In the winter of 2010 I spent a week in Austinmer on the Illawarra Coast. It was my first holiday in over a year. Since contracting pneumonia in early 2009 I had been struggling to recover my health from post-pneumonia fatigue. I faced the 1 hour train journey south from home in Sydney with trepidation. This small beachside town in the Illawarra Region, nestled between the Illawarra Escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, seemed a world away. I arrived by train at the bustling unmanned railway station.
I found safe haven at the cosy and comfortable Sur La Mer Bed and Breakfast. It had everything I needed and I could have quite comfortably lived there on a permanent basis.
To the north of the railway line, a winding road climbs up into the foothills of the mountains. I walked up here to a lovely art gallery and artists studio.
Its not a big place, but there are some lovely cafes and specialty shops to explore, such as Mala Beads.
I decided to extend my stay, but needed to change accommodation. The Austinmer Beach Cottages gave me an excellent view of the escarpment. Where Sur La Mer had been safe and cosy, this place was open and expansive. This transition seemed to reflect my growing confidence that I was well enough to be back in the world.
The escarpment looms high over the town so that when the sun moves westward in the middle of the afternoon, the whole town is in shadow. I looked longingly to where the sun was still shining on the other of the mountains.
Its Austinmer Beach that draws people to the town. The slow paced life on a thin strip of coast between two big cities, Sydney and Wollongong.
But its the rock platforms that have always drawn my attention.
Something happened in Austinmer. I made the switch from seeing myself as a convalescent, to believing I was well enough to get on with my life. I did a lot of walking, writing and photography. Within a few months I was exploring England.
I have selected some images from the Austinmer holiday to be the subject of greeting cards available in the ImageChest Etsy Store.