Sunday, December 27, 2009

Freaked out birthday girl

We decided before we left that we would like to check out the Blue Mountains on the way south. So after we left Dunns' Swamp campsite we did an enormous drive through Katoomba, down to the Jenolan caves, and then on to Canberra.

We are running a little behind in keeping the blog up to date, so this was last Monday (Karens' birthday). The drive to Katoomba was relatively uneventful, save for the spectacular scenery of the Wollemi National Park and the western side of the Blue Mountains. In Katoomba, we stopped at Cahill's Lookout and at Echo Point, where you can see panoramic views of the Blue Mountains and the Three Sisters.

Cahilss lookout pano

The views are stunning and the enormity of the Blue Mountains is laid out like a tapestry of colour for our viewing pleasure.

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Karen doesn’t do heights well, and the sight off her children leaning up against the fences, with the sheer cliffs on the other side, was enough to make her feel nauseous. As shown in the last photo.

We then headed down the range for the Jenolan caves. If Karen doesn’t do heights well, then the drive down the side of a mountain, with a sheer cliff face on the left side of the road, signs that declared “No caravans past this point,” was enough to completely do her in. This little birthday surprise that Daniel had planned was heading south rapidly as Karen was completely freaked out just on the drive in.PC218028The road at the bottom goes through the Grand Archway and on to the carpark. Then Karens fear of enclosed spaces sealed the deal – this may not have been such a good idea after all. TIP: When someone is afraid of heights and small spaces, DON’T take them to the Jenolan Caves (and especially not on their birthday).

Daniel and the kids thought the caves were fantastic and wandered happily among the huge caverns. Karen faced her fears and even managed a short video recording in one cave. The main caverns we visited were enormous and that is almost impossible to gauge from these photos.

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On the path back to the Caves House (above), we also saw an enormous pine tree that were decorated with lights (left). This would look spectacular at night! PC218027

After a quick calming coffee and browse around the tourist shop, Karen was in a fit state to consider the drive back up the mountain. I think she may have done that with her eyes mostly closed.

We then decided to drive directly to Canberra, which meant we would arrive 1 1/2 days behind schedule. About 100km north of Goulburn, in the middle of nowhere, we suddenly heard a weird grinding noise from the front of the vehicle. It only went away when we engaged 4 wheel drive mode. We know that driving for a long time on the highway with 4 wheel drive engaged is generally a bad idea, but we had no options and less choices available. So we slowed down even more, and arrived in Canberra at 11:45pm after almost 15 hours on the road.

Will post more about our time in Canberra over the next few days.


AJ said...

Yet again, the photos are amazing. The pictures of the caves are stunning! I did a caves tour in Tassie... once. :) Definately worth doing at least once. God has made such an incredible place for us to enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys,

Sounds like you are having an amazimg time,though Karen seems to have had a hard time with those hights. How was your birthday my sweet? I only had a small chance to talk to you before the reception cut out.

The photos are great it must have been awsome to see such beautiful country!!

The kids look happy and healthy , tell them i miss them and send all my love. Does Josie have a bandage on her left ankle?

This web page was a cool idea Daniel how are you posting them?

Love to all and keep up with the blogging,
Love Jen xoxo

AJ said...

It almost looks like she's wearing a sock on one foot...???

Karen A-D said...

Yes Josie had a stretchy bandage on her foot...she managed to scrape it quite badly on her bike whilst riding around Dunn's Swamp Campground the previous day... Certainly nothing to write home about, she's all good now. It was just in a tricky spot and this was the only way we could keep her bandaids on.