We have been back to school for a week now. Back into routine of packing lunches, footy training and soccer games. The holidays flew so quickly that I felt like I could have done with an extra week!
We were all so tired after the school term. I was exhausted and just wanted to stay at home, and not go anywhere for a change. We didn't do too much.
The boys all went out and helped with some cattlework most days. I caught up on the mountain of washing. We did some dental appointments and a day of jobs in Dubbo. Some small cousins came to visit us and we did a day of Rugby in the middle.
At the end of the holidays I caught up with a good friend I went to school with in the Warrumbungles National Park. She has small children, and we decided to do a walk and have a picnic in the bush.
The Warrumbungles suffered devastating bushfires in January 2013. You can see how the area is recovering and regenerating from the fires a year and a half later now. I remember the night those fires started. It was the worst day possible for a fire to start. I think the temp was about 47.C and that night after the unrelenting heat the winds blew to a gale and lighting strikes started the fires. 53 homes were destroyed, but luckily there was no human life lost in the fires.
I haven't been to The Warrumbungles since I was a kid, and it seems ridiculous that it has been that long seeing as we live so close to them. I guess I was caught up before with the boys being smaller and in the baby stage with my youngest. And I didn't really relish the idea of carrying small tired children up and down mountains. So we were all pretty excited to go and do a walk.
So we met at the visitor's centre. Paid our $7 fee and got a map of where we could go. Some tracks are still closed, but most have reopened so there are plenty of walks to choose from.
We chose the Grand High Tops Walk. It is meant to take 5 hours and we thought that would be long enough to wear our kids out.
There are plenty of things to see along the way. The track runs along a creek and is quite flat most of the way for a few kilometres.
When you get to the top of the paved track there are a few fights of stairs so you get the best view of the Warrumbungles. It is so gorgeous up here, and in my opinion, winter time is the best time to come up here. Provided you have a fine sunny day of course!
|The face of The Breadknife|
|That domed building on the mountain is Siding Spring Observatory.|
The view is magnificent up the top and we were told it was 8.6km. Turns out we find a sign at the top that says 5kms back to the carpark. So we actually did a 10km walk all up. The kids did so well to go that far without complaining or without begging to be carried some of the way.
|The stairs to the top|
|5km up and 5 km down|
|It is a long way up.|
|You can see lots of regrowth here.|
Once we managed to get back to our cars we were well and truly exhausted!
We drove around the other side of the park to the Canyon picnic area where you get a good view of Split Rock.
We could hear bleating and we spotted some wild goats near the top of Split Rock. There was about 20 of them all foraging away.
|Wild goats on Split Rock|
|Caves on Split Rock|
Once we were all fed, the kids went exploring the lava flow from all the extinct volcanoes and the creek was a hit. Not much water in there, but plenty of rocks and it kept them entertained until the sun began to go down. We decided to go before it got too cold.
It is such a beautiful place, and I plan of spending more time here before the heat hits again. Now that I know the boys handled that walk well, we may have to climb Split Rock next time!