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The Privilege

This was us exactly two years ago at Milford Sound in New Zealand. Two years later, we had the privilege of being back again in nature. P.S. I tried to look for what we did 2020 hoping it would be something nature-y as well but it was Lexus screaming while cutting his nails post lock down so I'm conveniently leaving that out.

So apparently it's the long weekend here (Queen's birthday - Happy birthday you) so we took the opportunity to head out with our only friends for a day trip to the Blue Mountains. And what a trip it was.

We carpooled the two hour drive out because our friends knew the area better than us. I love driving and get car sick when sitting at the back so I made a mental note to never carpool long trips ever again after getting moved to the front. The ride was pretty long with quite a bit of traffic because it was the long weekend so most people had the same idea as us.

Our first stop was the Pool of Siloam (Actual photo below but not our photo). Mini hike to see this mini waterfall and a nice lookout point.

Source: Jack Jones Wedding

To be honest, it was a nice view and all but the hike was pretty short. Not what we came here for but the next stop at Mount Banks more than made up for it nicely.

The Mt Banks car park is located 9km west of Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens. From the car park you have two options – climb straight to the summit or take the fire trail to the edge of the valley and take in the views across the Grose to Mount Hay and Blackheath.

We took the summit route because we arrived pretty late in the day (Late in the sense that the sun sets around 5pm here). The route started out as a nice gentle upslope which eventually became steeper as we neared the summit. Like heart pounding, out of breath kind of steep. After an hour or so of going at it, we finally arrived at the summit which turned out to be absolute rubbish.

Mount Banks Summit from Wikipedia

The summit was this mini obelisk thingy with no views around but at least there was some sense of achievement in making it to the top. We took the short route down to the carpark and that section of the hike definitely hit the sweet spot.

That walk down was the perfect end to the hike with the sun setting, clear skies, crazy strong winds, a nice flat trail with mountain views on the left and right. Easily the highlight of the day.

We made a pit stop on the way back at this little place called Hillbilly Cider Shed, picked up some cider and ordered the most amazing garlic pizza before heading back to the city.

It is a strange and wonderful fact to be here, walking around in a body, to have a whole world within you and a world at your fingertips outside you. It is an immense privilege, and it is incredible that humans manage to forget the miracle of being here. ~ John O'Donohue (I donohue this is)

It's definitely a new feeling for us to be able to go out in nature like that and return home at the end of the day. We've used surreal a lot to describe our Sydney experience so far but today that feels more like privilege. The privilege of being here and having these options available to us.

Not that our time in Singapore with friends and family wasn't a privilege. It's just a completely different set of options available here. More of lifestyle options which we didn't have much of back home.

Today we caught up with the same two friends (We only have two friends at this stage) to do more nature-y stuff and even managed to walk their dog for a bit. Shoutout to you, Lex. Miss you. Other owner was disloyal to you by walking another dog.

Ended our day off with Chinese BBQ

Followed by some Timezone (because we're arcade people now)

I want to sidetrack to talk about this Chinese BBQ. First off, Sarah and I have never heard of Chinese BBQ because there isn't such a concept in Singapore. So it's skewered meats and other items that you order that come served with the same seasoning. That's Chinese BBQ.

Naturally, we were both a little sceptical of this Chinese BBQ thingy but by the end of the meal, we were both Chinese BBQ converts. Man, the food is pretty damn good even with some hits and misses. It's like Tori-Q on larger steroid sticks with savoury seasoning. Can't go wrong with that combination. So yes, Chinese BBQ is a thing and we like it now. We shall keep a lookout for you Chinese BBQ!

On the way home, Google Maps took us on the scenic route driving across the Harbour Bridge and catching a glimpse of the Opera House in the distance. Like I said earlier, it's a privilege to be here to see these things that people from all over the world fly in to look at and we get to do that on our drive home.

This entire weekend has reminded us what a privilege it is being here. To have these lifestyle options available to us whenever we want them and knowing that Sydney has so much more to offer that we've not even explored.

More importantly, a reminder that for however long we're here to make the most of the opportunity, be present and to appreciate the highs and lows of this ride.

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