Yesterday I experienced heat that I have never experienced before. We walked down to the opera house and the bridge on our way to take the ferry to Manly. During the walk there I finally understood how people can die of heat stroke. My body felt more exhausted than it did after the half marathon. My face was apparently as red and I was sweating alot more. Nice I know but I thought I might melt. Even the wind was warm like a hairdryer providing no respite at all. Fortunately the sea at Manly helped to bring my body temperature back into the relms of normality. Anyhow, in the evening we heard that it had been the hottest New Years day on record at 45 degrees and the 2nd hottest day in Sydney ever recorded. We had read earlier in the day in the papers that the heat, the low humidity and the warm north-westerly winds were a perfect mixture for bush fires. Sadly they were right and by the evening it seemed most of NSW was ablaze. Fortunately during the night we woke to the sound of very heavy rain which must have been a relief to the fireman who had apparently given up fighting many of the fires as a lost cause as it was proving too dangerous. Today everything is back to normal with overcast and rain.
On an additional note, we also heard the Sydney New Year fireworks cost a staggering $4 million. I couldn't help but wonder how much they cost when I was watching them and now I know.
Well we are now in the Blue Mountains for a couple of days. We've struck it lucky with accommodation as all the hostels seem to be full but the owner of one hostel has a holiday cottage with 5 double bedrooms that is normally let to groups but he is letting out the individual rooms. We're sharing the cottage with some australians, germans and a few dutch and it has 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and 2 lounges. In addition it's meant to have a beautiful view but we can't see anything for the low cloud/mist. Tomorrow's forecast is for thunder storms. Perhaps we'll leave without getting a view. It's feeling more like the New Zealand we came to love.