Date: 17/6/2023
Trip leader: Vyom Arya
Party: Maritza, Xueying, Hengrui, Verity, Aigerim, Jessica, Yessentay, Rachel, Sara

This was a repeat trip of the one I did on Thursday, since there was high demand for it. Unfortunately however, out of the nineteen people that had originally signed up, only nine actually showed up on the day! Ten people either pulled out last minute or failed to show up. I had heard about this issue from other trip leaders, but to see it in person was quite disheartening, as the trip had been marked full just the day before the trip, and I am sure others would have loved to join if there had been space!

Oh well, 7 of us met at Central Station’s platform 25. The underground platforms 24/25 at Central which are used for T4 and South Coast services are always a bit tricky to find (especially now with all the construction works from Sydney Metro), so meeting half an hour before our train actually departed ended up being justified. A further 2 people joined us at Redfern. Since this was on the weekend, our train made a few more stops compared to my trip on Thursday, so we reached Kiama after a 2.5 hour train trip. Apparently, some people were caught out by this as a surprise, although I thought I had made it clear in the trip description. What made matters worse was there was an issue with the toilet in our train, where the door would not open!

Anyways, after a short bathroom break at Kiama Station (which was actually short this time due to the size of the group), we started towards the coast track. This time I opted to skip the Kiama Surf Beach section and went straight towards the blowhole, as the trip the day before ran short on time. We then walked up to the blowhole, which unfortunately did not work even once the whole time we were there! It seems that both the tide and sea swell was low when we went. That was a shame, but after taking a group photo near the Kiama Lighthouse and appreciating a bit of the coast, we made our way back to Kiama’s town centre for lunch at 1:45, meeting back by 2:30.

Kiama Coast looking south

We then continued our treck towards Bombo Beach, where we walked along to the end. Incredibly, someone lost their hat on the beach and had to go back to get it, which is what happened with someones phone on Thursday’s trip! Luckily, this time they found the hat pretty quickly and were able to catch up with the group. We then continued across Bombo Headland, stopping at Cathedral Rock, and opting to once again stick to the road as opposed to walking along Jones Beach.

Bombo Beach (notorious for losing things)

By skipping the earlier part, and also perhaps because of the smaller group walking faster, we were able to reach Minnamurra Lookout with half an hour to spare. This left plenty of time at the whale watching platform. We had much better luck this time around compared to Thursday, and were able to spot a few pods of whales break the water, albeit still to far for a photograph. But, this ended up making up for the blowhole not working! We then had a break at the grassy area at the lookout as we had time to spare. I was thinking of using my drone to get a group photo, but unfortunately I had forgotten to charge it! Oh well, we ended up taking a group photo anyways with just a regular smartphone camera.

Regular old group photo

By that point, the sun began setting, and some people were beginning to get chilly, so we decided to head towards Minnamurra Station. I completely forgot about a promised toilet break on the way, and only realised when somebody reminded me once we reached the station. With 10 minutes to spare, I quickly led the few people who needed to go to the nearby North Street Reserve where fortunately a new public toilet had just been built (thank you NSW government). This ended up being especially useful as the toilet on board the train was still not working on the way back for some reason!

A gorgeous Minnamurra sunset

Overall, the trip was fun, and I got to experience how it feels with a smaller group (albeit not by choice). I really hope that this many people not showing up is not a regular occurence. I had checked on Friday afternoon expecting twenty people (including myself) to attend, but only ten people ended up going on the hike! So please, if you cannot make it, let me know early on so that other people don’t miss out on the chance to come along.