We had a very nice Labour Day camping trip, even though it rained considerably more than it was sunny. Our new tent stood up to the test, though. Our companions were all British, so it certainly didn't phase them. We even learned a new word: Bogan. This is Australian for Redneck, and there were plenty of examples riding mini-motobikes sporting mullets around the campground. Oh, and a "campground" here is basically someone's oversized backyard in the bush. Not quite what we're used to, but still somewhere to sit around a fire drinking beer.
Everything outdoors here is called "the bush." The Southern Highlands, the particular section of bush we visited, was lovely. Lots of smallish mountains covered in green meadows and gum (eucalyptus) trees. Most trees here are some variety of gum tree. They don't grow very close together, and their leaves are a kind of mossy green instead of the leafy green we're used to.
The first morning, Eric and I went for a stumble and came upon a large number of kangaroos - my first sighting of Australian wildlife outside of Taronga Zoo. They are everywhere, particularly in the morning and at dusk, essentially the Australian equivalent of deer. As wild animals, the are a little skittish, but they just hop a little ways away and then stare at you. In the picture above you can see a mom and joey, who probably couldn't get away very quickly, and a number of kangaroos hopping away in the background. These guys were smallish with fluffy ears, not the big red kangaroos that you typically see in pictures.
The gang also went further down the winding dirt road through the mountains to the Wombeyan Caves. In the picture above you can see the creepy door we had to put a token in to pass into the cave. It was a pretty standard cave, lots of bats, but it was a nice diversion from sitting under the tarp in the rain.