I’ve been trying to put my finger on what made this time so special, as Iluka itself didn’t immediately inspire me. The landscape is flatter than flat, and the gloomy weather meant that each day we were greeted with a dull palette of greys and faded yellows. And yet, there is so much more to this location than meets the eye.
First, Iluka is relatively unspoilt. Yes, there is a caravan park and signs for holiday rentals are dotted around, but it is still very much a fishing village. Real commercial trawlers venture out all year round returning with their catch, much of which is provided to the local fishermen’s co-operative. When we visited, there were fresh prawns, whiting, mullet, homemade fishcakes and Balmain Bugs*. And recreational fishing is a popular activity too.
There are local beaches for surfing and swimming, although some of these can only be accessed by 4WD; littlies can always go for a dip in the dedicated area by the riverside near the local playground. The village is surrounded by national park and boasts the largest remaining expanse of seaside rainforest in NSW (World Heritage-listed in 1986). There is so much to do…or so little.
Iluka is a great place to wind down away from the rat race, but still comfortably close to civilisation. Our holiday cottage was within easy walking distance of the shops, the river, and pretty much everything else. It did help that the wonderful Cowrie Cottage was a particularly welcoming and well-equipped place to stay, complete with enclosed garden and play equipment for Icklegen (and it was a bargain at the price, I might add).
We did venture a bit further afield on my birthday, but that’s another story to look forward to in due course. In the meantime, farewell Iluka, ’til next time.
*The Balmain Bug (now there’s a great name) is a type of lobster native to Australian waters.