ON THE ROAD: With COUNTRY ROAD
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// THE BLUE MOUNTAINS.
I started out on this journey heading in the direction of the unknown. That’s the true freedom and beauty of the open road. You get to discover more of Australia with the windows down, hair blowing wild in the wind, nostalgic songs and good company – all of which makes heart sing.
To start, we arose in the darkness and watched the sky break into a new day through my front window. We had a plan without a plan: just make it to the Blue Mountains, explore and immerse ourselves in the sprawling rainforests, blue-hazed valleys and windswept heathlands.
The first afternoon was spent chasing light, listening distinctive calls of the lyrebirds, taking chances and turning down unknown bumpy dirt roads. We sought new heights, breathing in the freshest of air standing on The Three Sister’s (Echo Point, Katoomba) and watching the ancient sandstone escarpments burn red as the sun went down on another day.
For dinner, we ended up at Station Bar + Woodier Pizza, where the owner was as charming as the food. After we filled our bellies with the most delicious feast and James Estate Shiraz, we headed for the stars. Evans Lookout, Blackheath provided us with sweeping views of the night sky that shined so brightly until the clouds engulfed us. We decided to have an early night to bed, eagerly anticipating another early start.
The next morning our alarm went off at 3am and out we set to Govetts Leap Lookout, Blackheath, just four minutes from our beds and one of the most incredible sunrises I have ever witnessed. We stood there oh so tired, but contagiously grinning from ear to ear, pinching ourselves staring at sheer beauty unfolding moment to moment in front out our eyes. The sky exploded and the Grose Valley came alive right before us.
In desperate need of coffee we stumbled across our breakfast place, Thunderbird Café. Here the owner played songs that reminded me of my childhood and spoke passionately about local produce and their very own hot sauce, of which I all too obligingly bought a bottle of. One breakfast and two soy flat whites down and with another local recommendation under our belt, we headed to Minnehaha Falls in Katoomba. After an easily accessible bush walk from the car through the reserve, we came across the breathtaking twenty metre high waterfalls. Eager to swim we descended deep into the valley.
The clouds started rolling through when we found ours at the base of this lush waterfall. It was our own private playground; we were perfectly nestled in the valley as we played in the fresh morning water and then lay on the big open, flat rocks when the sun managed to break through momentarily. After a big drive and two early mornings it was the perfect place to rest, recover and fill our lungs with clean air.
The afternoon was spent blissfully with a book and cup of peppermint tea in hand, until we set out to see what the evening would bring. That’s the beauty of the Blue Mountains, everything is so close and adventure is always possible. We visited Cahills Lookout and admired the view from the edge of a steep cliff. The Blue Mountains atmosphere is filled with finely dispersed droplets of eucalyptus oil, which, in combination with dust particles and water vapour, scatter short wave length rays of light which are predominantly blue in colour.
When the alarm went off we were still engulfed in a beautiful cloud, which made the morning drive slow, but incredibly beautiful. We were told Pulpit Rock was an absolute must, so in that direction we headed. We again found ourselves alone with the moody atmosphere you can only find in mountains, wrapped in blankets and sitting in awe, taking in the magnificent views of the fog dancing through the valley below.
I have no doubt it would be a magical place any time of year. There is a certain energy that makes Blue Mountains truly special – from the land, to the locals and the travellers you meet along the way. Two days here was simply not long enough, but it was the perfect introduction to a uniquely remarkable place. We left with full hearts and a strong sense of knowing it won’t be long before we will be drawn back for more.
I would like to acknowledge the Dharug, Gundungurra, Wanaruah, Wiradjuri, Darkinjung and Tharawal Nations as the traditional owners of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. I pay my respects for their elders past, present & future.