• Joanna

Let the Exploration Begin

Updated: May 29

We took off from Sydney for a few days to explore Katoomba and the area of the Blue Mountains.

I didn't write a whole lot about this excursion, so I'm just trying to piece together what we did with tidbits in my journal.


Both Jan and I forgot our cameras... typical.

We walked down to Echo Point to see the Three Sisters.

https://bluemountainstoursydney.com.au/blog/dream-time-story-of-the-3-sisters-in-the-blue-mountains/


Yet it’s not only the wonder of the landscape that captures the hearts of many travellers who sojourn to the Blue Mountains but the story behind the three rocks that stand tall. The ancient aboriginal legend tells the tale of three sisters – ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and Gunnedoo’. These three enchanting girls lived in the heart of the Jamison Valley as part of the Katoomba tribe. Yet the girls were young and their hearts were captured by three brothers from a neighbouring tribe. However the law of the land forbid the girls from following their desires and marrying outside their own people.


The tale goes on to tell about how the brothers decided to capture the girls and carry7y them away to be wed. Of course, a major battle ensued between the two tribes. An elderly witchdoctor feared for the safety of the beautiful sisters and cast a spell to turn them to stone to keep them safe from harm.


One will never know, as the witch doctor was murdered and unable to reverse the spell.


Shame.


Also a big shame that we both forgot our cameras.

  • We climbed the Furber Stairs - which I described as "more stairs than I've ever seen in my entire life"... but encountered scenic points and waterfalls.

  • We hiked 6 hours to the Ruined Castle.

  • Took a scenic railway down, which was super steep.

That was all I recorded...

When you are young and travelling, there is a certain degree of obligation that you visit random family connections, when immediate family back home insist. It's their way of trying to keep you safe, have someone trusted to keep an eye out for you and ensure that you're taken care of in the manner of a shower and a home-cooked meal...


My family was adamant I visit my great Aunty Mary, who had moved 'down under' a few years prior. She and her new boyfriend lived in a small town called Yass.

To honour this request, I made numerous phone calls to Aunty Mary, each to no avail. As Yass was only slightly off our soon-to-be travelled path, I talked Jan into just GOING to Yass and finding Aunty Mary. It took a long bus ride and then a train... followed by an hour-long trek through town, trying desperately to locate her house. We were both too cheap (and poor) to afford a taxi... not that there were any! Please remember that it was hot... dry... and we had these colossal packs strapped to our bodies...


Find her, we did.


Aunty Mary and her boyfriend. They had just packed up their vehicle and were taking off for a couple weeks. I should have taken the hint from the numerous unanswered and unreturned phone calls, but she basically blew us a kiss, waved us goodbye and disappeared down the road. Instead of a home-cooked meal, a comfortable bed and a hot shower, we were left on the side of a dirt road, exhausted, confused, straddled with heavy packs and now, stranded in a small town...

Jan was MAD...


Our first few weeks in Australia were spent wandering around and exploring.... town to town, hostel to hostel...

There was nothing, in particular, I especially remember, and I am having a difficult time even pinpointing the location in these photos (having just recently given all my albums the big heave-ho)...


It was as if we were both going through the motions, on the Australian tourist trail and heading North. We were very diligent about ensuring we landed in the recommended spots and popular places, visited the suggested attractions, took the typical tourist pictures..


... blah...blah...blah...


We ventured up to Katoomba and did some hikes in the Blue Mountains. We explored all there was to offer in Canberra, Newcastle, Girvan, Forster, Port Macquarie, Nambucca Heads, Bellingen and Coff's Harbour...


If there was an off-the-beaten-path, we were not on it...


Not yet anyway...

Don't Hitchhike #1


It was freezing.

We went into a little cafe, had some hot chocolate and went back onto the road to try and hitch a ride back to Sydney.

It was 14km to the highway and only took us about 10 minutes to get a ride.

A man named Max picked us up and took us to Goulburn- showed us the city and then dropped us back at the highway.

So cold and windy.

We were appreciative for the ride and the tour.


Then this freak named Fritz picked us up.

We were cold... so jumped at the chance to get out of the wind and get warm.

Fritz would not shut up ~ the entire time we were in the vehicle.


He kept going on and on about how he just wanted us to be safe. He repetitively mentioned Ivan Milat (the backpacker murder) and wouldn't stop talking about all the hitch hiking murders.


THEN he started telling us that he could show us where the bodies were.

Eeek...


We needed a good excuse to get out of the car. NOW.

I was shitting my pants. So was Jan.


Then his car broke down.


I've never been so overjoyed for automotive failure as I was right then.


We both vacated the vehicle and walked away, unscathed.


Finally someone half decent picked us up... and delivered us to the train station…

We figured it was probably in our best interest to play safe for the rest of the day.

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