'Sprinkle my ashes on Saddleback Mountain so I can look upon those views for eternity,' I've always said to my family. Rising 600 metres above sea level and with spectacular vistas to the Lake Illawarra escarpment, Barren Grounds Plateau—as well as Noorinan Mountain, Coolangatta Mountain and Pigeon House Mountain—Saddleback sits high over the townships of Kiama and Gerringong, and looks out across the Tasman Sea.
Kiama is one of my most favourite places, ever. I've been visiting since my mid teens—and for ten years or so my children and I had the pleasure of holidaying there every summer. According to Robert Wilson in Discover Australia, in 1797 the explorer George Bass anchored his boat in a tiny bay and made note of 'the tremendous noise coming from a blowhole' in the rocks near the entrance. That now legendary blowhole (pictured below), together with the Harbour, and successful dairy and blue metal quarry industries established in the 1870s, put Kiama (or Kiaram-a as it was known to the Wodi Wodi Aboriginals) on the map.
Apart from the fact that it's a picturesque town situated by the sea, among the things I love about Kiama are the views to Saddleback Mountain and the delicious mists that roll in from the escarpment, seemingly every evening. There are several beaches, coastal walks, a rainforest, restaurants and cafes, and historic buildings such as the Pilot's Cottage (built in 1880, now a museum), the Kiama lighthouse (built in 1887), and the Terrace Cottages (the only weatherboard terraces in New South Wales, built in 1886 to house quarry workers, now a row of quirky shops and classified by the National Trust). With all this—and the simple indulgence of just sitting on a deck watching the ocean, suffice to say Kiama has plenty to offer.
Canadian-born Carole Johnston, Kiama resident and a food enthusiast colleague of mine says 'In Kiama, every day feels like a holiday. Having moved back to the area where my husband grew up, we found ourselves in for a treat. There's a strong sense of community here, as well as plenty of local food and wine to be enjoyed. Farm gates are starting to pop up in the region and our first weekly farmer's market kicks off next week.'
Another like-minded colleague, Jacqueline Weiley, hosts the award-winning Foodscape Tours, which showcase the best of the region's local produce, artisan foods, local wines—and the passionate personalities behind them. Foodscape events include Winescape Trails and Foodie's Indulgence Tours. Watch this space for news of upcoming tours.
My well travelled food writer friends, Sally and Gordon Hammond from Food & Travel, spent some time in Kiama recently and compiled an informative video about the Food of the Kiama region. You will find that video and a blog post here.
Postcards and a photographic essay...
Peter and I treated ourselves to a three-night stay at the Kiama Harbour Cabins just before Christmas and I'm sharing our postcards here as a photographic essay. For the first day or so, the weather was wild and the sea rougher than I'd ever witnessed, but it was no matter. We put on our walking boots and anoraks, and drank in the fresh, salty air.
With a tiny fish market on the Harbour less than 100 metres away, each day we bought a bounty of fresh local seafood for lunch and dinner. A pelican met us outside the store every morning.
Eventually, the sun appeared from behind the clouds and the warm paths became sun lounges to skinks of all shapes and sizes. Seagulls cautiously dipped their webbed toes into the water, and flowers opened their petals to salute the sun.
The weather was wild and the sea rough...
After the storms, a salute to the sun...
Kiama Harbour Cabins: exceptionally well appointed—and a cracker of a view!
Kiama... I honestly ♥ you!
A quick recipe for barbecued tuna...
To prepare Asian-style tuna steaks for four, combine in a bowl 1/3 cup of fresh orange juice, 1/3 cup low salt soy or Tamari sauce, two tablespoons of chopped parsley, one tablespoon fresh lemon juice and the zest of the lemon, a crushed garlic clove, and a teaspoon of garam masala. Add four tuna steaks and marinate for an hour or so. Chargrill or barbecue for two to three minutes each side, depending on the thickness of the steak. Baste while cooking. Yum!
Tell me dear readers, do you enjoy visiting seaside destinations in your part of the world? Where is your most favourite place? Australian readers, have you ever been to Kiama? Perhaps you live there. Please share your stories, and thank you all for stopping by to comment. I read and appreciate each and every one.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.