It seems that people go missing in bush of the Blue Mountains with some frequency. Before we arrived, our hosts in Sydney warned us not to go for a bush walk without telling someone where we were heading. As we checked into our hostel in Katoomba, the friendly front desk clerk gave us the same warning. She then showed us a newspaper article about a guy who had gone out into the bush (armed only with 2kilos of potatoes, naan bread and a few matches), and gotten lost for three days. She also pointed out the stuffed teddy bear on display, which had been a gift from another traveler thanking the hostel for sending the police after her when she didn’t come back after a day.
We had no interest in getting lost in the bush for days on end, so we decided to just do a very tame, very well marked walk through the Prince Henry Valley and out to Echo Point. It was a lovely early afternoon walk, one which provided lovely views without requiring us to give our information to the local police station. And even though we were only planning to be gone for an hour or two, we still had better provisions than raw potatoes and naan. That guy must have been an idiot.
We did not get lost, and no authorities had to go after us. As a bonus, we missed the worst bush fire conditions in decades by just one day. The day after our trip the temperature and winds were priming the area for some serious fires. News crews were standing by, just waiting to see everything go up in flames. Glad we got out when we did.After our full day in Katoomba, it was time to leave Australia. I can’t say we were entirely sad to see it go. While there is a ton to do in this massive country, we felt tapped out by the expense of it all. And since Australia is largely like the US in many, many ways, it wasn’t as much fun as the other places we’ve been. Instead, it kind of felt like we were back at home but without the good stuff, like family and friends.
So we set off for another epic day of travel on our way to Indonesia. Maybe now “Land Down Under” will stop running on a nonstop loop through my brain…