1 January 2019
2: 45 am – Alarm rings. Andrew and I both go back to bed.
3:10 am – Andrew’s stomping about the room wills me out of bed. Morning bodily business followed by rugging up the sleeping kids.
3:30 am – “Why do they have fireworks on New Year, I heard some last night?” Miss 6 asks sleepily as I help her buckle her seat belt. “I’m still sleepy, can I keep sleeping?” Master 4 pleads. “I’ll tell you more later, you both go back to sleep,” I reply efficiently. Andrew waits by the burring Nespresso machine making our first dose of coffee for the year.
3:45 am to 4:45 am – We get ourselves on the Great Western Highway and ascend to Leura. Andrew and I spot a highway patrol car stopped behind a P-plater and debate whether or not an imposition of road-work-induced-80-kph-zone is appropriate on a 110 kph road without any visible road works ongoing. Ensuing silence is punctuated by mine and Andrew’s “Wows” at magnified starlit paths along unlit parts of the highway, accentuated by the dim waning crescent moon.
4.46 am – Arrive at the spot GPS told us to go but it turns out to be a private driveway. We back out the driveway as the household’s outdoor automatic lights reveals our intrusion. Consult our go to guide for all New South Wales related walks, Wildwalks.
4.48 am – Success! We find the track entrance to Elysian Rock Lookout located to the left of the white boundary fence to the public gardens and amphitheatre in front of the Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum. With first light at 5:22 am, we have plenty of time to navigate our way down the unlit 10-minute track.
4:52 am – I piggyback sleeping Master 4. Andrew back lights our way with his mobile phone while fielding Miss 6’s questions on whether snakes are more active at night or in the morning. I drag my shoes along the dirt path to make as much noise to herald our presence to any snakes about.
5:10 am – We are the first to arrive at the lookout and position ourselves on one of the benches. As we get used to the stillness of the fog-filled valley before us, cricket chirping becomes more apparent. Morning flute calls of a lone magpie is answered by a laughing kookaburra perhaps echoing from another part of the valley. “I want to go home,” Miss 5 complains. “Let’s wait for the sunrise so we can sing ‘NANTS INGONYAMA BAGITHI BABA’ like the sun rise in Lion King,” I explain. “Umm, okay,” she replies then resumes pensively looking at the orange streaked horizon. When Master 4 takes his sister’s lead, I bribe them both with McDonalds breakfast. Andrew takes photos.
5:22 am – Sunrise. Our annual attempt to witness the first light of each new year is rewarded. We celebrate the first sun-lit part of the new year in silence among a dozen strangers before greeting those awake and friendly enough with a “Happy New Year!”.
5.50 am – Bush toilet search yields another lookout. Should we go? Of course! It’s 2019! We’ll strive to seize today and each and every one of the 364 days that follow.
600 metres, return