The vehicle’s throaty gurgle can heard at the end of the lane. There’s no mistaking the fact that Rob Sciaccittano, a member of the local Tourism Advisory Committee, is going to pick me up at Hindmarsh Park Holiday Cottage in something pretty flash.
And flash it is. Rob is a Ferrari devotee and he’s picking me up in one of his two vintage sports cars decorated on the racy bonnet by the brand’s familiar rearing horse.
It’s bright red of course. “Do they come in any other colours?” he quips.
I have a few problems accessing the incredibly low-slung seat, but that negotiated we’re off on a tour of the Kiama Shire, both to provide me some idea of the lie of the land and, I suspect, to give the Ferrari a work out.
We head along the coast, north through Bombo to Minnamurra, south past Werri Beach to Gerringong and Gerroa, where I’m having lunch the next day at the Blue Swimmer.
It’s certainly a gorgeous stretch of coastline, put into perspective by a rapid drive up Saddleback Mountain, passing a series of gorgeous dry stone walls to a quite spectacular lookout with vistas along the coast in both directions.
Hindmarsh Park Holiday Cottage, where I’m staying for two nights, is perfect — both in terms of location and amenity except for problematic internet.
It backs on the park from which it take its name, and is just a short walk from the main street, and a stroll along the spectacular waterfront to the famous Blowhole and wharf, where fishers gut their catch and feed the pelicans which seems as tame and prolific as all get out.
The park, as I discover the next day, is a popular meeting place and scene for occasional concerts. There are certainly more onerous tasks than sitting on the veranda with a glass of wine and listening to blues and jazz.
The historic two-bedroom cottage —which has been splendidly restored to include just the right mix of old and new — is owned by Kay and Gavin, who also run Kiama Transport and are extremely well versed in the local tourism scene.
It probably dates from the 1830s and is listed on the NSW Heritage register.
Kay and Gavin have prepared a sumptuous banquet of local goodies — cheeses, fruit and crackers, plus a bottle of dry white from up the road —for me to try and I’m rather glad that I’ve skipped a conventional lunch.
There are plenty of excellent dining options in town and I try a couple of them — the just-opened Silica Kiama, with Rob Sciaccittano, and Hanoi on Manning, with Karen Ronning, Kiama Council’s Manager Tourism and Events, and though we can’t quite pin down the time or location someone I’m sure I’ve dealt with wearing my wine-writing hat.
It’s after dark at Silica, so we can’t take advantage of Silica’s beachy outlook but the food is excellent — modern, well presented and based on the freshest local ingredients.
The beef fillet, served with braised leek, road beetroot and English spinach, is excellent.
Hanoi on Manning is tried-and-true Vietnamese tucker and has been serving Kiama residents and visitors for nearly 10 years.
The food is authentic, filling and delicious and the choice bogglingly extensive, both in terms of the number of dishes and their diversity.
The stroll along the waterfront from Hindmarsh Park Holiday Cottage to the wharf is, as already mentioned, quite spectacular, taking in outstanding views of the historic post office as well as the quite exquisite bay.
On Sunday mornings the wharf and boat ramp provide a focal point for Darren O’Connell’s discourse on the much maligned stingray.
The presentation, conducted under the auspices of Darren’s Into the Wild Nature Tours, takes less than half an hour and provides quite a fascinating insight into a wild creature that lives quite happily in the bay.
John Rozentals was a guest of Destination NSW.