A family tradition of ours back home in the UK, is our lovely Christmas walk. This is usually held on the weekend before Christmas, where we go with good friends, on a long walk somewhere beautiful. Afterwards, we head home to a yummy food spread, usually consisting of a special Coca-Cola cooked ham, home-made bread, cheeses, dips and all sorts of delicious puddingy treats for ‘afters’.
Spending this year 11,000 miles away from home, we thought we should still honour this tradition. And where better to go for an epic walk when staying in Sydney than the Blue Mountains? Our Christmas present came early this year, in the form of a car loan from my wonderful cousin, who is lucky enough to be travelling to Europe for Christmas this year, with his new wife. And this car – it isn’t a Beast. It’s a bit bloody amazing: with leather seats, working air-con, a good radio and you can’t even hear the engine as you drive along. It actually glides! So today we drove to the mountains – just under two hours from the city.
The Blue Mountains are so-called due to their blue hue; caused by the haze of the eucalyptus oil from the trees and rainforest dew meeting the sunshine. On getting to Echo point we saw this in full glory. It was beautiful. This first vantage point was tourist mecca; we were surrounded by hundreds of mainly Chinese tourists, all taking photos, with this years most-wanted Christmas present, a camera phone ‘selfie-pole’. We also identified several other useful stocking-filler gadgets, including umbrella hats. It all made interesting viewing, and that’s before we even started on our walk to look at the epic scenery…
Now, if you have read Aaron’s section on the ‘Meet the Brooks Family’, you will already know that there are 3 things in this world that he really doesn’t like: snakes, heights and swarms. So far, in Australia, he has encountered one of his “ishoo’s”, in the form of standing on an ants nest, which then swarmed, literally, up his leg. I have never seen so many ants in my whole life, particularly scurrying up a bare limb. Even the poor folk on “I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here,” (which please note, is also filmed in Australia) haven’t gone through trial by ‘Ants in their Pants’. Aaron has.
And today, we also did the heights thing. There was also the possibility of snakes too, what with the kids insisting on collecting sticks from the edges of the path, to poke at random bits of the undergrowth, as they skipped along happily. We had to remind them, several times, that unlike Haldon Forest Park (our usual hang-out back home in the UK), this rainforest bush land was exactly the kind of place that Steve Backshall and Bear Grylls actually visit to record some of their ((whispered)) “Look at that deadly brown tree snake! It’s the second most deadly snake in the whole world and I need to catch, skin and eat it to stay alive,” type-programmes. We didn’t see snakes today, but as Aaron liked to remind us, it doesn’t mean they weren’t there. We did see a big spider though!
The kids said it was the best walk they have ever been on! So did Aaron….