Another great day as we rose to the birds singing and we decided that Jenolan Caves was the place to be today. So the four intrepid adventures headed off at leisurely pace. The road in wasn’t to bad. Very narrow and windy with nice scenery added in but nothing spectacular – that was until we got to the caves. You have to drive through a cave to get to the caves and that was unexpected and remarkable. On the other side I guess you could call it the Jenolan Caves village is situated. The buildings are quite old and in pretty good condition and again was very pleasant. We did the orient cave tour and I know we have been to a few caves both in Aussie land and New Zealand but they never cease to amaze and all are quite different. I think we all came out better for the experience and our guide was a very pleasant chap indeed. Lots of stairs, lots of photos and stalagmites, stalactites, etc etc etc. It was pretty steep and narrow in a number of places so it’s just as well I have lost some weight! (Di’s laughing wants to know where). Once out of the caves we had a relaxing lunch in the village before heading back. On the way home we went to the Rhododendron Gardens which is all managed by volunteers and is big at around 45 hectares. We explored about 1 acre and took a lot of photo’s. The varied and range of plants is incredible and is such a magnificent show. We had the privilege of being serenaded by frogs which echoed strangely around the valley.
Last stop on the way home was Govertts Leap lookout and again there is the wow. I said on our New Zealand blog you become a little blasé about the beauty after a while but there is always something incredible, picturesque or interesting everywhere.
Now we decided that coffee was in order to complete this day so we tried a place called “Common Ground” alternative would be one way to describe it but hey we are adventurous people. It was a fitting end to the day and very pleasant although I wouldn’t have been surprised if I started seeing fairies and skipping through the tulips. Ahh well we shall sleep well tonight.
Well if yesterday was bad today was brilliant. Gaz and Chaz turned up late yesterday and we decided if the weather was good we would do the scenic railway etc. What a fantastic morning (after a good nights sleep). After purchasing our discovery tickets, which entitled us to a return trip on each of the three modes of transport, we set off.
Our first trip was on the cable car across the Katoomba Falls Gorge. The view into the gorge was spectacular with Katoomba Falls in full flight. The cable car stretch 500 meters across the valley at a maximum height of 250 meters above the valley floor. I tested my nerve and walked across the glass floor mid way across – I have conquered another barrier. Di followed damn we are becoming dare devils. Apparently the car was used in an episode of the biggest loser when they had to descend on rope ladders. From there it was the scenic railway. At first glance a formidable structure with huge grab rails and metal mesh on the side and roof. Once we went over the edge all became apparent. At the steepest point you are 2 shades short of vertical and down you go through the bowls of the rock. In retrospect, for my liking, the tow cable should have been double the size. And then we returned – backwards. This was and is the original scenic rail that has operated since day one, albeit the carriages have been modernised and “improved”. Pictures and words are not a justifiable means of conveying this place, not only on these engineering feats but the Blue Mountains in general – a very cathartic place and one that we will have fond memories of. Back to our third mode of transport – the sky rail. Not dissimilar to the cable car only this doesn’t go across it goes down and up on a very steep angle. From the scenic railway and the skyrail you can get off at the bottom and there are walking trails every where around the valley. The main ones are suspended board walks and the four of us meander around soaking it all in, stopping to sit and contemplate every 15 minutes or so. We also followed the trail to the old coal mine site which gave a bit of the areas rich history. From my point of view I’m very happy the coal mines are no longer here but the mountains are.
Di on the only horse she is ever likely to ride. The other picture is of a rock formation called the 3 sisters. It is an indigenous story of three sisters but I’m not writing it here as there are a number of different versions.
A new day and I must say I find Katoomba very pleasant. The caravan park is quiet but busy and is very, very pleasant. I would recommend it and come back again. Ken the caretaker talks at 100 mph but is extremely helpful. The town reminds me of a mix of Daylesford and Cuba st in Wellington. The weather is, well raining, but still not unpleasant. It’s a fine mist which just saturates everything and creates this eerie mist effect around the place we went for a drive to few lookouts etc but you couldn’t see much. We are waiting for Gaz and Chaz to arrive although that will be late today as they are driving through from Wodonga. They stayed at the “princesses” caravan park last night so will be interesting to get their thoughts. I hope the weather clears as there are loads of walks to do and we want do a few. Di is a bit sore and sorry today and has the makings of a bruise on the cheek and aches and pains. Today I think will be pretty quiet for us which is not such a bad thing. Di is probably going to do some scrap booking. Above is Di looking out over the Blue Mountains.
We have done our assessment of the ablutions block and we have given it a 7. It obviously services the whole park but is clean and neat. It also has 24 hr piped music. I can’t complain about anything so my standing as a grumpy old fart may be tarnished.
Below is the view from our annex to the cabin on the opposite camp site
Di was convinced as we left Goulburn that today was not going to be a good one. Her reasoning stemmed from the bad start to the day. We decided that the Maca’s McCafe just down the road would offer a treat (as if Maca’s is a treat) and we were looking forward to the morning latte. We got a capalatte which is my way of saying a cold cappuccino with enough chocolate on top to make a couple of freddo frogs. Very disappointing clown man. The” barista” was in need of a personality transplant. So off we toddle on our way and as we neared Penrith I decided I needed a drink and we would get some fuel. It was my turn to have a melt down with another personality challenged attendant. The rest of the day wasn’t too bad or so we thought – never let your guard down. We had turned in for the night when the call of the ablutions block got to Di. In transit the ground and Di,s chin collided. I heard a faint call at the door and went to investigate to find Di with a palm covered in blood. It would be fair to say I used quite a bit of my first aid skill although I suspect Di wouldn’t use the word skill. After that there was no more excitement –just as well.
Not much to report except from Penrith there was nothing but road works. We arrived at about 12.30 after the navigator stuffed up (me) and we ended up half way to Lithgow before we could turn around. This afternoon was chill time. We think it will be pretty cold up here at night but if today is anything to go by they should be good. Photo of Camp Tranquility.
We woke to a reasonable day and not wishing to leave the riveting company of our hosts we managed to get away pretty quick. It was a couple of hour trip and noting much exciting happened. We went through Holbrook and Tarcutta. Holbrook didn’t look to bad lots of water on the sides of the road etc. Tarcutta coped it I would say. Pretty much anything near the river would have been flooded. There was a lot of debris on the road but it was still in pretty good nick. The pub looked in pretty bad way and I wouldn’t buy fuel from the servo for a while. The digs for the night are pretty reasonable to. The wind is blowing a gale and cold as. The owner here tells me it snowed 2 nights ago and I think we will be in for a cold night. Outside the office the owner has set up his own miniature railway. He has put a lot of work into and is quite interesting. I don’t know who the artist was that created the ant ensemble but they watch over the railway. I have rated the ensuite a 5 which was ok.
Well we woke to the news that the Hume had been cut at Holbrook so we made the decision to stay put another night which was a small logistical issue as we had to push all our bookings out a day. The “wonderful “ proprietor told us how much extra work it had caused her and Di’s current favourite phrase almost made it out of my mouth. Suck it up princess I was thinking. I have decided on this tour I need a hobby so I am going to rate all the ablutions blocks and ensuites at the places we stay. I think a scale of 10 would be good with 1 “we would have been better with a shower tent and plastic bottle to 10 the absolute epitome of luxury”. At our current abode I would rate 3. The garden shed they call our “ensuite” has been divided into 4 equal sections with plywood and 100 mile an hour tape. The exhaust fan is so noisy that you expect to have foot straps and seat belts so you don’t get sucked out the vent. There is a reason, I believe, for this it’s so anyone else who may be using theirs will not get embarrassed by toilet noise. On the plus side there is plenty of hot water.
The weather is still deciding what to do but we have had some blue sky. I thought I might do a bit of maintenance this morning on the van so off we toddled to get some supplies. We came across a farmers market at the info centre and a local was selling waratahs so a flower shot for Di. After lunch we headed for the Hume weir. We had been told it was nearly over the spill way so we thought we would go take a peak. It wasn’t quite there but hasn’t far to go. The rooster tail from the hydro plant was pretty impressive. As you can tell looking at Di it was hot and dusty out at the dam. Don’t care if we have to put pontoons on the van we are out of here tomorrow.
Day one of Tagalong tours epic journey and as our two brave souls left the relative comfort of home we reflected on life and its vagrancies. It pissed down raining, hardly let up and the old van we have discovered has a few leaks. But we will soldier on through the wind (head on, side on and up my bum) all the way to Wodonga. We noticed a bit of blue sky about 20 kms south of Wodonga and we rejoiced. A mite premature I might say got drowned unhooking the van. Ah well we have started our holiday and that’s all that matters. The wind and the rain have gone at the moment so we will hopefully have a restful and quiet night. We also have been told the highway could be cut or at least partially closed north of Albury. I have put up a photo of us at Wodonga just before I got drowned – again. Oh the joy.
Welcome to our new site (if anyone actually looked at our old one). Not long now and we head of on this years little sojourn. Blue Mountains and Nelson Bay I can’t wait, although it will be interesting times. Buggered shoulder etc will make life a little interesting and to make matters worse its my casting arm, wonder if Di would like to learn to cast? We will keep you posted on our progress and Di’s casting prowess she is just gunna live that.