Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lee and Me, Treetop Walk and Waterfall

lee and me wollongong cafe

I love impromptu day trips. We head out the door on Easter Friday with a rough idea of heading towards Wollongong. And by the end of the day, we have stepped foot on many places that we have never explored before.

The traffic down south is surprisingly pleasant. The last time we tried to get out of the city on an Easter weekend was disastrous. Our destination of Palm Beach quickly became Mona Vale because travelling 20 kmph on the freeway wasn't my ideal way of spending precious holiday time. But anyway, our stars must have been aligned to encounter such light traffic.

wollongong sea cliff bridge

The Sea Cliff Bridge is situated about 60 kms from Sydney. Five seconds of Internet research tells me that it was opened in 2005 by Morris Iemma (remember him?) and is one of the seven off-shore parallel to coast bridges in the world (pretty impressive heh?). The Engineer also reminds me that the bridge has been featured in many car advertisements around the world. Well, it is not a bad place to flaunt your red Ferrari if you have one.

The thing I find most interesting is the 373 padlocks attached to the bridge's rails - an unofficial count according to an enthusiastic passerby who proudly declares that he has counted them all. Most are engraved with names of couples expressing undying love for each other - from the newlyweds to the couple who are celebrating their 30th anniversary. However, some are associated with sadder occasions such as the departure of a mate or a beloved grandma.

lee and me wollongong cafe

A quick work on The Engineer's GPS-enabled iPhone takes us to the charming Lee and Me in Wollongong CBD (thanks KittyCate). Lee and Me is 50% cafe and 50% fashion boutique, and I love its decor to bits. Vintage typewriter, pencil sketchings on the wall, paper butterflies, old-school till and wooden crates - I want them all in my house. And it is so relaxing to be sipping Campos coffee on the balcony of a heritage building.

The food is good too. They have ran out of corn fritters, so I get the buttermilk blueberry hotcakes ($13) instead. The hotcakes are fluffy and light. The butterscotch sauce and vanilla bean ricotta are perhaps a tad too sweet for my liking, but are good accompaniments nevertheless.

The Engineer's Wagyu Beef Burger ($16) are served with sliced romas, cheddar cheese, beetroot, mixed leaves and a mustard walnut mayo. The handcut chips are plenty and flavoursome. Would have been perfect if they were crunchier. Note that service is relatively slow but there's no complaint there because this only means more time for taking various snaps around the place.

illawarra tree top walk

"So, what shall we do next?", I ask The Engineer. "Hmmm, there's a waterfall around here. Shouldn't be too far away". But on the way there, I catch a sign to the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk. "Oh, let's do the treetop walk first. Remember to turn left 500 metres ahead".

The 45-minute walk, mostly amongst treetop canopy, is a fun experience. The information sheet provided tells us that the walkway is 500 metres long and costs 6.5 millions to build. My favourite flora there has to be the tree ferns - they look like palm trees from ground level and ferns from 25 metres above.

fitzroy falls southern highland nsw

We finally arrive at Fitzroy Falls in the Southern Highlands at fifteen to five. Nestled within Morton National Park, the falls is majestic against the backdrop of Yarrunga Valley. There are plenty of walking trails past the first lookout point. But since it is too late in the day to trek 1400 metres, we have no choice but to save it for another trip down south.

Perhaps somewhat less impromptu than this one.

LEE AND ME
87 Crown Street
Wollongong NSW 2500
02 4244 0695

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9 comment(s):

KittyCate April 4, 2010 at 10:14 PM  

OMG I am so excited you came down to Wollongong, and to Lee&Me!! My special favourite cafe! And damn your photos look SO much better than mine do lol. Glad you had such a fun weekend. x

Sydney Shop Girl April 5, 2010 at 5:06 AM  

foodwink
Your photos are so inpsiring. They are always to full of life, so beautifully composed.

Can you go to Berwora soon and take photos so I know what mine should have looked like?

What an awesome day trip!

SSG xxx

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella April 5, 2010 at 10:44 AM  

I love day trips too! Lee and Me looks gorgeous too! Fabulous photos -as always! Love all the detail pics :D

Phuoc'n Delicious April 5, 2010 at 11:10 AM  

What a lovely adventure! I need a getaway too! That "Hellooo" sign is too cute! I want to go here!

You know, a similar thing with the padlock occurs in Florence. Even though there are signs telling people to not place padlocks here people still do.

website April 6, 2010 at 8:53 AM  

Hey guys...

Just a quick comment here from the team at Tourism Wollongong. We all loved your blog and the pics. It's great to see our region from different people's perspectives. And you certainly found some of our favourite gems...the Fly and Lee and Me.

All the best for future travels ;-)

From the Tourism Wollongong team.

Belle@Ooh, Look April 6, 2010 at 11:31 PM  

I just adore your photos. I've been to Fitzroy Falls heaps of times but it's never looked as good as in your pictures. It's such a pretty area.

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial April 7, 2010 at 10:30 AM  

Wink, I adore this - so many wonderful memories for me! Isn't the Sea Cliff Bridge just amazing?

Drive just a little further on and you reach Kiama..

Celia

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! April 7, 2010 at 2:07 PM  

Unplanned trips are the best!
I don't remember those padlocks on the bridge last time I was there. Either I must be blind or they were added after my last visit. Cool photos =)

foodwink April 10, 2010 at 9:58 AM  

Hi KittyCate - Thanks so much for introducing me to the charming L&M. And thanks for your kind words on my pictures. But trust me, I can never look as stylish as you (always) do :D

Hi SSG - Thanks a lot! Hehe, we've made a booking at Berowra for my birthday. Can't wait!

Hi Lorraine - Isn't L&M gorgeous? And thank you!

Hi Phuoc - Hehe. The "Hellooo" sign is a computer edit, so it does not exist. Sorry to disappoint! I would love to visit Florence one day, and see the padlocks myself.

Hi TWT - Thanks for dropping by. I've had a great time there!

Hi Belle - Thank you! Isn't it a gorgeous area? I'd like to return for a much much longer walk.

Hi Celia - Thank you! Yes, wish I had a Ferrari to test on the Sea Cliff Bridge too :) I've been to Kiama and it's quite lovely too.

Hi Angie - Thanks for dropping by. Haha, I didn't realise the padlocks until The Engineer pointed it out to me! So, you're not alone!

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