Blue Mountains - Australia

Trip Start Aug 15, 2008
Trip End Aug 14, 2009

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

9th April 2009 - Sydney, Australia

Diane, Rodney & Lara had flown out to Australia to meet up with us, as part of their extended holiday in Australia.
We had arranged to fly into Sydney Airport the same day as they flew back from Ayres Rock; our flight was scheduled to arrive a couple of hours before theirs so we thought it would be nice to meet them off the plane.
Well, sods law applied - our flight was late, we had to pick up our bags & go through immigration, the International Terminal was an awkward train ride away from the Domestic Terminal & Diane's mobile battery was flat so we couldn't contact her. We missed them by 10 minutes !
We had booked into the same hotel & we arrived about 15 minutes after them, so all was not lost.
It was lovely to see them all & we were delighted that Lara was so excited to see her Grandma & Grandpa. We all went out that evening for a meal at Darling Harbour to catch up on the news (we tried to ignore the financial news from home).

The next day Rodney picked up a 6 berth Camper Van which would take us touring around NSW for the next week.
We set off for the Blue Mountains, which are only 60km from Sydney & stopped to make a pot of tea at Glenbrook which is near the main park entrance. It was then we discovered we had a gas leak & the cooker wouldn't work, worse still, it was Good Friday & the camper hire company was not too keen to sort it out.

We made our way to Blackheath camp site & plugged-in, unloaded & topped-up (things you have to do with camper-vans, apparently).

As we were plugged into the mains, our microwave worked, so we didn't starve. Preparing the van for sleep was a bit of a procedure, the seats & tables had to be re-arranged as beds, Diane & Rodney had to climb a ladder & crawl into the little "hutch" above the cab.
We had to get dressed in shifts in the morning, but we soon got into a routine & actually found the van quite cozy.
Marching off to the shower rooms in the morning was the social highlight of the campsite, my voice got hoarse saying "G'day Mate" to everyone.
Rodney managed to mend the gas leak (it's useful having an expert with you), so we set off to see the Blue Mountains.

The Blue Mountains are covered with Eucalyptus trees which give off a fine oily mist, creating the blue haze which gives the area its name. The scenery is spectacular & most viewing spots can be driven to or reached after a short walk.
We went to Wentworth Falls & then to Katoomba, the most popular tourist area, to see Echo Point which overlooks the Jamison Valley & the Three Sisters rocks which you can get to by clambered down some steep steps. The next day we went to Scenic World to the west of Katoomber which boasts a 52 degree incline funicular railway which takes you to the valley floor, you then catch a cable car back up. Another attraction was the glass floored Scenic Skyway which takes you across the valley & from which you get a good view of the waterfall. As it was the Easter Weekend there were entertainers & a jazz band at Scenic World.

We had planned to go to the Hunter Valley that afternoon, which didn't look too far on the map. The trouble was that the "shortcut" took us through some of the most twisty, bumpy roads in NSW & even took us across a lake by a cute cable ferry. Although it took longer, we passed through some beautiful countryside.

Hunter Valley is the original wine growing region of Australia & is full of beautifully manicured vineyards, most of which provide wine tasting & will sell you bottles at a special (higher) price. In one of these, I was asked what type of wine I preferred but they had never heard of Rioja or Malbec so I tried their range of reds - the woman got quite annoyed when I didn't enthuse about any of them !

The Hunter Valley Gardens are well worth a visit. There are acres of beautiful themed gardens, Chinese, Japanese, Italian etc. with a special children's garden illustrating nursery rhymes. We pushed on that night to a nice camper park by the beach near Nelson Bay at Port Stephens. Port Stephens is a popular boating, fishing & family holiday area & home to many friendly dolphins.
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holly08121 on

P Smith
Sounds like good fun. Bet I missed a giggle in the Van! Mountains still look beautiful - hope you enjoyed them.

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