Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Treks, speeding and dingo pianos!

We stayed for our first night in Katoomba and our Hostel. The hostel appears to be a mix between a backpackers place and a halfway house for the reprobates of the Blue Mountains. There were a couple of incidents last night of the locals, that appear to live here, having bust ups with the staff who work here. Then till gone 2am, there was shouting and bawling coming from downstairs, from obviously 'over excitable', people. It wasn’t too bad, but was a bit weird for what should be and is advertised as a backpackers place. This morning we all got up and had breakfast and realised that as soon as we use the kitchen, the staff seem to start cleaning it around us!! We use a sink, they clean it before we have finished!! We use a spoon, its gone before we can even get to the sink that has already been cleaned!! Its funny, but a bit weird again!

We had breakfast and made sandwiches for us all for our day out. This morning we were off to do a 4-5 hour walk down a gorge, which is supposed to be pretty spectacular. It is also known as The Grand Canyon. We headed out in our motors and took only 10-15 minutes to reach the car park at Evans Lookout. We had a quick look over the Canyon itself and the girls had their first attempts at 'Jump Shots', which turned out pretty well, especially Donna!! It was then a quick walk along the road before we started our descent into the gorge itself. We quickly passed from bright sunlight and warm air, to darker shadows and cool humid air. The flora and fauna was beautiful, with ferns (Not Palms, Andrea!) growing all around us. We crossed streams, scrambled over rocks (Yes, Jennifer Parsonage did fall on her arse again!) and crushed lizards ( Its OK Lisa, it was definitely dead before you stood on it.) We even had to walk behind a waterfall at one point!

It was a real mini adventure though, with constant changing terrain and a surprise around every corner. Waterfalls, paths that led us the side of cliffs and then under overhangs that made it feel like you were walking through caves and lots of scrambling across rocks and stepping stones to cross streams and billabongs. It was a really lovely walk and quite tiring.

Eventually we reached the end of the gorge and started our ascent back up to the top of the cliffs.

It was pretty hard going again and by the time we reached the top we were all out of breath.

We reached the cars and decided on a short rest, during which time Donna wanted a pic with her new baby (The car!!)

In the afternoon we were driving back past Katoomba and to a place called Wentworth Falls – This is a small town, named after the Waterfalls that are found there. After one slight navigational error by Jennifer Parsonage on the way, we made it to the picnic site at the top of the gorge and decided it was time for lunch. The sandwiches we made earlier went down really well and we even had time for half an hours sunbathing afterwards on the grass in the hot sun, before we started the walk to the falls themselves. Once again this was a spectacular pathway. You basically walk along the cliff top and then down some steep steps, then turn back on yourself and walk along a pathway hollowed out in the side of the rock itself, sometimes passing through overhangs that are just high enough to walk through. To the side of you there is a steep drop masked by the plants that are growing there. It wasn’t as hard going as this mornings walk, but was just as beautiful, in a different way. Every now and then you come across a lookout point, where you can see the falls themselves.

After 45 minutes or so we rounded a corner and were on the falls. There is a lovely little pool to paddle in, so me and Lisa did so whilst the rest of the group took photos and rested. Then a little more effort took us along the cliff and to a stunning viewpoint where you can see for miles along the gorge itself and the falls dropping beside the path, deep into the valley below. It was a great place to end our days walking and so we turned around and headed back up the path one last time and back to the car park.

On the way home, we passed by Aldi, to do some shopping for dinner and for snacks tomorrow. But 5 minutes after entering the shop with 5 women I knew my place and left them to it, while I went to get some booze!!

The remainder of the evening is a but of a blur!! After arriving back at the Hostel, we split up – some of us doing a bit of inter-webbing, others having a shower and a rest after the hard days out. Around 7.30pm, I met up with Jennifer Parsonage and I cleaned the potatoes whilst she prepared and then cooked the rest of our dinner - Nothing too difficult, but a good filling jacket spud with beans and cheese – Nice. We had a glass of wine with dinner and then continued the motion at the sofas by the fire. Somehow, the conversation got to Amanda woman, from the bus and we decided the time was right to record a version of 'Santa Baby', for her. Luckily Jennifer Parsonage has a few piano skills and with backing vocals from Donna Marie Dingo, Olivia and Lisa Marie Presley we had a few practices and then videoed a couple of top quality videos. There is one on facebook at the moment if you haven’t seen it. We were also joined by two locals – One 'Ally', from Sydney and another 'Crocodile Dundee', complete with had a weird stare!! It was a hilarious hour or so and a the videos turned out fantastically!!

After the singing sensation, we continued for a while and had a laugh, before we all headed for bed.

In the morning we were due to get up and leave by 9am, but as normal we were still in bed at 8.30! However, it didn’t take us long to get up, shower, have breakfast and the make sandwiches for our 4 hour drive to Jervis bay. I shared a car with Lisa and Andrea today and had a great time chatting to Andrea about all sorts of stuff on the way down. We managed to get a bit lost a couple of times, trying to find a coastal road that doesn’t exist, but everyone was in a good mood and didn’t mind the extra time spent driving – Its better than being on the bus!! After 4 hours or so we saw the road to Jervis bay and took it -suddenly we saw the sign for the road our site was on so we did a quick 360 and took the turning. Jennifer Parsonage had managed top find a chalet in a caravan park, just this morning and we didn’t expect much more than beds and a shed, but when we arrived we were very pleasantly surprised. Its a large cabin, with two bedrooms and sofa beds in the lounge. The pool is just 20 feet away and the lovely town of Huskisson is a short walk. We decided within a few minutes that 1 night here wasn’t long enough, so immediately booked a second!! The only down side is that internet is very expensive, so everyone but Liv, headed into town and after wandering around Jennifer Parsonage found free internet at a small cafĂ© She booked us a night at our next location and we got a bit of shopping and admin done as well as enjoying a beer whilst looking over the gorgeous bay – courtesy of Andrea!

We returned back to the cabin and I decided to take myself out for a run, while the girls freshened up and watched the telly. I had a good run back into town and enjoyed the views of the bay again on the way. When I got back I was surprised to see the girls all sat in front of Oprah on the telly!! They are now glued to the telly, knowing it is a pile of cheesy shite, but loving every minute of the tosh!! haahaa!! This place is really lovely and peaceful and a million miles away from last nights mental home or the hectic pace of Sydney – and its cheaper!! Tomorrow, we are going to mellow out, have a walk and then enjoy the beach in the afternoon!! It should be a good day~!

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