Tag Archive: Australia


It has been a very long time since I last wrote so you’ll have to excuse me being a bit rusty with this review style post. I have passed up my long ass, detailed blog posts for something a bit more succinct. Instagram, with all its hashtags, is where it’s at these days! The past 5 years have been extremely turbulent and any and all writing I have done has gone by the wayside.

This weekend I decided to explore my backyard and visit Kiama for a weekend away with a mate of mine. I needed a break. I’ve been working like crazy, (a whole 5 days a week! Life is hard!) uni is starting up again soon and I’ve been playing priestess/therapist/life advisor for every man and his dog. Needless to say, it was time for some “me time”.

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Kiama is a beachside town down the south coast of New South Wales about 2 hours drive or 3 hours by train from Sydney. The train stops smack bang in the middle of town so it’s a lot easier to travel there without a car and see Kiama than a lot of coastal towns in New South Wales which makes it ideal for backpackers and those who don’t drive. Everywhere you go in Kiama you are greeted by friendly people who legitimately appear to not mind tourists. This trip down me and my friend Martin decided to stay in the Bellevue Serviced Apartments. It was decidedly mid-range so far as accommodation pricing goes but the value was great. For the same price as a hotel room we had a 1 bedroom serviced apartment with full kitchen about a 5 minute walk from the main road and 15-20 minutes walk from the nearest beaches either side of the town. For such a beachy town 2 of the 3 local beaches that were within easy walking distance did not seem to be crowded even on weekends. Thursday I had the kilometre stretch of Bombo Beach almost entirely to myself, and Surf Beach on Saturday was hardly more populated on Saturday than when I visited Friday. I was a bit concerned/annoyed about the fact that I don’t know the local beaches and wasn’t sure if I could tan topless, but no one said a thing to me when I did despite me being the only topless woman (but by no means the topless person with the largest boobs) on the beach so I’m going to assume as long as you are there minding your own business you should be right.

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The local restaurants and pubs provide some local flavour and the local clientele is just as friendly as the staff. The Grand Hotel is the place to go if you are looking for the local dive bar. My first wine of the day was served in a plastic wine glass that still had smudgeable lipstick marks on the glass, causing me to question if they actually wash their glasses at all. Despite the cringeworthy cleanliness of the place, the bar staff was friendly and my accidental drinking buddies made for some good conversation about the upcoming winter Olympics. Expect a friendly bunch of (mostly) blokes to be drinking alongside you when you visit the Grand. Kiama Inn Hotel is the more upscale pub and the food is good but from experience they aren’t willing to change the channel to a sport that isn’t on and the people who go there aren’t as willing to chat with strangers. Quiet lunch where everyone leaves me alone? Kiama Inn. Quiet drink with some friendly banter? Grand Hotel. Take your pick. My favourite thus far has been Blue Diamond Bar at the Sebel though. BEST. CHEESEBOARD. EVER!!!!!! No joke. Have a look at this amazing cheeseboard below. 3 different cheeses and crackers, red and green grapes, dried apricot, figs, strawberries and mixed nuts and probably something else I’ve forgotten. I couldn’t finish this cheeseboard there was so much on it and that has never before happened to me. Amazing. If you eat cheese, get the the cheese board. Oh yeah, and the staff is pretty awesome as well.

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Aside from the beaches and exploring the rockpools and the local pubs the highlight of our trip this go around was Illawarra Fly Treetop Zipline Adventure. About 30 minutes drive outside of Kiama is this adventure in Knights Hill. The Zipline is $60 online and $75 if you pay on arrival and includes the canopy walk. It’s fairly short at about 1 hour with 2 suspension bridges and 3 ziplines but it is both fun and informative and the groups are small. I personally think it is well worth the money and really enjoyed it. I have a minor fear of heights but was fine so unless you have a fairly intense fear of heights you should be okay. After the zipline you can do the canopy walk which, oddly enough, I found to be scarier than the zipline. Go figure. The canopy walk is only $25 per person and can last from 30-90 minutes so it is well worth paying the extra online to do the zipline as well. Apparently there is a guided walk as well at 11am everyday, but unfortunately our zipline was at 11am so we missed that. Regardless, the views are beautiful, it is an informative and fun day out and worth the trip outside of Kiama.

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Last, but not least, is what Kiama is known for… THE BLOWHOLE! So there are actually 2 blowholes in Kiama. The Big Blowhole is what tends to attract tourists and can shoot water up to 25 metres but the Little Blowhole is a bit more reliable apparently and still cool to watch. When Martin and I went it was a very cloudy, rainy day and we got pissed down on on our way back but it was still a nice walk and a really amazing site regardless!

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All in all, Kiama is a worthy weekend trip, whether you just want to get away to the beach or just need a weekend away when the weather is crap. I took the weekend to disable all my social media and messenger apps and it was an amazingly rejuvenating weekend. So far as weekends away exploring your own backyard goes Kiama is definitely a 4/5 star weekend.

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And for your amusement, I leave you with a final video of me and Martin getting drenched.

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I Didn’t Climb Uluru!

Mum and Dad arrived on Easter Sunday to spend 2 weeks with me here in Australia for my graduation before I head off on my gap year. We spent a pretty cruisy first couple of days visiting my partner’s family, a museum in Sydney, a good friend of ours and Featherdale Wildlife Park where we saw all sorts of Australian animals and even got to pet a wallaby and a kangaroo. The really awesome activity came on Wednesday though. We only found out about a month ago that my Dad would be able to come visit with my Mum so I cancelled our trip to Port Stephens (couldn’t get an extra hotel room) and booked 3 seats to Uluru. Uluru has been a place both my Dad and I have always wanted to visit so I was waiting for him to come to Australia before going myself.

Ivo spilled the beans about Uluru to my Mum (it was supposed to be a surprise for her too) but we all somehow managed to keep it a secret from Dad (only because he’s basically deaf though). Seriously, he didn’t know where we were going until we got to the terminal at the airport about 10 minutes before boarding thanks to extremely lax security in Australian airports. Needless to say it was a very nice surprise for him.

We spent the first half day we had at Ayer’s Rock Resort just chillin’ for the most part. Checked in, checked out the resort, did some grocery shopping, watched an Anangu (the local Aboriginal tribe) dance and music demonstration, went to dinner, etc. Nothing terribly exciting. Our first full day at Uluru we decided to take a shuttle to Uluru and walk the base. A couple things to note before even taking off for this excessively large monolith:

  1. While you are allowed to climb Uluru weather permitting it is EXTREMELY disrespectful to the local culture and religion to climb it. Before white people arrived it was only an activity done by men for religious and initiation purposes. It is an inappropriate thing to do and should not be done no matter how you feel about the local religion. How would you feel if someone came into your church or mosque or temple or general place of worship (or your house for that matter) and started climbing all over the alter or other places of significance or started jumping on your beds and furniture with their dirty shoes on? While I would love to rise to the challenge of climbing Uluru it is disrespectful to the Anangu peoples, it increases erosion on that part of the rock and defecations from people reaching the top (where there is no toilet) is a contributing factor to higher levels of bacterium in the water surrounding the rock which does affect the environment. Basically, DON’T CLIMB THE ROCK!
  2. There seems to be a problem with information in this place. Online and at the resort all the tours are extremely vague and it’s difficult to find specific information on anything. The tours are expensive and I wouldn’t really recommend them unless you enjoy large and slow moving tour groups with lots of cameras or spending a short amount of time at each place. If you are traveling with someone I recommend hiring a car. Book well in advance to get a cheap car. There is a shuttle that goes to Uluru and Kata Tjuta several times a day, but it is extremely expensive. If you are traveling alone the Shuttle Express is the way to go.
  3. Bring a hat, sunscreen, a large water bottle or two and a backpack.
  4. Australian domestic airlines allow you to bring as much liquid as you want on board. Bring enough alcohol to last your stay because it’s expensive and there is limited selection.
  5. Don’t take pictures of the locals. Apparently the Anangu tribe is rather averse to having their picture taken. If you are hell bent on getting a photo, make sure you ask first.

Okay, now we have that out of the way, let’s start with Uluru. Nothing can do this giant hunk of stone justice. At about 350 metres high and nearly 10 km around the base, this thing is gimasinormous (giant, massive and enormous). All the pictures in the world and all the descriptions in the world cannot in anyway prepare you for it. I grew up in the Rockies and I was awestruck by it. The base walk is quite pleasant, with signs regularly posted telling you about the significance of an area, local flora and fauna. Expect to spend about 4 hours walking so pack comfortable walking shoes, plenty of water, a hat and sunscreen. I think it would be pretty awesome if there were some kind of podcast or guidebook explaining things about the culture and the history and stories of certain parts of the rocks, but they don’t have that and there are parts of the rock that are of the utmost importance in their religion so photography isn’t allowed and they aren’t allowed to tell anyone except the uninitiated the stories. I find this greatly irritating, but that’s religion for you. Anyway, there really is no way to describe Uluru in such a way to impress upon you the size and significance of this place and all I can say is it is definitely on my list of top 10 rock formations. If you make it to Australia (or live in Australia) I can only recommend this place for a holiday. It is definitely a place you must see before you die.

Kata Tjuta

If Uluru is the centre and heart of Australia then I don’t even know how to describe Kata Tjuta. Kata Tjuta is another rock formation about 50 km away from Uluru and, in my opinion, even more impressive than Uluru. Uluru was made famous for its semi-symmetrical middle of nowhere jutting out of the landscape. Everyone knows Uluru. Most tourists, myself included, know jack all about the Kata Tjuta rock formation. This is another sacred rock formation to the Anangu people and they do ask that you don’t climb on the domes. There is a great 7.4 km hike called the Valley of the Winds hike and I cannot recommend it enough. If you only had one full day at Ayer’s Rock Resort I would say do one of the short hikes or just go to view Uluru during a sunset or sunrise and spend your day hiking at Kata Tjuta. Once again, no picture or description could ever do this place justice.

The first part of the hike from the carpark has a bit of greenery, but no more than you would see at Uluru, and all you can see to the right are these massive dome shaped rocks, which I think may actually be higher than Uluru. You get to a part of the trail where you could be in Southwestern USA there is that much red dirt and rocks. Unfortunately, if the weather gets to 36 degrees Celsius they shut the rest of the trail after 11am. We continued on to the second lookout and after a fair amount of hiking up and down (this is not a hike for disabled or injured persons) we came around one of the first corners of one of the larger domes and it was like stepping into an oasis. We went from barren dessert like conditions to beautiful little streams, rocky hills and trees everywhere. It was an extremely serene and beautiful area and I would not have minded an opportunity to stay longer. Unfortunately we only had 3 hours in total to do the hike.

We spent another 20 minutes walking uphill amongst this gorge forest before coming up a crest and opening our view onto a green valley that could be viewed between the two massive domes we were walking between. In the background we could see numerous smaller domes as well. You’ll have to take a look at the photos, the link which is below, but even seeing those photos you couldn’t possibly understand just how beautiful this landscape is. Kata Tjuta also makes the top 10 list by the way.

Needless to say, I think this surprise holiday was definitely a success. We had an absolutely amazing time, worked off some of the alcohol we drank and food we ate and experienced some of the most amazing rock formations I will probably ever see in my life.

Pictures can be seen here.

What I am reading now: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (don’t watch the movie, it was crap).