So the time has come for us to leave Sydney, it’s been great catching up with Rosi, and having somewhere nice to stay has been brilliant !
Still, leave we must, the first part of our trip is back on the ferry into Circular Qyay, we stopped there briefly to take photos but the sun was right in your face so not helpful !! The next step was to catch the Parramatta River ferry to Parramatta, very simple, if only public transport in the UK was this easy 😉 From there we cycled along the M4 highway, it has a bike lane so not to bad. Not much to see along this route, no shops, cafés or bars ! Anyway just after the turn for Penrith the road starts to head up as you climb into the Blue Mountains. It’s fairly steep at the start and it’s hot, no breeze and the traffics picking up. Then, to top it all, Naomi has her second puncture of the day. The pit crew, namely me, springs into action and a few minutes later we’re back to cycling. Our destination is Faulconbridge and soon enough we enter the outskirts of the town. We’ve booked a motel here as there are no campgrounds and we wanted to stay as Naomi knows someone who lives here. Dave and Sara and there four kids used to live in Bristol but Sara’s from Australia originally so they’ve come to live out here, Dave teaches in Penrith and Sara has the unenviable job of home schooling the kids, tough gig !!
We checked into the motel, showered, emailed and FB’d then wandered round to there house for a chinwag and dinner. Naomi certainly enjoyed catching up with them all, I managed a word or two when she stopped for breath… only kidding 😉
So despite it being a pretty boring ride day, it turned out to be a great evening !!
So not to many photos today….
Like I said, a slow day photo wise !!
From Faulconbridge we headed to Katoomba, not far away but we’d booked a backpacker, we’ll take a day off here as there’s loads of stuff to do. We’re still climbing and it’s still very hot, were still on the highway but every now and again we find a short alternative. It’s great to get off the highway in one sense as it’s a bit quieter but the roads are so narrow ! When a car does come we literally have to stop to let them past, they’d push us of the road otherwise ! It was on one of these sections when Naomi started to feel a bit of. Not sure what was wrong but she’s tough and I don’t remember seeing her looking this out of sorts before. The road was rolling hills but steep hills and on our tourers we were having to work hard. I’m not sure how Naomi managed that last 10k into Wentworth, the first place we could stop at, but she did and we were rewarded with a great cafe / bakery. Great coffe, pies and a huge cinnamon bun between us, heaven 😉
The sugar rush worked it’s magic and for the last 10k into Katoomba it felt like I was cycling with a different person, Naomi was back !!
We found the backpackers without any trouble and quickly made ourselves at home before getting down to work. Naomi is doing a talk on, cycling round the world, in Edinburgh when she gets back and needed to design a poster. Ipad and relevant app to the rescue and an hour or so later, job done 😉
I in the meantime caught up with my blogs, email and FB and by the time we’d finished we were hungry. Time to head out for food, and maybe a beer or two. We found what we needed at the Old City Bank Brasserie, great pizza and pulled pork sandwich with extra chips and some great ale, a real taste of hops !! We didn’t stay out to late as to be honest we were a bit tired, the three days in Uluru were catching up on us.
Just a few photos….
Not great cycling roads but hopeful things will get better 😉
Our day off in Katoomba didn’t get off to a good start, it was raining and had been all night ! Still we’re British and so we donned our waterproofs and headed into town. Now, as I said earlier there’s loads to do in and around Katoomba but most of it requires good weather. You see we’re in trail walking country, lots of views over valleys, waterfalls, rocky outcrops not to mention, sky walks, the sky way ( worlds steepest railway ) and so much more. As it was raining we opted to take the hop on hop off bus for a while to see if things improved. By 10.00am you could still barely see your hand in front of your face, the mist had really come down and it was still drizzling !!
We got of at stop 17, Leura Cascades, a lovely walk down through temperate rainforest with a small river flowing nearby. Every now and then it widens and tumbles over moss and lichen covered boulders until it plummets over a fairly high cliff. It was beautiful, the mist gave everything an ethereal look, the sun desperately trying to break through gave the canopy an eerie quality. There were lots of interesting flowers and toadstools to photograph not to mention the path itself, twisting and turning it’s way through the forest, over boulders, round rocky outcrops and across small bridges. Despite the weather Naomi and I really enjoyed our walk but now we were hungry.
Lunch was in Leura at a Chinese restaurant, cheap and cheerful, we finished our meal and were going to head to the three sisters. It’s a group of three large rocks, there’s a walk down to them and a bridge between the first two. On a good day they’d easily be visible from the lookout but today…..no chance !
As we headed for the bus stop it started to rain again, then it got heavier, then the thunder and lightening started and pretty soon you had a full scale storm. The road quickly became a river and was nearly three inches deep, it’s a steep road so it’s incredible that there was that much water. By the time the bus came we’d decided to abandon our walk, it’s a steep walk down and would be treacherous in these conditions, the bus driver agreed and instead dropped us at the cultural centre.
We spent time in the art exhibition and in the Blue Mountain Cultural History, I much preferred the history, some great characters, photos and stories. Well not only did it keep us dry but I learnt a few things as well.
We did a little shopping on our way back to the backpackers then chilled for a while before heading out for dinner. These backpackers are always so busy that the facilities are just not adequate for everyone to cook, eat and wash up at the same time so we prefer to go out.
Well the day wasn’t as we’d planned but despite not seeing very much in Katoomba we still had a good day, let’s hope the weather improves for tomorrow 😉
And so for a few photos…