Tag Archive: Day Trip

Wollongong. Meaning “Sound of the Seas”. I had to check how that’s spelled! Just 80 kilometers from Sydney is this city by the sea that is the gateway to the South Coast. Its harbour houses two lighthouses. I would have been happy with one but this coastal city has two!






Sun’s out. Our little boy is restless. And the picnic basket is full of chips, drinks, fruits, biscuits and other snack items. It wasn’t a long drive, but this growing boy with us immediately got busy munching the time away. By the time we got here, there was just enough bread for the birds. There were so many of them but this pack is quite disciplined, used to waiting to be fed rather than snatching food from our fingers. They settled for what we threw their way or what were blown off our picnic table.






While the sun shines brightly, there was no letup as winds messed up our hair and blew away some chips off the table. The birds swooped down and low for a taste of those chips. Not one chip left scattered on the ground. Our boy took charge of feeding the birds till the bread ran out. Funny how his shrieks sounded almost like the birds’.






The long coast of Australia must be dotted with these picture-perfect all-white towers. Same Same but different. Of the 2 lighthouses here in Wollongong, the newer one is located in what is called Flagstaff Point guarded by cannons. The older but more charming one is located in the breakwater seemingly guarding the lovely harbour. Built in 1871 but lovingly restored in 2002. As it was badly deteriorated before restoration work started in 2000, The newer Wollongong Head Lighthouse on Flagstaff Point took over as the major light in 1937.






I only wish the lighthouses didn’t have to be all white all the time. Is there an international law on how lighthouses should be painted? I was thinking mint green or baby pink. 🙂 Kidding aside, it’s lovely out here. I was quite content just taking a stroll and watching some surfers enjoying the swells. There was no time to visit the Nan Tien Temple which I hear is the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Perhaps I’d check it out next time i visit riding on my new Harley Davidson, ready to cruise the Grand Pacific Drive. Ahem. Pipe dreams. 😉





If you’re seeking some quiet time in prayer, this Benedictine Abbey in Jamberoo may be the perfect place for you. We reached the place after visiting nearby Kiama but not without losing confidence we were driving in the right direction. A couple of calls to the Abbey and we found ourselves finally back on track after initially turning back. And so on to 695 Jamberoo Mountain Road.




Australia has mild winters and a walk along this tree-lined road can be quite an experience.


Last photo of my pair of shoes that has seen better days. I’m happy the pair’s last photo was this shot taken at the Abbey.



The way to the Abbey is almost magical as we drove through a lonely road lined with trees that has seen winter. Well, it IS winter in Australia in July. The scenery reminded us of the vow of silence and prayerful meditation following the rule of Saint Benedict. Quite a chore, given that we arrived with 2 little boys. The small chapel with stained glass windows kept them quiet only for a while. Curiosity got the better of the youngest boy especially once we reached the Guestry where guests are welcomed with the Benedictine hospitality.




The walkway to the Chapel where the Benedictine nuns pray and meditate.


The Altar overlooks a lovely garden.



We were the only ones in the Chapel but photo files allowed us to imagine how the Benedictine Nuns pray and meditate within this lovely chapel overlooking a garden. There were not too many chairs and pews, indicating the nun population is quite limited. The Guestry has 3 tables and the boys easily claimed 2 where they enjoyed their juice and cookies. We were served coffee and tea plus a most inspiring talk with one of the nuns. Her voice was just a couple of notches above a whisper, and we found her demeanor and quiet glee most reassuring. She listed down our names with a promise that they will include us all in prayer.




Photo sourced from the website of Benedictine Abbey in Jamberoo. At the time we visited, we were the only ones inside the Chapel.


So eerily quiet here. But not in a disturbing way. The gentle silence is conducive to prayerful meditation.



As we chatted, the boys loitered around the nearby hall and corridor. I’m sure the youngest boy was tempted to wet himself in the small pond and to blow some of the lighted candles. Thank God he didn’t as we eagerly listened to Sister telling us how retreatants are welcome to rent and stay in some of the few cottages within the complex. A family cottage is available too, and guided retreats can be arranged. Lunch will be served in the Refectory but breakfasts are prepared by retreatants inside the cottages using supplies provided by the nuns.




Photo of the Guestry sourced from the web.


Photo of the Refectory sourced from the Web.



The first word of the Rule of St. Benedict is “LISTEN”.. Sounds simple, but having just done a retreat in a Benedictine Monastery back home, I know it isn’t that simple. “Incline the ear of your heart” requires some serious finetuning of the senses if one were to feel God’s presence. The atmosphere in this Abbey and the solitude should help achieve this prayerful silence during the retreat. To quiet one’s heart can be quite a chore and may not come as naturally to most people. But one’s got to try.


(Thanks Reia, for driving us to this Abbey, plus lotsa more!)


Photo of the Abbey sourced from the Web.


Photo of the Retreat Cottages sourced from the Web.


Abbey Crafts available for sale in the Abbey Crafts Store.

“A place where the sea makes noise.” That’s what the aboriginal word “KIAMA” means. Yet what we found was a quiet, calm, serene little town with a lovely strip of quaint little shops, galleries and cafes with walkways along the coast.







So, where’s all the “noise”? Right beside the over-a-century year old Kiama Lighthouse (1888) is where the sea makes noise. That is if you’re lucky and/or has the patience to wait. My niece has been here before and was pleasantly surprised to have the “blowhole” making a grand show of regular sprays from the crack. It was “lazy” the last visit, she said.





The rainbow lingered after each spray on this sunny day…. the winds pushing the waters to gush out at frequent intervals. The little ones with us enjoyed the show as much as we did. Just as I delighted on my first lighthouse visit just 120 kilometers down south from Sydney.





At the end of a tree-lined walkway is a Rock Pool. I can just imagine summers here. Swimming or walking or biking, this is such a pleasant place to be in. Kiama has some dining options too — not too many nor much variety, but there is a quiet, relaxing vibe in these tiny cafes.





Make sure to come by for a good stroll, a late lunch and perhaps another walk. Enjoy the vibe!