After a week spent in Sydney we were ready for a change. We headed to a 2nd hostel about 15 minutes outside of the city in Newtown. Silence. No noise, fewer people & great accommodations. I was thrilled to be out of the city. We spent a few days exploring Newtown. One evening we went out & ate dinner at Mad Pizza & enjoyed the BEST gelato at a little place called The Cow & Moon. Landon has also introduced me to kebabs. I’ve had lamb, beef, & chicken. Lamb is my favourite for sure! Think Gyro…but much more delicious & flavourful 🙂
While in Newtown we were able to purchase a vehicle. PJ the Pajero is his name. We purchased PJ from a backpacking couple that just finished their travels from Perth to Sydney. He came with supplies to help jumpstart our journey south. PJ also came with feelings of relief. Purchasing a vehicle was our biggest hurdle & we all had been battling sickness & were ready to be out on the road. Our first outing in PJ was to a camping store to gather more supplies for the four of us. Our tents will now be our new home. From there we loaded up & headed for the Blue Mountains.
Katoomba was our first stop in the Blue Mountains. We didn’t take any time easing into our camping excursions. Murphy’s Glen was located on a rugged dirt road on a mountainside about 25 minutes out from the main highway. It had one toilet (outhouse) & one other group of campers. That was it. Such a cool location except for the noisy birds. The birds are beautiful here but they don’t have the most joyful songs. So many Cockatoos! We spent our first afternoon in Katoomba gathering more supplies & groceries for the week ahead. We only have one esky & a few cooler bags so we have to be strategic in the food that we buy. We frequent the grocery store with two hungry boys to feed ;).
Our 2nd day in Katoomba we finally began to explore the Blue Mountains. Our first stop was the iconic Three Sisters. The views and landscape was absolutely breathtaking. From the sisters we started our hike. A few hours & millions of steps later (roughly 1,500 or so) we completed our hike with waterfalls & views overlooking the mountainous valley we had just trekked across. From there we found ourselves at our next camping site at Katoomba Reserve. A hot shower never felt so good. The weather had cooled down quite drastically in the mountains that evening so we were a bit…freezing! The campground offered many amenities along with a laundry room so the following morning Karmen & I were able to wash up a few things before we headed out for our next day of hiking.
Waterfalls. So many beautiful waterfalls along our hike the 2nd day. Many times I caught myself in a daze captivated by the beauty of God’s creation that surrounded me. I was awestruck how much we had seen in such a few short days & it only continued to get better along the way. We saw three different waterfalls that day, all unique in their own way. Katoomba Falls was tucked away deep into the forest floor along a cliff. Wentworth Falls was big & visible from the top of the mountainside all the way to the bottom were it fed into the river below. Mini Ha-HA falls was just located outside a suburban area and tucked away about a 1.5 miles back from the main road. Mini Ha-Ha has been my favourite spot so far. Plus it has a cool name! The pool that it feeds into is deep enough to take a swim but it hasn’t been warm enough for us to do any swimming just yet.
The following day we headed south for Lithgow. We came across a campground on Lake Lyell. Lake Lyell has been our best site yet. We initially planned on staying there for one night. One night turned into 3 rather quickly. Lake Lyell felt remote but we were able to travel into town in just a few short minutes! I’m sure we’ll stay at places similar to Lake Lyell but at this point I’ve asked Landon many times if he could work some sort of magic to be able to take that spot with us wherever we go.
Lithgow was a great town. Similar feel to Millersburg but a much bigger main street with more cafes, shops & restaurants. We happened across a pizza place called Papadino’s. Excellent pizza & incredible people. The gentlemen that ran the place gleefully played us some American tunes on his record player & chatted with us while we waited for our food. I’ll never forget is laugh!
Next day we headed for the Jenolan Caves. The long curvy drive down the mountain was worth every second. Massive caves & many to choose from for a tour. Landon & I chose to do the River Cave. Pictures will not do it justice. We spent 2 hours underground only scratching the service of what the area had to offer. So much history tucked away underground. I encourage those of you reading to take some time & look them up.
Lithgow to Wollongong to Kiama to Kangaroo Valley.
We left Lithgow Friday & since then headed farther south & found ourselves closer to the coast. We made a quick stop at YWAM Wollongong to pick up a package. It became a bit of a reunion trip for Landon. He was able to catch up with a friend he had connections with back from his time at YWAM Perth. Most definitely another highlight to our trip. We then made a quick stop in Kiama for a bite to eat. The Hungry Monkey offered up some very delicious burgers & sweet potato chips (fries) with a yummy aoli.
The drive from Kiama to Kangaroo Valley has been my favorite so far. Mountains, hilly countryside, cattle farms & coastline all in one picture. You don’t see that every day!
We are now in Kangaroo Valley at a campground for the weekend. Relaxing weekend to unwind from the first week & prepare for what’s next. It’s been a bit of a dreary weekend but it’s given me time to read my book & catch up on our laundry. Our hope is to head to Jervis Bay tomorrow (Sunday).
Traveling has presented its challenges but all in all it’s been unforgettable to far. I’m enjoying the slower pace of life & being able go with the flow in deciding what’s next. Australia is beautiful & we’ve only just begun…literally. Anticipating what it will be like as we start along the coast & the temperature continues to rise. I will continue to do my best to share with you along the way. We don’t have wi-fi as often but we’ll try to connect at least once a week. Carve a pumpkin for me :)!