Flew into beautiful sunshine in Sydney. Had our first bed-bug nightmare in a really awful hostel, before catching the train straight out and into the blue mountains (just west of sydney) to catch up with Gemma. We didn't hang around in Sydney as we'll be returning here later. Gem was staying at her relatives place whilst they were on holiday - they even left her use of the car....cushtie! We had the whole place to ourselves. It was so nice having an actual house as a base. It was just like being at home....apart from the bird table wildlife which ranged from possums to massive cockatiels and bright parrots.
We explored the blue mountains for a few days, with the car. They actually do have a blue haze on a fine day. We stopped at a rock formation called the three sisters and took a walk right along the Jamison valley on a mountain ridge. We passed a beautiful waterfall which, due to the lack of rain, just had a dusting of water falling from it. It sparkled like tinsel. We've been trying to adjust our minds to the real dangers here in the bush. You cant just wonder off the track - there might be snakes and all sorts!
A few of our friends from South America all happen to live in this area, so we hired a car and set out on road trip no.1 to pay them a visit. I say they live close, on the map it looks close but it turned out to be a 1000km round trip - that's close for Oz. We had to tell a few white lies to get the car as some of the route we'd be taking wasn't even road.......Then we were given our pristine, brand knew car with just 46km's on the clock, completely scratch free...and it was white!!! At least they drive on the right side of the rosd.
The journey was awesome. the roads got worse and worse. The last few made Bolivia's look good. We were so shook up I got the hysterics. We lost radio signal and telephone signal, and saw many Kangaroos.....all dead by the side of the road. Think you could safely say the car had be en broken in. 4 hours later we arrived in Bylong, our first stop. It consisted of one house, one church, one shop. We didn't even know the name of our friends farm. Thankfully the local shop lady knew exactly who we were after and pointed us in the right direction.
We found it, no problem. There was nothing and no-one around for miles. We found Sams dad who walkie talkied him and took us to the house. Moments later Sam came galloping up the drive on his horse. It was like a scene from a movie. It was sooooo country it was unbelievable. Within half an hour we'd been bundled into the back of a Ute with the dog to go rouning up bulls. When the dog wasn't good enough, Sam used the Ute instead - with us stll in the back, darting about all ober the place and turning 360 degrees. I was just holding on for dear life. Of all the things i've done, I think that was the scariest!
The next couple of days were spent having a proper Aussie country life expierience. We went out for friday evening drinks in the next-door neighbours' shed, where all the locals came every friday from about an hour radius. We tried our best to blend in with the country folk who were, sat around on old barrels and straw bales in vests and gold chains, beards and beer bellies. There was no music, just jokes and trick to play on us Pomes. The next night we went to the local town. Only to find it was a 2hr drive away. Just for a night out. And not even a big night. Just a pub. They don't think anything of these long drives.
Our next stop was Dubbo to catch up with Jake and Lucy, who toured South America with us. I's been so wierd seeing our friend is their normal every-day lives. And it's been interesting as the places we've ended up in so far aren't really on the 'touristy' route. We visited a great zoo in Dubbo before moving on to find one more friend also from the tour, Ricky, just down the road in Bathurst. We didnt even know her surname. The only thing we knew is that she was a police officer. The only place to go then was the police station. Sure enough she was just on her way back from lunch - what are the chances? We gave her a bit of suprise! We got the car back in one piece.