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Family Time

Sunday 30th August 2015

sunny 18 °C

Yesterday we left the centre of Sydney and travelled out to to stay with my cousin Carrie and her husband Gary who live on the edge of the Southern Highlands. We were going to catch the train all the way out to where they live south of Campbelltown, however there was maintenance work taking place on the line and so Carrie suggested meeting us at the airport. After some enquiries and a bit of deliberation we decided to get a taxi to there which wasn't significantly more expensive than getting the shuttle bus, and certainly much quicker. Once we arrived it took us a bit of time to find each other, but once we did we soon on our way south towards the Campbelltown area. We then turned off the highway and headed to the small town of Camden where we had a leisurely pub lunch. Carrie and I had a delicious feta and tomato tartlet while the men went for the more hearty choice of sausage and mash. After we had finished eating we went to get some groceries and then continued in Gary's car to Lake Burragorang. This is a massive reservoir which provides water for much of the Sydney area. We went to a lookout point which provided us with a great view of the area.

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By this time it was mid-afternoon and Gary drove us all via Picton back to their house in Douglas Park. Carrie gave us the guided tour of their home which is really spacious by English standards and is on a lovely large plot backing onto farmland. We also met their very friendly dog Mya (apologies to her and her owners if we have spelt this wrong) who greeted us enthusiastically. We had a welcome cup of tea and all chatted. It was lovely being able to spend more time with Carrie and share more family memories. About half five/six we went out for dinner with Gary's sister Karen and her partner Daryl. We ate at a really popular steakhouse type restaurant. I went for the lamb chops whilst Nigel had chicken and prawn pasta (brave choice after his dodgy meal a few nights previously). It made such a nice change to be out with other people and to be able to socialise, and they all made us feel very welcome. The meal was very filling so none of us wanted to eat a dessert at that point. We got back to Carrie and Gary's a bit after nine and had a cup of tea and chatted some more before we going to bed tired and ready for a good nights sleep.

I certainly had a really good nights sleep, and woke up looking forward to another day out with Carrie and Gary. We had a fairly early breakfast and then set off for our day out. We started off by going to Fitzroy Falls which are approximately a hours drive south of where they live. I was expecting something comparable with a waterfall back in the UK but this was much more spectacular. The valley was vast and the water drops approximately eighty metres from the top of the escarpment to the valley below. The falls were named after Sir Charles Fitzroy who was State Governor in the mid 19th Century. We walked up to the main viewpoint and then to another a little further on. The views were really spectacular and I could have stayed there for ages.

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We were starting to get hungry so stopped off in Robertson for lunch at the local pie shop. It was an amazing set up, and I have never seen so many pies coming out of a kitchen or customers buying them. Nigel and I went for the Beef Bourguignon pies which were delicious. After eating we continued on to Illawarra Fly Treetop Experience which has canopy walks and zip wires. I didn't fancy the latter but the canopy walks gave great views of the rain forest as well as further towards the coast. Some of the walkways were cantilevered which meant they were very prone to wobbling, particularly when Nigel insisted on bouncing on them! There was also a tower which took us 45 metres above the forest floor.

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The only thing that was a bit disappointing was that we didn't see much wildlife, apart from a trail of animal poo when we were back at ground level.

We had planned to go and visit my uncle who following a fall, is in hospital near Wollongong. En-route we visited the seaside town of Kiama to have a look at the blowhole. I told Carrie that we had been to look at several since we had been in Australia but none had the right conditions for them to be spouting water. On this occasion we were in luck, and every so often a huge surge of water would shoot up out of the rocks.

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Nigel and I watched for a while, and we took some photographs. Again I could have stayed for ages but I was aware that we really needed to press in so that we could see David, so we went and rejoined Carrie and Gary. We then made the short distance to the small cottage hospital to see David. I probably hasn't seen him for 20 years or more, but despite now being 91 he didn't seem to have changed that much. I explained who I was, and we talked about some memories from the past, and he explained about his accident and spoke to both Carrie and I about what had been happening to him in the last few days. I had been a little anxious about visiting him in hospital given that my Dad only passed away earlier this year, but actually David seemed in much better health and spirits so it was good to see him.

Once we left Gary started to drive us back towards Douglas Park, although we stopped once more at a viewpoint

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and to pick up some pizza for dinner. After we had eaten Carrie showed me some old photographs and we spoke about a great aunt who came to Australia in the 1920's. Both Nigel and I had really enjoyed being with Carrie and Gary and were really grateful to Gary for driving us around. I felt sad to think that we would be leaving them in the morning.

Posted by Gill's Travels 04:50 Archived in Australia Tagged sydney australia southern_highlands

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