Day 3: Shellharbour, Illawarra and South Coast, NSW

Rain overnight cooled the air temperature so we weren’t chased from our bed by the heat in the tent. Another lazy start to the day before we headed north to experience the Sea Cliff Bridge north of Woollongong. We took the motorway part way and then crossed over to the Grand Parade Road which wound along the coastline hugging little bays offering picnic spots close the water. We drove over the bridge, parked and then walked across on the pedestrian track on the ocean side of the bridge. Fantastic views.

At either end of the bridge were two signs. One asked that you attach no padlocks to the bridge, something I’d never heard of. Apparently people have padlocks engraved with their names and then padlock them to bridges as a token of commitment. Strange but interesting. Two padlocks were attached to the bridge while many others were locked onto the rock walls over the ocean edge of the walkway. The second sign was erected by Lifeline telling of the hope to be found in talking to someone about whatever it was that had caused so much angst that had brought a prospective jumper to the bridge. No doubt the sign has saved many lives although there was one cross on the bridge along with three bunches of flowers: sad.

It was the perfect day for our trip and we couldn’t help doing heaps of ‘selfless’ on the bridge. Such an opportunity and we wouldn’t be coming this way again any time soon. Construction started on the bridge in 2005 when the escarpment gave way and fell onto the only road providing access along the coast way. At a cost of $49M it took just 18 months to complete employing 100 people in the construction process.

Afterwards we headed further north again through Scarborough to Stanwell Bay (?) for a picnic lunch. During lunch this beautiful beetle landed on Basil’s ear and when flicked off seemed reluctant to leave resisting our efforts to put it in the grass, it kept crawling bcd onto the quilt. Our lunch eaten, the beetle having finally flown away we plumped the pillows and stretched out for a read before heading down to the beach for a walk. The bridge was a spectacular sight from the shoreline but I missed the photo opportunity because I was so distracted by a lounge suite set up on a ledge outside someone’s home. It would have been the most magnificent spot for drinks.

If it weren’t for the lagoon in front of the stairway up to the suite Basil would have been hard pressed to keep me away from enjoying what would have been a panoramic view over the bay. Do you think they get a new lounge suite every year or so when the old one rots from being exposed to all weathers and the sea spray?

When we returned to the campground a whole new set of camper vans, trailer tents and caravans had set up around us. It’s interesting to see the different rigs that people have chosen and to chat with them a bout why that choice. Another lovely night listening to the sea. No breeze tonight and so still and calm. It’ll be hard leaving here tomorrow as it’s been a great location to quickly unwind, settle into holiday mojo and get right into the swing of being on an adventure, experiencing new sights and meeting people with travel stories of their own.

Tea tonight: Thai and coriander sausages, Alu Sabji and broccoli.

Tomorrow – Canberra and Floriade. After nearly a ten year wait it is exciting to think it’s only days away now. All those TV shows and episodes of Better Homes and Gardens where I’ve enjoyed the exhibition from the comfort of my armchair, to actually be going is thrilling. Hope Basil doesn’t get bored …

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