We left Sydney on Thursday, June 1st and drove to the Blue Mountains. It obviously wasn’t as hard to pack up our Coogee house as it was when we left Denver. However, we had been there for 4 months and had a lot to do. Gratefully, we were able to leave 4 bags at our friends’ house while we took just a few bags with us for our 6 week Australian travels. I got an early birthday present this day…Wes upgraded our 5 seater economy rental car to a minivan! Seriously, this was my REAL birthday gift. 3 rows means separation and a way more pleasant road trip. I was elated. Especially because our longest drive happens to fall on my actual birthday. 

We said farewell to Coogee and drove west for about an hour and 45 minutes to Katoomba, which is a town in the Blue Mountains. Elevation is only about 3,300 ft, but we were coming from sea level, so….

We have an Airbnb for the week. The house is a renovated 19th century​ miners cottage that overlooks a mountian ash eucylptys reserve. Winter is here, so it’s cold. When we left Coogee, temps were dipping into the 60s. Here, it’s in the 50s. We haven’t been this cold since January. The air here has a chill, but thankfully, the sun has been shining so we are warm enough to go out and explore during sunlight hours. The house is great…not heated, but the space heaters keep us really toasty. I love the kitchen and the gardens are  beautiful. Nice view! There is a record player which we’ve enjoyed. Lots of time for puzzles, board games, cards, movies, and dance competitions. Here are some house photos: 

FRIDAY: Luke and I walked around the main Street, which they call a mall. We went to a few shops and picked up some groceries. Then we all went to Echo Point to see the Three Sisters (rock formation) and walk the paths to a few lookouts. We only spent about an hour here, but it was really pretty. 

Next, we went to the cutest place ever. The Gingerbread House! Great menu…coffees, teas, candy and ice cream. The gingerbread hot cocoa was my very favorite. The kids enjoyed the playground/play area. We will go back! 

SATURDAY: Scenic World! This is a touristy place to see the Blue Mountains and I was skeptical about it. Turned out to be a super fun day! There were 3 rides and plenty of beautiful walkabouts. The rides were: 

Skyway (a glass bottom cable ride between cliff tops soaring over the Jamison Valley)

Railway (steepest railway in the world down to the valley…64 degree incline!!!)

Cableway (like a giant gondola that decends 545metres into the valley)

Great fun. Great scenery. I loved the waterfall and Rainforest boardwalk the best. We all loved the steep railway. We road it down and up a few times. 

SUNDAY: Elle and I went on an adventure! We took a 2 hour train back to Sydney to attend a taping of The Voice Australia LIVE show! We had the best time ever!!!! Had a great spot up against the stage near the judges’ chairs. Our family and friends saw us on TV (you can see in the pics below.) We’ve been watching the whole season and this was the first Live show. All of the top 12 performed and then one went home. We spent the night at our lovely friends’ home and took the train back to Katoomba on Monday morning. Definitely worth the trip! 

Monday: An early birthday celebration. High Tea at the Hydro Magestic Hotel with Mae and Elle. It was the most beautiful setting and everything was delicious. Almost everything. The children’s tea did have Vegemite, butter and cheese finger sandwiches….we tried to like it. We really did. Elle said this was the fanciest place she’s ever eaten. It was Mae’s first tea, but she actually had hot chocolate with hers. Tea & scones with jam and cream is probably my favorite thing in the world. 

 TUESDAY:  Today we drove about an hour and a half to take a tour of the Janolan Caves. The ride there and back was beautiful. The backdrops looked fake. We saw a wallaby at a rest stop. He was just hanging out so we pulled over. He hopped right up the the car and posed for a few pictures. When we tried to drive away, he followed. Super cute. We’ve been hoping to see some true Aussie animals in the wild, so this was a treat. On the way back, we stopped again to take some pics of goats. They also were very agreeable to my photo shoot. The caves were amazing. We chose a difficult cave to tour because it contained 910 stair steps. It’s hard to show in photographs how cool the cave was. We also stopped at a great candy store (The Lolly Bug) on the way home. Great day! 

WEDNESDAY: Cold and rainy. Chill and pack day. 

THURSDAY: My birthday! Its very confusing because it’s not Michael Buckley’s birthday. And it is winter. I do not have  a a winter birthday. I am wearing a beanie, UGGS and drinking a gingerbread flat white?!?! Leaving Katoomba and driving to Canberra. 

Blue Mountains were gorgeous and it was a pretty and relaxing week. Very strange to be so cold in June. Looking forward to traveling back to the beach and warm temps soon.