Thursday 1st February 2007.
We went shopping after lunch and apart from washing and cleaning, we didn't
do much else. Peter went over to John and Maureen's to help with their
satellite dish again, this time he seemed to get it all under control.
Maureen and John came over in the evening again with more wine. This wine
was beautiful, it came from 40 year old vines and tasted much better than
the stuff we drink. They very kindly gave us a bottle to 'cellar' or drink
on a special occasion. We enjoyed their company very much and will be
sad to say goodbye when they leave.
Friday 2nd February 2007.
I didn't do much today, I was so tired. Two late nights in row doesn't
agree with me. Pete Mate walked into town. In the afternoon we helped
out Maureen with the computer again.
Saturday 3rd February 2007.
Get ready day today, for tomorrow we are off to Port Macquarie. We said
goodbye to Maureen and John, it would be nice to catch up with them again
down the track somewhere. We walked into town and said goodbye to Pete
Mate's lovely Gloria Jean's ladies.
Sunday 4th February 2007.
We left Tamworth around 10.00am. We started off well but then as we travelled
higher into the mountainous area, poor old Billy started struggling again.
We slowed down and then we ended up stopping to allow Billy to cool down.
The rest of the journey was uneventful but by now we were listening for
every creak, squeak and groan. We were travelling though a forest area
when we kept hearing a squeak. We pulled over and Pete Mate got out and
checked everything but all seemed okay. We set off again and heard the
same noise, we stopped and the noise continued. It was a bird! We arrived
late in the afternoon at Port Macquarie, set up camp and had a Happy Hour.
The other people here seem very friendly.
Monday 5th February 2007.
We walked into town which is five minutes away, we found Gloria Jean's.
Port Macquarie seems to be a nice place; it is right on the water with
picturesque scenery. We collected lots of information from the office
so we will decide what to do for the next few days.
Tuesday 6th February 2007.
We went for another walk. The Town Beach is a surfing beach and is full
of young people surfing. It all looked very scary to me. We then walked
along the path which is alongside the break wall. The break wall is made
of huge rocks which have been painted by various people over a number
of years. Some were sad as they were memorials, others were funny and
some were so good the person involved would have to be an artist. We had
a walk around, booked the river cruise for next week and then made our
way to Gloria Jean's before returning home.
Wednesday 7th February 2007.
I went for a walk in the morning and then we didn't do much else. Pete
Mate wanted to take it easy as his back is playing up again.
Thursday 8th February 2007.
We had a lovely day out, exploring the region. We went as far as Laurieton
to a lookout at North Brother Mountain. We had really spectacular views
of the waterways around the area. The road along the coast was also very
picturesque. We couldn't find a Gloria Jean's in Laurieton so we travelled
back to Port Macquarie.
Friday 9th February 2007.
We went for a walk into town in the afternoon. We are looking for topographical
maps of the Blue Mountains so Pete Mate went in one direction and I another,
to the Post Office for the mail. I had a really good walk as I got a little
lost before asking the way to the Post Office. All good exercise. We met
up at Gloria Jean's, where else! I think it is Pete Mate's aim to chat
up all Gloria's girls all over Australia.
Saturday 10th February 2007.
We did some shopping at Settlement City which is just another huge shopping
centre with all the same shops as in Perth. They did, however, have a
Woolworths, a bottle shop and a Gloria Jean's - what more could you want?
We also went back to the information centre to try and find out more about
the roads and caravan parks in the Blue Mountains. Alas they only know
about things in the Port Macquarie area. Strange, I thought they were
an information centre for the whole of Australia.
Sunday 11th February 2007.
When we first arrived here we collected various tourist pamphlets from
the caravan park office. Pete Mate and I went through them and selected
two trips we would like to do, one into the mountains, the other a river
cruise. We booked both and today we embarked on the mountain trip.
We had to drive to the Information Centre where the four wheel drive would
collect us. Usually on these trips you are collected from your accommodation.
Phil, our tour guide, arrived on time but obviously hadn't allowed enough
time for a shave and a bit of a spruce up because, believe me, he looked
like he needed it.
Our first stop was the Tacking Point Lighthouse . . . which we had already
visited. It was named by Matthew Flinders which we already knew fortunately
because our guide didn't seem to.
Next we went to North Brother Mountain . . . which we had already visited.
I wonder if our guide knew that the mountain was named by none other than
Captain Cook? Never mind, we still have the waterfall to look forward
to, and our next stop is the Macadamia Nut Farm where we will have our
morning tea. We arrived at the Macadamia Farm . . . it was closed until
"Never mind", said our fearless guide,
"We will go to the Blackberry farm".
While travelling we received no commentary about the places we were passing
through or about Port Macquarie itself. The only things he told us were
his mother is dying of cancer and his father "isn't real well either".
Oh, and all about his favourite fishing spots.
We drove and drove and arrived in a little town where we stopped at a
picnic spot for morning tea; it was now 11.00am. We have no idea the name
of the town - any questions we asked him about places, birds, trees or
plants received his stock reply; he didn't have a clue but he would
check it out for future tours. Morning tea was pretty standard for
these tours, a cup of tea or coffee a slice of cake and biscuits.
That out of the way, and Phil's cigarette end trodden out and left on
the road, we continued with our tour. We drove and drove and then, as
we turned into the road leading to the falls, Pete Mate declared we had
been there before. No, surely not! But, yes we had. Last year, when we
stayed at Old Bar our friends Jill and Sandy had taken us to the very
same falls. Oh well, never mind, we still enjoyed looking again.
After doing a couple of the walks we had lunch, a round of sandwiches
each and a piece of fruit which his sick mother had made and packed up
for him. While we ate, he told us his mother had a colostomy bag attached
to her waist . . . not a thought I wanted to dwell on while I was eating
a sandwich she had made. Anyway the sandwiches were very nice and we enjoyed
an adequate lunch but at this point I decided the tour should be renamed
Shoestring Tours because it was quite obvious that he was doing it all
on a very tight budget.
Did I mention, on the way to the falls, we had a few stops for 'photo
opportunities'? Roughly translated, this meant Phil wanted a cigarette
and a chance to check the map to see where he was going.
Lunch completed, we all climbed aboard for our afternoon excitement. Excuse
me, what happened to the Blackberry Farm? It was never mentioned again.
We then seemed to be on an exploratory mission for Phil's future tours
because we went near places, noted where they were, but didn't actually
visit them. But he did point them out as we passed by. It was now pouring
with rain and the scenery was very misty so it made sightseeing difficult.
At one point I looked over and Pete Mate was asleep. We arrived at our
next port of call after driving down a very steep, narrow, unsealed road.
I wasn't comfortable with Phil's driving skills so I really didn't enjoy
Anyway we finally arrived at Kindee Bridge which is 'the largest suspension
bridge of its type in the southern hemisphere.' I asked Phil some questions
about the bridge. His answer was, "I have no idea but I will check
it out for . . . " etc etc. So Pete Mate and I walked across the
bridge to the other side and found a plaque giving all the details. We
actually near enough ran off the single-lane bridge to avoid being run
over by a truck. The others sort of climbed on to the railing to avoid
the same demise. Maybe Phil hasn't heard of public liability when he takes
his tour groups into 'dangerous situations'. We left the bridge after
Phil had disposed of his cigarette end in the river.
That was almost the end of the tour, but we had one more stop
- a pub. Hooray! Phil drank squash but he was on his own! He did give
us a little more information whilst we had a drink; alas it was about
his failed marriage, and not about the town of Long Flat where we were
currently drinking. We arrived back at the Information Centre to collect
our cars and drive home. Again, Phil may need to check out his liability,
encouraging his passengers to drink and then depositing them at their
cars to drive home. I noticed in the pamphlet of his tours, only on the
wine tour does he collect you from your accommodation. Overall, we did
enjoy the day because that's what you do, don't you, make the best of
things? It certainly wasn't the best tour we have been on. And another
thing, what happened to afternoon tea which was included in the $88 per
Monday 12th February 2007.
Rain . . . . Lightning . . . Thunder. We never left the caravan all day.
The lightning and thunder passed over but it poured with rain all day.
It was a good opportunity to do some knitting and to finish a book I was
reading. Pete Mate spent all day writing the website. The forecast for
tomorrow is the same. I know we need the rain but you would think God
would arrange it whilst I was sleeping!
Tuesday 13th February 2007.
It was still raining when we awoke this morning. During
the morning it stopped so I did a couple of loads of washing but used
the dryers to dry the clothes. After lunch the weather looked like the
rain had at last left us so we went for a walk. The walk of course ended
at Gloria Jean's. We hadn't been home long when the rain started again
and continued for the evening. This must be good for the dams.
Wednesday 14th February 2007.
I had a lovely morning. I walked into town and went to the movies. I saw
The Queen starring Helen Mirren. It was excellent, I enjoyed
it immensely. Pete Mate stayed at home and washed Billy, I am sure he
had a good time too! After the movies I had a wander around the shops,
did a little shopping, had some lunch and then returned home. In the evening
we went on a Valentines Dinner Cruise. We had originally booked the lunchtime
cruise but that was cancelled due to lack of numbers so they transferred
us to the evening cruise. We walked to the jetty from the caravan park,
a five minute walk. On the way they we passed the war memorial that had
fresh flowers and wreaths on it. Pete Mate queried this and I reminded
him it was Valentines Day. I then passed the comment I would like my flowers
whilst alive, not after I have died, to which he replied that in the morning
he would go and buy me a wreath! We enjoyed the cruise, the meal was nice,
the wine was reasonably priced and the other people were a good crowd.
Thursday 15th February 2007.
Did some chores in the morning and then in the afternoon we went over
to Settlement City to do some shopping.
Friday 16th February 2007.
I walked into town to the shops, had a wander and then met Pete Mate for
a coffee at G.J's. He then returned home to wash the awning and the caravan
whilst I continued my wanderings. I found a really nice wool shop where
I stocked up on wool, went to my favourite second hand book shop and then
walked up the hill to the Pioneer Cemetery and gardens. On my way home
for lunch I had to pass the caravan park's swimming pool. I have noticed
that ladies of a certain build walk to the pool with a sarong or towel
wrapped around them. Similarly built men, however, wear these very brief
bathers and don't bother to cover up. Believe me, their tummies hanging
down to meet their knees is not a pretty sight. In the afternoon
we packed up everything we could as tomorrow we have to take the caravan
for some new tyres.
Saturday 17th February 2007.
After we had finished packing everything away Peter took the caravan for
new tyres. I walked into town to get some more wool and to go to the growers
market. I then walked up the hill to meet Peter at the tyre place. Lots
of calorie credits earned there. Once the tyres were fitted we drove back
to the caravan park and again parked up the caravan much to the amusement
of other campers. We were asked had there been an accident! We unpacked
enough things for tonight and then had lunch. After lunch we went for
a walk up to Flagstaff Hill Lookout, which was a pretty good walk - not
too long. The next stage of the walk was into town this is where we went
wrong. We went the wrong way and walked and walked, we even ended up walking
through a bowling club where the men were in action playing lawn bowls.
Eventually we ended up in the town after asking the way and headed for
Gloria Jean's. Then it was home again for a bit of a rest. 6.30 pm saw
us walking back into town to see a display of Hot Rod cars. The cars looked
really good, some had their bonnets open for the men to have a look. I
had a pink look and was suitably impressed. Of course, Pete Mate had a
full blown blue look at everything. We then wandered up the street to
find somewhere for dinner. Pete Mate fancied Chinese so we made our way
over to a busy restaurant. We had no trouble getting a table but being
served, now that was a feat in itself. Eventually we were served and the
food was very good. The only trouble was there were children at the next
table, the baby screamed for most of the time, the two boys ran around
the table, then a party of four were seated on the next table and one
man in particular spoke so loud people in the caravan park could hear
him. About twenty young people arrived and sat the other side of us so
really it was like having dinner in bedlam. A romantic dinner for two
it was not!
Sunday 18th February 2007.
We arrived on Sunday at Katoomba having had a good run through. It was
a long day, 463 kms. We set up camp and then enjoyed a Happy Hour. Sunday
evening we had a thunderstorm, with plenty of rain.
Monday 19th February 2007.
When we awoke the sun was shining so we thought we would go and do some
sight seeing. We had a really nice drive through the some part of the
Blue Mountains, lovely scenery but not really where we wanted to be. Thank
you Alice! So the good old fashioned map came out and I took over Alice's
job and we arrived at Echo Point without any further hassles. We saw the
Three Sisters and some magnificent views. We gathered heaps of information
from the information office there. We then went into town to pick up some
supplies and saw the poor debacle of the stuck motor home. No one was
allowed to free the vehicle until the man wearing the safety vest had
arrived. Pete Mate has put his version of story on the web page so I will
not cover it here. In the evening we again had another thunderstorm with
plenty more rain.
Tuesday 20th February 2007.
We again awoke to the sun shining so made plans to do a couple of short
walks to the Katoomba Cascades and Scenic World. I didn't want to do too
much walking today as I had a really bad day yesterday with my ankle.
Anyway the Cascades walk was really good and we found other walks to do
in the same area. Then we headed towards Scenic World to get a run down
on what is available. Once there we decided to go on the Scenic Railway
to the forest floor and return by the Scenic Cableway. The railway trip
is like being on a fairground ride. It is very steep and fast. Once we
alighted we did the boardwalk through the forest. That was good, we saw
a lot of things that were left over from the mining days. They had displays
and even a sculpture of a coal cart being drawn by a horse. There were
three walks; a short one, middle one and longer one. We opted for the
middle one and enjoyed seeing the rain forest in all its finery. We then
boarded the cableway for the return journey back to the main station.
It was very quick and not really scary compared to the one in Cairns.
We then had a drink and a bite to eat before making our way home for a
rest. An excellent day out.
Wednesday 21st February 2007.
were up and out by 9.30am, which is early for us. Pete Mate dropped me
off at a shopping centre in Lithgow whilst he went for a tour of a power
station. I enjoyed myself browsing and buying and met the designated pick
up time comfortably. Then it all went wrong. I was waiting, waiting .
. . and then received a phone call to say the tour took longer than anticipated
and Pete Mate would be half an hour longer. No problem, I found a bench
and read the newspaper. I then went to the pick up point five minutes
before the second designated pick up time. Waiting, waiting . . . another
twenty minutes passed by before Pete Mate finally arrived. Meanwhile I
had to endure overhearing the conversation of three young people with
a baby in tow. Every other word was f??k and some others in between.
Wherever I moved to, I could hear them. I wonder if they will be upset
when their baby's first word is f??k.
We then found a spot for a picnic lunch before heading to the Zig Zag
Railway. The train running today was steam, much to Pete Mate's delight.
It was a really good trip with commentary for most of the way. We were
allowed to alight at the Bottom Point and the Top Point. Pete Mate was
elated to watch the manoeuvring of the engine from the front of the train
to the back and vice versa. The whole trip took an hour and a half before
we found ourselves back at the station at Clarence. We then headed home
for Happy Hour and dinner. We had had another really good day out. The
Blue Mountains are exhausting us!
Thursday 22nd February 2007.
It is washing and cleaning day today. Pete Mate was
going to walk up to the Scenic World to take some more photos but at lunchtime
the heavens opened and that plan was scrapped and the washing received
a heavenly rinse. We went to the shops in the afternoon in between showers.
It was our intention to go to the Three Sisters after dark as they are
floodlit at night. Another thunderstorm came in so that plan was also
Friday 23rd February 2007.
We packed a picnic lunch and headed out for another
day sightseeing. We had a few places marked out and Alice led the way.
Round and round the houses we went before we eventually found the lookouts
we were looking for. Again, we saw really lovely scenery. We thought we
would make it home before the thunderstorm started, but no, we returned
through heavy rain and some hailstones. I cannot believe how much thunder,
lightening and rain we have experienced here in a week. Once home it cleared
up and the weather returned to sunshine, though cold as it was the end
of the day. It is always cold late afternoon, at night and in the mornings.
Katoomba is about 3,500 feet above sea level.
Saturday 24th February 2007.
We went to the Blue Mountains Expo, what lovely people there, so nice
and friendly. Shame the people of Katoomba aren't like that. You get some
very surly people in the shops. We picked up some more information about
what to see around the place. We also sampled some very nice wine and
lovely chocolate. This man had a chocolate fountain running and was swirling
marshmallows in it and giving them away. "Would you like to try some?"
Did I have to think about this - no. It was so nice we bought a chocolate
each for $1.50 a chocolate but soooooo nice. Pete Mate honed in on the
Zig Zag Railway stand, I stayed as long as necessary to be polite and
then took off in the direction of the craft and teddies display. I discovered
that in Blaxland there is a shop with over 14,000 bears in it, now that
would be something to see, wouldn't it Pete Mate? The local craft shop
is quite nearby. After that we went to the Scenic World as Peter wanted
to take photos of the Three Sisters sculptures; he is writing about the
legend on the web page. We went into the cafe/bar afterwards and had a
drink; there is something very decadent about sitting in the sunshine,
sipping wine with such fantastic scenery as a backdrop. We arrived home
before the thunderstorm which was the fifth in seven days.
Sunday, 25th February 2007.
What an abysmal day, the thick mist stayed with us all day and it rained
for most of the day too. We had the heater on and wore woolly socks and
a jumper. We spent the day doing crosswords, sudoku, the web site and
knitting. Let's hope tomorrow is a better day.
Monday 26th February 2007.
Another wet and miserable day but instead of staying in the caravan we
went to Jenolan Caves. We drove through rain and mist but when we arrived
at Jenolan it was dull and cloudy but dry. We had a wonderful day exploring
the caves. There are so many tours to choose from, we chose Lucas Cave
which was recommended to us at the Expo. We had time to have a wander
around, a coffee and a bite to eat before the tour started. Our guide,
Daniel, was very good. He explained everything as went through the vast
cave. It was pure magic, so beautiful and interesting. The people of Jenolan
have done extremely well in setting up the caves for tourists while protecting
them for future generations. We climbed up and down 900 steps - lots of
calorie credits! Once we had finished the cave we went in search of more
coffee before we picked up our audio guides and did the self guided tour
of Nettle Cave and the Devils Coach House. This again was very interesting
and many, many more steps. When we had finished we made our way back to
the car up even more steps! Once we were on our way home the weather became
misty and wet, the rain was so heavy we could hardly see in front of us.
Thank goodness for our cosy caravan, I would hate to be in a tent.
Tuesday 27th February 2007.
We awoke to rain again, and more rain. By lunchtime it had stopped enough
for us to venture out into Katoomba. We had to go to the bank, and one
or two shops, plus the supermarket and the liquor store. "How very
interesting", you are thinking, but I am going to make a point in
a minute. The lady in the bank was lovely, very nice, friendly and helpful.
The man in the photocopy place was also very nice and helpful, but the
rest seem to be having a bad day and I was one customer too many. Please
take me back to Tamworth! The town of Katoomba has no ambience and is
pretty grubby, most building look like they are in need of some TLC. Once
we had done all our errands we went home just before the heavens opened
and we had yet another thunderstorm.
Wednesday28th February 2007. We awoke to beautiful
blue skies and sunshine. We decided to go to Wentworth Falls and Leura
for the day. There were a few short walks we could do and waterfalls and
cascades to look at. We packed our lunch and drove to the first port of
call. By now the blue sky had all but disappeared and we could see another
storm on the horizon. We walked to Princes Rock Lookout (more steps).
The views from here were breathtaking and we saw the Wentworth Falls.
There were a million Japanese tourists and I would like to find the one
who left his rubbish behind. How can people go to a wonderful beauty spot
and leave rubbish? Just no respect.
(Editor's Note: This little lady didn't just bitch
about the rubbish, she picked it all up and carried it until she found
a bin. On ya, Pam.)
We then walked on to another lookout called the Wentworth Falls lookout
but from here you couldn't see the falls, strange. We then decided to
make our way back to the car, as Pete Mate said 'posthaste', as we could
hear thunder in the distance and the sky look ominous. Once in the car
we had our lunch and watched the rain come down, another really heavy
downpour with thunder and lightning. After we had eaten lunch, we decided
to go into Leura, have a look around and visit a very interesting antique
emporium and tearooms. We thought by the time we had done all of this
the weather might have cleared enough for us to visit Leura Cascades.
We had a wander around the town of Leura and went into a couple of shops.
The town has more life in it than Katoomba, it has a really good feel
about it and the people were nice and friendly. We walked to the tea house
called Bygone Beautys (sic) where I took some pictures . . .
We enjoyed a coffee and tea, (they serve
real green tea here), whilst exploring all the nooks and crannies of the
shop. There were over 3,000 teapots on display, all shapes and sizes plus
heaps of other collectable items. They house the world's largest private
collection of teapots. It was a very interesting place. Once we left there
we made our way back to the car just in time as the rain returned and
the rest of our plans were forgotten as we made our way back home.
And that concludes February, 2007. Please click below to go forward to