Sea change - South Coast Cruise 2012

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For the first time in many years, Team MightyBoy geared up to cruise the NSW south coast over the weekend of 15/16 September, making a nice coastal change from the annual Albury cruise.

 

My weekend started on Friday with a leisurely trip from Canberra to Kiama. Arriving mid-afternoon, Mel and I checked in to what is apparently the largest Big4 holiday park in Australia - a staggering 40 acre property set in a lush green valley, fronting a private and secluded beach. After strolling around the sprawling grounds looking for fellow MightyBoy owners like "Where's Wally" we finally came across Tez, who had just arrived after an impressive drive all the way from Melbourne in his stock-as-a-rock ute. Later that evening we met up with Sydneysiders Max and Rebecca for dinner and a bit of a chat, before retiring for the evening in preparation for the Saturday cruise.

Saturday morning greeted us with glorious sunshine as we organised ourselves for the 11am meetup at the Kiama lighthouse. On arrival I was pleasantly surprised to see Ray and Monica had made the trip, complete with the trademark Honda Monkey bike strapped into the tray of the ute. After a few minutes Colin and his sons arrived with their two utes, bolstering our numbers to half a dozen. With introductions completed we set off on our 150km journey through the Illawarra mountains.

Heading south through the sleepy surfing towns of Gerringong and Gerroa, our little group turned right and headed inland through Berry. At this point I jumped on the two-way and apologised to Tez for the steep climb that he would need to tackle with a mere 19kw. Mount Cambewarra - which rises almost 700m over 12km of winding country roads. For some of us the ascent was greatly assisted by forced induction, and a chorus of whistling turbos pierced the quiet country air.

On arrival at the summit we stopped to take in the spectacular views from Cambewarra lookout, and Colin replenished the half-tank of fuel he had burned through during the climb, and we joked about perhaps replacing the front tyres that had been given a thorough workout on the hairpin bends.

From there we started our descent into Kangaroo Valley, and Colin and myself had a spirited comparison of handling versus outright power, while Chris got his ute a bit loose on the tight bends. With restless stomachs we pulled into the Friendly Inn for what turned out to be a long wait for lunch, but a good chance to have a yarn over a drink or two.

With our appetites suppressed there was a decision made for a few passengers to switch utes and we headed off across the historic Hampden Bridge to tackle the steep climb to Fitzroy Falls. This is a great stretch of twisty tarmac, although ruined somewhat by tourist buses that create a long snake of traffic as they negotiate the many extremely sharp hairpin turns. Still we jostled for position on the climb, and after cresting the mountain we made a quick stop at Fitzroy Falls to admire the view and take some souvenir photos.

At this point Ray and Chris swapped driver's seats to compare utes and our convoy buzzed through the highland back roads northward to the famous Robertson Pie Shop for a mid-afternoon snack. This was followed by the highlight of the day: a downhill run via the spectacular Macquarie Pass - an epic stretch of tight and twisty turns that is undoubtably one of the best driving roads in New South Wales, especially in a MightyBoy with well-sorted suspension and brakes. Sadly for Colin he has neither of the above, and so the pack was treated to the pungent smell of burning brake pads as he tortured the standard rotors to the point of exhaustion.

Once at the bottom of the mountain at Albion Park we cut back across through Jambaroo to Kiama, ending our day of driving adventures back at the lighthouse. Farewelling Colin and Chris, the remainder of our crew ducked off for a quick rest before heading into town for dinner at the Kiama Leagues Club. That night we discussed our various planned departure times for Sunday morning and decided to say our goodbyes there, concluding another successful and enjoyable cruise weekend.

Thanks to everyone who turned up for the event, and I hope to see more MB's at future south coast cruises. The roads around Kangaroo Valley seem to be purpose-built for MightyBoys, so I encourage you to make the trip next time and enjoy some spirited driving with us.

Stay tuned for a gallery of images of this cruise, and hopefully a video too.

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