We drove up from Kiama which is a scenic drive. It is a lot cooler up there so make sure you take a sweater to pop on. We had signed up to do the zip lining which included a ticket to do the Treetop walk.
At the entrance there is a cafe and lockers. Make sure you have your camera or phone on a strap you are allowed no loose items on the zip line. They do sell covers with a string for phones at the ticket office.
You go into a hut for a safety brief and to have all your equipment fitted. I am really afraid of heights and I have been working on this. The safety talk really helped calm my nerves…plus seeing 6 year old children in the group helped me think I could do this.
You walk to the start of the course which is on the side of the valley. The course consists of 3 zip lines and 2 suspension bridges. The bridges were my biggest challenge as I had to look down to get across. There is someone at each station to help you set off and someone to help you land safely from the zip line.
The course goes across he valley and you are at one point around 35 meters high. The views are great and flying over the trees is a lot of fun. The zip lines are clamped on to the tree to prevent damaging it. They also have people out to make sure nothing is damaging the forest. It goes across the valley because they didn’t want to move any trees for the course.
After the zip-lining we did the Treetop walk which has the most amazing views. If you are brave enough you can walk up the tower and to the end of the suspension walk which does move around in the wind.
Unfortunately we didn’t have anything for our camera to be attached to us so we have no photos….just one of the trees on the drive up!
Summer is starting to appear which means… camping season is here!!!
We have already dusted off the tent and went away the long weekend at the end of September.
Having left it last minute we really struggled to find a campsite…FYI long weekends in Australia book up so fast don’t do what we did. Luckily our friends who are also tent warriors went camping to Kiama and let us know about a site they stayed on and it so happened to have a few spots left on the long weekend.
The campsite Killalea is in a national park which is home to two Surf reserves. It’s only a hour and a half drive out of Sydney. Perfect for a weekend escape out of the city. There is a locked gate if you arrive late at night and your access code is in the confirmation email ( we did not figure this out and tailgated someone in) don’t tail gate as you can get a fine. The sites are all marked out with logs and have a fire burner on each site. The reception sells fire wood. There is also a kitchen and a bathroom block. We didn’t use the kitchen apart from the kettle and the sinks to wash up. But the grills were always busy so must be in good working conditions.
You can walk to both beaches. We walked to Mystic beach and then drove down to “The Farm” beach. The beaches are beautiful long stretches and obviously the sea is full of waves and surfers. It is not a swimming beach but its great to go and lay out and watch the surfers. You are provided a map and there are also signs to the footpath for the beach. You are a 10 minute drive into Kiama which is the nearest town.
Kiama is well known for the blow hole (also Kiama is aboriginal for blow hole). It is a small coastal town very pretty and has old style shops. There are lots of places to eat. We ate at the Hungry Monkey for breakfast – great food and great service. Ritzy Gritz for dinner – the food was okay nothing special but we did have good service. Thai @ Kiama – we had our last dinner there which was really good Thai and good service. You just need to book on a weekend in this town. We didn’t on the first night and struggled to get in anywhere.
We spent the day on the beach at the campsite on one of the days. Sunday we explored the area. We walked over to Cathedral Rocks which are a jagged rock formation on the coast. There were lots of fisherman on the rocks so watch out for there catch of fish in the rock pools. To get to the rocks we walked through Boneyard Beach. We tried Bombo Beach but again it was rough seas for surfing not made for a dip. We decided to head back to Boneyard beach as the water was calm and we could lay on the grass. Added bonus there were loads of dogs around. MK was brave enough for a dip and did a but of snorkeling. He said there were a few fish but it was to cold to stay in there for to long. The shops in Kiama are full of vintage treasures, home made food, English treats (yes there is a English shop), candles, dream catchers and many more well being hippie type of shops….which we love!
We will be back down in Kiama in November with the surf board and hopefully warmer water 🙂
A couple of weeks ago now I packed up the car and hit the road last minuet for a camping trip with a friend. We did not want to travel far but needed a break from the city.
I asked one of my camping pro friends and she suggested Coledale Camp Site so we decided to check it out.
I keep all my camping stuff in a big plastic box and clean it after every use…this was extremely handy this weekend. We set off Saturday morning and I threw the plastic box, table and tent into the car.
The drive was easy and scenic. We merged onto the coastal road and winded through lots of small coastal towns until we hit Coledale. The campsite is right on the beach and has all the basic facilities you would need. The campsite is close to the RSL and the town making it a short walk for a drink or dinner.
It was extremely windy when we arrived. We set the tent up battling the wind and then headed into the town for lunch. Most of the cafes stop serving at 2PM but we did eventually find one in Thirroul called Revive 2515. The cafe does sandwiches cakes and wraps. We grabbed a sandwich and got a cake to go. There is also a Coles in Thirroul were we grabbed some last minuet things.
The rest of the night consisted of making dinner a walk on the beach and a fair bit of wine! On the Sunday we ha d a quick breakfast at Earth Walker which very tasty. Then back in the car with a pit stop we planned. We stopped in Helenburgh to see the abandoned train tunnels.
There are three tunnels in total. I would recommend wearing good shoes as it is extremely muddy. The tunnels are super creepy but make for good photos they look like they have come right out of a American horror movie.
Any of these towns around Coledale are ideal for a weekend escape with your tent. From the inner west it took us just over a hour to get there it was short and pretty drive. It was cold but we had enough blankets to keep us warm and a hot shower in the morning to warm us up.
My last blog was about our time spent in South West Rocks…I thought I might try a few additional post about how we did it on a budget. Also decided to refer to my boyfriend as MC because boyfriend was getting used far to often.
We were both on budgets for the camping equipment as we do not know if we will use it that often and we have a trip home coming up as well as skiing to book. We bought everything from Kmart and I can not fault it. Below is a list of everything we used.
The only thing we needed which we didn’t have was a proper cool box. The sun did come out and a lot of our food went off before we could use it.
Equipment we bought for the trip
Tent – $109We bought a 4 person tent which was a pop up. So easy to put up and down. It was also high enough for you to stand in. I did love our side windows as well, it was nice to see the sea in the morning.
Foam Mats – $10These are used outside the tent so you can take your shoes off and not drag dirt or sand inside.
Portable Gas Stove – $20We made diner and two breakfasts on the stove, it was brilliant easy to use.
Fleece Blanket – $18 This blanket really kept us warm at night and it made the tent look so homely having it at the foot of the bed during the day.
Gas for the Stove – $4For three cans, we used two over the weekend.
Egg Carrier – $4We only had a few casualties on the way up.
Pot Pan – $10
Frying Pan – $20
Air Bed – $29We got the biggest one which didn’t fill up the tent but gave us plenty of room and stayed inflated for a long time.
Pump – $6 Key for the bed.
Plastic Box – $25 I have stored nearly everything in this box and it made it easier to transfer everything up to the campsite.
Pillow – $8It is shaped like a log and this may have been purchased for a cute factor.
Lantern – $30MC bought this from Aldi. Very handy little purchase that had two small flash lights fold out of the lantern.
Pocket Knife – $10Also bought from Aldi.
Table – $19 Well you don’t want to eat and cook on your knees.
Other things we already had /took from home
2 camping chairs
Small cool box with two ice packs
Bottles of Water
***Also download CamperMate app onto your phone it shows you all the campsites around Australia and breaks them down into price ranges.Lots of not so well known free sites on the app. ***
As my boyfriend is working away we decided to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid flying with the high prices. We decided on South West Rocks. It is about five hours north of Sydney and a hour and a half south of Coffs. We had our new camping gear to test out as well. We bought everything for camping from Kmart . Everything we bought was brilliant everything worked well I would recommend it to anyone getting into camping.
We stayed at Trial Bay Gaol Campsite which has a over flow part. It was one of very few campsites which did not have a weeks minimum stay. My boyfriend got there first and set up the tent as I traveled up with the rest of the gear and food. Worked out very well as the tent was all set up when I arrived. Our spot was surround by high rocks and the sea just at the other side of it. As soon as the air bed was up and the table and chairs set up we had a walk around the campsite. The bathroom was just behind us but we had a short walk to the showers with hot water. We did a quick trip to IGA and then returned o start to cook diner. We had a small gas stove (Kmart) to cook our tea on and we made chicken and pesto pasta. I didn’t do the cooking I was more the assistance passing things to him and getting a beer. After food he went up on to the rocks and had a look I stayed down on the ground cos I get bad jelly legs with heights. It was a early night for us after a bottle of red because we had a day of diving ahead.
I had been recommended South West Rocks by a friend because it is suppose to be one of the best diving spots in New South Wales. We booked our diving with ‘South West Rocks Diving Centre‘. It would be my first dive after my Open Water course and it would be my boyfriends 16th/17th dive but he hadn’t dived for a few years. We arrived at the shop at 10:30AM filled in the paper work and got our equipment sorted. We grabbed a coffee and met the dive crew at the jetty. We met the people on our trip and we got on the boat. Two very friendly dolphins appeared next to the boat. I don’t think I have ever seen a dolphin in the wild so close!
The boat ride was 40 mins out to Fish Rock. We left the river and hit the ocean then the water became very rough. The boat ride was a lot of fun, had to hang on a bit when we hit the waves. Once we had anchored at Fish Rock we got split into groups of five. The first dive was down to the gutter where the Nurse Sharks lived. The dive brief was given then we got our equipment on and I did my first boat dive. We descended down the mooring and swam over to the gutter. We stayed on the edge of the gutter holding on to rocks so the current didn’t drag us. There was three grey nurse sharks swimming around along with school of fish. When we were swimming back to the mooring we swam over a massive Wobbegong shark. We ascended to the surface doing our safety stops and then had our break on the boat. I got extremely sea sick on the boat when had our break. Luckily someone had sea sick pills on the boat and let me have one which helped a lot.
After our break it was time to do the cave dive, which I was nervous about. We had our dive brief where we found out there was a ridge of reef we would have to drag ourselves up and over and pull ourselves down due to strong currents. We could only go in a small way into the cave because the swell at the other side was to big. Once we had our equipment back on with our flash lights we were going down again. This dive was very intense gripping on to the reef so you were not sucked up to the surface. The ridge was tough everyone was flying into each other and hanging on trying to avoid sea urchins. I made it to the cave and the current dropped a little it was pitch black inside. Flash lights where on. In the cave I saw bright pink fish, eels and more Wobbegong sharks. After the cave was done it was back to hanging on the reef and battling the current over the ridge. When we were back on the boat I got a fist pump from our dive instructor as he knew that was only my second dive. My boyfriend even said to me that was one of the toughest dives he has ever done….so I was pretty chuffed with myself.
That night we met up with the people from our dive trip the Sea Breeze. It was the only pub open in South West Rocks over Easter. Its a lovely pub with a nice area to sit outside and have dinner. The only down side was the line for food was a hour then we had a hour wait on top of that. Safe to say we were ready for dinner when it arrived.
Easter Sunday we went to Smokey Cape Light House after a lovely breakfast at The Heritage Cafe. The views from up there are beautiful. We walked up to the light house and could see Fish Rock from the top. After the light house we headed to check out the Prison ruins Trial Bay Gaol prison near our campsite. The prisons ruins were interesting and they had kangaroos in the grounds. The beach on the campsite was were we spent the afternoon dozing and going for a paddle. We drove into the town to catch the last bit of sun walking around the beaches and had a cheeky drink in the Sea Breeze.
We decided to not cook that night and headed to the local Indian ‘The Royal Tandoori Indian‘. The food was good but the service was very slow and painful to say there was only us and another couple in there. If your looking for a quick tea I wouldn’t recommend this place. That night we spent drinking wine and talking outside the tent listening to the sea.
On the last morning we had breakfast guests. Our friends where driving back from Byron Bay and they called in for breakfast. My boyfriend made a amazing breakfast with our very little bit of food we had left. The tent came down and we packed up our cars. Before heading off back to Coffs and Sydney we decided to grab a coffee at ‘The Smokey Cape Guest House‘ which was a lovely little cafe hidden away. We shared a cake and I had a tea and he had a milk shake. Once refueled we said see you later and hit the road.
My five hour drive back to Sydney turned into a seven hour drive back, but made it back in one piece and at a decent hour. I have to admit it has taken until this weekend to clean all the camping equipment and pack it up. Going to do two extra blogs about what we took/should have taken, and what we ate.