18.03.2016 - 21.03.2016 70 °F
Keep on keepin' on, I say.
Waking up early to catch a flight is always the pits. Waking up to pouring rain and storming weather with caution of potential delayed flights due to weather is even more the pits. When it came time to fly back to Sydney, we felt we lucked out with our early flight choice. Thankfully we were up in the sky and out of Melbourne before the weather became problematic. I'm telling ya, the weather there changes temperament faster than me when I'm in need of a snack.
(Needing a snack--I am not amused)
We landed early in Sydney, but due to some mix ups with our car rental agency we were held up, not getting out of the city until close to noon. We were headed to the Blue Mountains, about two hours from the city, so even though it was annoying it wasn't terribly inconvenient to leave later than planned.
I love the Blue Mountains and was greatly looking forward to our return. Ten years ago Zac and I took the train west to explore them and had so many wonderful experiences that I couldn't pass up the chance to go back while in the area. This time we would have a car, and therefore more freedom. We would also have a toddler, which negates that freedom.
We stopped for a quick take away lunch in Katoomba, the most popular of towns in the Blue Mountains. The town hasn't seemed to have changed much, but we didn't have much time to explore. It was Desmond's nap time, so we headed up the Great Western Highway to the small town of Blackheath, where we would be staying.
Blackheath is about ten minutes from Katoomba, just a little beyond Medlow Bath. It's local claim to fame is the town's many rhododendrons, which aren't in bloom during the fall. Otherwise (and even with) it's a very sleepy town.
We chose to stay in a cabin located on a property with several other cabins strewn about. There was an indoor pool on the grounds, a BBQ area, fire pit, game cabin, swings, and tons of open space for running. For most of our nights there we were the only guests, though I imagine with others it would feel like summer camp. The place was perfect for Des.
They even had a digger!
While up in the mountains we took our time and paced ourselves with few activities. We went hiking around Scenic World where we were able to take a cable car over the Jamison Valley and see the Three Sisters rock formation.
The cable car puts you down on the valley floor where we were able to do some hiking with Des thanks to the well kept boardwalk.
He ran most of it, but the last 30 minutes were uphill, so he hopped back into the stroller for that saying "too much, too much."
We also picked up a buddy for Des. He named her Kind Katie and while initially we ignored his enthusiasm for the stuffed koalas (he already has three at home that are packed away because he isn't interested in them), we eventually relented after watching him snuggle them all for 15 minutes and tell us how sweet and cute they were.
Given this is the first stuffed animal he's actually chosen for himself, we broke our no more stuffed animal policy. He took her everywhere afterward.
Des was lucky enough to catch not one, but two rides on the world's steepest incline railway. He loved it, laughing and shrieking the entire time while I struggled not to fall head first into the metal cage holding us in.
It was a busy day and he napped hard. I chose to go hiking alone because Zac and Justin were sitting and reading in the sun--a real treat this time of year in the mountains. I chose carefully and selected a difficult hike out of Govett's Leap. Given my time restraints and the fact I'm nearing my third trimester I decided to allot an hour for the hike, so I didn't make it near Grose Valley. It was still a lovely hike.
When Des was up we took him out on an easy hike back near Govett's Leap. He found himself a walking stick "like Mimi" and slowly made his way along. We arrived at the lookout just after sunset.
Hiking aside, the rest of our time in the mountains was low key. We took a day to drive out to some shops in the area and headed west a bit more, this time to Lithgow--a town whose motto is "surprisingly diverse." We searched for some kangaroos in empty fields, but the fields stayed empty and the Roos elusive. When Zac and I were here last we saw so many--I think Zac wanted to recreate our past up close encounters for Des.
Justin hung back with Des during his nap time and Zac and I hiked to Walls Cave. The bush got far too thick for my liking, but it was lovely nonetheless.
I worry about snakes, but with the cooler weather this time of year I am not quite as fearful as last time. I've been walking in the mornings from 7-8 am and it's been chilly enough that I need jeans and a fleece. I figured all the snakes are knitting sweaters and hiding away in these temps.
While three nights in the mountains felt not enough, I am glad we chose to visit. It's a beautiful area with so much to do--even if most of what I wanted to do wasn't Des-friendly. Just seeing his excitement at swimming in the pool or digging with a new toy made the trip worthwhile.
Next we drive back to Sydney. On our last day in the mountains Des and I were watching the morning news when a segment about Sydney's ferry system came on. Des pointed at the ferry on TV and said "I went there! Let's do it again, come on mama, let's do it!"