The Wheels on the Scooters Go Round and Round!

We have received a special request from Leina, Cohen and Elijah’s Nana!  Nana has asked that we send photos of the route we take to school every day, so I thought I’d turn the photos into a blog post and share it with everyone!

Our journey starts at least 20 minutes before the bell rings, which means leaving the house by 8:30 every morning and after our steep descent out of our driveway, we turn left down First Street.

The steepest part of our journey is up Cleopatra Street, which is the next left.  The scooters are often walked up this part of the route and there is a lot of whinging from Cohen at this point!  It usually sounds like “my legs huuuurrrrrrrt”!!!  I’ve been walking this route almost daily for the last couple of months and I’m still out of breath at the top of this hill and I too can feel the lactic acid building in my legs!

We turn right onto Govetts Leap Road and there is little bit of a reprieve from the last hill, but not for long!  Govetts Leap Road is very hilly, so the scooters get walked again!

And we often take a break half way up the hill!

We pass by ‘Parklands, Country Gardens and Lodges’ every day.  Word on the street is Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman honeymooned here many moons ago!  Check it out at

We take a little break on the lovely bench on Govetts Leap road – nicknamed the ‘Eina and Ooie Bench’ by little brother Elijah!

Our journey continues on Govetts Leap Road until we turn left onto Prince Edward Street and travel along past one of the kids’ favourite parks “Jubilee”.

 We make a wide right turn onto Leichhardt Street from Prince Edward which is the street that Blackheath Public School is on.  Leichhardt is a gentle and gradual up-hill climb past beautiful trees that are just starting to change color.

We cross Clan William Street, and then safely cross Wentworth street at the designated “zebra crossing” just outside the school grounds.

We walk down Leichhardt Street past the front doors of the school….

and we’ve arrived at the gates of Blackheath Public School!

Sometimes Elijah and I walk back home through Blackheath’s downtown, which is a very neat walk past little cafes and shops and at the end of the day we do it all over again!  We leave the house by 2:30, sometimes waking Elijah from his afternoon nap, and get up to the school for the bell at 2:55.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our little journey to school by scooter!  I “reckon” this little walk will be missed when we get back home to Canada!

Thanks for your request Nana!  If anyone else has a special request for a blog, please forward it along, and provided it is appropriate for posting, we may happily oblige!


Govetts Leap

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The Blue Mountains National Park boasts some of the most amazing views in all of Australia, and one of those views is a mere 10 minute walk from our front door.

At Govetts Leap, you are immediately greeted by this 180 meter tall waterfall off in the distance, and breathtaking panoramas of the Grose Valley and the basalt tops of Mt. Tomah, Mt. Banks, and Mt. Hay (old volcanoes).

Legend has it that this amazing lookout was named after Govett, the bushranger, who was escaping troopers and jumped over the cliff on his horse.  But when you dig a little deeper into the story, you soon realize that “leap” is a Scottish word for waterfall, and Govett was a surveyor who discovered the area in 1831.  However, we agree, the jumping horse story is much more intriguing!

The cliff tops at Blackheath have been a public reserve since 1881, and the area has changed very little since that time.  Thankfully they have installed sturdy railings, which we have learned were built and installed by Amber’s dad Colin.

There is a splendid walking track that winds its’ way down to the base of the falls by way of steps and stairs, past damp rock faces, and hanging swamps that are home to some specially adapted plants and “grubbies” (nickname the kids have given to them)!

A less steep walk, but equally picturesque is the ‘Cliff Top Track’ which leads to the top of Govetts Leap waterfall, and continues along to Evans Lookout, through dense heathland, past gum and banksia trees and many wildflowers.

Govetts Leap, or “Gubbutts Leaf” as Cohen refers to it, is an absolute gem of a lookout and we are fortunate to be just a horse jump away from these amazing views and bushwalks!  We look forward to exploring it more with our kids and our visitors!

Hello Blackheath!

“When you arrive at our cosy village, you have made it to the top of the hill – the highest township on the Great Western Highway in the Blue Mountains….1065 metres above sea level”. 

Well here we are at the top of the hill! In the Blue Mountains National Park, UNESCO inscribed World Heritage designation, and it is not hard to see why!

The cosy downtown area of Blackheath is lined with lovely little shops – a bakery, a butcher, a small grocery store, shoe store, gift shops to name a few.  There is also a wonderful fish n’ chips shop, an Indian restaurant and a Thai restaurant.  A revamped Art Deco picture theatre on the main street has been converted into a mecca for antique lovers with over 50 dealers inside!  On the outside of the theatre is a colorful mural and out front is a great little cafe.

Not far down Govetts Leap Road, which is lined with massive trees, we found ourselves in the area of town we’d be living in for the next year.  The roads are windy and the hills are steep.  When we arrived up the steep drive at 5 First Street, the sun was shining brilliantly, and the gardens were glowing – pink and mauve hydrangeas surround our house and there is so much greenery, bushes and trees – we felt like we had landed in a jungle!

The house is a bungalow style with a garage under the main part of the house and a large staircase to get up to the front door.  The house itself is open concept and perfectly laid out.  The dining room, kitchen and living room are all open with a wood stove in the middle.  There is one bathroom and 3 bedrooms and a den where the computer and spare bed are located.  The garage underneath the house is also referred to by Damien as the “man cave”, where all the tools, and equipment are, plus the laundry room.

Ambers mom had made a spaghetti sauce for us for our first supper in our new house and it hasn’t taken us too long to navigate our way around our new kitchen.  They have great appliances and some different smaller appliances, and a lot of tupperware!  We’re well set up.

The weather here in Blackheath can change rather quickly within the same day, and our first week here has been very rainy.  The locals are very tired of it and have felt cheated this summer, as it has been unseasonably cool and rainy for Blackheath standards.  We have since found out that some out of towners refer to Blackheath as ‘Bleakheath’!

Amber and Damien’s friends all seem lovely, and we’ve received some invitations to tea, and dinner, and Leina is set to go to her first Australian birthday party this weekend!  Thanks to their friends, we’ve acquired a high chair, jogging stroller, umbrella stroller, and many offers to loan us whatever else we might need this coming year.  We are looking forward to getting to know these friends better this year.

It was nice to have that first week upon arrival to check things out around town, but mostly to drive around and find a used car!  We’ve been grocery shopping in the nearby town of Katoomba, about 10 minutes down the highway, and home to one of the most amazing views in the Blue Mountains – the Three Sisters.  There are some wonderful little towns neaby – Leura, and Wentworth Falls – to name a couple – and we are looking forward to exploring them further and also to showing them off to our visitors throughout the year.

Blackheath truly is a picturesque town, in a great location – some fantastic parks, lots of trees, colorful birds, friendly people – we know we’re going to love it here!

It’s definitely worth the trip to the top of the Blue Mountains!

Stay tuned for details about the other side of the mountain – the town of Lithgow where Matt is teaching!  Also the kids first days at Blackheath Public School, and the amazing views from Govetts Leap!