Friday, December 03, 2010

Birthday roadtrip to Illawarra Fly

After our yumcha session, we started on our comfortable journey to Illawarra Fly in the near-new Camry Sportivo we rented (actually, it was a free upgrade Avis gave me). Along the way, we made a quick stop at the Sea Cliff Bridge, which is part of the Scenic Drive from Sydney.

From there, we drove on past Wollongong and veered towards the Illawarra Escarpment. It was blue skies before turning off. However, after the turn, we saw heavy, grey clouds. Oh no, please do not tell me that my second try to visit the place will be a let down, as well. Just as Xin Wen and I were lamenting about the clouds, one raindrop appeared on the windscreen.... NNNOOOO!!!!!

Thank goodness, all went well. Michael bought my entry ticket for me (it was my birthday present, you see) and then we were off into the bush. We trekked along a clear path with marked trees, soaking in the sounds of nature and gulping in the fresh air.

Xin Wen was keeping an eye out for anything that moves in the bush, especially lizards. She nearly stopped in her tracks when I said there may be snakes slumbering up in the trees. I was thrilled to have arrived at the entrance platform of the Treetop Walk.

The Treetop Walk is a unique attraction, which enables visitors to experience a 1,500 metre walk through beautiful warm temperate rainforest. They claim that they are unique to other rainforest walks because 500 metres of this walk is nestled in the treetop canopy some 20-30 metres above ground level. And this made looking down not funny!

The walkway culminates in Knights Tower, a spiral tower that rises to a breathtaking 45 metres above the forest floor.

We waited at the bottom of the tower for some Indonesian tourists to make their way down. They took a pretty long time and they were a large family, perhaps two families together. Only Michael and I went up to admire the view.

Where was Xin Wen? Enjoying a packet of Smith's chips all the way down there...

There are also the thrills and challenges of two confronting swaying springboard cantilevers suspended 25 metres above the forest floor, which take visitors to the edge of the escarpment. The further out we walked, the more we felt the up-down springboard movement of the cantilevers. Scary but fun...

On our way back out to the Visitor Information Centre, I noticed something in the bush... yes, two kangaroos and a joey!

Okay, you only see one in the photo but there were two others behind this one. This sign welcomed us back to where we started:

We did not buy any food, as we were still stuffed from the yumcha but apparently, Cafe 106 was named after the number of steps needed to climb to ascend Knights Tower. The cafe offers gourmet seasonal menus with both indoor (85 seats) and outdoor (100 seats) dining. They are also licensed, serving Cuttaway Hill Estate Wines and Pigs Fly Ales.

So, if you have time during a beautiful weekend, why not experience walking in air amongst green foliage? Only 1.5 hours from Sydney and 2 hours from Canberra, it makes an enjoyable day trip.

Illawarra Fly
182 Knights Hill Road, Knights Hill, NSW 2577
+61 2 4885 1010 (Tel), +61 2 4885 2366 (Fax)
Open every day 9.00am – 5.00pm (last admission at 4.15pm)

*Thank you, Michael, for some of the photos.

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