When my parents and relatives were here a couple of weeks back, we spent most of the weekdays at home since Saucer couldn’t get off work. So when the weekend came, we took the opportunity to bring everyone down south for a day trip to several NSW attractions. Our first stop was to Bald Hill in Stanwell Park, where one could get an amazing view of the Tasman Sea and Wollongong in the distance. It’s also the site for hang gliding and para gliding, when the wind conditions permit. On our way there, the sky looked dark and cloudy, and I was worried that we might be able to catch any hang gliders. Thankfully, the rain stopped by the time we reached and we spotted quite a few hang gliders already flying in the sky!
Hang glider up in the sky!
Towards Bald Hill, Stanwell Park
It was a sport for the professionals which was also offered as a course to visitors or tourists. Obviously, we were not daring enough to go up so high and feel vulnerable in the sky, so we just stood and watched. It’s amazing how these hang gliders and para gliders looked so calm and steady even at the edge of such a high cliff. I mean, what if something goes wrong and the aircraft doesn’t stay up? I even managed to take a video below of a para glider launching up into the sky. It was beautiful.
Hang gliding in the distance
Paragliders launching area
Getting ready to glide
Video of para glider taking off
witch and Saucer at Bald Hill
After about half an hour of watching and admiring the gliders, the clouds suddenly gave in. It started with a drizzle which we thought would pass, but it went on and on, gradually becoming a continous shower. That was when we decided to make a move and drove to our next stop. We were headed to Nan Tien Temple, a place I’d been to once before. It’s claimed to be the largest Buddhist Temple in the southern hemisphere, and it’s very well-maintained too. The temple grounds were spacious and filled with visitors but thankfully not overcrowded.
Towards Nan Tien Temple
Since we went during the period of Chinese New Year, there were still decorations of CNY around such as plenty of lanterns and red packets. There was also a huge tree with golden leaves near the shrine, where one was supposed to write one’s wish on a red ribbon and throw it onto the tree. When lunch time came, we had the option of having vegetarian food either at the dining hall or at the ala carte restaurant on ground floor. The queue at the restaurant was horrendously long, and we were hungry, so we decided to have lunch at the dining hall instead. There were only two options available, either a plate of plain rice with 3 dishes or fried noodles with 2 dishes, plus a complimentary vegetable of the day. It cost $12 a plate, which wasn’t cheap considering the portion was just average and the dishes weren’t great. But they did serve the purpose of filling our tummy for the day.
Smiley Happy Buddha
After spending a couple of hours in the temple, we decided to make a move back home. This time, we took the coastal road with the view of the Tasman Sea on our right. It was indeed a beautiful drive, dotted with beaches along the way. We stopped at one in Austinmer, where the wind was blowing fiercely and the air was cool. My family found it amazing that there were people swimming and surfing even in the freezing cold wind!
Further up the beach, we drove past the Sea Cliff Bridge, which had a breathtaking view of the Tasman Sea. There was also a footpath along the bridge, so we parked our car nearby and took a walk up the path. Along the bridge, you could spot some lovers putting padlocks on the railings of the bridge too.
Saucer at Sea Cliff Bridge
Sea Cliff Bridge
Even though the weather was partly gloomy and rainy during the day, we were fortunate that the rain stopped whenever we reached our intended destinations. Our timing was perfect! By the time we reached home, everyone was exhausted. It was a day well-spent, so we took a long good rest to get ready for yet another road trip up north the very next day.
View of the Tasman Sea from Sea Cliff Bridge