All things dingo
Trip Start Nov 18, 2009
10Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Burralow National Park
We set off to Kurrajong Heights, in the Blue Mountains and had lunch with Petra, a gorgeous Aussie I traveled with back in 2003 when I first came out to Australia. She had prepared an amazing lunch and we met her sister, brother in law and Mum and it was lovely, spending time with her (tho not long enough) and hearing what she's been up to in 6 years. She's learning guitar so Andrew got his out and played Roadkill Stew for her
By the time we left it was 6.30pm, raining, misty, not what you'd describe as warm in any way, and we were looking for a campsite that she'd recommended, fortunately v near her house. It was 9.6kms off road, in Burralow National Park and we slipped down the hill in awe of the surrounding countryside - sheer drop off to the left, trees and rocky outcrops as far as the eye could see - quite incredible. You can imagine it 60,000 years ago, with the local Aboriginal clan walking these parts - it can't have changed all that much, there would be caves and rock art up there, and fortunately it is totally inaccessible to the likes of us, so we just stare in wonder.
And then we rounded the corner to the designated camping ground and the wonder continued. Not. A. Single. Vehicle. How exciting. Well...relatively speaking it was still raining and cold! We got into our boots and set up camp as quickly as we could. We christened the long drop loo and were delighted to discover it was a new one, with few previous owners.
We ate a humble supper of bikkie and cheese bcs we had had a late lunch and frankly, bikkie and cheese were accesible inlike all the other food
I wasn't feeling all that stable tho, due to the arrival of 2 dingos. We thought they were foxes, then wild dogs. We're not too crash hot with identifying animals are we? At least we know it wasn't a whale! One is orange, one black with a tawny tummy. They can't help it, but they look menacing to me and I think of blood stained babygrows. To Andrew, they look like friends and he kept calling to them. They are sillily tame, and came v close and we decided to take the hard decision not to feed them, altho they looked like they could do with a round of bikkie and cheese too. They slink around and appear from the dark and it always takes me by surprise. Anyway, we settled into our swag and felt rather tense, as we kept 'hearing' vehicles and odd noises. It's lovely being the only ones here, but not if noises suggest otherwise! I was just dropping off when someone next to me yelled 'Getoutofit' and I shrieked, uncertain as to what I'd done wrong and what I needed to get out of in a hurry
We slept OK, surprisingly well in fact, considering the chainsawing snore next to me. I got up and made a brew and took it back to the swag. The sky was already blue, suggesting a brighter day and we decided to drive the Tourist Drive past Bilpin, Mt Tomah, Mt Victoria and back to Penrith to do a food shop and camping store visit. We wanted to buy a tent we've had our eye on, eversince we bought the wrong one, and some wet weather gear (as we've left ours at home) and a SPOT - an EPIRB which allows you to send pre-written text msgs to your near and dear, when you're remote and it tracks your position via satelite. A few people have been sceptical about them but we fortunately talked to that chap called Trigger in Malacoota, the short policeman, and he's been using them for years with the force and has been all over the world with his and swears by it. So that's good enough for me. They are also about $400 cheaper than the GME EPIRB, so that's also good enough for me.
It was a great drive. And guess what - I drove. Out of the camp site while A was in the long drop. Well, out of the camp site in 4wd, up the slippery track, and for once didn't get it all wrong. A was very helpful, and patient and explained so much that he's I'm sure explained before, but this time it started to make sense to me. We decided to get the winch out too and have a practice, so I don't look too much like a girl on the 4wd course at the w/e. So there we are in the middle of the track, purple straps laid out, winch out, tree hugging straps on (on the tree, I'm not wearing them, they're flourescent green!!)) and along comes a 4wd safari bus. The driver pulls alongside, he looks at us expectantly, we explain what we're about, he loves it and no doubt relays it to those onboard as he drives on by. We'll no doubt feature in a hundred or so Japanese photo albums, as the strange couple who hadn't broken down but were pretending they had! I now know all there is to know about winching, so any questions...shoot them through, OK?
We drove out to Bilpin, with it's fruit orchards and great views of the canyons that make up the Blue Mtns. We had to stop at a cafe bcs it's sign was so bragging, about it's famous pies and A hasn't had a pie, famous or otherwise, for a good few days now. The pies were sensational - I'm not really a fan of pastry but this was French pastry apparently (long way to come and still call it fresh!!) of steak and mushroom and we did a lot of appreciative groaning and A went back for more. So after a cwarfie and pie (or 2) we set off for fruit. Every other shop is selling fruit so you are spoiled for choice - we did well tho, we found a store selling their own nectaries, cherries and Pink Lady Apples and got a tonne of each for under a tenner so were chuffed
We meandered up and down mountains, wondering why there aren't any official look outs to pull into, as it is dangerous driving when the views are that spectacular. We made a few of our own look out stops and got some fab photos which we'll upload. The weather wasn't crash hot but then it often isn't up here, 1000m above sea level. The trees and views and hues of blue are very special and I took a ridiculous number of photos, matched almost by the ridiculous number of coooo weeeeeees from Andrew. He's been blessed with a naturally loud voice and it's then enhanced by the topography. As my family will attest to, i've never been able to echo my voice (tho pretended to on a barge holiday in 1981) so am proud to be with someone who is such a pro.
We were back in the car, trundling along, when we drove past a weighbridge for oversize vehicles, meant for anything over 18 tonnes. Nervous that we may be exceeding this limit, A pulled a u-turn and we drove in, dwarfed by the other lorries. A made enquiries at the counter and they said we could weigh Elsie. She was suitably ashamed when the man announced she was so fat she weighed 3.05 tonnes. And that was without me in the car! She drove quite sluggishly after that - clearly upset by her visit to Weight Watchers
I have to hurry the next part bcs the puter is running low on battery and I need to send this, so you aren't all starved of blog for another few days.
Suffice to say, we got to Penrith, bought a fab tent which A is outside photographing as I tap, bought enough food to make us as fat as Elsie, and got some great half price wet weather gear. Accordingly, the rain has of course now abated and we'll be running round in shorts and tees for the next few months, cursing why we're carrying this new gear.
We made a pit stop at Peties to top up on beautiful rain water (thank you Petie, you're a life saver) and came back to our favourite camp site for another night of dingo antics. We cooked up a storm of steak and veggies and they looked on forlornly as A tried to get me to change my mind on feeding them. I remained resolute, imagining how close that little dingo had got to my head the night before. We packed up VERY carefully so as not to leave any tempting traces of our supper and clambered into our fab new tent.
Apart from some extraordinary howling (from the dingos not Andrew) we had a quiet night and no snoring - I know, crack open the Champers, it was blissful.
Loving you and leaving you as battery is fading...take care and we'll tap again soon, xx
PS Pls forgive typos, no time to proof.