Saturday-- Stopped at Jindabyne, at the eastern end of the Snowies. Situated down by lake, internet access, great restaurant nearby, and , would-you-believe-it, never-before-seen-on-a-campsite, just-when-I-was-bginning-to-long-for-one, A BATH WITH TONS OF HOT WATER!!!
Clean and refreshed, we headed out of the cold, wet Snowies(9deg could see your breath), to the cool-not-qite-so-wet Southern Highlands! Great drive across to Cooma, Goulburn, by-pass capital city of Canberra, and ending at Mittagong.A A quiet little town on a busy road. Busy because of a camcelled Joe Cocker concert at nearby Berrima. Cancelled because of the bad weather. We'd escaped it but it had been raining here for the past two weeks. They needed it because they'd been suffering from a drought.
To the mournful tunes of "Delta Lady" and "With a little help from my friends" we parked our van. All around us Joe Cocker fans were drowning their sorrows and having their own concert!!
We called in at Tourist Info and picked up maps for nearby bush walks, and I found a patchwork material shop,picking up pieces of material with Koalas, booerangs and the Sturt Pea (South Aust floral emblem) on them to incorporate in a quilt back home! Swore I spotted a dead-ringer of Joe Cocker- does he have a young Oriental wife, and drive a beat-up 4x4 wagon?!
During our travels we've come across several of what Ray and Kerryn told us are called "Grey Nomads". These guys sell up their homes, buy a hefty touring van plus trailer and tour their country, sometimes going around the whole of Aus in sections or even all at once, and we thought we were mad!
Sunday--Walk into the Bush-lots of it! Woke at 6am to a beautiful sunny morning, sun rising about 5.30 and setting about8.30 in their Summer. By 8.30 we were off on our Naatai River gorge walk. It was described as being hard but they must be tough out her. In the UK this walk would have carried medical advice and insurance provisos! Started off lovely, easy walk along an old narrow-guage railway track, and then descended steeply into the gorge. We had to use a steel wire which ran down the incline for support. After that 3k through thick bush and crossing the swollen river, water up to your knees, three times and then a steep climb back up and a long trek back--5 hrs later arrived back ot the van for a shower and 2hour drive on to Ramsgate, south of Sydney! Absolutely knac.....Supposed to be teeming with wildlife, echidna, wombat, roos, parrots, snakes and lizards. never saw a thing- all busy cleaning all the floodwater out of their homes!
Typing this in airport now, having dropped our home for the last 12 days off nearby. Spent last night at Ramsgate in Botany Bay! I'm quite sorry to leave it. Its been a great way of touring the wild open spaces of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. Off to Hamilton Island, Queensland now for four days. no need for soggy walking boots, just snorkels and sandals!