I think I had expected the honeymoon to last forever.
Maybe I had just hoped it would. Six months ago, we moved to the Blue Mountains. It has been amazing! Sorry for those that follow me because I constantly say this. But it is.
But nothing lasts forever. Real life had taken over, old habits crept back in and the new outlook, the view from our house, had become “normal”.
Routine had started to grate. And so had those closest to me.
I had had enough. I wanted out. Not really, but that’s what my mood was telling me.
So, what do you do when you want to get away from someone?
You plan a road trip so that you can spend more time with them, of course!
We decided to roll two of our three “next to see” destinations into one Road Trip starting with Jenolan Caves, an hour from home, to Mudgee, a wine and food tasting mecca.
Here’s how we got to this point.
The reality of our situation is that Dan and I both work from home. We are together 24/7. Yes, we have separate offices, but they are in the loft area of our house in an open space.
Often we shop together, explore together, do most everything together. We are blessed. We are great together. A good team and happy most of the time.
But come on, sometimes even the closest couples need a break!!!
Don’t get me wrong; I have days out (occasionally. Sometimes Dan goes to Sydney for meetings, staying overnight. But somehow this just didn’t see enough.
I realised after a while on the road, that not only do we need space to do our own thing, which we have addressed since we got home, but we need space to be a couple.
Just a couple. Because at the end of the day we enjoy each other’s company. A lot. We laugh, we talk, and we dream. He is the best.
We don’t have kids living with us. And I made the wrong assumption that every day was ours to enjoy together. But I was tired of working ALL THE TIME. I was over the house, the dogs, the mundane and boring routine that had seeped back into our days.
So, when opportunity knocked, we took it. We had wanted to get away, but as usual, got caught up working, thinking that it would eventually happen. Before we knew it, January was already half over, and by then I was fed up.
And it showed.
I was miserable, all I wanted to do was get away, from home, from Dan. From life.
As I raged, Dan retreated.
But what can you do with such limited time? And would it even be worth it?
It was only three days, but from the benefits we gained, it could have been a month.
I felt rejuvenated only an hour into the trip.
I had been wound like a top and felt manic. But as we left our dogs, garden and house in the capable hands of a close friend and her husband, who kindly housesat for us, I finally let go.
By the time we got to Jenolan Caves, Dan and I were laughing, reminiscing and ready to unwind. And boy did we unwind. After unpacking, we promptly fell asleep.
For three hours! Clearly, we needed it.
And where we thought we would self-cater, having taken an esky full of food, we ended up eating dinner at the restaurant. Not because the restaurant was amazing but so that we could relax and enjoy our time together.
We went on walks, made plans, slept like there was no tomorrow, got up early and joined a cave tour. We relaxed in the bar, got caught in the rain and got back to being us.
Jenolan Caves was soothing for my soul. From our Blue Lake walk (and lots of lizards!) to our early morning walk in the cool misty weather.
Being in nature, particularly nature that is so incredibly beautiful calms everything.
It was incredible. Since I was a child, I have loved Jenolan Caves, but I have never stayed overnight.
The accommodation wasn’t great, crap actually, but being there for more than a few hours was just what we needed. I finally found my sense of humour again visiting Jenolan Caves much to my relief, And Dan’s!
The next afternoon we headed towards Oberon, drove through Lithgow and on to Mudgee.
Road Trip to Mudgee.
I don’t remember ever having been to Mudgee. It’s a lovely town.
We had organised accommodation through Airbnb, and our apartment was attached to the café owned by our hosts. Included with the accommodation was a full cooked breakfast at the café. It was delicious and the perfect way to start the day.
The only complaint I had about the apartment was that it was hot. We were unfortunate to have encountered hot January weather (not unusual for an Australian summer), and the apartment only had ceiling fans and few windows. But by the time we went to bed, it had cooled nicely. The bed was comfortable, and we slept well.
The afternoon we arrived our first stop was Honey Haven where we tasted honey mead and purchased a bottle to take home.
Then we landed at the Visitor Information Centre and had the loveliest chat with Christine, a lovely lady who went over our plans, made suggestions and recommended local produce to buy.
I highly recommend the Information Centre as a first stop when visiting Mudgee for the first time. It’s an excellent way to get your bearings. Christine suggested we take a walk by the river.
Dan shrugged at that. Two walks at Jenolan Caves had been enough for him. As far as he was concerned holiday means no exercise.
And then we found Dan ice cream. But not any old ice cream. Rolled ice cream! Have you ever heard of rolled ice cream? We hadn’t but a member of my Facebook group, The Traveller’s Community, had recommended it.
It was rather delicious. Finding the shop got us a bit lost, but we persevered and prevailed in the end.
Peanut Butter Rolled Ice Cream. Yum!
On to the important stuff, Wine tasting!
The next day, after breakfast, we packed up our things ready to explore the vineyards, but we were too early.
So, in the end, we did go for a walk along the riverfront. It was the perfect place for a casual walk and to relax while we waited for 10 am to roll around.
Laying under a huge willow tree and watching the water birds play was a nice way to start the day.
Then it was time.
Bloody thing scared me to death when it squawked!
First stop, The Cellar by Gilbert (Gilbert Family Wines) to taste the cheese. Oh, and wine for me of course! Their pesto feta cheese is famous. And it lived up to its reputation. The esky (cooler) had started to fill, a jar for us, a jar for friends and I couldn’t possibly leave without a couple of bottles of wine.
Onto Bunamagoo Wines for more wine tasting.
A stop at the Small Wine Makers Centre.
And then the highlight of our day. Robert Steins Winery & Vineyard was a huge hit. Not only for the wines, which I bought a few bottles of but the service.
Margo was a delight. And being a small world, it turned out she was also from Wollongong and had recently relocated to Mudgee with her family.
I loved the interaction. We met one of the winemakers, the family dog, had garden envy over their vast kitchen garden (which we explored with the owner’s permission).
And then we had lunch.
OMG! Lunch was undoubtedly a case of leaving the best to last. Knowing how popular the Pipeclay Pumphouse can be, we had made a booking the previous day.
Wow is all I can say. Dan and I thoroughly enjoyed the 8-course degustation.
There was nothing else they could have done better. The service was impeccable. The food divine.
It was the perfect ending to our short, but incredibly enjoyable, time away.
We headed for home satiated.
Pipeclay Pumphouse Restaurant
I was putting off going away for another time when we weren’t so time poor. I had been planning on three separate destinations and wanted to spend more time in each location.
But I am so glad we took the opportunity when it availed itself. Adapting our original plans ended up being the perfect solution and more valuable than I could have imagined.
Now feeling refreshed, I am ready to tackle (and enjoy) 2018.
Since we have been home, we have given ourselves more space. And time to relax. Our routine has changed and suits us better. And we are getting better at taking time off, most of the time.
I am rejuvenated and relieved. Next time I will try and read the signs a little earlier and start planning another road trip.
Who knew that what I thought was me wanting to get away by myself was actually needing to spend more time together? The difference was the quality of time.
Happy New Year everyone. I wish you all the best for an incredible 2018.