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Text and photos by Julie Moir Messervy.

view of Valley of the Waters

Plateau and escarpments caused by uplift 170 million years ago at the Blue Mountains National Park

Valley of the Waters

Naming a garden, landscape, or park so that it resonates as an image is an important part of what we do for our clients at JMMDS. I love it when I hear a place name that makes me long to be there.


Water falls over sandstone ledges through fern-filled gorges in the Valley of the Waters.

The Valley of the Waters is one of those. Located in the Blue Mountains National Park an hour and a half due west of Sydney, this 1.5-hour track takes you down stone steps to decks and overlooks, through gorges with waterfalls, streams, and pools set deep within dense eucalyptus forests (whose oil can give off a distinctive blue haze). It is one of many destinations in this UNESCO World Heritage site and worth a few days’ stay.

rock climber on waterfall

With sandstone cliffs and deep stream valleys, the Blue Mountains is Australia’s top rock climbing destination. Here a brave soul abseils (rappels) down a steep waterfall.

General Assembly Sydney

After being on sabbatical for six weeks in Australia, I returned with one of the biggest gifts I could have received: a clear plan for improving our Home Outside users’ experience. General Assembly, the internationally acclaimed pioneer in education and career transformation, trains professionals in coding, marketing, design, and business. Their User Experience Design course in Sydney employed our Home Outside program as a case study during my stay.

UX students Tom Harfield and Laura Miller researched, tested, and prototyped every aspect of our program in order to understand how to improve its usability, accessibility, and flow. After two and a half intensive weeks, they presented their solutions, which included a comprehensive roadmap for how my Home Outside team and I should proceed going forward. Stay tuned for changes to our website, our workbook and process, and the desktop app that will be re-released in the next weeks—all thanks to Tom and Laura’s hard work, marketing insights, and overall strategic vision.

Tom Harfield and Laura Miller presenting during one of our meetings at General Assembly Sydney.