The Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk is an easy drive from Sydney and the perfect place to meet up with David’s mother as we continue our journey south. We’re still using our Merlin passes that we bought last year, and the tree-top walk is one one of the attractions that we still haven’t seen.
When I drove our bus away from Sydney, I was intending to get all the way to the carpark last night, but a truck break-down on the narrow road leading to the top of the escarpment meant that I turned left and left again and parked at the end of a quiet street in a new suburban development.
In the morning, we were in for a treat. We were right next to the community gardens, and the people who tended them were friendly and chatty.
In the morning, we explore the little cul-de-sac where we had parked for the night. It's next-door to a fine plot of community gardens, and we enjoy looking at the mini-sculptures that are set up to keep the birds away.
The girls learn which blackberries are the best ones for eating as they pick from the bushes around the garden's fence.
Brioni collected a bowlful of blackberries and mashed them into “jam” — adding a bit of rapadura to sweeten the brew. When she was finished her concoction, we were free to hit the road again. The timing was so evidently perfect when we quickly met up with Roselin on the road and stopped so she could ride in the bus with us.
The Macquarie Pass is an 8-km stretch of narrow, winding road to the top of the plateau. This road was opened in 1898 (according to the plaque on the cliff) and the people who forged it with bullocks and carts would have had to have been very intrepidous!
This is the first time Roselin is able to look over our bus fit-out.
Before we head out, I make some sandwiches for the girls. It's a blessing to travel with a range of clothes and food on board — it means that we are equipped to stay comfortable and fed — no matter our surroundings.
It's summertime, but only in theory. Before we head out on our walk, we rug up warmly against the chill. This is one of the benefits of travelling with all our clothes on board — we can dress to suit almost all conditions.
Even though it's evident that we're walking into a cloud, we still decide to visit the treetop walk and appreciate it for the journey rather than the view.
The path down to the walkway is a smooth surface, and a golf-buggy brings puffed-out walkers from the bottom of the slope.
As we commence our walk, Delaney is riding on my back, and Brioni is leading the way with the map.
Later, Dell is walking around freely and Calista is riding on my back. I don't mind the weight of the children in my Ergo carrier — it's comfortable no matter which size child is riding on me.
This steel canopy treetop walk is one of only four in the world. The other three are also located in Australia, and hopefully we'll get to visit all the others!
As soon as we reach the walkways, the girls take off along its length.
Although the bridges sway with our movement, Brioni is fearless in running across them.
The floor of the walkway is open metal mesh — which can be disconcerting for someone who is sensitive to heights.
The metal construction is not the main attraction here, it's the rainforest in which the bridges are positioned that keeps us looking over the edges.
"It looks like a green ice crystal!" Calista exclaims, comparing a bird's eye view of a tree fern to a verdant snowflake.
Knight's Tower stands 45 metres above the rainforest floor and provides views across the escarpment to the ocean (or so we've been told).
Delaney starts up the 106 steps to the top. She makes it about half-way before asking to be carried again.
Today's probably not the best day for a great view from the top of Knight's Tower. But we appreciate the clouds that bring cooler temperatures that make the walk an easy affair.
Brioni re-examines the map to pin-point our location. She loves to navigate with the help of a map and has been using this one along the whole trail.
We missed out on riding back up the top of the hill, but the girls are learning to enjoy longer walks again. With the distraction of the signs along the path and Roselin’s extra attention, we covered the distance quite easily.
The girls take time to pose for photos along the way.
Before we return to the carpark, the girls are enticed by a pile of very-climbable rocks next to the café.
Roselin has fit out her car so she can easily sleep in it when she needs to. She’s keen to continue along the road south with us for a little, so we headed out of the highlands and back to the coast.
Using the Camps 6 book, we found a secluded spot to park for the night, and Roselin set about building a little fire. It’s lovely for the girls to spend more time with their grandmother, and even better to learn more camping skills from an expert bushwhacker like her!
When it gets dark, Namma brings out a selection of glow sticks, and the girls experiment with wearing them on different parts of their bodies.
Some photos from Roselin Fisher.