So, early a.m. we catch the commuter train with the suits and the smart dressed young ladies into the city to pick up a hire car. Broni handles the controls, this being our first Oz car driving experience together. It’s already a blistering hot day at 9am. Slowly but surely we make it across the city to Wendy’s (Broni’s oldest sister) to pick up some stuff, then on out of the city, where suburbia ends and turns into farms and small town communities.
In the distance we can see the Blue Mountains beckoning us. We stop off for some salad, watching big carrier planes taking off from the army base close by and yippee, I get to take over the controls and charge us through the countryside, to the bottom of the mountains, slowly up, twisting turns, the smell of gum invading our nostrils, sun blazing in blue, oh blue sky faint whisper of cloud.
We catch a brief glimpse from hilltop back to where we came, a breathtaking spectacle but we are still onwards, upwards, through orchard country and then into the real mountains with burnt scrub bushland, crickets screaming out their mad calls deafeningly loud in unison, cancelling out the radio. Road still twisty we balance on the edge of precipices looking into long deep vale valleys covered in black eerie gum tress caught in last years fires, for all the eye can see everything burnt, charred, like a graveyard to the flora, to nature and it’s wonder, each tree stood like a monument proud into the sky, now beginning to show signs of growth again.
For some half an hour we carry on through this beautiful landscape before descending down into the old coal mining town of Lithgow, and from here we drive for another hour across plains and farms to our destination, Bathurst, Australia’s oldest inland city. And here, at Broni’s parents, we make a brief stop before we head out to some places to look at with the intention of finding some place to get married and as usual, with our positive outlooks and thinking we find somewhere quickly that is an ideal place for marriage ceremony and reception so then we high tail round town to try and find a priest who might marry us outside, something which they are not known to do.
We run out of time doing that but not before a quick run up Mount Panorama round the race course there, where some guy got himself killed in the Janes Hardie 1000, going much faster than us I might add. During the rest of the year the course is open like a normal road, with a picnic stop at the top. Weird driving round roads with tyre barriers and red and white caution markers on the corner bumps.
Back to base we lazy away the rest of the evening in conversation and old photographs.
P.S. The crazy natural amphetamine of youth! Ya!
- Main picture taken on top of Mount Panorama with my best man, Rob, March 1995.