Part 1: Setting off and the Blue Mountains

On a sunny Monday we set off towards Sydney by train to pick up the car. On arrival there was papers to be filled and questions to be asked, but not long after we were all sitting in our new baby, a white Toyota Corolla, heading back towards Wollongong to pick up the monumentous amount of camping gear and luggage we were bringing with us! Steven did the first bit, I was far from ready to get into a brand new car, automatic, on the wrong side of the road in one of the busiest cities in Australia, so Steven graciously did the first drive! Back at Wollongong we packed up the car and locked the house and set off towards our first destination, the Blue Mountains. From Wollongong to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains I did the driving and I spent the journey mostly getting used to the car and driving on the left side. It was an easy stint with not too many cars and fairly straight, wide roads, and the perfect way to get familiar with the driving. Being that Steven and I were the only two of us with drivers licenses it would have been a looooong roadtrip if I didn’t get used to the car, but luckily that wasn’t the case!

At last we arrived at the Caravan park (greeted by a large group of cockatoos in the road), excited and nervous, the virgin campers that we were. Luckily though, Steven and Shawnee had practised setting up the tent before we set off and so the tent went up smoothly and with no worries! We eventually made dinner after a lovely lady saved us and let us use her electrical hob, after we failed to get our gas burner to turn on before going to bed. The aura in the tent was that filled with giggles and childish excitement! Finally we were on this roadtrip we had looked forward to and planned for so long!

Red wattle bird

The next morning we were woken by the kookaburra dawn chorus and I enjoyed watching the wattle birds feeding from the Banksia tree next to our tent. We ate for the first time the breakfast porrige with syrup and banana with joy (but which we would soon come to loath and hate) before heading off to the Three Sisters and a day of walking around the beautiful Blue Mountains. We took in the view of the sisters from the viewing platform before descending into the valley via the giant stairway that takes you to a lovely flat path that you can follow round to a cable car which (thankfully) takes you back up again to the top! A great walk, we saw the magnificent lyrebirds again, heard the cockatoos screaching away and bumped into a water dragon.

Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains

Two sassafras trees connected through tissue, growing together, sharing sap and structurally supporting eachother. Locally known as “kissing trees”. 

Later that day we returned to the caravan park where we had a quick bite to eat and managed to fix our gas stove with the help of the lovely handy man/owner of the caravan park! We then went to Minnehaha waterfalls a less known tourist spot (more the locals), suggested by another camper who leant us a mallet the day before. The walk to the falls was through beatiful dry sclerophyll forests, dry and steep, like the landscapes made so familiar to me as a child through Skippy the Kangaroo. As we descended into the the gorge we passed beautiful dainty flowers and lots of grasses before the vegetation changed to denser, more tropical flora fed by the raging waterfall and river. When we arrived by the waterfall we were greated by the stunning site of the running waterfall and deep pool where local teens were enjoying a dip in the freezing cold water. The pool was deep enough that some of the more adventurous boys jumped in from the surrounding cliff edges. We whimpered into the cold water, but instantly forgot about the cold and were mesmerized by the beauty of it all. Selfies, videos and pictures were obviously taken in the process!

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Minnehaha falls

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On the way back I confirmed my suspicion from the walk down that this area looked like prime snake territory; Dry, spaceous eucalyptus forest with patches of open, grassy areas and sun-exposed rocks. Indeed on the way back we stumbled upon not one, but two snakes crossing our paths metres infront of us! We trampled and made noise like we had witnessed a father and son do towards the first snake moments before, but luckily the snake didn’t stick around anyway and slithered quickly into the undergrowth again. Back at camp we had burgers for dinner and slumped back into our tents!

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