|Distance: 58.2km||Total Distance: 1199.6km|
Today was a day of extreme contrast!
We started the day in Shellharbour by packing up the tent and setting off at 9am. Today was rare as the first 30km was on the fabulous Wollongong cycleway. It’s a real treat to cycle on a purpose built cycleway for so long. From Shellharbour we travelled along the coast with great views of rolling surf, surfers, people strolling and nice houses. We then crossed the bridge and headed towards Port Kembula on the cycle path.
Port Kembula is one of the most industrialised areas in all of Australasia. We have never seen anything like it. Factories, steel works and heavy industry. Chimneys belching smoke and steam, huge flare towers with flames over 5m high, dust, weeds, trucks and trains, an acrid smell, noise and low clouds. It seems surreal to be cycle touring on a great path through all this heavy industry. After Port Kembla we biked on the cycle path next to a very busy road before arriving in Wollongong at the foreshore. It was immaculately groomed with people lunching, kids playing, yachts and the sun came out. We stopped for lunch and soaked in the view.
After lunch we then cycled, still on the cycle path, through the northern beaches of Wollongong. Some were covered in graffiti and dog poo but as we headed further north the suburbs got flasher and flasher. We stopped in Austinmer to go to the supermarket and we must have talked to 6 or 8 people who were interested in our trip. All were posh well-spoken ladies. Houses and cars got flasher and this is obviously a desirable area to live.
Things got a little hilly and the cycle path finished but all drivers were extremely courteous and it was fun cycling. To top off the day, we next cycled over the amazing sea cliff bridge. We couldn’t take a photo that did justice to how amazing it was so we’ve included a stock image. We arrived in Stanwell Park at 2.30pm and settled into the apartment we rented for tonight. We had considerable trouble finding somewhere to stay in this area and it took many phone calls yesterday to find this apartment.
Today has had extreme variety between beautiful surf beaches, posh suburbs, some less salubrious areas, and the extreme heavy industrial area. Most of the day was on the excellent cycle path and the people of Wollongong who initiated, backed, implemented and maintain the cycle path should be applauded.
Highlight of the day: The cycle path through such a variety of landscapes.