After the lack-lustre dawn at Kanangra Walls I headed back through the Jenolan caves and onto Rydal where there was a campsite which offered a much needed shower. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have bothered paying the day-entry rate of $4 and just ran to the showers while I used the free 15 minute parking bays. Once I had paid to get into the site, I figured I may as well get some of my money’s worth and hung around to take some shots of the very low reservoir and to talk to a German guy who was having a slow day at the campsite and taking the time to write some Christmas postcards – I doubt at that time any of them would have arrived on time.
I headed through Lithgow for fuel and some food supplies including a massive stir-fry (4 days of noodles and cereal is a pretty good way to build up an appetite for a meaty meal) then on to Blackheath and the Megalong Valley. It was a hot day and the heat seemed to be taking its toll on my car: even the slightest hill was causing the engine temperature to nudge over the point that kicked the fan in to full throttle and drain half the power of the engine, so I wasn’t too happy that the amount of descending into the valley I was doing meant that I was almost certainly going to have to do a very slow crawl back out of shortly after. The valley was beautiful, with a few interesting photo spots, but there didn’t seem to be a lot to do so I made it back out and decided to take a chance on driving to Hargraves lookout
The lookout is on the end of a spur-plateau that juts out between the Megalong Valley and some other valley, giving near 360 degree views of both. There’s a stone-walled shelter at the lookout which made cooking in the exposed shot a lot easier, and so I ate my stir fry overlooking the valleys far below, and then watching the sun go down. I couldn’t pass off on the chance of an amazing view of the sunrise over the valleys the next morning so slept in the car at the lookout. I think the night was one of the first that had been clear enough to see the stars so I tried a few long exposures (including my longest to date – 3550 seconds) but the longest exposure showed some bizarre noise/sensor artefacts so that was a bit of a flop. The sunrise was nice, but unlike Kanangra-Boyd National Park there was no mist to burn off so it wasn’t as compelling as hoped.