A breaf Blue Mountain boogie.

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Blackheath Caravan Park

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Monday, March 15, 2010

Directly from the warm, tropical beaches of Lake Wallis Tiona to the chilly heights of the Blue Mountains. Yes, the shorts were replaced with jeans and the singlet was replaced with a fleece. My body had no idea what was going on, I hadn't had so much skin covered up since winter in London. The nights were chilly, but the days were unforgettable.

We stayed in Blackheath, which is approx 100km west of Sydney just past Katoomba. It was a very peaceful tourist park (caravan park is not p.c. anymore). When the birds, and there were a lot of them, weren’t screaming at each other, it was very quiet and very relaxing. We were encircled by enormous trees that stood like sentries that protected us, the intrepid travellers, from the dangers that lurked in the mountains and valleys beyond. There were also a set of creepy American twins that lived on sight in a large-ish caravan.....never did get to work them out because they very seldom left their caravan......probably only when the moon was full, they were very hairy boys. I must also mention the kind hearted but ultimately ignorant and annoying old fella that was travelling with his wife and yet another ridiculously manicured poodle. Once he heard my accent wasn’t the same as his he immediately thought I was from the moon and proceeded to explain to me what an acorn was and a duck. He spoke a bit louder to me and really mouthed the word AAAAY-COOORRRNN carefully so I wouldn’t mis-understand him. He also thought it necessary to tell me that Australian trees are green in the Summer and change colour in the Autumn. This little gem knocked me flat on my arse. I couldn’t wait to get back to the Squornzeallous Delta in the Outer Quadrant of Eccentrica Gallumbits orbit to tell my people about it. Nice enough man though, hope he got a puncture.

Campervan life is becoming more and more acceptable to me as a future method holidaying. There is something about preparing a meal in the fresh mountain air and sitting down outside to eat it that I find overwhelmingly enriching and I want to keep doing it.

This camp was also full of wonderful birdlife. There were snow white cockatoo’s flaring their plumes at any other birds that dared share a tree with them. The usual lorikeets were still screaming away at each other, we had gorgeous red and blue parrots jumping about inside the denser trees and 3 or four other species that I couldn’t identify (don’t forget the ducks). We spent a lot of time just watching the birds go about their feeding rituals. I ain’t no bird-watcher but there is something therapeutic about watching them. Maybe it’s because they have lives that are so constantly chaotic and lived at full tilt that it helps us to relax? Dunno, but I get a lot out of their aerial soap operas.

The first night we didn’t do much. We had a few drinks at the local pub and called it a night. The following morning (15 Mar) we went out to Echo Point. It’s very touristy but worth just having a look because the views are pretty cool. From this point you can look out over Jamison Valley as well as the Three Sisters which are 3 enormous rock "fingers" that stand a few hundred feet high. According to Aboriginal folklore they used to be three women that fell in love with men from another tribe. Custom did not allow this and they were told not to even think about it.....but, like Eve, they just had to have a go. They got into quite a bit of trouble for their sneaking around and the local witchdoctor came up with a fool proof way to stop them crossing the valley to the other tribe. You guessed it, he turned them into stone.....nice. The deal was he’d leave them like that until they got over the blokes from the other side and then he’d release them from the spell. Unfortunately the witchdoctor died before he could revoke the spell and VOILA!!!!, we have a tourist attraction....mmmm maybe he was just thinking ahead.

The valley itself is phenomenally wide and deep, kinda like the Grand Canyon but with a carpet of trees. Pink and yellow cliff faces rising vertically from what can only be described, from that height, as a broccoli forest. It was beautiful. From up there it’s easy to see why they call them the Blue Mountains. There was a blue haze covering all the foliage for as far as the eye could see. This, apparently, has something to do with Eucalyptus oil being released .....but I’ve seen it in South Africa as well (Bloukraans) so don’t believe everything they tell you. If the screaming children and busloads of photo happy orientals don’t put you off, then there are a few cool walks to go on from Echo Point. One in particular takes you down, almost vertically at one point, to the base of one of the Sisters,.....more incredible views and in my case, more crazy rock formations. Been there, done that, took the photo’s, but then we had to get away from the tourists.

Every road you choose here seems to end in a mind numbingly beautiful vista’s that could be absorbed from alarmingly high viewing points.. We had to be discerning about which views we took in because there just wasn’t enough time in the day. We chose one that had two valleys meeting with a river flowing down one valley. It looked like a thread of silver from our vantage point. We had a spot of lunch here under the ever watchful and opportunistic eye of the magpies. All that staring into the infinite blue yonder gives a man a hunger.

Before we headed back to camp, we decided to take a drive down into one of the valleys for a different outlook on things. We chose the Megalong Valley, no pun intended, it wasn’t that long anyway. We thought it would only be fair to give the sheer cliff faces a chance to look down on us for a change, we didn’t want them to get some kind of inferiority complex which might cause them to sit in stony silence for an eternity. Down we went, very down, the road dropped off like a rollercoaster and we were in the most unstable vehicle known to man. Between bouts of trying to avoid leaving the road and disappearing into a jungle from which we would never return, we did manage to take in the beauty of our surroundings. Dense bush, dark with giant ferns and god-like trees....they owned this valley and had no problem with not having much personal space. In some places it looked impossible to even walk between the trees they were so close together. I’m sure the wallaby’s , fox’s and kangaroo’s in the area would’ve been looking on bemused at our van as it veered from side to side as we made our descent. Note for the future: Do not attempt to drive down a very steep, windy mountain road in a top heavy campervan while trying to take photographs. It will end badly. I guess you could say I was doing some drive-by shooting. Little joke for my homies out there. I did get to see my first Australian snake in the wild once we’d reached the bottom of the valley. It was black and shot back into the bush as we drove passed. Another box ticked.

Right so let’s re-cap, ...stunning, awesome, breathtaking, excellent, beautiful etc etc,...well done the Blue Mountains. Next stop Sydney, not overjoyed with the prospect of going into a big old city again, I like the quiet country and coastal life. I guess it’s gotta be done though.

We headed back to camp with smiles on our faces and memories burned into our minds. They were keepers. When I sat back in my chair outside the van and cracked an ice cold bottle of Tooheys Extra Dry, it hit me that I was so relaxed there was a danger of me slipping into a coma, life does not get a whole lot better than this. By the third beer I was convinced my life was at its peak. By the fifth, I couldn’t do a lot of rational thinking so, instead, I got fleeced up for another cold night under a clear, crisp sky. There were two Kookaburra’s in the branches above our van.....all good.
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