Sweltering Down Under, Twists and Turns

Kiddo left Melbourne last Friday arvo. She flew to Sydney with a friend and together, they trained into Wollongong. It turned out however there were twists and turns (all for the better) in their journey towards celebration of a friend’s wedding in Wollongong.

Tress and I drove up to Wollongong on Saturday. We were meant to drop LBJ off with Kristine on Friday night but after taking him for a walk I thought we might like to keep him on Friday night and Tress agreed so we only dropped him off on Sat. And so we didn’t leave Melbourne till about 9.30 in the morning and with only one long stop at Gundagai for car fuel, lunch and toilet break, we got into Wollongong around 5.30/6pm.

We took a walk along the beach after dinner, and then walked through the entire town to shake off the effects of a long 8-9 hour drive. Wollongong was a lot more beautiful and pleasant than I remembered. The foreshore and esplanade areas are beautifully planned, built and maintained and people using there were obviously extracting a lot of utility and fun out of it. We didn’t return to our hotel room until just after 9pm.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel, and then attended church at the St Michael’s Cathedral which was just behind the hotel. We had walked through the beautiful compound the day earlier and the service was very warm – in all sense of the word. After church we packed up and drove towards Shellharbour, which was near where Kiddo was meeting up with her friends for a post wedding brunch. We went to a local fish and chips joint for lunch while waiting for her, which turned out to be a delicious find. Salvatore’s Fish and Chips at Shellharbour, we later found out through Trip Advisor, is renowned. The beer battered fish was crisp and succulent and the chips were non-greasy, crispy and moist.

After lunch we picked Kiddo up, together with Liz her friend and drove towards Sydney. We dropped Liz off at the Sydney airport and then went to Coogee, where we were staying for the night.

Dive Hotel at Coogee Beach is a chic and retro place. On Arden Street directly across the beach, it was perfectly located and after checking in we went straight to the beach and kiddo made to the water for what looked like a fun swim. That night we went to a café on Coogee Bay Road and enjoyed a very delicious Italian meal. Renato’s has very warm, friendly and efficient waiting staff and the Chianti was very good with the food so it was all very nice.

We walked some more after dinner and that night we all had a really good sleep. Breakfast was at the hotel again the next morning after which we took off to the airport again. Kiddo’s flight was 2pm and we had a bit of lunch at the airport food court, which was better than we expected. After kiddo walked through her gate, we took off and Tress and I then took the drive towards Batemans Bay.

We got into Batemans Bay close to 5pm, and immediately got stuck into the Clyde River oysters. We had been to Batehaven’s a couple of years earlier and remembered the very fresh and creamy oysters in this part of the world. By the time we retired to the hotel that night we had 3 dozens of those yummy stuff washed down with a bottle of chilled white and watching the Australian Open tennis. It was a great treat.

The next morning we had breakfast in one of the cafes nearby, then took another walk before driving off again to Lakes Entrance. It was another longish drive but we continued to take our time, stopping wherever we pleased and fancied. We arrived at Lakes Entrance late in the arvo, and after an early dinner we walked on the foreshores, and made our way towards the footbridge and Main Beach, where the famous 90 Mile Beach was, and again marvelled at the beauty of this part of the world. The NSW and northern Victorian coast have been beautiful places for us and for the umpteenth time, I remarked to Tress I couldn’t believe the Brits sent its convicts to this place as a punishment.

The very hot day meant many were at the beach even close to 9pm and as we were walking towards the shops we decided to get an ice cream and the shop saw an endless stream of people getting in and out. We then went back to the hotel, skyped with kiddo, and got ready for the next day when we would be heading home.

Wed saw us drive through a really hot day and the radio presenter was saying everyone’s had enough – we’d had the third consecutive seething hot day of 40+ deg and it was taking its toll. We got home just after 1pm, had lunch at the Straits Kitchen in Mount Waverley, and went back for a bit to cool the house down before picking up LBJ. By that time both Tress and I felt like wilting blobs and we just sat in the lounge with the air conditioning on after that, watching the tennis. I started to feel unwell, Tress started to cough badly and yesterday, I continued to feel unwell so decided not to go in to the office. Tress soldiered on and I simply spent the day seeping cold water and watching telly or reading. Last night as I felt grateful for having the new air conditioning installed in both the lounge and our bedroom, I checked the weather and realised it was cooler for Kiddo in Singapore than it is for us here in Melbourne.

Its funny how we left Malaysia almost 10 years ago only for Kiddo to return to Singapore last year and this year, and now we find ourselves sweating it out in conditions hotter in Melbourne than in Singapore. Life turns up surprises all the time…