Day 14: Sunday 22 October: Gerroa to my destination (Port Kembla) 45.2km

Did a 5 km circuit of Gerroa headland (all uphill of course) trying to find the Kiama coastal walk. Unsuccessful, but found a bike path alongside road to Gerringong. Gerringong a mix of a few remnant old buildings and multi-storey apartment blocks.

But the dead have the best view from their prime location.

IMG_5998Gerringong Cemetery

found the start of the Kiama coastal walk at Kerrie Beach just down the steep hill from gerringong.  Was advised about sandbar and steep grassy track – and it was all that! But the views were stupendous.

The creation of the track deserves congratulations to local government and motivated individuals.  When the land was subdivided in the 1820’s, two farms owned down to the waters edge. After 170 years, and petitions to federal parliament, the land was returned to local government and the coastal track was possible. And people love it. Families, couples, kids, dogs and one bicycle all getting out exercising and enjoying the view. It’s just a mown grass track with informative boards and an occasional well placed seat at the apex of a steep climb.

I learned that this whole region, from the escarpment to the coast was lowland rainforest. The original farms were set up in the 1820’s using mainly convict labour.  Cedar trees were plentiful and became a huge industry till no cedars remained. As convicts finished their sentences, they were able to get 30acres of thick rainforest rent-free for 5 years as long as they cleared the forest. Now there is none. And now the farms are being overtaken by coastal housing estates.

Sarah met me at the end of the trail in Kiama. She came by train with her bike. Such a delight to see her and it was so nice riding together.

Sarah took these photos as I neared end of trail.

We had a delicious lunch in a quaint Kiama street where old timber working family houses had been refitted as colourful shops and restaurants.

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Sarah. Near restaurant in Kiama

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Sarah. Closer to Port Kembla

So sarah and I found mostly quiet tracks and roads and cycleways all the way to Sarah’s house in Port Kembla, the end of my journey!!

some stats for the journey:

left Melbourne end of August and rode 350km via South Gippsland to Sale.

In october, i supported Liz Mitchell and Snowy River Cycling take 110 riders from Bairnsdale to Orbost (6-8 October). As it turned out I did signage and other jobs and not much riding. But I have ridden it 2-3 times before so I didn’t go back and do it again.

I left Orbost 9 October and arrived in Port Kembla (next door to Wollongong) on Sunday 22 October. 14 days. 677km. Including 8,000m vertices climbing!!

I wild camped in forest 3 nights

camped with no facilities: 3 nights

camped with facilities: 3 nights

warmshowers: 2 nights

cabin: 1 night

motel: 1 night

i didn’t carry a stove and ate rice cakes and peanut butter when there was nowhere close to purchase a meal.

And I’m taking the train home!!

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Day 13: Saturday 21 October: Huskisson to Geroa: 62.3km

Packed up bike this morning  with clothes and tent etc feeling all dry, clean and neatly folded!  Muesli in room then down to cafe 7.30 am for latte. The ferry man msg’d me to say ferry leaves husky 1/4 to hour. So I dashed down for the 8.45am but nobody about. Eventually he turned up. He had forgotten to say first ride across river to Myola not till 9.45am. So I had a restful time on the new wooden wharf admiring the boats (big whale watch tour boats) and clear torquise water.

Huskisson Pier looking over the river

The ferry boat took me across the river and upstream a bit then dropped me off on the beach where he was picking up a family. The family donated $20 to my efforts.

This side of the estuary is quiet. Less ostentatious or flashy real estate. Like 50 years ago. Way more relaxed and pleasant. Cycled Myola, Callala Beach, Callala Bay.

amazingly today the road was FLAT!! Was not too much traffic on the narrow road luckily. Was bumpy.

Went past old settlements in south side of shoalhaven river. Around Pyree, and then along Jindy Andy Lane. Lush dairy farms covered the floodplain. Some houses raised up on embankments but I wondered what happens to the rest when the water broaches the levee banks.

had to go into Nowra to cross the Shoalhaven River then promptly turned right and took Bolong Rd along north side of the river.  Stopped at Coolangatta winery because they had restored an original 1822 farm with convict houses etc

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Me and the ferryman, Myola landing 

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Tidal creek near Callala Beach

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Bridge over the Shoalhaven

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1,000 km since leaving Melb 

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Coolangatta winery

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Today’s route  Huskisson to Gerroa

cycled on to Gerroa camp ground.  cabins all fully booked so am back in the tent. Actually the park is 90% crappy old on site vans with equally crappy extensions. Very unloved and dreary.   The fishermans club sent a courtesy bus to take me into town for dinner.  wow the club was doing amazing business.  hundreds of tables .  Kitchen churning out meals. 6 people busy behind bar. Magnificent view to Seven Mile Beach and bay below from its hilltop position.

Bus back to seven mile camp ground. Just across the Crooked River from Gerroa

 

Day 12: Friday 20 October: Milton to Huskisson 53.2km

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130 to Wollongong. Note sharp drop off on edge of Hwy. No room for wobbles. A truck and trailer passing at 100+ kph is very unsettling. 

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Vegetation is changing as I go north. Rainforest gullies. 

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Looking west, north of Milton. Misty rain and the clouds were hanging low on the escarpment. 

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Collingwood beach, just south of Huskisson, Jervis Bay 

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From Showgrounds Milton, to Motel in Huskisson 

It Rained overnight so I had a very wet tent to pack away. Stayed grey and misty all day but no more serious rain.  On the highway for most of the ride and about 60% was fabulous with a very wide smooth shoulder. As I whizzed down a long steep hill out of Milton with a whole car width of new Tarmac to myself, I was thinking “I’m going to have to pay for this”!! And sure enough, I was soon struggling up a steep hill with no shoulder and trucks roaring past. Some places got so narrow and on the crest of hills with no visibility that I got off and pushed the bike so I could get into the ditch when squeezed off the road.

On one stretch of new divided road with two lanes of busy traffic either way, I heard a dog barking and looked to opposite side just in time to see a blue heeler dash across all the traffic towards me.  It was scared and timid but excited to see a person.  I managed to get its collar tag  “Blu” and almost the whole phone number before it twisted out of my hand and took off across the traffic! Cars braked and swerved but he made it across by some miracle.  I msg’d the number although I wasn’t sure of the last three digits. Some time later I got a grateful msg from the owner who was sending a neighbour to lock up his dog  whew!!

Once off the Hwy, along  “the wool Rd” (intrigueing name), firstly it was quiet travelling through forest, then an off road Cycleway to Jervis Bay.  the last section from Vincencia to Huskisson which was a nice stretch of magnificent white beach and no road.  fabulous location for the houses but the houses were mostly horrible.  All the way along this coast the housing developments are relentless.  “Estates” covering the whole countryside. Terrifying to think about the population growth and where it is heading.

The huskisson caravan parks where really “holiday parks” where a tent site for one costs $50 and a cabin $200!! And they are fully booked!! As rain was threatening, I looked on booking.com and found a central motel for $130.  Luxury.  TV, shower. Washed and dried all clothes. Spread tent and sleeping bag to dry. Made a cup of tea. And a BED! Dashed down to quaint IMG_5978

Picture theatre as had seen notice for the movie “Mountain “.  Was surprised so many teenagers lined up to go in. The ticket lady expressed surprise that I was going into this movie.  Mountain?  No, that was last week!! So I was the only adult with the 8 or so kids.  Movie “Everything “. 5/10.

 

Day 11: Thursday 19oct 2017. East Lynne bush camp to Milton Showgrounds. 47km

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Old Princes Hwy near East Lynne

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Road climbed high onto ridge. Great views

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Countdown to Wollongong 

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Pretty useless map. Old hwy to Termeil then A1 to uludulla, mollymmok, Milton 

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Ulladulla harbour 

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Milton Showgrounds- talk of rain 

Day 10: Wednesday 18 October 2017. Moruya to East Lynne (north of Batemans Bay. 54.7km

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Less than 200km to Wollongong 

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  • Had an excellent start to the day (not so with WordPress, which won’t let me stop underlying every word!! Grrr) (fixed it!!) up early and onto a bike/walking track just behind the waters edge which took me all the way to Broulee (a sleepy little settlement. Commuters to Moruya, holiday homes and retirees I guess.). Anyway I asked some walkers about coffee and breakfast and they said the only place was just up the road. I could see the service station and wasn’t that excited expecting horrible coffee with plastic milk and maybe a toasted sandwich at best. However, tucked in beside the service station was the cutest cafe (see photo) with excellent coffee and breakfast.

  • Managed to stay on quiet roads till Batemans Bay. Amazing how much housing development there is. Unless it is a national park, it is being turned into housing. Beautiful coast, but too crowded.

  • After Batemans Bay I was back on the highway sometimes a decent shoulder, sometimes squeezed against side of bridge with trucks, buses and speeding cars. Horrible. So I turned off onto dirt Rd near East Lynne roadhouse and camped beside a creek. Too murky to wash in unfortunately.

Day 9: Tuesday 17 October. Dalmeny to North Head Moruya 45.7km

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Dalmeny to north head Moruya

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Wollongong on the sign for first time

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Front of Warmshowers’s house. Alan & Marie

Alan and Marie were a delightful couple and it is always a sad realisation that you will most likely never see them again. They were driving to Batemans Bay today (actually offered me a lift which I declined) but I did agree to their suggestion that they carry my panniers to Moruya.

Strong blustery head wind all day.

It’s nice riding a lighter bike. More nimble and easier up the hills. Credit card camping would be so much easier – just pay for accommodation and leave the camping gear at home!

from Dalmeny there was a bike track to the highway. The highway was awful. Heavy trucks, constant cars, mostly a present but narrow shoulder so constant buffeting from traffic and anxious bridge crossings praying for no traffic as no shoulder at all.

Highway to Moruya, collected panniers from camp park and gratefully turned off onto north Moruya road which is infinitely quieter. Camped at north head basic council camp ground. Loo but no shower. Roar of ocean.

Day 7: Gillards Rd (Tathra) to Wallaga Lakes. Sunday 15 October 2017

Wild camp in forest where I imagined some Ivan Milan character stomping past my tent in great heavy boots in the middle of the night.  Really? Quite ridiculous.

Fish n chips in Bermagui

Seem to have forgotten this leg of the journey!