We left off somewhere along the beach not to far from Sydney… where did we go next? After speaking to a couple of the locals they kinda suggested our itinerary for the rest of our journey in Australia. The mentioned that visiting the mountains would be a nice change of scenery from Sydney and so we drove about an hour and a half to a town called Katoomba, NSW to visit the famous Blue Mountains. The plan was to embark on a very long road trip that would reach all the way to the center to see Uluru and then drive back up the coast. Very ambitious. I would of ‘settled’ with just driving up and down the east coast but D knew how much I wanted to see the big red rock.
We arrived at the Blue Mountains Park and they actually do look blue guys, because of the shadows. We stayed for two nights or so in a lovely little motel called 3 Sisters Motel & Cottage that was really close to the iconic landmark Three Sisters. The Three Sisters is a rock formation that to the Aboriginal tribe represent three actual sisters with a mythical legend. The owner of the motel was always real nice to give us suggestions where to eat and what to do in the area. We went exploring each day to one of the different waterfall trails and loved feeling like we were on our own “walkabout”.
Blue Moutains, Katoomba, NSW
Wentworth Falls – Blue Mountains Park
Our motel service desk friend suggested we take a drive to check out the Jenolan Caves next. But little did we know we would find a friendly wallaby momma hanging out on the side of the road looking for food. After visiting the zoo I had seen they liked carrots so on our following shopping trip I picked some up to keep in the car just in case we were to run into any out and about. So glad I thought of that! You can see a video of me totally freaking out on Instagram by clicking here. Here’s what I had to say that day after our encounter:
Instagram prepare yourself for the next batch of photos. My one dream of visiting Australia was to see and feed wild kangaroos. My dreams came true today. ❤️ This is my wallaby friend. My husband captured what will probably be one of the most treasured memories of our trip here. I can’t squeal loud enough of excitement and happiness for all that happened today.
Jenolan Caves – The tour we took in particular was of the Chifley cave. It was not the one we originally wanted to see, but due to the fact we left a bit too late from our motel and we stopped a lot along the way, it was the only tour left that afternoon. If you plan on visiting make sure to pick out the tour that goes under the cave and sees the spring water pool inside. That water was absolutely ridiculously beautiful. Crystal clear and with shades of turquoise blue.
Featherdale Wildlife Park
Sometimes it takes getting knocked in the head by a koala to get a close enough picture. Meet Samy. Our friendly and grab-by koala encounter was one for the books. D had him almost too close for comfort at one point. ( You can see the video by clicking here on Instagram.)
Back on the road… 30 hours until Uluru/Ayers Rock.
These signs were all over the desert road. STOP. REVIVE. SURVIVE. I kept repeating those words to D over and over. He was about to smack me with the phone for saying it so many times. Then all of the sudden, completely out of no where, vineyards. That’s Australia for you zero to vineyards in a blink. We were so happy to see them on either side of the road that we pulled to the side for pictures. Driving such long hours in the desert was not my most favorite thing. Even if we watched movies and talked until our saliva was gone. The heavy sun would make me drowsy and a horrible passenger for D. It wasn’t our original idea to travel from the coast to the red hot center of Australia to see Uluru. I mean, I had always wanted to go, it’s definitely one of those great wonders of the world, but it was definitely too far of a drive. Especially for folks on their honeymoon, like US!
Next up in the wild drive of ours was this weird looking thing from afar. We were burning up the day before and that morning there was actually a cold front so we thought, snow? Really? No friends, this is salt. Salt flats of Australia. Another really cool thing to see along our drive.
True story: We’ve had been on the road all day. Second day of travels non-stop on our way to Uluru. At 5 pm we realized we left a very important bag back at the motel. We called, they had it for us. We we’re 275 km away from the motel and it was 8:42 pm. We pretend that day never happened and we will post all those salt lake pictures all over again. Honest mistake from us both. The bag with the computer and camera was left behind. We wouldn’t of noticed if it wasn’t because I wanted to watch a movie… A whole day’s worth of a journey lost. But since my sweet husband was being extra nice and special, I got no grief for not remembering and I didn’t give him any either. We were just so happy that we were able to get it all back. Thank you so much Aussie folks that rented that tiny room in a small motel which they happen to live out of. You guys saved us big time.
Back at Lake Dutton only this time it’s sunny and the salt sparkles. Pictures don’t do this place justice. The clear blue skies and the crisp white from a salt lake surrounded by miles of red sand. Crazy beautiful.
Brekky in the outback. We had been on a ham and cheese diet for nine days at that point. I kept dreaming about all the things I wanted to eat back home. At this point it wasn’t a matter of cost our food options. There wasn’t anything we really liked along the way. Picture this miles and miles of nothing. Signs telling you along the way, “put gas now because the next gas station is — kilometers away and if not you will NOT SURVIVE. Remember those STOP. REVIVE. SURVIVE. signs? There were there for a reason. So once you arrived to that much awaited gas station you were welcomed with a very scarce selection of maybe ham and cheese sandwich or some version of an Aussie sandwich we were not interested in having and snack food. We ended up trying the vegemite after all and according to both D and I – it was so horrible. Saltines with ham and cheese it was folks… breakfast, lunch and dinner the whole time we were on that road trip. And let’s not get fancy saying it was real cheese… Ha!
3200 km later – we made it. Uluru. What a sight.
Ayers Rock | Uluru, NT
So incredibly hot you couldn’t almost breathe. We’re both from Miami, so we know heat, but this was on another level. This was torture heat. And we were told it gets hotter. How the Aboriginals live under such conditions here is amazing. When were walking the trail we happen to see a family walking to the watering hold created from all the rain, they all jumped in as if it were a pool to bathe and cool off. I guess that’s how they manage. We would of loved to talk to them, but something about us and our big camera didn’t settle too well with them. Not that we tried to take their picture or anything. But I definitely felt “un-welcomed” while we were any where in that area. That still didn’t detract from the fact I had checked off one of the biggest things in my bucket list. Visit Australia ✓ Visit Uluru ✓ Tomorrow I will be sharing my last Australia item on the list.
Kata Tjuta | The Olgas, NT
A thunderstorm in the desert. This also happen to be the only night the whole trip that we slept in the car. It was really scary and I don’t know how I even managed to fall asleep. The lightning show was almost as good as getting kissed in the rain.
5 am wake up call to see Uluru one last time at sunrise. Our eyes stuck with glue from the sleepless night. He still got up and hiked with me.. makes him some version of a superman prince charming.
King’s Canyon, NT
The wonderful smell of the eucalyptus trees and the sound of the many birds hiding in the trees. And let’s not forget the 10,000,000,000 flies. Such horrible flies. They would swarm you as you walked and tried to get into every wet spot you had. Your eyes, your nose, your ears… you name it. The folks walked around with nets around their faces but I couldn’t wear that head piece, it was already hot enough I wanted to melt.
More rain and sunset goodness on the road. This time it was pretty romantic though. One side you saw the gorgeous rain clouds illuminated by the sunset and rainbows and the other was the almost clear sky. We were still on the road anxiously awaiting the arrival at our hotel. Anxiously. Excitedly. Let’s lay in bed and forget the world kind of way. We had left the desert behind (thankfully) (only because of the unbearable heat) and had been traveling through mountains and fields. Mango trees on the side of the road tempting us to cross the fence. Hungry cows reaching the point of starvation just walking along the side. And now as the sun goes down, and the roos come out to play, the real driving begins. Our mission to spot any and all the animals that seem to be suicidal in this country was quite tiring. 184km left until we reached the coast. Tomorrow: Whitehaven Beach. I shall show you what paradise looks like in the next post.