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


Ones and Twos and Threes

Minnamurra rainforest

Scenes from the rainforest

By Vita Forest

I have been “off-air” for a little while as I’ve been on holiday then had internet issues at home.  So here is a post hand-written in a notebook last week…

Let me tell you about our lovely holiday Tuesday in Kiama.

Betty, Saskia and I had travelled south for some rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. We had a day of different groupings – ones and twos and threes.

We began the day differently with our own waking times and solitary adventures. I crept out while the sun was low and walked the meandering coastal track along the headland to Blowhole Point. Saskia headed south in sneakers and swimmers and jogged, stretched and swam at Kendalls Beach. Betty relaxed on the balcony looking out over the ocean.

We breakfasted, then Betty and I descended to the Surf Beach and revived in the clear sparkling water – scrubbing clean both mind and body. A dip to remember.

Taking advantage of having a car, Saskia and I were happily chauffeured by Betty to Minnamurra Rainforest, nestled in the mountains beyond Jamberoo. We strolled the boardwalks and crossed the river on suspension bridges, craning our necks to see the light shining through the birds’ nest ferns growing on ancient fig trees, to notice the endless different forms a leaf can take. Rather than the steady crash of waves, here was the quieter tumble of the river over mossy boulders and smooth pebbles. Saskia and I climbed higher to sit tranquil before Minnamurra Falls, Betty returned to wait by the soothing river, put off by the word “steep”.

We ate lunch by the river – last night’s salmon, leafy greens, boiled eggs, BBQ chook, sweet rockmelon and Betty’s famous friands. We talked dreams, betrayals, kids, homes and workplace machinations.

Later we left the cool of the rainforest and headed to the heat of Berry. The car rolled up and down the narrow country roads in the verdant hills. There were cabbage palms and fig trees dotted over the smooth green pastures, remnants of the rainforest that used to stretch all the way to the sea before the cedar hunters came. There were dry stone walls to spot, red-roofed houses and the blinking stares of black and white cows.

After a stroll, a snack and a browse for ‘special things’, we returned to the cooler coast and took another swim in the ocean.

There was lots of conversation and lots of quiet. There was company and solitude, exercise and relaxation, commiseration, confidences and celebration. Betty had to head back to Sydney the next day, Saskia and I were lucky enough to stay on a bit longer.