Okay so I have been extremely slack about updating the blog, now it is catch up time.
After we left Canberra, we headed to the coast around Wollongong, since I am so far behind I will keep this to highlights. Again I would like to pay respect to traditional owners the elders, past present and emerging. To the best of my knowledge the region is Dharawal country. I should say something about why I acknowledge traditional custodians and invite corrections if I get things wrong. Australia has something like 500 different nations or clan groups, first nation culture is incredibly complex and rich and as an outsider, (white Australian), I am always afraid I will make a mistake in my acknowledgement of whose country I have entered. I just want to say that I feel strongly that it is important that when we travel we give some thought to whose country we travel through. Doing so not only pays respect to traditional owners, but it pays respect to ourselves and gives us a gift, in that it allows us the precious moment to consider the country around us in all its richness, history and spiritual value. It makes us take a moment to consider the land itself and treat it with the respect it deserves and which western culture sometimes denies it and its people. So taking a moment to acknowledge the people who have the duty of care for a country, allows us to acknowledge that country is precious and that the traditional owners have a knowledge that is rich and important.
The one thing worth mentioning about our Wollongong stop over was the Minnamurra Falls walk in Budderoo National park. This is a great little walk, with sections of board walk track making the steep climb fairly comfortable, despite the climb. (I envy the fit young things that bolt up and down such steep climbs without raising a sweat or an accelerated breath, while my leg muscles ache in complaint and my lungs drag in as much oxygen as they can). The walk wrapping around the hill and following the creek up under a cool rain forest canopy was a glorious escape, rich in bird life including the iconic lyrebird. Near the top we encountered a small group of three juvenile lyrebirds in the company of an adult male, as we quietly paused and observed, the male demonstrated his range of mimicry with impersonations of just about every other bird on the mountain, including an impressive kookaburra impersonation. The location is also supposed to be home to elusive platypus, they did elude us on our visit but is worth knowing that they can be found here. The path finally summits at the falls themselves with a serene viewing platform and a chance to regain breath before turning around and descending back down. I have to say no matter how hard the climb up, I always prefer the assent to the descent.
Despite the paving and board walk this is still a grade 4 trail, so a steep climb but so worth the effort. At about 4.2 km return, it takes about an hour and a half, at a leisurely pace with time for contemplation. Its worth knowing that the park gate is locked at 5pm, so maybe don’t plan a walk for to late in the day. Park entry fees apply, $12 a vehicle, it is worth considering buying a multi park pass in NSW. The entry fees are worth the money, there is a big difference in the facilities between NSW parks and QLD parks which usually don’t charge fees so that is worth considering, the money goes to improved facilities.