We were up at the crack of sparrows! That is 6am!!!!1 It had absolutely hammered with rain in the night. Which didn’t actually keep us awake, we were just aware of it before we fell asleep. But Lorraine had kindly offered to let us move our luggage out through her house (on a level) rather than have to take it up the steep grass (probably bog) drive. But she was leaving early for work, hence our early awakening. Anyway, it was a job well done because the drive was really sodden and it wouldn’t have been easy to get the cases and the food boxes up there.
We went back in and had a lovely breakfast and then set off at about 830. We had a long way to go today: 415 miles!!! About half of the way was on the Pacific Coast Highway, a motorway of sorts, although many sections were what we would term as a dual carriageway, or even an A road rather than a motorway. No matter. The surface was good and there was very little traffic. The weather was atrocious. Very warm but with severe downpours quite often. I mean monsoon like downpours! So, it was good the traffic was almost non existent.
We stopped for coffee once en route and we reached a point just before Newcastle at around midday. At that point we decided that the weather had cleared up enough, and we were in good time enough…. and the traffic had started to mount enough….. that we would opt to take the inland route to the Blue Mountains, rather than continue down the PCH and then through Sydney to get there. It was about 45 minutes longer journey on paper but a much more scenic route, through national parks and forest.
It was indeed a very scenic route and the weather remained mostly dry, although pretty overcast, nearly all the way. As we approached the Blue Mountains proper, the cloud came down again and the rain… but up to then it had been great. We travelled through the Yengo NP for a long time. It was mainly eucalyptus forest but not like those of Queensland. The trees were not as tall or as broad and there wasn’t the tropical undergrowth. You could walk through these woods. It did look prime kangaroo and koala country though, although we didn’t spot any live ones. Saw a few waseroos though…. 🙁 We stopped for a late lunch somewhere in the park. In fact the only place in 160km that was open!!!!! I had a coffee and a cake. Bob had a coffee and a sausage roll. Sadly there were no pies…. There were lots of flies though, so we didn’t linger.
Arrived in Katoomba at about 4pm. We have another Airbnb. Another quirky place website. Much like last night we have a self contained apartment attached to an antique home. It is very quirky. The weahter had really closed in by the time we arrived. Frankly it was cold. We had to get our English clothes out of the suitcase to wear. And they put the central heating on and electric blankets on the bed. YIKES!!!
We went across the road for dinner to a restaurant which gets great reviews on tripadvisor: Pins on Lurline. Literally across the road which was very nice after such a long drive… and the steady rain….. website It’s a fine dining establishment like many up here. The Blue Mountains are a major weekend/honeymoon/romantic break destination for Sydney-dwellers. You can tell. It’s like an Indian Hill Resort. Anyway, very nice restaurant. Good welcome. The food was quite rich, well presented. Could have been a bit warmer to be honest. But no complaints. Nice bottle of local merlot. I had courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta, sundried tomato, fig and preserved lemon with a capsicum cream sauce to start. Bob had potato and parmesan soup with home made bread. For mains we both had slow baked pork belly with truffle mash, confit tomatoes, spiced cauliflower and a smoked fennel jus. No room at all for dessert.
Back to our electric blankets and big brass bed! The rain is still pouring down outside. Hopefully tomorrow will be brighter or we will not see any of the famous viewpoints.
On a good note, Lucy is nearly here. She lands in Sydney at about 6am tomorrow after her ghastly 24 hour flight via Doha. Well, it was probably all right, but just very long and tedious. Can’t wait to see her on Saturday.