New South Wales
Our final state - New South Wales.
A visit to the Blue Mountains was much looked forward to, this area having been a tourist favourite for well over 100 years. Accommodation is fully booked at weekends as Sydney is a short drive away, but many cottages are empty during the week. We managed to rent a cottage that can sleep 14 for the two of us for about £75 per night. We inhabited just a tiny mezzanine floor, ignoring the vast lounge area - perhaps reflecting that we have been used to a small living space for such a long time.
It was great to be able to walk out from our Lodge and within minutes to be in the bush. Five minutes into the walk Caroline warned Murray to 'be careful of that snake' as he put his boot down 2 inches from its head with the reply 'What snake?' As you can see from the pic it was a brown snake - you would have thought one of the most venemous snakes in the world would have a scarier name.
We walked all day from waterfalls to viewpoint platforms with dizzying drops underneath, to Victorian picnic spots all surrounded by tree ferns, eucalyptus trees (the oil evaporating from the trees puts the 'blue' in Blue Mountains) to the sound of lyre bird melodies. The area is very stunning and in a secret location has trees (older than dinosaurs) that were thought to have been extinct for 231 million years until their relatively recent discovery. Our second day was a canyon walk through caves, tunnels and under rocks with a babbling stream full of orange cray fish and a multitude of singing birds. A day of being tourists meant a round trip to the world's steepest railway. As you are not strapped in you have to brace yourself to avoid falling forward. A walk along boardwalks gave us close up views of a mother lyre bird feeding herself and her baby. Such a great area.
The Three Sisters