Nov 5, 2014

The glow worms at Newnes

I had read about glow worms and my curiosity was piqued. Since we were camping not 5 minutes drive from where a glow worm track could be found, hubby, me, the boys, and the not-yet one year old bub (who was in a sling) did the walking track, lead by an experienced scout leader who had done the trail before. It is long though, so be prepared to spend half the day doing this. We did 14 km all in all that day.

It is hard going uphill at first but becomes mostly flat. You can see some rail sleepers along the way and admire the beauty of the bush.

This is where we stopped for a snack.


You walk on for an hour plus before you get to the tunnel.

We walked in with one lead torchlight on low... and fumble about a bit 

And when we were in the center of the tunnel, the leader said, "All lights off."

As we stood in the pitch darkness, the walls and ceiling started twinkling and 'stars' slowly appeared in front of our eyes. It's a little bit of magic...if you have ever seen fireflies light up a tree, you may know what I mean.

I didn't lug a tripod with me on a 14km hike, so could only do so much with the photo, but here it is, boosted.

The boys did well for something that wasn't related to pressing buttons on a remote. Number One whinged a bit, and asked why he had to come when some others had stayed back at camp. I said because it is a family activity and since he was a part of the family, he had to be there.

I think I like outdoor activities because we are 'forced' to be present. Many times, we are there but not present. We are present in our worries, in our chores yet undone, in our Facebook updates and our networked games and our work. When we are at camp, soaking in a creek; when we are trudging up a 45 degree hill, encouraging and helping each other; when we take in nothing but the perfect beauty God created... then, we are truly present.

Oct 25, 2014

The Coke Ovens at Newnes

This is a shale rock. It was mined in Newnes.

According to Wikipedia, "Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments (silt-sized particles) of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite."

Apparently you can get oil out of stone! One of the interesting walks you can do from a Newnes camping ground is the Newnes Industriall Ruins site. It was the site of one of the largest shale oil production schemes in Australia and operated between 1906 and 1932.

These are coke ovens. The only 'coke' I knew was the one which I drink, but this is not that Coke. These coke ovens were used to fuel the boiler plants.

Once you get past the uphill bit, the walk is pretty easy and interesting. It has an 'Indiana Jones' feeling to it as you see crumbling brick and nature re-conquering what was once its domain. You can picture in your mind's eye the hive of activity that once filled the place and contrast that with the utter stillness of today.

The other walk we did was the Glow Worm Tunnel. That was very interesting, though you had to work for that one.

Camping at Newnes

I've been behind on my blog posts but my latest mantra is 'better late than never!'

This is from last year's camping date in December. We went to Newnes, in the Blue Mountains.

There are pros and cons of camping here compared to Riverwood Down. The flies here are annoying. We were close to some bushfire, and had a ranger come over to update us on the fire and announce a total fire ban.

The view is quite incredible though. You wake up in the morning, climb out of your tent and gasp at the mountains next to you, soaring high above. You know the view you get when you visit the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains? Well, this is from inside that view. There is an exclusive getaway for the rich and famous five minutes up the road, the rates of which I am told is $5000 a night. We stayed five minutes down the road for 1% of the price.

There is a pretty river although it's not deep enough to swim in.

and if you are into your wildlife, there are pretty cute ones...

...pretty active wildlife...

and pretty scary wildlife... Number One was running around and fell down on a big, big ant and he was bitten. Ouch. Poor thing, he always does seem to run into bad luck.

The nearby walks are super interesting though. We did the Industrial Ruins and the Glow Worm Tunnel, posts to follow.