CUWAM- The Fifth beach of Christmas: Port Kembla Beach and seaside pool

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Todays beach venture taught be a valuable lesson….It is best to avoid making assumptions in life.

As a child, growing up in the Northern suburbs of the Illawarra, there was little need to venture past my local beach, Austinmer,  for a swim. Why get in the car and drive miles when you can walk to the ocean in a matter of minutes?

While that philosophy has been in operation almost every time I have returned home to the South Coast,  my 12 Beaches fo Christmas ode, has forced me to travel further afield.This Austinmer local has travelled to beaches South of Wollongong, to destinations better known for it steel works plant, soot and smog.

Christmas catch ups with my London friends Jo and Yo, it town for the silly season, meant that I did not venture South till almost 2pm. Abandoning plans to explore the seaside town of Kiama, I took a left hand turn on the freeway at the  Port Kembla exit and never looked back.

Not certain of the direction I was heading I entered what must have once been the bustling Port Kembla high street. It was all but a ghost town. Shop fronts were boarded up, tumble weeds blew down the streets, business for sale.  I counted 3 pubs on the main drag, on a street deserted of people. I took this as a sign that Port Kembla has once been a  thriving commercial area….The steel works providing hundreds of jobs, pouring money into the local economy, enabling the beer taps to flow…

Times have changed, and with it the town has suffered, it looks sad and tired….but the sea is its saving grace.

Port Kembla Beach and Pool is simply stunning….an oasis in a town that is in need of a bit of cheering up. The Olympic sized pool is newly renovated, and also contains two wading pools for little children. The well manicured lawns are tiered and provide great ledges from which sunbathers can take in views of both the pool and ocean.

I ate well priced fish and chips for the pool’s kiosk and then took a walk to the beach.

Getting back in my car, I continued on to another prime swimming and fishing spot in Port Kembla, Hill 60. The view from the Hill was divine, had the council had not chosen to instil a waste management site nearby, I would give the place a bigger write-up!!

I learnt a valuable lesson today, that making assumptions about places,  means that you miss out on the joy of discovering things for yourself, coming to your own opinion. Port Kembla is not only part of the steel city that is Wollongong, but a breathtakingly beautiful seaside town….I would encourage everyone with a bit of time to discover the suburbs charm for yourself.

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