We spent last weekend enjoying a change of scene, attending my cousins wedding on the NSW South Coast. The wedding was inland a little, but we based ourselves in Gerroa, just outside of Gerringong, for the festivities to make the most of the coast.
Of all the places in Australia that I have been lucky enough to visit, the NSW South Coast, particularly the teeny-tiny town of Gerroa, is probably my favourite, or at least in my top ten. It’s a fantastic spot, gorgeous in the summer, and I imagine beautiful in one way or another all year around. Gerroa is the kind of place I would move to if I ever won the lottery. I’d live out my days looking over the glory of Seven Mile Beach and wanting nothing else in my life but to sit and breathe it all in.
My mum had rented a beach house for us to stay in, meaning myself and Dean along with my two younger brothers and their partners. In the end we had a couple of other stragglers join us, making for a very busy family reunion. But with the beach just one street over, we never felt locked in, and Dean and I basically spend the entire visit out exploring what the NSW South Coast had to offer. There’s a fair bit around, from the crazy busy town of Berry just up the road, to the centre of Gerrigong a short drive (or a medium-sized walk) away.
We watched a couple of incredible sunsets, wandered along the rocks to the beach peninsula, enjoyed a few cold ones out on the deck, and felt very, very lucky. There were markets to look at, beach pools to discover, and lots of stunning water to swim in. We did as much as we could manage in four short days, as well as cramming in a busy reunion and a really wonderful wedding celebration.
Family get togethers are a strange thing. Dean grew up quite close to many of his cousins, so as a child they were really close. By comparison I grew up on the other side of the country to the cousins on my mum’s side, and we only caught up with them once every few years. Still, I’m always amazed how easily we all fit together. We often note how strange it is that we’re all such a bunch of extroverts, even though I’m actually someone who is only able to be extroverted among people I know well. In many ways I barely know my cousins, but it’s easy for me to feel connected to them through those shared experiences. We might have only met up on a handful of occasions in my childhood, but that sticks more than you would think.
It’s nice to think that family extends further than your parents and your siblings, but it’s easy to forget that it does. These meet-ups remind me that it’s important to maintain those connections, so hopefully we’ll all be able to meet again into the future.
It was harder than ever to leave Gerroa and the NSW South Coast this time. Dean and I had such an amazing time there, it seemed hard to believe that five days had gone so quickly. And really, that was only four days in Gerroa as we also had a day in Sydney. Still, the magic of a place isn’t in how long you get to experience it, but in the mark it leaves. As it always has with me, the NSW South Coast left a mark that whispered echoing in my ear: Please return.