So you have been back at work for a couple of weeks and holidays are quickly fading to a distant memory. What you need is a quick escape from reality, and if you live or are visiting Sydney I know just the place to runaway to.
Just follow these 10 easy to steps on how to avoid reality in Kangaroo Valley
Step 1 Preparation: Grab a good group of mates. Pack your essentials, bikini, sleeping bag, playing cards, food – I suggest cooking up Jamie Oliver’s Vegetarian Lasagna for re-heating when you get there – means you have a great meal after the drive.
Step 2 – Getting there: Convince your boss to let you finish work early on a Friday so that you can get out of Sydney before the commuter traffic clogs up the M5. Employ your amazing packing skills to cram in all of your belongings, food, beer and friends into the car. Find a short cut from Mittagong that will cut off half an hour travel time and put your rally driving skills to the test. Avoid killing any wombats that are suddenly crossing the road in the dusk light.
Step 3 – Arrival: Arrive at Glenmack Caravan Park (call ahead if you are going to be late so they will leave a key out and the light on – great customer service!). It’s a great Caravan park for those travelling on a budget. We had a caravan that slept 5 for just $20 a night with a built-in shower and microwave. Unpack, open wine, re-heat lasagna, relax, stay up late talking, sleep
Step 4 – Kayaking: Get up early and cover yourself in sunscreen. Pack your friends back into the car and head to Safari Kayaks. Spend twenty minutes discussing the logistics of who is going in single and who is going in double kayak on the way to the river. Go get coffee. Push your kayak or have someone less clumsy push your kayak onto the river. Jump in and paddle down stream, be careful not to tip over. Get left behind a few times, then paddle ahead of the group a few times, work out how to steer in a straight line. Pull over and go for a quick swim as all of that kayaking is hard work. Sick of the downstream view? Why not turn around and give yourself a real work out by paddling up-stream for a while!
Step 4 – Lunch: Pull your kayaks up onto any space where you can sit and relax – hopefully a nice grassy knoll… if not, stones and fallen trees will suffice. It is important that someone reliable and not likely to tip over has the lunch bag in their kayak, it’s even more important that you packed lunch. If not scab lunch off the sensible friends who thought to bring an amazing picnic. Explore the area, being careful if the spiders whose home you are invading.
Step 5 – Kayaking again: Head back down stream and hope that the head wind that helped push you up stream with so much ease isn’t still blowing in the same direction – if it is you are in for a hard afternoon. Remember the skills you learnt in the morning… or forget them completely and zigzag all the way back.
Step 6 – Relaxing: Return exhausted to your caravan, flop down on beds and chairs, eat left over cookies and chips (you earned them). When you can breathe normally, jump in the shower, lather on moisturiser to try to combat the sunburn you know is coming up. Crack a cider/beer.
Step 7 – Evening fun: Meander slowly in the dying afternoon sun into town (30 seconds walk) to the pub, The Friendly Inn Hotel – which is also the only two-story building in town. Discover that there is a giant beer garden out the back complete with playground, long Viking sized tables and a bocce pitch. Order up a steak that is hearty to match your appetite. Try to avoid spilling beers as you climb in and out of the benches to go and play bocce. Stay there until its dark and you are being eaten alive by mosquitos.
Step 8 – Sleep: Avoid wombats on the way home. Lather yourself in more moisturiser, that sunburn is kicking in now. Curl up in a ball on your bunk, you are asleep before your head hits the pillow. You are then awoken at the crack of dawn by the plethora of native birds that apparently live on top of your very thin caravan.
Step 9 – Climbing: After packing everything back into your car, drive towards Mittagong again. Stop off for coffee and world famous pies. Take a friend with you who knows all about the secret climbing locations and who also has all the fancy ropes and gear. Let them lead you to a secluded place in the bush (hopefully that this isn’t a recreation of Wolfcreek). Wander around the bush for a while looking at cliff walls and thinking “Seriously, climb that?!” Watch in amazement as they set up the harness and ropes and scale the 15 meter sheer rock face. Work out how to climb into the harness, then the cliff, climb up at least 2 metres before having a panic attack and demanding through tears to be lowered back down. Eat lunch and marvel at your crazy friends who have turned into monkeys.
Step 10 – Head Home: Back in the car once more. Stop off for ice creams. Switch drivers several times as you are all tired. Sing songs really badly. Laugh at the three in the backseat who have fallen asleep.
If you follow those simple steps I guarantee that you will feel refreshed and as though you have been away on a real holiday break.