Waterfall to Corrimal
The day dawned fine and clear. We were up in plenty of time, so once lunches were made I optimistically suggested there was time for a second coffee before heading to the station. However, I underestimated just how long it takes to pack bikes and get moving. Georgia then found that her gears weren't working, so Simon stopped for an emergency check. She had enough gears to get to Eastwood station, but by the time the lift arrived for the second load, we had missed the train. At least this gave Simon time to fix the gears.
On the train
On the train
Changing platforms at Central was a little awkward with fully laden bikes and multiple people wanting to use the lifts. It took three separate lifts to reach platform 25 but we made the Waterfall train with two minutes to spare. Disembarking at Waterfall we checked our odometers: starting distance 3351km.
The ride through the Royal National Park was sensational – lots of downhill along shaded roads with lots of ferns and gum trees. As it was late on a mid-week morning, there wasn’t too much traffic. Jonno loved the run down the hills, travelling at much faster speeds than the rest of us. It was uphill then to Stanwell Tops where we stopped to admire the hang gliders and stunning views down the coast.
Hang gliders at Stanwell Tops
Views to Sea Cliff Bridge
We then tackled some steep climbs where we could really feel the additional weight of the full camping equipment. We stopped for a well-earnt picnic lunch at Coalcliff, at the top of the steepest hill yet, and enjoyed the views back over the sea-cliff bridge.
At day 1 lunch stop
The road levelled out near Thirroul at the Illawarra Coastline Cycleway which meandered beside beaches and lagoons. There were some ominous clouds building which encouraged us to keep moving to our destination at Corrimal Beach Tourist Park.
Hurrying to best the weather
It was a huge park, right on the cycleway. We had a lovely grassy patch to pitch our tents, and that done, headed for showers. Jonno set himself up in the camp kitchen to do some study, whilst I wandered to the nearby shops to pick up some lunch provisions and wine for dinner. It was after 6pm when we headed off to Sarah’s place for dinner, and quite dark. We were well equipped with lights, and it was easy riding back along the cycle path before heading inland to Woonona.
Off to study
We enjoyed a lovely dinner with Sarah, Greg, Seth (Sarah’s Dad) and Crosby and Scarlett (who took a great liking to Georgia, keeping her in handcuffs and leading her around. Despite Sarah cooking extra potatoes, Jonno and Georgia demolished everything in front of them – giving Sarah an insight into just how much teenagers can eat.
The weather closed in over dinner, so we waited for the rain to pass before heading back to camp under a slight drizzle, which turned into a downpour later that evening.
Total distance: 60km including 15km to Sarah’s place for dinner
Jonno and Georgia rating: 9/10
Jonno’s highlight of the trip: cycling though the Royal National Park
Learnings: a fully equipped camp kitchen includes fridge, cook tops and a kettle – not pots and pans or crockery or cutlery.