Finally, a new blog post. We did a detour to the Blue Mountains after our time in Sydney, starting with bad weather – how surprising. Our plan was to enter the mountains through the north, but we were stopped because the police closed the street due to 15 centimetres of hail on the street a bit higher in the mountains. But by entering through the other road in the south, would have meant one hour more so we decided to stay there and to have our lunch there. It was worth the patience – the street was opened again, although there were still some white parts up the hill on the street. So, we spent two cold nights in the Blue Mountains with a lot of rain (that’s why we didn’t do any walking tracks and just drove to a lookout for having a look at the scenic foggy landscape, using a 20-minute window of dry weather) after the difficulties by starting our little detour.
Following this, we headed along the coast to Batemans Bay. We spent a night at Lake Tabourie on our trip and got a SUP-Lesson (Stand-Up-Paddling) for free. We discovered the lake on our boards after the short introduction on how to paddle and had a lot of fun in these two hours.
And then there was this moment – we had to say goodbye to the ocean, the salty air, the turquoise water and beaches with palms – we had to say goodbye to paradise for a time because our next destination was inwards the country. Our next destination was Canberra.
Canberra is a confusing city before you get there because everyone has an opinion about it. The city is polarizing the Australian people. There is everything between “must-see” and “wasted time”, but nothing neutral in the middle of both. The city is known as a not unspectacular city, a boring city, but some say that’s the charm. We wanted to explore the city by ourselves on our way to the snowy mountains.
At first view, we must agree with all the criticism. The city centre is very tiny, not bigger than the centre of a town. There aren’t any big malls, only a few cafés and without really noticing we passed the centre and left the inner city already on foot. But at the second view, there are a lot of beautiful tiny places all around the city. The lake between the city centre and government district, the parks in this area, not spectacular but full of people, young and old doing sport like football, frisbee or rugby. And last but not least, the few but amazing cafés, like e.g. the vegan café “Sweet Bones” in the centre with fantastic muffins and burgers.
The next stop was the Mount Kosciuszko National Park, where we stayed for the night next to a beautiful lake in the middle of nowhere. But again, we had terrible weather and couldn’t do any walking tracks but one due to thunderstorms and heavy rain. So, we drove through the national park and saw all the impressing landscape in an area that was totally burnt down in 2003 – a landscape full of white tree skeletons. Two days later, we could do at least one walking track, the Illawong Walk. A walking track through the alpine landscape of the national park, which could be in Austria or Swiss. To get there, we drove a few kilometres of gravel road and hiked through hills full of alpine flowers, beside a little, fast running river and we even found a few snowfields. The track ended right in front of a windy chain bridge which should help ski tourers in the winter over the river.
This landscape, so completely untypical for Australia was impressive. Partly because we were alone during the whole hike which is not often the case when you compare it with tourist destinations like Mount Kosciuszko with the chairlift up the mountain.
We were lucky regarding the weather and even had some sunshine during the hike. After the hike, we got a coffee in Jindabyne and drove towards the north again to stay at the same spot as a few days before, next to the little lake because we wanted to head towards the west the next day. On the way we drove through the evening sun and passed hundreds of wild rabbits, not allowing to go faster than 30 km/h, sitting everywhere on and beside the street with their fawns – a fantastic picture of hills nearly overpopulated by rabbits.
Burning hot and dusty sideroads through dried up farmland – the temperature doubled the next day and without the airstream of the car, we would have withered. Luckily, we had a camp spot directly at the lake near Albury, so we could take a refreshing dip. The drive through the farmland, an area with over 200 kilometres without a real supermarket or a town, we got an impression of what the outback must be like – red-hot, dried out, and very lonely.
Then the temperature was divided by two again and we turned towards the south, towards the ocean – finally. But then we got a message from the State Emergency Service at midday, about expected flooding exactly in our area and that we should prepare a plan for a possible evacuation. Actually, it wasn’t that bad even if we had rain the whole day and the whole night, but the river beside our campsite rose more than a meter overnight and stopped only a bit under the campsite level.
And then, we drove through the Australian mountains for the last time, passes and saddles and on windy mountain roads towards the South through amazing plateaus and steep valleys until we reached the sea in Lake Entrance and got dry weather finally. Salty air – again!
Now, we are in Melbourne, but that’s the next chapter.
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Have you already seen our blog post on the time we spent in Sydney?