Day Four of our Koleos It’s A Sweet Life adventure meant home time. Alas. How we loved our short stay in Sydney, and could have easily spent another twenty years exploring the enriching tendrils that seem to snake down every single laneway and waterway.
I actually decided, when we dragged our carcasses out of bed far too early this morning, that I’d like to live in Sydney again, and so asked Husband if he could please organise a posting there soon. Sure, he said. Right after he organises postings to the other cities I’ve requested – New York City, London, Paris and the Hague.
After a God-awful ‘misunderstanding’ involving an inability to read road maps or driving incompetency (depending on which front seat of the Koleos your backside was parked in) we were finally on our way home. In the correct direction, this time.
It was a relative breeze getting out of Sydney on the quick and smooth freeways heading south-west. Surely these magnificent roads have cut two hours off the Canberra-Sydney trip.
On the way south, we had a smattering of sun shower and to our amazement, the Koleos’s windscreen wipers came on automatically to swipe the rain away – hey presto! Something similar happened on our forward journey, too. We’d had the wipers on ‘intermittent’ and when it started raining more heavily, they sped up. At the time, we thought we’d imagined it, but when checking the Koleos handbook, I noticed automatic windscreen wipers and headlights are standard. Love it.
I also just have to re-mention the très French left-hand indicator that goes ‘pip pop’ when you flick it on. I also know I whinged about the low light LED screen but it seems to have turned itself on brighter (I didn’t do it – perhaps it heard me whinging, the car seems to be that intelligent). And my other love is the sibling-altercation convex mirror you can flip down above the rear vision. You all know what that’s for, parents. Heaven.
Another thing the handbook tells me is something I may not get to experience because I’m usually in my nanna tracky dacks by 7 pm (my penchant to wander out during the nighttime hours is long gone) – and that is the full-beam protector across the windscreen to guard your eyes from oncoming headlight glare. Mentioning this may seem a little trite, but let me tell you – when you’re as night-blind as me behind the wheel, you take every little bit of help you can get.
Yet another thing I found in the handbook is that you can get an optional tent with the Koleos that hooks onto the back via the split opening, offering a bed in the rear of the car and then overflow space onto the ground where the tent rests. We’re not really a family of campers, but… I want one!
One more little thing I noticed in the book which I’m yet to try is the cute little French-sounding horn. Ayo! I just had to test this, post-haste. Mee-meep!
After irritating Husband monumentally with my tooting and lots of hand-swiping-away, we quickly came upon the exit to the small, historic town of Berrima. Spurred on by the promise of a peek into the renowned Lolly Swagman sweets shop (Old Hume Highway, tel 02-4877 1137), we were absolutely delighted to discover more than just a lolly shop in this quaint village.
This tiny town not only boasts a stack of historic buildings like the old Berrima Court House and a Gaol, it also features a museum, contemporary art gallery, antiques and bric-a-brac stores, a general store and ice creamery and the gorgeous Little Hand-stirred Jam Shop, stacked with luscious consumables and a café/ice creamery (1/9 Old Hume Highway, tel: 02-4877 1404)
Near the Jam Shop, you can find Bimbee Kids (tel: 02-4877 2777) which has baby and clothing as well as bedding and toys. Nearby, Sprinkles of Berrima (tel: 02-4877 1577) features Christmas all year round, and Sugar Daddy’s Cake Design will send the eyes of sugar-addicts skyward.
There’s also a gaggle of other cafés and tea rooms, the White Horse Inn pub, the Australian Alpaca Centre and The Cottage Berrima – an olden time country store selling the softest fine knits stacked in glorious gelato colours, glittering vintage chandeliers, delightful buttons and other olden time treasures.
Right near the quaint Berrima Post Office is the Art of Bookbinding and the Gumnut Patisserie (tel 4877 2177), where we ogled over pastries and cakes and came away with a marbled and swirled meringue for Riley and a strawberry tart for Ella. Husband and I guzzled neat little lattès on the rest of the leg home, arriving well before lunchtime.
Home. I’ve always said part of the attraction of traveling is the moment you arrive home, where things are unpacked and washed and freshened, and crinkling packets and bags are opened to reveal snaffled treasures and photos are uploaded and pored over.
It’s also a time when home comforts slip easily back into place. Like slipping feet into soft bed socks, we snuggle back into our world and give thanks for the wonderful opportunities we have to travel and see other parts of the world – even if those parts are in our very own backyard.
Although we’re generally a family of air-travellers, our family loved our road trip in the Koleos so much, we’re keen to take more road trips – both far and wide. Being able to stop where and when you want and having the freedom and comfort of getting off the beaten track (in the case of the Koleos, 4WDing is also a distinct possibility) and cruising wherever we want, at any given time is just so attractive, and if you plan your route carefully, you can really make the most of even long travel times.
So, thanks, Renault, for our time with the spunky little Koleos and for this glorious opportunity to get away and enjoy our Sweet Adventure. My blue, shiny baby will be delivered back to the car dealer on Friday with a surprising and very deep sigh of sadness. I’ve so enjoyed this car and hope one day we’ll meet again.
And for all you road travellers out there, I highly recommend factoring small country towns into road trips, not only in support of these out-of-the-way places, but for the fact that you may just find a treasure. We live in a country of such enviable beauty and constant variety, it’s easy to stare straight through unique and wondrous places, unable to see the treats contained within – usually due to our wild hurry to make it between cities in record time.
Slow down. Pause. Take a peek and you, too may just find some of the sweet sweet treasures hidden in this extraordinary country of ours.