© 2012 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated_australia_oberon_01

Australia – Blue Mountains & Canberra – 15th-18th Jan

In our tightly packed Hyundai Getz we made our way to Helen’s freinds place not far from the Blue Moutains. Gael lives there with her husband Chris and 3 children Kye, Lace and Cove. Times have definitely changed since our Uni days together and it was just lovely to spend time with them all. The weather wasn’t particularly sunny so we were more than happy to chill out and have a good catch up.

Dave was taken out with the boys on a fishing trip along the Hawkesbury River with Kye coming up trumps with first catch of the day and later on Uncle Jonny brought home the bigger catch! Meanwhile Helen was laying low with Gael, Lace and Cove helping to entertain the little ones as and when was possible! Thanks to the Duffy family for making us feel so welcome! Hope to see them all again soon!

So onwards with our journey and as Gael and family don’t live too far from The Blue Mountains National Park we made our way along highway 32 eventually stopping at Wentworth Falls. It was really foggy so we couldn’t quite make out the views but it was definitely atmospheric enough to be there. Further along the drive we stopped at the more famous sights in this area including the Three Sisters.

We were there with hundreds of other tourists and made our way down part of the Giant Staircase to the Sisters before going to the Information Office to find out about camping in the area. We picked up some good advice from the friendly staff and made tracks to Katoomba. Here we re-fuelled on chai and food shopping whilst also enjoying a peek into some of the vintage and antique shops. It’s a street from another era and has a lot of charm about the place. Later that night we camped at the Old Ford Reserve Camping ground down in the Megalong Valley. It was a lovely spot for our first night of camping in Australia and it was free which is always a nice bonus.

The following morning we were up early and packed our backpacks for a hike down from Perry’s Lookdown. We’d been into the National Park office the day before in Blackburn and was informed this would be a good hike to get the hear rate pumping! It starts on a steep descent down to the Blue Gum Forest, you cover the ground pretty quickly but its tough in sections with steep steps and hand rails to help. Getting down was probably more challenging than heading back up again as it was pretty jarring on the legs, fortunately thanks to Amy and Amit who gave us some hiking poles we had something to help us get down and back up and we were really happy to have those with us. We stopped at Acai Camping ground at the bottom and then made our way back up again. In all it took us under 4 hours and we were happy to have the workout.

When we left the area we continued to drive through more National Park and bushland before stopping in Oberon where we decided to stay for the night in a holiday park. It was really good value for money at $24 for the 2 of us with good cooking and shower facilities, plus we were knackered after the walk in the heat and desperately wanted showers. It was a really lovely evening in Oberon and we drove out to a nearby reserve to watch the sun setting.

On the 19th we had a long drive ahead of us and drove south from Oberon towards Canberra via Goulbourn. We stopped after 2 hours of driving at the Wombeyan Caves, some 25km of gravel road away from the main road. It was like driving through real bushland and arriving at some hidden haven where campers were set up on lush green lawns and a little community of holiday makers right there. The site is surrounded by huge caves most of which are by guided tour only, but the Figtree Cave offers a self-guided tour which we decided to go on for $15 each. It was a short walk through forest into the cave where we had a small token to open the door. Inside the cave is vast with several chambers to walk through, at each section motion detectors sense your presence and a little voice over happens to take us through sections of the cave. We’re not really ones for staged things or over the top attractions but this was tastefully done and we were the only ones in the cave at the time so we took our time walking along the purpose built walkways. A nice little detour.

We continued our drive to Canberra and after setting off at 9am in the morning we arrived into Canberra just at around 3pm where we had a pretty unhelpful chat with one of the ladies at the information office. We just decided we would get some food for our evening meal, and then have a walk around Parliament House. There were quite a few tourists hovering outside Parliament House which is a very contemporary piece of architecture. After a few photos and having had enough of the intensity of the sun we were unsure where to camp for the night and drove through Queenbeyan before deciding we didn’t want to spend another $25 on camping fees to be on a road side. After a spot of internet research we found there would be a free camping reserve along highway 52 just before Braidwood, so we cooked our dinner on our one burner stove and then drove for another hour and a half. It was a bit too much driving for us that day and we were relieved to be in our tent by 9.30pm watching another episode of The Killing surrounded by other happy campers!

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0, 18mm f4, 90mm Tele-Elmarit f2.8 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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