After the weekend with Chris & Viv we thought that the decision to leave the coast a day early was a great idea. Miss out on 40C and go to the mountains for some walking in temperatures of around 30C and less. That’s what we got on our arrival 30C, the next day we took the walk from Govetts Leap to Pulpit Rock at 25C and the following day our friend Ian visited and we had a lovely day, with picnic, walking the cliff path near Katoomba at 23C. That’s where it all went tits up – 3 days of solid full on rain, mist and temperatures of 15C at best…….oh bugger!
OK, so the weather did turn rather foul bit before the rain came in we did manage the 3hr hard walk from Govetts Leap to Pulpit Rock. It was a hot day, around 30C, but it was superb and we hardly saw anybody. We had our picnic lunch on the rock with no one around catching what bit of shade there was behind a trig point rock. What a view for a picnic – probably one our best ever. The following day our friend Ian who was visiting friends in Sydney caught the train up to us and we had another lovely walk and picnic along the cliff path.
It was next day that it all went south but the silver lining was that it made us take time to write the blog, sort out the photos, finish booking the hotels for our honeymoon, catch up on emails and generally do all the things we’ve been putting off. There were a couple of periods when the rain was forecast to ease, and it did, so we grabbed a couple of 1-2hr walks to ensure we didn’t go completely stir crazy. On our last day the sun came out and we took the walk down to the bottom of the range, around 500m, walked along Federal Pass for 1hr or so before taking the 900 steps back up near The 3 Sisters. We reckon around 600 calories burned over the 3.5hr walk meaning extra beers and Gin for us tonight! An hour after we got back the thunderstorms set in once again so all in all we got lucky. Lucky is Neil’s middle name.
Sunday morning we set off for Cowra. We passed via a town called Bathurst which brought back a few memories for Neil from when he worked at MMT Energy. He never got to travel here as the project was before his time but there was often lots of banter in the office about the town, the project and the crazy things that some of the guys got up to where they were here. The town had a WW2 POW camp and in August 1944, 1104 Japanese prisoners staged a break out armed with whatever weapons they could utilize such as baseball bats, homemade clubs and sharpened kitchen knives. It took nine days to round them up during which four Australian soldiers and 231 Japanese died. The camp also housed over a thousand Italians but they were not regarded as a threat and many worked on local farms. After the war ended the Japanese were touched by the way in which the Australians had looked after the graves of the war dead and suggested an official Japanese War Cemetery. The theme of reconciliation continued with the establishment of a Japanese Garden and finally the Australian World Peace Bell in the town.
The camp site was at the river’s edge and had a large contingent of day time Cockatoos. Very noisy but very entertaining to watch when they all decided it was time to take off. We found ourselves sharing the BBQ area with a large group having a family reunion and they were keen to chat. Two brothers told tales of their mum and dad arriving as £10 POMs and taking up the offer of work with accommodation provided only to find it was in the middle of nowhere with no running water. We are really enjoying the social side of the campsites and the BBQ is the natural hub to chat while dinner is sizzling. On the second night the conversation was all about the baffling nature of Australian politics – and no we didn’t understand much of what we were told.