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Published: February 27th 2015
After an extra few days enjoying the sights of Sydney we picked up our hire car, a bright blue Ford Kuga, and set off for our road trip. Over the coming four weeks we will be driving from Sydney to Adelaide, via Melbourne. We have a rough route in mind but are flexible, to a certain extent, to amend the route as we please or follow up any recommendations we hear about on the way. Sheila, our friendly sat nav Aussie voice, is helping us to find the way!!
We leave Sydney over the Anzac bridge and follow the prominent signs to the Blue Mountains. At Penrith we turn off the main route and head towards Richmond. We stop in this small town and walk up and down the main street until we spot a small cafe which looks promising. Sitting in the small courtyard we enjoy a toasted sandwich while all around us there is a tremendous thunderstorm with torrential rain - luckily we are under a fairly waterproof awning!!
After our lunch break we turn on to the "Bell's Line of Road" - the original route into the Blue Mountains identified by Archibald Bell in 1823. The
road winds upwards and passes through small towns - where fruit orchards are prominent - we stop at the Pine Orchard in Bilpin to sample a tasty apple pie!! Spectacular views across the hills, gorges and trees abound as we make another stop at the Mount Tomah Botanical Gardens - excellent gardens which are well maintained. We eventually arrive at Katoomba, the main tourist town in the Blue Mountains and settle into Lurline House, our B & B, for the next two nights.
We explored the surrounding area next day - walking along a cliff path with wonderful views across the gorges to the mountains covered in blue haze - due to oils released from the vast numbers of eucalypt trees. Great views of the Three Sisters rock formation were seen from Echo Point, later in the morning after the earlier mist had cleared. Leura was an interesting small town with many craft shops, galleries and cafes. A short steep walk in the afternoon through eucalypt forest brought us to a view point for the Wentworth Falls, which had a good setting, but being the height of summer, were somewhat short of water.
We drove deeper into New
South Wales next day, stopping at Bathurst to visit the very interesting and well laid out Mineral & Fossil museum which had amazing exhibits of sparkling minerals, collected by Professor Warren Somerville, the curator of the collection, ,from all over the world and especially from Australia. We arrived in Cowra later in the afternoon, after failing to spot any kangaroos in the surrounding countryside on our way. Cowra's claim to fame was achieved by a breakout of Japanese prisoners of war from a POW camp during the second world war. The story was relayed in an interesting video presentation, featuring a hologram of a local young lady, in the visitor centre. Next morning we stopped at, and had a leisurely walk through very well maintained Japanese Gardens, set up to commemorate the POWs killed in their unsuccessful attempt at escaping.
After a two day stopover in the Australian Capital Territory (see next blog) we re-entered NSW as we drove directly south into the Snowy Mountains to spend the night at the quiet Ski Inn motel in Jindabyne. No snow at this of year but a major ski resort in the winter months. We then drove over a relatively narrow
winding road - the Alpine Way - and left NSW for the final time entering the state of Victoria.
Accommodation - Katoomba - Lurline House B & B
- Cowra - The Vineyard Motel
- Jindabyne - The Ski Inn Motel
Weather - Generally warm (25c) and sunny with some clouds. Cloudy, misty and rain in the mountains.
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