Tunnel of Stars | Gardens of Stone National Park

Today we went on an adventure to a glow worm tunnel!

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The drive from Lithgow took us along 30km of fairly unpleasant rough and bumpy gravel and dirt road, for the most part through plantation, but led us to the very beautiful Gardens of Stone National Park and walking track to the glow worm tunnel.

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Our doggy, in a particularly sooking mood would not allow us to leave him alone. So Elki, upon his own insistence, stayed with him in his father’s place, not wanting his dog to be sad, or Scott to miss out.

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The walking track wound through invigorating forest,

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surrounded by ancient rocks and stone cliff sides,

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and arrived at the fern veiled tunnel entrance;

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the tunnel of an old rail.

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With head torches on, we ventured in, light quickly disappearing, leaving us in darkness and revealing the magical lights!

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The lights in the tunnel akin to stars in a night sky delighted us all. Anusha mystified by there beauty as she skipped and jumped from rock to rock along the wet tunnel floor.
On observing the worms under a red light we found they do indeed glow from their bums!

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As the light at the end of the tunnel emerged the tiny stars receded,

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And we were greeted by a grove of green.

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We weren’t sure which end of the tunnel was more beautiful.

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After a short exploration we headed back through the tunnel, marvelling again at the lovely glowing lights, finding one cluster of worms in the shape of a capital E (E for my dear boy Elki looking after his doggy โค), and Anusha counting the doorways cut into the tunnel rock wall.

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Amongst the amazing cliff faces we spied secretive caves.

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One of which Anusha had found on the walk in when I had been carrying Zubin in the ergo. Now that Scott held him she was able to show me her ‘amazing!’ find at the bottom of a short but steep and slippery path.

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It was truly amazing and even more so after we saw a bat! It flew around us as we excitedly squealed, Anusha exclaiming, “it came this close to my face!”

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She couldn’t wait to tell her Dad (who had gone on ahead telling us to take our time) and Elki as we walked the last of the track, noticing the beautiful colours of rock along the way.

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We found happy boys back at the car; Zubin having loved the walk on his Dad’s shoulder, Elki not minding at all his quiet time of reading and playing games on his phone, and of course Laska having had company while he waited.
I had missed my boy on the walk and we all agreed we would return before leaving the area as Elki just has to see the awesome tunnel of stars.

Stevenson’s Falls

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Last week we went for a wander to the falls where we are currently camped; Stevenson’s falls, about 30 km inland from Apollo bay.

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The trail led us alongside the creek, through wet native forest, distant plantation, wild blackberries, and the occasional fungi.

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Anusha finding it hard not to constantly stop to pick and munch blackberries, and the forest providing a veritable smorgasbord for Elki’s imagination; after not long we found ourselves at the day use area and crossed the creek.

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The cool water called but we continued on, the children venturing onto the rocky paths winding along the creek.

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Hopping from rock to rock Elki and Anusha made their way to the waterfall as Scott, a sleeping Zubin, and I strolled alongside on the path.

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Before long the easy peaceful trail led us to the beautiful falls.

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A welcoming, refreshing, and cooling sight.

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Elki immediately climbed down to the bottom of the falls,

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exploring the surrounding rocks, small caves, and pools.

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Anusha shortly ventured down too,

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And then Scott and Laska followed,

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Whilst a now awake Zubin, and I, observed and breathed in the beauty from the lookout.

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I love to watch my family delight in nature’s wonders,

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And capture our time together in these special places.

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On our return walk I rock hopped with the children along the creek whilst Scott strolled back with Zubin.

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We met at the day use area and the children and I cooled our feet in the water before walking the remaining stretch. Anusha, with a sore foot, was carried by Scott and they picked the highest berries, previously out of reach!

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Elki led the way, and I found him resting and reading under the shade of a pine in our camp upon my return.

A Walk in Scott Conservation Park

This afternoon we went for a walk through Scott Conservation Park, where we are camped in Currency Creek.
We arrived hear on Sunday after leaving Adelaide and are soaking in the freedom and peacefulness, realising the constraints and pressures our stay in suburbia for just 6 weeks had placed on us (of course we had beautiful happy times with our family and friends too!)

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We spent the whole day at camp today, and so wanted to explore a little more of the area.
The children have settled right back into the bush and immediately their imaginations ran free. Anusha brought the map for us to follow (from one of her Lego instructions ;)), and Elki informed us that ogres were nearby!

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A dry creek bed runs through the park. We crossed it and followed the track into the surrounding bush land.
It’s so different from the wet, super dense forest that we are now accustomed to in Tasmania, and what we experienced in the Blue Mountains. It is so dry here, and more open, and the Gums beautiful in a different way; not as tall but more sprawling.

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The first of several ogre footprints that were found, this one a baby’s!

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There is something very beautiful about the contrast and starkness of a dead tree amidst a forest of green and the blue sky.

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We came across a dried out billabong, or the sleeping place of a storm giant.

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My baby fell asleep as soon as we started to walk, rocked by my stepping rhythm.

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We discovered that the amazing grass tree spikes are perfect staffs, walking sticks, and according to Elki; Dai katana.

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We continued on, the heat of the day increasing.

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After stopping for a drink break the children ventured ahead whilst Scott and I strolled behind.

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Alongside the track we caught glimpses of the eroded creek bed.

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And after catching up with the children, crossed back over the creek and walked back to camp along the road; the children catching sight of an echidna waddling past.
We’ve started taking evening strolls along this road, spotting kangaroos in the adjacent fields, and last night we watched the moon rise from a beautiful glow to a shining orange globe.

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Zubin woke up just before we got back spending the rest of the walk happy in his Dadda’s arms.
And thankfully we made it to camp before the ogres were upon us! 😄

A Walk To The Three Sisters

The day before we left our camp at Blackheath we got around to going on a walk along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk to the Three Sisters. I had been wanting to go back since visiting the Echo Point lookout to see the Three Sisters when we first arrived in the Blue Mountains.

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On our first visit I was blown away by the beauty of the sisters.
I read the children two variations of Aboriginal dreaming stories about the formation of the great rocks, that I’d found online, we had a picnic lunch,

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And Elki, Zubin, and I walked down onto one of the Three Sisters.

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Anusha was too scared at this point to go on the walk to the sister, it is very steep and she found the view across the valley very confronting.

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When we returned we began our walk from Silver Mist Reserve lookout. It was a cloudy, misty, cool day with the promise of rain. It was actually a really lovely temperature for walking and the weather offered some spectacular views of the mountains and valleys.
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Anusha loves to find magical places on our walks, this was a favourite.

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Just before we started out the mist came rolling down the mountains, blanketing the valley in white.

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We set off,

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greeted by some beautiful wildflowers along the way.

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We stopped at the different lookouts along the walk, the mist swirling, rising, and falling, all because Elki, (thankfully! ;)) had cast a concealing spell to ward off an evil magic!

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Anusha kept Scott on his toes (and me entertained from behind),

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and we spotted more radiant,

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and special blooms.

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We arrived at the lookout where you walk down and over Honeymoon bridge to the closest sister.

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This time Anusha braved the steep steps down, and conquered her fear.

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She even had a slip on one of the steps but kept on going, making it all the way. We were very proud.

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It was an eery and beautiful view .

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We continued along the last section of the walk to Echo Point, Anusha racing to find the animal sculptures dotted along the track.

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She loved the Lyrebird.

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Again the Three Sisters took my breath away.

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And the valley is amazing.

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After taking it all in we started on the return walk.

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This we did much faster but I still had time to snap some more beauties.

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Upon return to the lookout at Silver Mist reserve we were able to see the beautiful Leura Falls,

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and the magnificent cliff sides.

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It was a gorgeous part of the Prince Henry Cliff walk, and a special morning. I hope to return one day and walk more of this amazing track.

Leura Cascades and Govett’s Leap

Over the last couple of weeks we have gone on a few walks, two being Leura Cascades and a walk called Pope’s Glen, leaving from Govett’s Leap.

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The weather has been really up and down while we’ve been here, days often starting out with blue skies and sunshine, to then have a thunderstorm coming rolling in with an afternoon of rain. On the day we headed to Leura we were anticipating a thunderstorm around lunch time, so we set off fairly early with a picnic lunch for afterwards.

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The Leura Cascades are just out of Leura. We decided to go on one of the easier walks, which was a loop including the cascades. The cascades are in beautiful rainforest within the Blue Mountains National Park.

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It didn’t take long walking along a boardwalk to reach the cascades, arriving within a quite magical grotto.

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After taking in the delicious fresh air and energy, and a climb on the rocks, we continued on down the path.

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Often we tend to look forwards and down (especially here with so many spectacular views from the mountian tops) a lot of the time, but I love to look up at the rock and cliff features and marvel at the amazing plants and trees that seem to grow wherever there is the slightest promise of life.

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After a short walk we came to a spectacular view of the valley and spotted this gorgeous Cockatoo on the cliff top.

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Looking down on what I think is Leura Falls.

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Colourful new Bracken foliage.

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And the view over the valley.

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We then wound our way back down again, taking the shortest path. Elki was uncharacteristically timid and unadventurous and (not uncharacteristically) eager to head back for lunch.

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So, after Anusha had a short dip in the pool at the start of the walking track we had our picnic, and the children had a swing just as the thunderstorm rolled in.

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About a week later we went to Govett’s Leap to explore some of the area and go on a more challenging walk. The view from Govett’s Leap lookout is truly amazing!

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And the waterfall is beautiful. It is the only single drop waterfall in the Blue Mountains, falling for 180m.

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It was magical to watch the breeze blow mist from the water across the cliff face.

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At this time of year the wildflowers are blooming and as we walked we marvelled at the gorgeous little blooms dotting the trackside.

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We decided to walk along the Pulpits rock track.

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Which was a failry steep climb with apparently quite spectacular views.

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Noticing more sweet and different wildflowers along the way.

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The spectacular Grevillea.

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Along the track we arrived at Pope’s Glen, a lovely cool spot for a respite on what was a warm day.

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We ended up having a snack that then turned into our picnic lunch.

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Whilst the children played in the sand,

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the refreshing, cool water,

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and nature’s playground.

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After some discussion we decided to continue on the Pope’s Glen track rather than continuing up to Pulpits rock. Walking up steep tracks with lots of steps is a bit of a struggle for me carrying Zubin at the moment, and I have noticed after having my third bubba I am feeling it in my hips.

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The mountainsides were coloured yellow with a flowering bush very similar to Prickly Beauty (a bush native to Tas that is very common where we live).

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We all marvelled at the stunning beauty of this little wildflower,

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and continued making our way along the track that eventually leads to the township of Blackheath.

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We were surprised at many points along the way by flowers that we have never come across before.

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The track wound it’s way along a creekside,

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and a rainforested valley.

It was quite a long walk, actually longer than we thought and we were able to build up a good walking pace, not being hindered by copious steps and too many steep hills. After some time though, the children’s energy began to lag and we had to encourage them on, reminding them of our amazing surrounds, to look outward and be strong.

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After arriving back at the road that led into Blackheath Anusha and Scott went on ahead to walk back to Govett’s Leap for our car, whilst Elki and I walked at a slower pace to meet them along the way.

Elki was really pushed by this remaining section of the walk, at times dramatically dropping to the ground, claiming his exhaustion and how he could not possibly go on! I gently but firmly encouraged him on, reminding him that when we push ourselves beyond the point of what we perceive to be our limits we can be very surprised by what we can achieve.

Eventually the car was in sight and Elki cried out in relief and excitement! I was proud of my boy, and when we got back into the car my little girl was asleep in her chair, Scott telling me she had been absolutely awesome and powered on until the end.

We then headed back home for some well deserved rest and dinner ๐Ÿ™‚

Wentworth Falls – The Blue Mountains

As a family, we love bushwalking. Yes, sometimes the children are too tired, not in the mood, or I want to keep walking when they’ve just had enough, but on the whole when we are on a bushwalk together we have a really fantastic time, and love exploring this beautiful country.

When I was pregnant, and since having bubba we have got out of practice of going on long walks. But now, we are getting to the point where this is possible again. Of course there will be limitations to what we can do as Zubin is only 6 months old and we will be carrying him the whole time, but I’ve been really excited about exploring the mainland by foot as we travel around camping. I also hope to record all our bushwalks here as a photographic and written journal of our wanderings.

Currently we are very fortunate to be camping at a friend’s place in Katoomba, surrounded by The Blue Mountains, and yesterday we went along the Charles Darwin Walk track to Wentworth Falls.

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We began with a snack and then headed off.

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We followed the track, which weaves along beside Jamison Creek, and at the start is surrounded by native bushes, trees, and restoration areas. I’ve been seeing these flowers around the Blue Mountains a fair bit and there was quite a lot at the start of the track. I’m assuming they are a type of Waratah, so beautiful!

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Scott and Anusha went up ahead, whilst Elki and I (and Zubin) followed more slowly behind. We caught up to find a cute little bridge troll (otherwise known as Nushi) cooling her feet in the creek. Elki was very quick to join her.

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I think the best thing about this walking track was the abundance of shady and quite magical little rock pools and shallow water holes along the creek. They were irresistible ๐Ÿ™‚ We also stopped and spotted fish from the small bridges, and at one point the children ran ahead immersed in an exploration game in which somehow Scott and I ended up being the lagging pack mule and hinny; Bert and Mary.

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I couldn’t resist the sparkling cool water either.

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This was another very sweet flowering bush dotted along the track.

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And after about an hour or so, we arrived at the Weeping rock.

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After sleeping in the Ergo for most of the track bubba woke up and now we both had a chance to cool down in the refreshing air.

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Whilst Elki was immediately drawn to the water, Nush was drawn to the sand.

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After refreshing at Weeping rock we moved on to the top of Wentworth Falls,

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where there was another delicious water hole.

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After drawing the children away from the water we continued on, now on the National Pass, to see more of the falls.

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Once again, Elki and I strolled along behind. Elki was immediately drawn into a world of dwarven kingdoms amongst the rocks and cliff faces,ย and elven kingdoms in the expanse of forest and trees,

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imagining hidden doors and secret entrances to vast cities above, and treetop villages below.

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The view was spectacular.

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We didn’t walk all the way down as it was very steep and fairly long, and Anusha is quite afraid of heights, but what we saw of the falls was beautiful.

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We then walked back up and went to Fletcher’s lookout for one more view of the falls and mountains. Anusha was very brave and came all the way out even though she was scared, and both the children picked out parts of the mountains that we had seen from the Three Sisters lookout a few days before.

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We saw the top of the falls from another perspective and I continued to be blown away by the majestic and ancient beauty of the land.

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By this time we were all well and truly ready for our lunch, and the children were wet and weary, so we headed up to the Wentworth Falls lookout and then onto the picnic area. I really hope to come back here one day and complete the whole of the National Pass walk so we can see more of this stunning area.

Breath of Fresh Air at Bay of Fires

Over the Easter weekend we went for a family camping trip up the North east coast of Tasmania to the Bay of Fires. This was an eagerly awaited getaway for me and the whole family. We spent the first half with my parents, and then after they headed back to Adelaide, we stayed on for another few days.

We hadn’t been to the Bay of Fires before, I was blown away by the beautiful crystal clear seas, and one special bay after another. The children revelled in the sandy shores and rocky coastlines, and we were extremely lucky with the weather! We had a whole week of sunny days, pretty unusual for Tassie!

I feel completely at home when camping. Waking with the light and the sounds of birds to spend the day enjoying nature and each other’s company is bliss to me! And the children absolutely love it. I think our camping trips are so important for them, experiencing nature without the trappings and intrusions of regular day-to-day life, free from the pressures of society – for me it’s natural learning at it’s best!

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The sand and sea called to the children and invited them to play,

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Jeanneret Beach (1)

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Sloop Reef (2)

we walked along ancient, rust coloured rocky coastlines,

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and passed some time playing cards and enjoying camping life.

Canasta by lamplight at Dora Point campground (6)

Laska at our Dora Point campsite

I soaked up the peaceful crashing waves, sparkling waters, and serene beachside forest as much as I could!

Anusha and I at Dora Point (5)

Swimcart Beach (2)

Walk to Humbug Bay (18)

Walk to Skeleton Point (30)

I think we all would have loved to stay much longer, and have started planning a year long journey around the mainland in two year’s time!

But now with my energy renewed I look forward to our coming months of homeschooling lessons and am excited about what is coming….