Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Katoomba, Three Sisters, and a Wombat Hole

We're in the middle of a two-week winter school holiday, and I have recently accepted the fact that I'll simply never be accustomed to the winter season happening in what has concretely been the summer months for the first thirty-three years of my life.

To celebrate winter, we took off for a two-night trip to the Blue Mountains with our friends, Kylie and Josh Brightman and their kids.  I told my kids that there may even be frost on the ground, and Alex said he couldn't wait to do snow angels.  Ha!  Sand angels are more common 'round these parts.  I was especially excited that the house we rented for our stay had a woodburning stove, not really to keep warm but because it exponentially increases the cozy factor.

Now, I grew up in flatter-than-flat Miami, but having lived in Colorado for more than a decade, I'm a bit snobbish about how people from flatter regions throw the term 'mountain' around.  At 3,986 ft., the highest point of the Blue Mountains is quite bigger than 'Mount' Keira in our town (which rises to a measly 1,522 ft)--but it's still a far stretch to Denver's mile high altitude (not to mention the 53 peaks exceeding 14,000 feet).

Still, this area of Australia is so beautiful, and right from the cute town of Katoomba we saw the most famous rock formation in the Blue Mountains--the Three Sisters.

It was like herding cats on the hike we went on there--all five kids scampered ahead, weaving around groups of tourists and tromping in and around the muddy path.

Jackson and Xavier stop to drink water droplets falling from the cliff overhang
the crew of 5--Isabella, Alex, Xavier, Jackson and Kenyon

In typical kid 'the cardboard box is much cooler than the actual gift' fashion, the highlight of our pit stop in Katoomba for that whole lot was not viewing the majestic beauty of the Three Sisters or our hike winding down the cliff face--it was exploring a bushy area in the park adjacent to the public restrooms.  

From Katoomba, we headed to Oberon and stayed at Casey's Bush Retreat.  It's always a treat to stay at a rental home that does not have outdated country decor and shabby furnishings, and this place was great.
picture credit
I am, like any rational person, a wee bit obsessed with wombats.  While I was heating up dinner, Sam, Josh and the kids explored and found a massive wombat hole a short walk from the house.
And because there were no mothers present to provide a semblance of sanity, the natural next step was to send kids INTO the wombat hole for further exploration.  These photos were taken by Jackson, who lucky for him (and luckier for his father) did not find himself face-to-face with a wombat protecting its turf.

He went in far enough to tell me that 'it went up, down, around, and then broke off into different chambers'.  If this kid grows up and takes an office job instead of doing something outdoors, I'll eat my shirt.

A short time later, sunset was on full display from our porch.

With the woodburning stove roaring and (ahem) the champagne cork popped, it was the perfect way to end this first day.


  1. Have been thinking of you guys and are glad you are enjoying the holidays. Jo

  2. Sounds like your holiday is going to be fun - Love your simile of herding kids like cats, very apt! I'm still getting used to having a cold Christmas even after living in the northern hemisphere for 44 years! Hope you LOVE Australia and your time there - what an opportunity!

  3. My parents came over from the UK with the same astonishment at the lacksadasical way the term "mountain" or "mount" is chucked about in Australia....and although I was born and bred here I find it difficult to answer the (always asked)query about whether that lump of rock out the window is a mountain?? lol
    If you like wombats I'm thinking you've probably heard of Jackie French's book 'Wombat Diary' before, if not it is a definite must read :D

    1. Back in the States and long before my love for real-life wombats started, I fell in love with the clever wombat in Wombat Diary when my father-in-law gave my kids the book. Adorable. :)