Another bit of Princes Highway

After a brief visit to the Wollongong art gallery (complete with an impressive selection of indigenous art), I had to leave the ‘Gong and return my rental car to Sydney. I should note that I <3 that rental Toyota and would happily keep it and continue driving around Australia, were it not for lack of funds to do so and the need to return to Aotearoa and do that employment thing.

I didn’t know where I was headed, I didn’t have a map of Wollongong so I just intuited my way out of the city. I had two requirements: a McDonald’s to get some lunch and a route to Sydney. I found myself approaching an intersection where a sign pointed to Sydney at the left, and there was a McDonald’s at the right. Welcome relief for a weary traveller, indeed.

However, getting to Sydney proved to be another matter. I got on a motorway but missed the Sydney turn-off and ended up in a place called Figtree. I somehow ended up back in the ‘Gong and continued to, er, intuit my way around the streets until 30 minutes later I ended up back on the motorway and this time I got on the right road to Sydney.

On Triple-J, John Saffran came and introduced his song of the week, which was “Keep It In Your Pants” by Young MC. His reason for picking it was why, why, why did Young MC pick a pro-abstinence song as a follow-up single for the hot “Bust A Move”. But I didn’t care because it’s one of my favourite songs ever, so it provided my soundtrack as I toodled along the anonymous roads of Sydney, following the little aeroplane signs as I made my way to the airport.

Car was returned, train taken to my hotel here, and crikey it’s hot. I don’t know what the temperature is here, but it’s like Auckland on a really horrible summer’s day. Just walking down the street causes me to sweat. And here’s something – I brought my iPod along with me, but I’ve not listened to it once because somehow it seems more enjoyable to listen to the call of a galah (Yeah, I’m getting into birds. Shut up.) than some random music. But walking down the street in Sydney is so big city-ish, so noisy and bleak and disruptive that I really feel like listenin to my iPod. I see the white headphone cords here. Oh, I see them.

Also seen was the film “The Interpreter”. It was adequate but I don’t think it took full advantage of being able to film in the United Nations. (One of my favourite films ever (totally up there with “BMX Bandits”) is the Hitchcock film “North By Northwest” which had to sneakily film the UN after being denied permission.)

Tomorrow I will attempt to move about Sydney solely through air-conditioned shops, subways and public transport.


On Tuesday morning I went to this place whose name I can nae remember, but it’s the national film and sound archive [i.e. The National Film and Sound Archive – how hard was that to remember? – Future Robyn]. There were two exhibition halls. One had a history of Australian film/radio/music/television. My personal highlight was Scott and Charlene’s wedding from “Neighbours”. I heard a lady shriek, “I didn’t know Jason had a mullet.” Because back in ’87 it wasn’t a mullet; it was cool haircut. The other exhibition hall had a special 1984 exhibit, to commemorate 20 years of the archive. There’s only one Australian film from 1984 that I care about: “BMX Bandits”. When I was nine it was my favourite film, ever. It doesn’t matter that it was Nicole Kidman’s first film (I didn’t even care about her cos she was a freaky ginge). It had cool kids doing cool BMX tricks around Sydney. Tragically, it appears not to be deemed worthy enough to have been given a DVD release.

Next I acquired a rental car. Hey, you know that thing when you’re driving on the motorway in Auckland and you miss the Nelson Street off-ramp because it’s on the right-hand side and so you end up going all the way over to the North Shore? Well, I did a similar thing in Canberra twice as I was attempting to get back to my hotel. It had been six months since I’d last driven, so I was in this pedestrian frame of mind.

So after having got out of Canberra, I headed over to the coast. It was a really nice duel carriageway which made me weep bitter tears as I thought of the state of State Highway One in Aotearoa. Along the highway there were those kangaroo warning signs. It seems that if a kangaroo came leaping out across the highway and your car hit it you’d both be completely rooted, but at least the complete rooting wouldn’t come as a surprise, thanks to the signs.

The road eventually lead me to the town of Kiama, which is famous for its blowhole. Though it should be noted that it never did the blowhole thing while I was there.

Yesterday I went to a nearby rainforest and walked around it and then did the steep detour walk to see a waterfall. Thankfully the waterfall was all nice and scenic and stuff, so it made the walk worth it. There was also a lyrebird that was walkin’ around like Mike Jagger, scratching the ground and making these noises.

In the afternoon I went for a hoon up the coast and around Jervis Bay. That was also nice and scenic and stuff. I finally managed to tune in Triple-J, so I had that keeping me company. Radio without ads is so good. I might start listening to National Radio when I return to NZ. I accidentally drove to another national park, complete with another $10 entry fee. I wasn’t sure what to do there, so I just drove around a bit. I found a botanic garden, so I went for a walk around there. Um, yeah, there were trees.

This morning I drove to Wollongong. I’m not actually sure where in Wollongong I am or, indeed, what the lovely city of Wollongong offers. There appears to be some sort of teen beauty competition at the nearby mall.

This morning on the news I noticed that on average New Zealand’s main city temperatures were about 10 degrees lower than the temps around here. With that in mind, I shall go outside and get my money’s worth.