THE district of Bulli is a liberal contributor to the charming scenery of ‘Beautiful Illawarra.’ For its sublime grandeur the “Look-out” has become world-famous. A well-kept road zig-zags up the steep mountain side through a jungle of semi-tropical shrubbery, here and there varied by tall gums. Half-way up the undergrowth, is denser, and occasionally forms archways across the track. Through the breaks the valley is discernible as it rapidly falls away many hundreds of feet until level country is reached, where the vines and shrubs are spread out like a great carpet of green of every shade and tint.
The cabbage-palms, with feathered leaves intermingling with the rich bunches of drooping black berries, stand out in the level between the shrubbery and the forest giants as if to fill a gap. Tree-ferns in great profusion, with the lower fronds spreading outwards and downwards, and the half-opened shoots curling upwards caterpillar fashion, abut the roadway at intervals. Tiny red breasted birds gracefully flit from tree to tree piping a welcome to the stranger, while in the glens below the shyer stockwhip sends his crack of resonant melody through the bush.
Mounting upwards, one meets a friend in a little rill, at the foot of a deep cutting through the sandstone, which trickles the coldest water everlastingly into a basin thoughtfully cut out of the stone. The top of the range once gained the uninterrupted prospect is grand indeed; not a leaf or twig confuses the view. It is a triumph of nature – opulent in panoramic beauties.
There is the great expanse of country from where the range encroaches upon the coast north ,of Bulli, sweeping around the mountain sides half-moon like, till the heights flanking Kiama end on the sea line. There are no ocean cliffs between the two points worth mentioning. Thus the golden sands of the coast, crimping in and out, between the points, and white-tipped on the outer edge with the break-ing surf, appear in an almost unbroken length. Two or three coal jetties, besides which stea-mers are loading, are prominent.
The sea, stretching for miles and miles, rises high on the horizon, and, stirred by a fresh north easter, foam-crested wavelettes race each other towards the beach. The landscape shows Wollongong, with Lake Illawarra in the background, then Bellambi, Corrimal, Bulli, Thirroul, and Austinmer, with intervening farm-houses, all seemingly close enough to be one settlement. There are the pasture paddocks also, the wooded spurs, buttressing the cloud-draped range, the green crops, the orchards, the railway lines, great heaps of coke, brown patches of ploughed land, the ornamental trees in the parks and reserves, the streets, the winding roads, the great mass of vegetation at your feet, and the bright sun pronouncing a benediction over all. Along the sides of the hills hamlets cluster around the pit mouths, which are marked by the cloudlets of steam floating upward from, the engine-houses. Around Bulli are many attractive drives. Good roads lead across the pass to Appin, Campbelltown, and other centres.
Many days might be spent in admiration of the district’s storehouse of rural beauties. Splendid fishing is to be obtained, and the beaches for bathing cannot be beaten. The soil along the mountain sides is very rich, a fact proved by the appearance of the fruit trees, the vegetable and flower gardens, and the grassy slopes around the residences in that part. What surprises the visitor is that more of the land is not under cultivation, for there is a ready response to what is now asked of it. During holidays vehicles run to the various resorts, and it is easy to hire conveyances on ordinary days. After leaving Bulli on the way to Sydney, the tourist in a little while finds ranges meet the sea in a succession of rug-ged cliffs. At length the train is within a stone’s throw of the shoreline.
The road mounts up, but the sudden change of light from sun to gas intimates that the train is running through a tunnel. Out again, the coast is bluff, with green seas sweeping on to the rocky ledges, or churning into foam on the shore-line. From now till Waterfall is reached the journey is mostly under-ground, with brief spans to cover the gorges which split up the hills. The Otford tunnel is nearly a mile in length, but, like all the other tunnels on the line, was only built wide enough for single rails, and as a consequence hot days make the journey through it oppressive. To relieve this disability the Commissioners decided to sink a shaft from the surface to the centre of it, but instead of erecting a stack on top to create a draft they stopped short at the work of digging. This is a pity for the trade, be-cause there are many who object strongly to the oppressiveness manifest in passing through the tunnel.
-Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW), Wednesday 21 November 1906.
Advertisements from the New South Wales Government Tourist Bureau’s Tourist hotel and boarding house directory, Fourth edition, published by Sydney Government Tourist Bureau, 1906.