Driving and flying around Australia for seven weeks, three of us covered lots of territory, and lived in very close surroundings (three beds in one room). Yet, we still love each other!
Adjusting to driving on the left side of the road results in not only a warning ticket, but both Marilynn and I were alcohol breathalyzed by police on separate occasions. The cops must have thought that we had been drinking.
We wrap up the adventure with several hikes in the Blue Mountains, a popular area only 1 and 1/2 hours away from Sydney. “Get there before 9:00 am to beat the tour buses from the city,” our motel manager says. “The tourists don’t speak English, and don’t know how to que.” (form a single line)
Katoomba, the main small town in the region, provides an excellent home base for day hikes. Numerous cafes and the unique residents, including a Tennessee-based messianic Christian sect, make the town a cool place to hang out in the chilly evenings when not hiking.
Many trails traverse this temperate rain forest that blankets canyons and mountains. Some of the main attractions include “Three Sisters” rock formation towers and “Echo Point” lookout.
The “Grand Stairway” proves to be a heart-pumping hike with over 1,000 narrow steps out of the canyon, past waterfalls and odd rock formations.
The forest canopy shields us from the sun, while wild Cockatoos fly in flocks and squawk as if they are mad at somebody.
We avoid the crowds of tourists and children at “Scenic World” which we affectionately nickname, “Wally World.”
To its credit, a person can access views of the canyon if unable or unwilling to hike, via the glass-floored cable car that goes across the canyon, and a different cable car that descends into the valley at a 52-degree angle.
We found that the large cities in Australia share at least one thing in common – fantastic walkways.
After a breakfast of salmon/shrimp/pea frittata on our last day in Australia, we walk from Coogee to Bondi Beach (where we kept our clothes on) and back on the Clifftop Coastal Walk.
This 5.5 km walkway could not be more scenic and was especially pleasant on this overcast day. What a perfect way to prepare for a 13-hour flight back home! Ron Mitchell