You know when you just have one of those weeks? Months? Years? The best medicine for a hectic and stressful moment in life is an escape to the country, wouldn't you agree? With the intense work schedule I've been keeping lately, a rural escape was on the cards. While the best I could do was a single night away, I fully intended to make the most of it! Kangaroo Valley is a picturesque spot just south of Sydney, a mere 1-2 hour drive from the city. It fit my 'quick' escape criteria perfectly. Browsing the wealth of farm stays available around Sydney, I spotted a wooden yurt on a horse breeding farm called The Cedars nestled amongst the Budderoo and Morton National Parks just south of Bowral.
After plowing through our work for the day, we were off to a regrettably late start on the road. It wasn't until we started out descent through the hairpin turns into Kangaroo Valley that I started to leave the city tension behind. We arrived in the valley as the long shadows began their descent from the ranges above. A quick inspection of our yurt yielded some ooh's and ahh's from me. The timber-lined interior and pot belly stove were suitably cosy for a winter's night.
We boarded the Ford Kuga Titanium once again and set out to hunt for some dinner. Thank goodness for the built-in GPS as phone reception is scarce and country roads have a habit of getting me lost. We zeroed in on the local supermarket, which was actually a petrol station, and stocked up on supplies (a frozen pizza, some chips and hummus, chocolate and soda - you know, grown-up food).
Back at the yurt, the sun was making it's final descent and we were completely alone in the middle of nowhere. After building a fire, defrosting our gourmet meal and pouring a glass of complimentary wine, we settled in with a BBC production about an incredible Dutch painter named Schalcken, a student of a student of Rembrandt. I feel like perhaps the BBC took some liberties with his story, as it included some creepy parts about a vampire. Suitably spooked, I prepared to turn in for the night when there was a very loud scratching on the window next to where I stood. Accompanied by a couple of squeaks, it occurred to me that, yes, this is a rural escape and we were going to have some (hopefully non-vampiric) company for the evening.
The following morning I woke up with the birds and it took all of my willpower to leap out of bed and stuff some logs into the fire. Sufficiently alight, I attended to the loaf of complimentary sourdough while C worked on the farm fresh eggs. Sated, we headed out for a little hike to the creek. First stop was the paddock by the yurt, which contained a herd of cattle and two magnificent Shire horses. The lady horse is with child and was extremely friendly. Covered in horse hair, we pressed on towards the creek, printed map in hand.
Somehow we became completely lost and it took much longer to reach the creek than expected. On our detour we encountered not one, but three echidnas! I've never seen an echidna in the wild before, so getting lost was definitely worth it. When the echidna heard us coming, he poked his head under some leaves with the dedication of a toddler who covers their eyes and is convinced they are invisible. After a few minutes he squinted up at us and decided we were no longer there (though we clearly were) and continued on his way. It was so adorable! I realise why echidnas have spiky spines now. They are the least graceful creatures and make about as much noise as a bear barging through the woods.
The valley lived up to it's name with several kangaroos and many wallabies hopping around. We also encountered a fox burrow where I imagined the foxes were having breakfast and Mr. Fox was all dapper in a suit like The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Eventually we reached the cool climate of the creek, which was encompassed in a rainforest section of the national park. The moss covered rocks and quiet babbling of the creek provided the perfect counterpoint to the previous day's hustle.
It was sad to wave goodbye to the Cedars after such a short visit, but we tempered our return to the big smoke with some antique hunting in Bowral, accompanied by a delicious vegetarian Croque-Madame at Raw and Wild. Book stores explored, antiques drooled over, we programmed home into the Kuga's GPS and allowed him to guide us back to reality. The afternoon traffic upon our return did it's best to erase the benefits of our rural escape, but we didn't let it win! I'm so happy to know that the babbling creek and rolling pastures of Kangaroo Valley are just down the road whenever I need them.
I'm participating in the #paintthetownford challenge as part of the Kidspot Voices 2014 competition. Ford has provided me with a Ford Kuga Titanium for six weeks as part of this challenge. This is the second post of three in my series, you can see the first post here. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. You can follow along with the other bloggers participating by searching the hashtag #paintthetownford