In our minds eye we had imagined a quiet ‘soft’ launch of BussAbout staying with dear friends for eight days, who moved earlier in the year to a lovely area at the foot of the Blue Mountains (thank you Toni and Jim and kids!). The house was bubbling full with five kids and four adults – a home away from home. Well, it ended up quite a turbo charged week of water fights, wonderful excursions, adventure, catch-ups with family and friends, starting this blog in earnest, and fruitless attempts each night at getting all the kids to sleep!
We spent two days in the Blue Mountains exploring the magnificent Botanic Gardens at Mount Tomah, lounging with alpacas and a pre-ordered picnic at the Belpin Cider House, and feasting our eyes at Scenic World.
We highly recommend Scenic World (book your tickets online), which has multiple quality attractions – the best of which are the breathtaking views of The Three Sisters and the ranges beyond, and the tree-hugging beauty of the rainforest boardwalk. (We wouldn’t use words like ‘serenity’ when experiencing it with busloads of tourists but there’s always more solitary trails we could have opted for had we the parenting fortitude of armoured tanks, which we didn’t soooo fast forward to ice creams at the café.) The steepest incline train in the world caused a couple of screams, followed by a short cable car ride and then the impressive Skyway (with see through glass floor plates for the brave and anyone under 10 who doesn’t know any better) 270 metres high over the Katoomba Falls and valley.
We took the train into the city to see The Rocks Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, eat ridiculously good ice cream (pistachio praline at Messina… oh my), scratch the selfie itch in front of the Opera House, admire the rope-throwing skills of crew on the Parramatta River Ferry and contemplate the momentary thought that living in Sydney could actually be kind of amazing (assuming a fantasy scenario where we didn’t ever have to work or commute).
On the adventure front, we had planned a leisurely kayak on Parramatta River’s Hen and Chicken Bay which instead ended in a spectacularly unplanned, wind-assisted crossing of the bay by one parent and three kids. We all made it back kind of in one piece thanks to Lisa our heroic rescuer and our wonderful friend Brenda for her quick thinking and spare kayak. Bug (the initial catalyst for the impromptu crossing) was a star in handling his big kayak and steering it to shore but we sit here as a pair of embarrassed parents wondering at our risk assessment skills … before we’ve even left the country.
The following day saw us do the awesome, heart-pounding and (by contrast) far less risky activity of zip-lining through the trees of Grose River Adventure Park. Joy all round. Dear adults – why do so many kids simply not feel the fear?
It’s been heaps of fun and the goodbyes with everyone were really tough. We’ll try to slow down a tad in Thailand… ummm, what are our chances?