Sunday, 3 May 2015

A trip across the ditch - Part Two

On Saturday morning, with an eye on the forecast, we drove to Wentworth Falls village, parked the car in the station carpark and then walked to the entrance to the Charles Darwin Track for the tramp/hike/meander to Wentworth Falls. Kirsty was the navigator, and as she doesn't drive, she didn't do what I would do and find the nearest place to the walk's start point to park. She follows the instructions from the get go as they assume that people will be travelling by rail. Not a bad assumption as it happens up there. So we walked about an extra kilometre to the start of the walk. It was lovely,  mostly beside a small river and through a mix of bush, sort of scrub-land (with lots of ferns) on earthen track, sand track and boardwalks. The path is really well kept and I was very impressed at the amount of labour that would have been required to carry in the boardwalk timber and the pipes for the handrails and barriers.
On the beach!

She knows where we are going!

And he's not lost either

Down the cantilevered pathway

Stream, ferns, gum trees and bright blue sky
Father and daughter

The bottlebrush tree - looks like a corncob that's been munched on

and a very toxic looking toadstool, but perfectly formed ...

Kirsty isn't taller than David, but there's not much in it. However, if she artfully stands uphill of him, she looks MUCH taller

A joke for NZers - where the whakawi? (Clue: the wh sounds like a soft f, and the i sounds like a long e - now try)

He doesn't seem sure either

At times the flow is very peaceful

but you can see where the water has carved out the rock

Time for refreshments please, char wallah
It was a lovely morning and we were not the only ones ambling along in the sunshine - as Kirsty (our leader) went to step on one of the boardwalks, she quickly stepped backwards - there was a small black (or very dark brown) snake making its way across it. Even tho it was only about 2'6" long, it caused the hairs on my neck to rise and shivers across my skull. Such primitive responses. It slithered off into the ferny undergrowth, and we quickly walked past, hoping it was more scared of us than vice versa - that comparison would be a close run thing, in my case ... (more evidence of wussness!)
The snake WAS here, honest, guv.

Wentworth Falls were pretty spectacular and given my petrification about heights (I get frozen in place and my legs will only move in the rapid direction of away) I was really pleased that the barriers were several feet before the edge of the falls, and that they were extremely sturdy. Kirsty and David went further down the path, but I reached the nadir for me when the path had been carved out of the rock and had a large overhang. So back up to the falls I went and left the two of them being more brave. Kirsty went further and took photos, so I could see what else there was.
Above the falls, and ...
... at and over the falls, and ...

 ... below

Do I look brave? Do I look relaxed?

A contributory waterfall

My Davey. See, I could take my hand off the barrier to take photos ...

David has been suffering lately with a problem with his heel - sharp pain on walking too far. So he went up to wait for us to fetch him from where the tour buses and cars park for people who are just coming to the lookouts or down to see the falls. (A number of the tourists come out dressed in finery, including totally appropriate open dress sandals and tights - what are they thinking?) So the four photos below were taken by him as he made his way up to the meeting point. Some pretty impressive scenery.


What had taken about an hour on the way in, to walk, take photos, stop and look, took Kirsty and me 15 minutes to stride back along, and then the drive to the lookouts and carpark took about 5 minutes. But finding David among hundreds of cars and a thousand or so people did take a fair amount of time! But even there, there was a coffee cart - Mojo is ubiquitous, everywhere and all over the place! What is it with the coffee fixation now?

I had read about the Everglades House and gardens so we set off to investigate. The weather was looking threatening by then but we decided we would not dissolve with a bit of rain. I was a bit mean, unthinkingly but not good, as I parked in the far corner of the carpark, not taking account of David's very sore foot. Kirsty and I did offer amputation services to give him something real to complain about; but for some reason he declined.

The house was very art deco. If the internal colour scheme was original, I am not sure how I would have kept my spirits up inside if I had lived there - it was a very dark yellow-brown. Kirsty described it as looking like thousands of cigarettes had been smoked inside. She was right - it was that ghastly nicotine stain colour. However it had some amazing views, an absolutely stunning staircase, and a fabulously opulent bath for its time. The gardens had been sculptured (is that a word?) into differently planted terraces and I would guess that thousands of tons of stone had been moved and as much dirt and soil had been brought in to level the terrace beds.
The Garden Theatre

The entry porch

and the wings

Remember Hamlet and Polonius behind the arras? Well, there he is!
This photo is for Dee and Rob who so love agapanthus, not! But I do.
It's autumn and the japanese maple looked wonderful in the dull light

Not sure who the sculptor is but I liked it and thought Bruce and Gary would too

The bath! Check out the tiles as well.

Now that's a view

And that staircase is impressive

A view from the theatre level terrace

We cut short our visit, as the sky was looking very threatening and the thunder was rolling and booming. As we got to the car, the heavy raindrops started to fall and I was still loading things back in the boot. David was keen that I hurry into the car in case of being struck by lightning. Kirsty pooh-poohed that fear saying that I was the shortest thing around and the lightning would choose one of the trees or posts for preference. I was very cheered by that thought but tried not to be offended at being denigrated as the shortest thing around - I am sure there were shrubs in the carpark that were smaller than me, but maybe I was mistaken ...

Another quiet late afternoon and night in with the rain pounding down outside and lightning flashing while back in Sydney they'd been having a huge hailstorm - it is so cosy being inside in that kind of weather, central heating turned on, wine in hand, a platter of cheese, fig paste, pate, crackers, olives. I am sure Kirsty doesn't often spend Saturday night watching TV, but then she rarely has the opportunity to spend time with her mum and dad either (or we with her), so it was just lovely.


Jenny said...

Looks like you had a great time, catching up with family, and doing a spot of sightseeing too! Great scenery.
Robin and Jenny

Marilyn McDonald said...

It was lovely spending time with Kirsty, and the countryside and mountain scenery were amazing. I am sure there is much more to explore than we managed to do. It probably is worth a stay of at least a week, esp if you are comfortable on the heights and scary bits!