I woke in the night feeling rather cold. On investigation (in the dark) I discovered the window wide open. Jamie had washed his underwear before retiring and decided they would dry better with the window open. I shut it and went back to bed, sleeping soundly until 5am when both our body clocks woke us up. I managed to get back to sleep and the next thing I heard was the wake-up call at 7.30am.
We had coffee for our breakfast (it wasn’t in our hotel package) and then went for a walk into Paddington. The buildings were sooooo Australian, many had tin roofs and fronted by large eucalyptus trees. We passed the Army Garrison and then discovered the Sydney Cricket ground, very impressive and home to the Sydney Roosters. Returning to the hotel we checked out and set off to Museum train station. As we were buying our tickets into the city my mobile rang, but I missed the call and the number wouldn’t accept incoming calls. We guessed it was news about the missing luggage.
The train journey to ‘Mascot’ and the short walk to the Camper Van Hire Company was soon accomplished. It was a lovely sunny day and promised great things. As I filled in the paperwork Jamie rang the Lost Luggage number at the airport and found out that his hold-all had flown in at 7am that morning, but advised against going to the airport, but to wait until we were contacted again. After completing the paperwork and van inspection we left it parked at the Hire Company with our belongings inside and then caught a train back to the International Airport Terminal. No sooner had we located the lost luggage counter when we were back on the return train to ‘Macot’ with Jamie clutching his belongings. It truly has the makings of a great day.
On return we used the company’s computer to log on to the Australian Road Toll System and set up an account for them to bill us, then we mounted our vehicle and set off on our adventure. Cheered by his reunion, while I was setting up my phone to act as a SatNav for the journey, Jamie had volunteered to drive, with some trepidation I let him.
His experience of driving the vans at work proved good experience as he had little trouble in negotiating the rather complicated route through the streets of Sydney to get onto the M4, which would after nearly a couple of hours would take us to our destination. When the city began to recede behind us, as we hadn’t had breakfast, we stopped at a MacDonalds for an Aberdeen Angus Big Mac (yeah, I bet it was), fries and Fanta. Satiated, we setting off again. Soon we started to come across little settlements that, as before, looked soooo Australian. The countryside began to rise and before long we could see the Blue Mountains in the distance. Our ears began to pop, indicating the height that we had reached. The views were fabulous, I could see why my friends who had been here before said that we would enjoy the spectacular scenery. You could picture the dinosaurs roaming through the landscape.
Finding the Camp Site with no problem we checked in, found our pitch and soon had the van hooked up to the electricity and water. As the Katoombah Falls were just 5 minutes away across the road, we set off to have a look. Wow, I didn’t expect that. It was the set of ‘Jurassic Park’, or could have been. There were many little, well maintained trails that you could follow that clung to the edge of the precipice. The Aussies had fully utilised the potential of the panorama, they had built a railway, skyway, cableway and walkway across and around the canyon that allowed you to view the scenery from every possible aspect. There were few using the walkways with us as the day was running out but the more comfortable overhead routes were still full to capacity. When our meandering through the prehistoric set-piece brought us to one of the Skyway terminals they were starting close down. We set off back to our little van.
Unhooking ‘Shiela’ (we christened her) from the utilities we drove into Katoombah, parked int the Lidl car-park and shopped. Jamie was going to make bolognese tonight, so we purchased the necessary ingredients with a few other items. I should note that I have spoken to 6 Australians so far and none have been authentic. One French, two Germans, Polish, Italian and Estonian. Back at the site Jamie set about making the evening meal and I wrote a bit of this blog. I must confess the bolgnese was rather tasty, I washed up afterwards while Jamie sat at the back of the van listening to the radio and trying to see his breath in the now rather chill air. Well it is winter down here, though encouragingly the radio weatherman is predicting the temperature to steadily rise to twenty degrees over the next few days.
Jamie has bagged the bed made from the seats in the van, I have been relegated to the roof, the reason being that he will be getting up at least twice in the night to visit the loo (luckily we are next to that block). Having slept in the same close proximity with him for the last three days I know that to be true, so he gets the bed by the door and I climb the stairway to heaven. We just have to work out how we put the beds together.