Weekend of Caves, Cliffs, and Great Company
Throughout the year, former exchange participants living in Australia host weekend outings for current exchangees from abroad. As they can, participants are billeted with folks living in the area who graciously offer accommodations to us come-from-aways. Such a great network of support! This past weekend had us balancing on cliff walls in the morning at Kanangra/Boyd National Park. Spectacular views with gut-wrenching moments of terror as the kids frolicked far too close to the edge of a 700m cliff wall... at least far too close for me! After a lunch break we headed to the Jenolan Caves for some spelunking. Super experiences, for sure, and lots of fun getting to know the other exchange families. We wrapped up the night with a pub dinner in Oberon. I love that there are child-friendly spaces where kids can sit and eat with parents. There was even a playground outside in view of the dining area. The following day we met at the pub in Tarana for the short drive out to Evans Crown Nature Reserve. We hiked up what seemed like a thousand kilometers, but was really only 1.5km. Was definitely reminded that I grew up on Manitoba's flat prairies trying to manage the elevations! More amazing sights and places to explore - little caves, spaces around enormous boulders, and bush areas. Good exercise, and great company again. These weekends are a great time to debrief, let the kids play and share stories, and explore parts of the country with a home-grown host. Another bonus was meeting up with a friend from my St. John's College days in the late 80s at the University of Manitoba. Had a great visit and a spin around Mount Panorama's Race Track achieving a personal best time. It is fairly said that a single lap is both my best and worst and, at no more than 70km/h, I was in no danger of winning anything! We are looking forward to another exchange outing in a few months to Byron Bay and, hopefully, some visits with our new exchange family friends.