Go south to Bulli

Passenger train travelling towards Sydney at Stanwell Park late 19th century.

Passenger train travelling towards Sydney at Stanwell Park late 19th century.

Holiday in Bulli for a week, for just £3 2 shillings – including a baby sitter!

To those similarly situated to myself, I can strongly recommend the South Coast line for a pleasant holiday of a week’s duration. Last month, having a week’s holiday, and not knowing where to spend it, by chance I went South: Taking the 1.40 p.m. train from Redfern, we (wife, child and self) were met at the Bulli railway station by our future host, who drove us to our destination at Woonona, a pleasant ride of about two miles.

It is well adapted for a ‘health resort,’ being located on a gently-sloping hill, commanding a view of the ocean in front and of the Bulli Mountain in the rear.

The house where we stayed nestles in the centre of a large orchard of 30 acres, stocked with every variety of fruit, which is open to visitors. One of my most pleasant recreations every morning, after a fresh-water bath, was a quiet ramble through this splendid orchard, picking, as my palate dictated. Plenty of fresh milk and poultry and an abundance of fruit and cream were the distinguishing characteristics.

The district itself offers every variety of attraction to visitors. First, there is the ride from Sydney by rail to Bulli, perhaps the most picturesque of any of our Australian lines. What finer effect could you have than the bold contrast be tween the dark, noisy tunnel through the Bulli Mountain and the flashing ocean which next moment stretches like a sheet of glass before your view?

Then there is the Bulli Pass to be negotiated. What with its many dells, its cool, refreshing springs, the beautiful ferns, the snap-shots which you get of the distant blue ocean through the dense, foliage of the trees as you ascend, and, above all, the burst of glory that intoxicates your vision when once you have reached the summit, is an experience photographed upon the tablets of your memory for life. To see the Pass at its best, you should picnic on the crown of it for the evening and await sunset, when the mighty ocean and everything upon it seem masses of fire.

The journey up the mountain, especially if ladies are in your party—and no party is complete without them — is best made in a vehicle, otherwise the ascent is fatiguing. Buggies can be hired for 5/ – from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; or, if your party is large, you may hire a waggonette in the town, which will carry a dozen for about 22/ As no trip to the Pass is complete without, seeing the historic big tree, you -should pay your 6d and see this botanical giant.

For young and old, there is the ocean, with its beautiful beaches, strewn with shells, bathing nooks free from sharks or undesirable intruders, and, when the tide is out, plenty of small rock oysters. Bathers should refrain from swimming in the surf, as it is infested with sharks. To those who are fond of angling, arrangements can be made at the jetty for a day on the briny for schnapper, &c. Should you be fond of a shot, early in the morning or towards sundown you can pot a hare without travelling far, and at night there is the bete noir of the orchardists, the flying fox, to practise on.

A trip down one of the many coal mines in the district is also an interesting and instructive item. Altogether, the week rapidly flies. Not a moment hangs on your hands. Your appetite increases with the length of your visit.

Your health improves, and you return to ‘The round eternal Of the cash book and the journal’ with a light heart and a new enthusiasm. But what about the cost? say you. The following statement is taken from my diary :-
• To Fare to Bulli, second-class, for wife and self and baby: 7 shillings.
• To Board and Lodgings for one week for same: £2.
• To hire of girl, to nurse baby (girl to sleep at home): 6 shillings.
• To hire of buggy for half a day: 5 shillings.
• To cab fare to and from Redfern railway station: 4 shillings.
• Total cost for one week: £3 2 shillings.

If you cannot afford a week, you can, I believe, get the same accommodation at the rate of 4/ per diem for adults.


  • Sunday Times (Sydney) December 25 1898.

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