocks and beyond to Minnamurra. On the path a shriek from Lucy, and I turned to see a small snake wriggling through the soft grass where I had just stepped.  It seemed little and harmless…

There be a snake somewhere about… The Boneyard


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


  • 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.

This week

By Vita Forest

This week I have been


  • The Novel Habits of Happiness By Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Travelling Cat Chronicles By Hiro Arikawa

WRITING Power Play

WATCHING Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (wow!)

DODGING the raindrops on a quick walk at Kiama where we are

HOLIDAYING at the beach and

LOOKING forward to better weather ahead

This week

By Vita Forest

Fig tree on the way to Bush Bank Steam Mill, Kiama

This week I have been


  • reports!
  • and Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (nearly finished)



  • Vivid in Sydney
  • Gerroa with Sui-Sui and Alessandro and


Bombo headland

  • Bombo Headland
  • Kiama

Dry stone walls, Kiama

  • Gerringong (for a mighty fine burger – thanks Betty and Bob for the tip!)
  • Minnamurra Rainforest and

Suspension bridge at Minnamurra Rainforest

    DISCOVERING a new place in Kiama (my children were most surprised such a place exists)  – the ruin of the Bush Bank Steam Mill

    Bush Bank Steam Mill ruin

    SEEING lots of wildlife including

    • two lots of whales off the coast!  (From Gerringong and Bombo)
    • Fairy wrens at Bombo

    Jenny wren at Bombo Beach

    • Lyrebirds at Minnamurra Rainforest
    • Cows at Kiama (maybe not so wild)

    Cows with a view, Kiama

    • Wattlebirds, lorrikeets, king parrots, rosellas and more

    EATING lots of delicious cooking at the holiday home in Gerroa

    RELAXING after some very busy times at school