Saturday we headed to the airport to pick up a rental car. Jason was the driver, naturally, and he does an admirable job sticking to the left…

…once he gets started, that is.

Our goal was the Southern Highlands, a day trip about two hours from Sydney touted for the national park, its waterfalls, and “cute towns.”

First stop was Fitzroy Falls.

The falls had viewing points stationed along the cliffs on both sides. As we trekked through the forest, I pointed out that I could count this as my hike for the year. Jason agreed. Then I pointed out that since we were only days away from 2019, I could count this as the hike for that year too. “Nope,” said Jason. “Nice try, though.”

Still, there were bugs and dirt and foliage and heat and all of the elements of the so-called pleasures of nature. There were also terrific vistas

and interesting things to learn about such as the caterpillars who crawl patterns into the tree bark:

and the banksia pods that looked like a creature straight out of a Miyazaki movie:

and silver-topped ash trees that glinted in the sunlight:

and I learned why it’s not the best idea to wear a loose skirt on a cliff top

Meh. So I flashed a dozen tourists. It was 95 degrees out and I was hiking. Totally worth it.

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