20 December 2010

Girrakool and Piles Creek Loop Trek

Phil Houghton Bridge over Piles Creek

One of the many smaller bridges on the Piles Creek Loop Trek

Other-worldly in appearance - steps to the Phil Houghton Bridge

Some of the rock-face where shallow caves were along the trail

Zoe and Clara at different points of the "mostly flat" trek - per the trail description chart

It was an amazing bushland trek! Through sun drenched bush scrub. Up and down well built bush steps and hand hewn rock steps. Across a dozen small wooden bridges that spanned the gap over small gores and waterways. We viewed waterfalls from their base and their top. We scrambled over rocks, walked pasted caves, marveled at the size of bull ants we encountered, and admired blooms. The highlight of the trek for the children was the Phil Houghton Swing Bridge over Piles Creek.

Rock face
Concrete stepping stones on the trail

Lookout with railing

Hand carved steps on the rocks

Sign post

The Piles Creek trek we took overlaps some of the Great North Walk, a trek that connects Sydney to Newcastle.

The narrative description on the track notes for the Piles Creek circuit was accurate. I had the feeling of experiencing parts of Riven, however the chart indicating the terrain was predominately flat was exaggerated, to put it nicely.

I was very proud of my children, especially Neo and Zoe, who enthusiastically walked the entire 4.1 km with very little complaint. Neo took a piggy back ride only near the end of the trail. We chose the perfect day for this trek into bushland - sunny, windy, about 70 F. Overall, it was an invigorating, inspirational trek.

Waterfall on the Piles Creek Trail

The children on some nice steps

Another waterfall

12 December 2010

Oprah Fever Hits Australia

Oprah, her 100 plus organizers and 302 ultimate audience members came to Australia on 6 December. Everyone associated with Oprah has received lots of media attention. It's been heaps of fun watching the media follow them around Australia. So far, she's been to: Uluru (Ayres Rock), Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne, and many sites in Sydney. A noteworthy point was when Oprah plus 300 others climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge. The bridge displayed a large O in her honor. She'll be taping 2 shows at the Sydney Opera House this week - renamed The Sydney Oprah House. There will be at 3 and possibly 4 shows from the Australia trip. Have fun Oprah and crew.