Friday 16th March 2018
We picked up a car for rental at Redspot next to the airport around 7pm and drove about 2 hours to Bomaderry where we stayed for the night in an airbnb where we met our host Susan who invited us for a glass of wine and a chat outside in her garden.
Saturday 17th March 2018
We woke up late, woken up by the birds and had a very nice brekky with Susan then drove to a winery in Berry called Mountain Ridge Wines.
Scott was playing music there with the Mosman Symphony Orchestra so we had lunch with his musician mates and then they played and I photographed.
After the concert, we drove to Cambewarra Lookout from which we did checkout the lookout, then to Kangaroo Valley City where we had an ice-cream.
Then we drove to Bendeela Recreation Area, alias Bendeela massive free campground where there are a lot of wombats. Kangaroo Valley should actually be called Wombat valley, as there are way more wombats to be seen than kangaroos! We pitched the tent, went for a swim / shower in the river then saw a quieter spot for a tent, undid the tent, drove and re-pitched the tent haha. Then we had dinner and at dusk we went on a walk around to see the wombats.
More information from Wikipedia:
‘Wombats are native marsupials to Australia. Wombats sleep in burrows. They have a backward-facing pouch which helps when digging as the wombat does not gather soil in its pouch over its young. They grow to about 1 meter long and weigh between 20 and 35 kg. Female wombats give birth to a single young in the spring, after a gestation period of 21 days. They have well-developed pouches, which the young leave after about six to seven months. Wombats are weaned after 15 months, and are sexually mature at 18 months. Wombats typically live up to 15 years in the wild, but can live past 20 and even 30 years in captivity. The longest-lived known captive wombat lived to 34 years of age.
Wombats mostly eat grass and roots and have an extraordinarily slow metabolism, taking around eight to 14 days to complete digestion, which aids their survival in arid conditions. They generally move slowly. When threatened, however, they can reach up to 40 km/h and maintain that speed for up to 90 seconds. When attacked, wombats dive into a nearby tunnel, using their rumps to block a pursuing attacker. A wombat may allow an intruder to force its head over the wombat’s back, and then use its powerful legs to crush the skull of the predator against the roof of the tunnel, or drive it off with two-legged kicks.’
Sunday 18th March 2018
We woke with a beautiful view, here was the campground and the river nearby in which we swam the night before and on which people were kayaking in the morning. It was already starting to get hot, with a planned temperature of 38 Celsius degrees! No hiking today for sure, not even on small trails!
We drove out of Bendeela campground and took left to go explore on the less-driven road. It has its advantages being a slow driver because I spotted in time this beautiful red-belly black snake slowly crossing the road on which I would have otherwise driven over! We entered a part of Morton National Park and saw a sign leading to Lake David but when we got to the end of the road, it was a closed private property so we had to drove back the way we had come. We could barely see some lake through the trees.
We drove back to Kangaroo Valley City which was called Osborne in the past where we picked up a great map of the area which was also represented on the sign there. Then we went to visit the Pioneers Museum located on the edge of the city which shows how the first white settlers lived when they arrived in the Kangaroo Valley from 1817 onwards. A lot of dairy farmers arrived in the 1840s. Before their arrival, the Wodi-Wodi Aboriginals lived in this area for 20,000 years.
After the visit of the museum, we had some salad and quiche in a small air-conditioned eatery nearby and then drove across the Hampden Bridge again, a beautiful bridge built in 1898 and headed to the Yarrawa Estate Winery where we did some wine tasting and bought some wine bottles.
After that, with the 38 degrees heat wave, we just wanted to go swim in another river so we headed to Fitzroy Reservoir but it turned out to just be a windy lake in which no one could swim but where there was a gathering of beautiful cars so at least this was nice to see. Then we drove to Belmore Falls and swam there, right on the edge of the fall, with an amazing view. Then we drove further to Hinmarsh Lookout with incredible views too that I didn’t expect to find in that area! And we even saw an echidnea. Then we drove to Robertson where we arrived around 5pm at Scott’s uncle and auntie’s house where we stayed for dinner and the night. Richard had worked as an architect while Helen was a master of gardening and they both loved travelling and hiking which gave us plenty of things to talk about. We briefly saw their daughter Harriet also who was working as a blend of both parents, as a landscape architect! We had the great huntsman spider there on the wall next to our toilets ready to catch all mosquitoes.
Here is the map of where we drove that day:
Monday 19th March 2018
I woke up at dawn and enjoyed the golden light of the sunrise and the mist over the valley we were facing.
We hung around with Helen and Richard until late morning and then headed off just before lunch time. We passed the Giant Potato built by a local farmer and located in Robertson as a reminder that since the 1970s, the town is known for growing potatoes. Before that it was famous for its cheese factories. We stopped in the main one there and had some lunch. We didn’t try the famous Robertsons’ pies. Next time!
After lunch, we drove to Carrington Falls but they were closed so we drove to Budderoo National Park where we walked a few hundred meters and swam in the Blue Pool. Apart from a girl quietly reading near the pool, there was just us swimming, but by the time we left, four other people had arrived. Then we stopped at the Jamberoo lookout.
We drove back a bit and went to checkout the Illawarra Fly Canopy walk. I was surprised to see a welcoming Happy Birthday sign and wondered how they knew it was my birthday that day haha, but it was their 10-year birthday that week and that’s why they had the sign on. Funny coincidence!
Then we drove back towards the coast and stopped for ice-cream and a walk at the beach in Austinmer beach. Definitely less crowded than in Manly, probably mostly locals! Then we drove north again and stopped at a beautiful view point after passing the entrance to Kiama coalmine. Then we drove all the way back to Sydney Domestic airport, dropped the car off and commuted all the way back to Manly. It had been a hot week-end there too apparently with absolutely crowded beaches.
Here is the map of our drive that day:
And here ended a great 3-day week-end in the beautiful Kangaroo Valley alias Wombat Valley!