NSW

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow - Twisted Sister

Departing the Capital, we headed towards the Snowy Mountains.  The drive to Tumut wound through some very green and pretty hills.  After a brief lunch stop at a park, where the ground looked like a shearers shed floor we headed out into the wilds again.

We climbed up over a few mountain passes and along some lake shores with some awesome views.  There has been lots of rain here this winter and the surroundings are bright green with spring growth.

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Just north of the big trout we turned into Lake Eucombene.  A very pleasant spot on the side of the lake was our camp for the night.

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Next morning we left in search of coffee and the aforementioned big trout.  We found the super fish and some coffee at the small town of Adaminaby.

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The next town we passed through was Jindabyne.  Hard to believe it is nearly two years ago that we were here on our high country adventure.  Entering into the Kosciuszko National Park we followed the Snowy Mountain Highway to the small town of Khancoban (just outside the park boundary).

With a large patch of flat grass in the caravan park and friendly fellow campers we decided to retire here for the night.  With the park owner and fellow campers all talking up the pub meal, we headed to the local for a counter meal and a few frosty adult beverages.  In an attempt to purchase a stubby cooler, Bryce ended up with a freebie and it even plays music.  Could be best stubby holder of the trip?

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Continuing our journey through the Snowy Mountains we entered into the Alpine National Park.  Taking the scenic route we passed along both sealed and gravel roads through some spectacular country.  

The sealed sections of road around here are very popular with motor bike riders.  There were bikes everywhere enjoying the twisty sections of road.  Very inspiring for Bryce's CAF tour in March next year.

We eventually made camp up in the snow just south of Falls Creek, our highest camp of the lap.  Suspecting the temperatures would drop overnight we lit a fire. 

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As the sun set, the temperature did drop and  I was grateful for the billy of boiling water to fill my hot water bottle!

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On Sunday we made our way around the lake and into Falls Creek.  Still some snow about on the mountains but not enough for a run down Wombats Ramble!

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Once again bikes everywhere.

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On our way down into Mount Beauty it began to hail and for that few minutes Bryce was glad to be in Hillary rather than on Dora.

After a lunch stop at the Mount Beauty Bakery we made our way into Bright where we decided to stop for the night.

We spent the afternoon at the Bright Brewery, having to assert ourselves to keep the couch we were comfortably sitting on.  

On Monday we made our way through Myrtleford, Milawa and Tolmie on our way to Mansfield.  Monday night we spent with Laura, Andy and Hanna.  It was great to see them and sample some of their home grown strawberries.

Once again the day was spent on a mixture of dirt and sealed with loads of bikes on the sealed sections.  We stopped in at Marysville which has been rebuilt since the fires.

We had planned to camp in the Cathedral Range State Forest, but a ground of about 20 tents resembling a school group changed our minds.  We spent our final night before hitting the big smoke at Taggerty camped next to the river.

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Tomorrow we hit the big smoke.

A Kind of Magic - Queen

Deciding to take the long and scenic route to Canberra we braved the pacific highway south to Moruya. Here we headed inland into Deua National Park in search of a nice riverside camp. We were not disappointed. Camp 4 was erected next to the Deua River and we had a lovely peaceful little spot for the night. Even managed a nice afternoon swim in the river.

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After being woken in the morning by the fee collector we made or way to Braidwood and stopped at the highly recommended bakery for morning tea.
Mid afternoon we arrived in Canberra at Cathy's house to be treated to a magic show by Makhaya. Still have no idea how he managed to do at least 3 of the tricks, pretty impressive given he is only 6!
Cathy wasn't working on Wednesday so we decided to walk up Mount Ainslee to have a birds eye view of the Capital. Walking at Luca's (4 year old) pace made for a lovely stroll and a nice view from the top.

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Wednesday night was home made pizza night we were all very good eating all our main course so we could have strawberries and ice cream for dessert. With eyelids getting heavy we retired for an early night.
A massive thanks to Cathy, Makhaya and Luca for having us to stay.

Watch Them Fly Sundays - Stereophonics

Ant and Pete lived in Mudgee when we met them up at the Cape but Ant's work saw them back in Sydney, so it was a catch up in the big smoke.
After pre dinner drinks and canapés we piled into the ANT mobile (150 series Prado) and made our way to the Como for dinner. Nothing beats a good pub meal and the chicken parmigana and the steak did not dissapoint. The pub was burnt down in a fire and has been lovingly restored and makes for a great visit. Only downside was they didn't have any stubby holders.
Hotel Ant produced a 5 star breakfast of fresh fruit and eggs and bacon. Bit different to the camping meals we had shared previously.
Once again we all piled into the ANT mobile for a Sunday drive. Heading south into the Royal National Park we stopped at Bundeena for a leg stretch photo opportunity.

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The road down the coast is motorbike heaven and Bryce was able to spend the drive not only looking at the scenery but checking out all the bikes too. We stopped for a second leg stretch at a lookout that was the take off spot for loads of para and hang gliders.

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After some excellent people watching we continued down the coast to Scarborough for lunch. Peta demonstrated her table stalking skills and before long we had a seat with an ocean view. A perfect way to spend the afternoon.

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Sunday night saw us back at hotel Ant for dinner and a trick show from the parrot, Fergie.

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A huge thanks to hotel Ant for having us to stay and hopefully we can return the favour The Tavern in the not too distant future.

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves - Eurythmics

We excited Sydney stage West and made our way up the motorway to Katoomba. I had never visited the Blue Mountains (slack given my Sydney address for 4 years) and Bryce was last here in 1989 after returning from Caoe York. So there was plenty for us to explore.
Katoomba reminded us of a cross between Cygnet, Fern Tree and Deloraine.
Following the bus loads of tourists it wasn't difficult to find the Three Sisters lookout. The view was spectacular but the shear volume of tourists made it not really our scene.

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15 minutes further up the highway we stopped at Blackheath for a quick look before returning to Katoomba to find some accommodation for the night. With no sites available in the caravan park and storms forecast we decided on the soft option and checked into a motel for the night. A few creature comforts were appreciated and the buffet breakfast was reminiscent of mornings on the Pacific Coast Highway in the US.
Full of breakfast we once again joined the tourist trail and completed a few walks around Wentworth Falls. Hard to capture with pixels due to its size.

 Wentworth Falls

Wentworth Falls

The highlights of Leura included a trip to the bottle shop where Bryce was able to purchase about half a dozen different wheat beers including a wheat and pineapple can.
In the afternoon we made our way back down into Southern Sydney to catch up with team ANT who we had met up at the Cape.

Clocks - Coldplay

Arriving into Sydney on Wednesday afternoon we made our way straight to the Smith's house in an attempt to avoid any kind of peak hour traffic.  Despite this we were still confronted by the enormity of this city and the number of people that choose to reside here.

Lou and Mitch live in a lovely, quiet area of Terrey Hills and so we were able to easily pretend we were not in the big smoke.

The decor at the Smith residence was familiar, beautiful and of course gave me a good old giggle.  

Transient

Bryce was thrilled Rohan's favourite movie was Cars so they spent the afternoon bonding watching the DVD.

Mitch arrived home from work and got straight to work in the kitchen whipping up a delightful Greek Lamb and Watermelon Salad.  Yummo.

On Thursday we decided to be brave and venture into the city.  Despite some awesome service, no purchases were made as sadly prices were not at all competitive with the internet and USPS.

Lou was kind enough to roast a leg of lamb for dinner.  The lamb and roast veggies made us miss an oven!  Yummo.

 Jaks, Lou, Anna & Rohan

Jaks, Lou, Anna & Rohan

Thanks for everything  - and especially for not stashing the clock in Hillary somewhere when we left!