Day 121 Gosford – Katoomba – Jenolan Caves
We set off with great excitement, first stop Katoomba and the Three Sisters. Our plan was to walk down the 900 steps around the Sisters down to a path back to the Scenic Railway, the ‘steepest railway in the Southern Hemisphere’ – Jo’s favourite thing to do, despite the inevitable pain of walking for several days afterwards!
We arrived to mist – all landmarks shrouded, so the only photo of the famed rock formations we could take was of a photo in the gift shop foyer :).
The mist was actually quite beautiful and made our trek downwards magical, especially when serenaded by a Lyre bird en route. Once at the bottom we traversed the track back to the Scenic railway and Jo and I caught the funicular up the hill while Katie and Steve climbed up to meet us at the top. From there we caught a local bus back to our car at the lookout, had a bit of lunch, and took off to our next destination – Jenolan Caves.
We had booked a night in the famous Caves House, and arrived latish in the afternoon, though not too late to book into the last cave tour of the day. We spoilt ourselves to a sumptuous meal in the grand dining room (one of only two left in Australia) before struggling up the stairs to our third floor room (those 900 steps done earlier in the day had taken their toll..) to bed.
Day 122 Jenolan Caves – Kanangra Walls – Bathurst
Steve and Jo got up early to do a lap of the Blue Lake before breakfast. After eating our fill Katie and I wanted to do the Blue Lake also so we all returned to do another lap and some of us checked out the only free part of the cave system.
Next stop Kanangra Walls to visit Steve and Jo’s parents brass plaques that adorn a stony outcrop overlooking a beautiful valley in the Blue Mountains. Katie did a few ‘Toyota’ jumps (freaking us all out) for photographic posterity.
After soaking up the amazing scenery we returned to the car to journey on to Bathurst – another nostalgic experience for Steve and Katie who had lived there for six years in the 90s. Katie indulged her desire to drive around the famous Mt Panorama circuit, get ice creams from Annies as well as revisiting various other childhood memories. We stayed in the Knickerbocker Hotel in town. Steve and I caught up with Peter and Jenny, old friends of Steve’s from Mt Piper Power Station days. Katie and Jo succumbed to exhaustion and left us to it.
Day 123 Bathurst – Medlow Bath
After a few more brief tours down Katie’s memory lane we headed back to the mountains, stopping off at Govetts Leap before going back to Katoomba where Jo and Katie were catching a train back to Sydney and another back to Gosford. While at Govetts Leap I managed a quick sketch of the escarpment while Steve and Katie did a short walk – Jo and I needed to rest our very painful calves! Once in Katoomba we had a bite to eat and wandered around the fascinating shops that are housed in lovely old buildings. All too soon it was time to say farewell to Jo and Katie – after waving them off we visited a couple of galleries and then drove the short way back to the amazing and recently renovated Hydro Majestic at Medlow Bath to have a thoroughly indulgent stay on our last night in the mountains. What a view, what a room, what a meal – let’s just say, we were not disappointed and had a delightful time.
Day 124 Medlow Baths – Blackheath – Gosford
Another delightful meal overlooking the Megalong Valley and a wander around the grounds before visiting our old school friend and ceramicist extraordinaire, Simon Reece in Blackheath. It had been many years since any of had seen each other and it was great to catch up on news, check out his studio, and lunch together in town. Then the long way back to Gosford through Wisemans Ferry which we felt would be more picturesque and enjoyable – main roads are definitely not our favourite thing, even when Steve isn’t on the bike.
Day 125 -127 Gosford (with a trip to Sydney)
Saturday morning saw us a Coles at East Gosford with a table full of our merchandise hoping for some interest in our cause – especially with Jo being a long term employee and known and loved by many in the district. We also caught up with a few friends Heath from Perth, just coincidently in Gosford at the same time, and Scott, another friend from school days and his wife Dianne – lovely to see familiar faces as we travel!
On Sunday, Steve, Jo, brother Tim and I set off on a different sort of adventure – a small family reunion in Dee Why Sydney with the Dearden aunt, uncle, cousins and their families. To get there we caught the ferry from Umina to Palm Beach and then a bus to Dee Why. The final sibling, Vicky and husband David had flown in from Brisbane and met us at the Dearden’s – we enjoyed a lovely lunch and the chat flowed along with the wine. We took a different route home, ferry from Manly this time to Circular Quay and then a couple of trains back to Gosford. It was quite a long day all in all!
Steve had booked his Enigma in to get fixed on Monday, so we spent the day getting organised for being back on the road as well as visiting my step mother Joanne who is gradually finding her way back into life without Dad. It seemed like ages since we had been on our journey, and while it was great to catch up with family and friends we were also looking forward to moving on.