I spent a fabulous Australia Day long weekend camping with ZaraMeow down in Kiama, a tourist township a couple of hours drive south of Sydney. We hadn't planned on anywhere to camp, relying instead on intuition and optimism despite the naysayers who insisted we wouldn't - coudn't - find a paid-patch of camp-turf on a mid-summer's long weekend. Sure enough, as is our style and want, we found a spot to camp at a cliff-top park that was temporarily annexed to the adjacent holiday park for the January holidays.
The Lighthouse in Kiama heads.
This is the famous Kiama blowhole. Basically there's a hole in the rock formation and about every two minutes a large spout of water sprays through the hole that looks conspicuously like a chocolate starfish. It was low tide so the spray was fairly mild, but the sound was tremendous, like an elephant's call!
One of the beaches littered around Kiama. Fresh fresh water. Clean and blue. It's a stunning vista.
Sand, sea, headland. Life's a beach and January for ZaraMeow and I has been the month of Sundays, the month of beaches. I've been diving into sand and sea in some wondrous coastal locales and my brain's been dazed by sun and heat. My skin has browned, sometimes painfully so, but I don't mind at all.
The camping ground. The town of Kiama is supplanted with pine trees. I don't think these trees are native to Australia although some pines such as the Bunya pine (used by Australian luthiers to for acoustic guitar tops) are indigenous. Nevertheless these imported pines add a kind of calm character and an almost 'cool-climate' flavour to the area. Kiama shares an almost identical climate to Sydney although it's marginally cooler, particularly during winter nights.
The sun sets on the beach we overlooked.
Reflection on the part of my car I scraped at a shopping centre parking station, in the big city of course.
Pines in luminescence.
Australia Day. Australian flags flying all over the place showcasing the Union Jack in its top left-hand corner from which this branch of outposted Western civilisation had sprung. In 1788, the year of Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, a bunch of pommie bastards with hobnob titles and their ship of scapegoats crunch into Sydney Harbour where the Union Jack gets firmly jabbed into the sandy, infertile ground. With it they bring their rats, disease, alcohol, and the seeds of "our way of life", of which thereafter the local indigenous populations of Australia and their cultures were to rapidly disintegrate and dissolve, and quite often nastily and violently.
There seemed to be a lot of idiots waving flags and wearing Australian flag swimming costumes, plus a parade of young girls marching with the aussie flags on sticks and painted on their faces, singing to the very out-of-tune Advance Australia Fair, and the words were stumbled and forgotten...but no matter, it's the spirit that counts anyway...
I wondered if people realised what a fucking paradise this is. People take the beach, the water, the freshness for granted perhaps, not everybody, but the majority. Kiama is an upwardly-conservative - albeit it extremely pretty - white-bread tourist town and Australian values such as sporting heroes are highly esteemed there, like being a 'good bloke', a 'good sheila'. Buying your patch of turf. Making money. Having barbecues. Drinking cold ones. It's not a very arty town; any vestiges of artiness & creativity in Kiama seem apparently covert. It reminded me a little of Queensland's Gold Coast (Surfer's Paradise), particularly the shopping centre.
Nonetheless that's all surface stuff. Underneath it all it remains a very special place, like much of Australia. It was special prior to the Aboriginal peoples populating the land, and it certainly was special before the remainder of the world's colours began their pediatric bombardment of this great southern land some 221 years ago, myself included.
That brilliance and wonder, of the air, the sea, the rocks and the sand, that is what I love to breathe into my soul, to cherish forever.
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