After a fun filled weekend Captain Caveman and I said goodbyes to Alys and Boz early on Monday morning, 17th December, and drove 700km back south. We stopped on the way at a health food cafe and then again at a supermarket to get a picnic. We camped at a free campsite in a place called Broke, where we ate chicken and rocket. I got bit by a lot of mozzies and spent a very uncomfortable and hot night sleeping in the car – even the wine didn’t make me sleepy.
The next day, Tuesday 18th December, we drove a couple of hours to the cafe we had stopped off at the previous week. I ordered a full English but only ate some of it because of the strong taste of fish on the mushrooms. I was just happy to have gluten free toast though. Captain Caveman was taking us to Jenolan caves, where we were also booked in to a nice room at the Victorian hotel there. We visited Katoomba on route to Jenolan via a very windy road. After checking out some caves, meeting lots of lizards and getting ready for a pre-dinner bar visit we had a posh meal at the hotel.
We left the Jenolan caves, on Wednesday 19th December, and drove to Wombeyan caves where I had chocolate (the only gluten free thing) for breakfast. We saw lots of kangaroos, some sleeping and some hopping about, which I loved. We drove on very steep, winding bush roads with evidence of various vehicles having plummeted over the side of the roads into deep ravines (I was too scared to look). We had a lovely lunch stop in Berrima before arriving at Ian’s (a friend of Captain Caveman’s) where we would stay the night.
Having managed to have a few drinks with Ian and Captain Caveman the night before, it was a good idea to go for a walk on Thursday 20th December. We took Albert, Ian’s red heeler dog, to the local cafe in Exeter via some fields. We had a delicious breakfast where I had bacon & rocket on gluten free toast, washed down with a few cups of Earl Grey. We said our goodbyes and left Ian with the bottle of Shiraz as a thank you before heading to see the Kiama blow hole on our way to meet up with yet more friends. We stopped off to check out Bulli beach and because I had already had emergency snacks of peanuts on the drive, I had a Greek yoghurt with passion fruit for lunch.
We arrived in Wollongong and met up with friends who we had met in Phong Nha (Dave, Kevin, Glen and a guy called Jason). Dave had arranged a reunion night out at the Fig Tree Hotel, where we had such a great time that I forgot to take any photos. I did try an Australian delicacy with my pork and veg – smashed chat!
The night ended at Kevin’s house with a whiskey and a fuss of the dog, Honey, before heading to our sleeping quarters, a caravan on the drive.