Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley & Barrington Tops
Hello! We are back on the road and I couldn’t be happier!! Last time I checked in we were checking out of Wake Up and beginning what turned out to be a bit of a recovery week in between tours. Lewis and I both had what he was calling “Freshers Flu” (when you get sick after the first week of university because you’ve gone out too much) and definitely needed a week to get over it. We were so lucky to have had friends offer us free places to stay last week while we caught up on laundry, got our health back and recharged everything.
That being said I’m BEYOND glad that week is over and we are out of Sydney. I was getting so bored!!! Some highlights of the week:
Checking off visit Luna Park from my Sydney bucket list
Went to Harry’s Cafe de Wheels for a ‘Tiger’… a small meat pie topped with mashed potatoes and mushy peas and gravy. OMG SO GOOD.
completing the Coogee to Bondi walk
buying a new ~Australia~ bathing suit
Aaaaaaaand I think that’s literally all we did all week. That’s usually like an afternoons worth of activities for us so you can see why I was revving to get on the road again. Sunday was great though because all of our friends from our Ultimate Oz week came back from Surf Camp and we got a group together to head to the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains are about 2 hours away by train from Sydney. On Sundays train fares are capped at $2.50 so it’s most popular to go then. We had no idea how popular it really would be though and we’re shocked by how packed the train was!!
We arrived in Katoomba at about 10.30 and hiked straight to the Three Sisters. It was such a beautiful day and definitely one of the first days it started to feel slightly warmer in Sydney (we were still freezing all week) so that was great. We hiked around all day, taking a million photos and soaking in the stunning views.
Back in Sydney we got the Sunday roast dinner at Wake Up which was actually so so good and exactly what you needed after such a long day of hiking.
The bus met us at Wake Up at 8am sharp. It’s a little bus and there’s about 24 people in our group. All of our bags and things are packed like sardines into a little trailer attached to the bus. The guide, Marcus, doubles as bus driver and DJ. It’s so nice to be with some of the same people from the Ultimate week again and the other people on the tour are really nice as well.
We left Sydney and drove a few hours to Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region, to visit Hope Estate Winery. It was in such a rural area especially after being in the city for so long. The estate had 200 kangaroos hopping around in its property and I got such a cool video of them chilling out in between the grape trees.
We tried 4 different wines and I actually liked 3 of them! Thank you Steve Conway for the pro tips on how to properly taste wine– Lewis and I were able to put them to use!
Our next stop was our destination for the night: Twistops Retreat in Barrington Tops. Honestly the area was unlike anything I have ever seen before in my life so it’s hard to say what it reminded me of for comparisons sake. It reminded me of how I picture like “olden times” and Laura Ingals Wilder (sp?). So here’s a photo of the view of their “backyard.”
Probably one of the most remote places I’ve ever been. No cell service and you should’ve seen how dark it got at night.
Right when we arrived we all dropped our bags off in the big bunk bed rooms and headed out behind the house to change into wetsuits. Wetsuits, wet boots, helmets and life jackets to go river tubing! A very attractive look for all.
We took army cars similar to the ones from base camp down to the river and collected our tubes. I was kind of expecting like a lazy river type of situation but no this was legit white water rafting kind of a thing. I think our guides said we did level 1 and level 3 rapids in our little tubes. We got a short lesson on safety advice, hiked a bit into the woods to get to the river and we were off. It was very fun!! I didn’t flip off and into a rock so I was happy about that.
We had fire oven pizza for dinner and played drinking games until we went to bed! Can’t believe that was all only in day one of the 32 day tour. This is more my kind of a pace! Today we are off to a Koala hospital and then Spot X Surf Camp. Also so glad to be heading more and more north for hotter and hotter weather!