27.12.2010 - 01.01.2011
I know its a bit much cramming both of these into one post, but internet access is a bit patchy in the 'Red Centre', so I had to wait till we got to Cairns to up date.
Things did pick up in the Blue Mountains and on our last day we has glorious sunshine. The mountains to the west of Sydney were a bit of a poser for the Victorian expeditionists of Australia; though not particularly high, they are criss crossed by deep gorges and it took many years before a route was found across them. (I am embarassed to say that I can't remember why crossing them was important in the first place though).
They are a mecca for weekenders from Sydney now, like....well, like any nice spot not far from a big city. There are really breathtaking spots; which is lucky because there isn't room to breath in a lot of them, but our very nice Welsh landlady tipped us off with a walk in the less well known but lovely Megalong valley – see photos. We had it almost to ourselves, walking behind waterfalls, climbing rocky stairs and bumping into a nice man with a “blue heeler” - an Australian cattle dog (Elyne Mitchell again folks).
Weather in Ayres rock was much more predictable – HOT! Not quite as hot as Death Valley in the US, but who's counting over 40 degrees!
The rock – Uluru now since it was handed back to the Anangu people in the 80's – is as impressive as you could imagine. The desert around is very green, but flat, and the rock, together with the “Olgas” n nearby – just sit there like they were dropped from space. The focus of the park since the handover is very much on the aboriginal cultural aspects – the spiritual significance of the rock – and it just adds to the other-worldly atmosphere.
And nature was all around us and in some cases cuddling up with us. I have never seen so many enormous bugs as we did walking the 100 meters back to our apartment at night. We called the “snake catcher” in on what turned out to be a slow worm in our bathroom (a story too long for this blog), and the children obligingly settled down with a small lizard in their bedroom (on the basis that at least it would eat the ants).
More on Port Douglas, crocodiles, jellyfish and spitfire pilots to come.
P, C, J and S x
PS Happy New Year and thank you all for taking the time to read!