Valentine’s Day gets a lot of criticism. Some people go over the top and feel the need to spend money to prove they love someone. Other people get rather bitter and despise Valentine’s Day as it makes them feel lonely. Like most holidays, Valentine’s Day is great if you’re happy. This year, I had the most wonderful day with Mark, well, because we’re happy. We woke up to a beautiful sunny day, Mark cooked me plumb crêpes with ice-cream and a fresh-brewed chai on a table decorated with roses he had given me the night before. I never know Mark could make crêpes, and now that he’s proven himself, I’m hoping they will be more frequent!
After a leisurely breakfast we got our walking gear on and drove north into the beautiful day. I opened the sunroof, put on some music and we headed along the Grand Pacific Drive from Wollongong to Otford. As we drove the views we spectacular. I never realised how beautiful the landscape is near Coalcliff and Bald Hill. I will definitely be visiting these vistas again soon. I was a little dubious about finding the Coast Walk at Otford, but it was signed posted clearly as I was gazing out at the views as I drove.
We eventually tore ourselves away from the view at the entrance before being captivated by even more stunning views as we walked only a few steps into the track. This is a seriously beautiful part of the world, and lucky for us, we live half an hour from it.
The Coast Walk goes all the way from Otford to Bundeena. It’s about 26km and a suggested 2 day hike. Mark and I decided to walk until we were half-tired, turn around and walk back. We met a lovely British couple who had done the walk several times (their daughter lives in Thirroul). They said they had entered the walk from each end to try and see the most of it. Their enthusiasm made me want to do the whole thing, but that might be an adventure for another day.
As we walked the landscaped constantly changed. One minute we were looking out over cliffs at the ocean and the next we were deep in a eucalypt forest. The ground started to get sandy, then huge rocks would appear. After about an hours walk we found ourselves in a palm grove.
In the palm grove, Mark was camouflaged. His brown shirt blending into the brown leaves. By this point we had been walking steadily for an hour and a half, but I wanted to get through the palms to see what was on the other side. The British couple told us there was a settlement in there, where people lived and could only get to the outside world via the track. To live in their you had to get the property passed down to you, I would like to find out I am related to someone in there.
We got to the edge of the palm grove, but found no settlement, so shared a muesli bar and turned around. I didn’t realise just how much we had walked down hill, so the road home was rather tiring, with the odd leech trying to get a feed at our ankles. We walked for just over 3 hours and estimate we did about 10km. Despite the exhaustion and the leeches (maybe partly because of them) we had the most wonderful Valentine’s day I could imagine. Mark and I have made a deal to go bushwalking at least once a month, and I think that a little further on this track will be for the month of March. That night I gave Mark his surprise Valentine’s Day present: an evening at the IPAC watching the excellent comedy band Tripod. I have liked Tripod for along long time, but their latest show, “Men of Substance”, was particularly awesome. I had an amazing Valentine’s day, but going somewhere beautiful with someone you love any day of the year will always make for a lovely experience.