Mission Impossible? The big wet continues
18.04.2012 - 19.04.2012 21 °C
This is another belated blog post that was started on the first evening that it relates to but we didn't finish it at that time. Those who are regular readers may recall that on days 4 and 5 we got thoroughly soaked in Port Macquarie but packed up our wet items, drove on and found a little cabin in the Hunter Valley to recover.
The objective of that night, while we were in our little cabin, was to get all of our wet gear, including the tent etc, completely dry and repacked before we had to leave it in the car while we went to Tassie. It was no small feat but we're pleased to say, "mission accomplished!"
With that behind us, we put everything into the car and ventured further into the Hunter Valley while keeping an eye on the weather. We visited a few of the big name vineyards but, being non-drinkers, we really just admired the view. We were most impressed by the Audrey Wilkinson vineyard which was in a particularly beautiful setting near Pokolbin.
We then set out up a nearby 4.5km unsealed road so that we could get to the Pokolbin Mountain lookout. It was a bit boggy in places because of the recent rain and, to be completely honest, the view from the top wasn't all that special but some of the views along the way were lovely, especially those that looked toward Barrington Tops.
My favourite place though was the Hunter Valley Gardens and adjoining village. There's 60 acres of display gardens, including various themed gardens, a beautiful chapel for weddings, an aqua golf course and a small shopping village from which we bought some locally produced chocolates. The Chilli Bomb was fabulous.
The weather soon turned for the worse and reports suggested that we might be in for the biggest rainfall of our trip to date, with possible flash flooding in the Hunter region and in Sydney. Knowing that we had to fly out to Tasmania the next day, we decided to get closer to the airport.
Gosford seemed a good option but, when we tried going in from the north, we found head to tail traffic, supermarket parking lots that had cars up to their door sills in water and trees fallen on to houses. Apparently they had 83mm of rain in the hour prior to our arrival and it was still raining. We back-tracked to the Newcastle to Sydney motorway and continued into Sydney.
What a drive! The rain that had passed through Gosford continued south with us. Visibility was terrible, water was right across the road on the high passes prior to the Hawkesbury river and a van nearly rear ended us when we slowed for a car that abruptly stopped after a passing truck threw a huge sheet of water on to it's windscreen. I can't recall a time when I've felt more stressed behind the wheel.
We eventually made it to Mascot and checked into the Formule 1 hotel as I simply didn't care what our room was like...I just wanted to rest and not have to drive far the next day if the rain continued.
On Thursday morning we checked out of the hotel, put our car in long term parking, sat in the airport for 4 or 5 hours talking about the trip (mostly about the incessant rain) and playing Scrabble (as I recall it, I won, but Karen might remember things differently) and then, with a sense of relief and anticipation, flew out to Tasmania.