Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains
We drove south and had a scenic drive through Myall Lakes national park, stopped at Booti Booti national park and were the only people on a seven mile beach. Then we drove to Tea Gardens and hung out over the bridge in Hawks nest on Jimmy's beach, we played on the beach taking photos but got a little bored. We decided to drive as close as we could to Hunter Valley for our rest stop that night. It was about 200km to Hunter Valley (as the locals call it, 'wine country'), where we stayed at a rest stop and could have sworn there was someone outside even though there were no cars around! I was rehearsing my best fighting moves in my head!
The next morning we got up nice and early and when we drove into Hunter Valley we were blown away by how many wineries there are, the valley's 140 wineries range from small scale family run affairs, to massive architectural extravagances. We went into an information centre as we were overwhelmed by the shear volume of wineries. A lovely lady set us up with a wine tour and a place to park for the night. We booked a wine tour as we felt we wanted to try as many wines as possible, so we let someone else do the driving!
That day we tasted some amazing Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Semillon, Verdhello and many more. We were joined by 5 American's on the tour who were great fun. We visited 4 wineries and learnt silly amounts of information about wine and how its made and what to eat it with. Good job as it will give Mishee an idea of what she is talking about when she is explaining the 42 page wine list at The Bell!
We also went cheese and Chocolate tasting and had a 5 star lunch which was an amazing treat after cooking in the van for 40 days! The tour was only £40 including lunch (well worth it!), we purchased a gorgeous Shiraz from one of the Boutique wineries and are enjoying it as we speak (type!). We could only afford to buy one bottle of wine so I bought it from one of the small family run wineries, who name their wines after family members who have passed away, and the guy who did our talk there was so funny! It does look like bad form if you don't buy at least one bottle. The Hunter Valley is staggeringly beautiful, on the way home we saw 8 kangaroos all lined up in the fields, it was the perfect end to a perfect day! I'm not surprised that Becks brought Posh here for her birthday, was an amazing experience and something we have never done before. And now I can tell you that the Shiraz I am drinking is medium bodied, displaying ripe berry flavours with a hint of spice and is matured in French and American Oak barrels!
Not feeling too light headed, I went for a nice run along the valley at dusk. We slept in a YHA hostel car park that night and they let us use their facilties. We watched a load of TV that night and had a our fix of Homes under the hammer and Supersize vs Superskinny! They even had a sauna, so in the morning I spent 30 minutes in there followed by and amazing hot shower, we felt so refreshed.
After buzzing off our hot showers, we drove out of Hunter Valley, heading for the Blue Mountains, this drive was the hardest yet, with hills, hair pin bends and annoying lorry drivers! 6 hours later! We struggled to find the stop and Mishee was going mad, it wasn't helping after I had been driving for 6 hours. After a bit of a domestic we finally found it. Aussie road signs can be very poor (be warned!).We arrived in this scenic camp spot 30 minutes from the blue mountains for only $10 per night. Mishee had wanted to sleep up top for ages, so I stuck her in the child section and enjoyed a double bed to myself for the night!
The next morning after a fell run (nightmare here, I was wrecked!) we headed to the Blue Mountains and stopped off at pretty much every view point along to way. The Blue mountains reminded me of the Grand Canyon, not so much mountains, as huge valleys and cliffs and canyons. The views really did blow us away as we didn't expect them. The best lookouts were Govetts Leap, Evan's point and Echo Point. At Echo point we had a 2 hour cliff walk, messing around and climbing over the barriers getting close to the edges for photos. The jaw dropping spectacle of canyons and green hills was awesome, and we loved the little mountain towns.
We decided to spend one more night at Lake Lyall camp ground and we are off to Sydney bright and early tomorrow morning. We are luckily going to park on my dad's, mate's, sister's drive in Sydney which will save us a fortune, and it is really close to the beach, get in!
Only 5 more days till we have to hand Carlos back! ; (