Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Snowies

While in Canberra we stayed in our van at the best hotel in town - the Canberra Hawkes, Stuart's brother and sister in law Peter and Sandy.  As usual we had a great time and stayed a lot longer than we intended. Pete and Sandy took us and Stuart's son James (who was Christmasing in Canberra from Clermont in Qld.) on a cruise of Lake Burleigh Griffin.
James, Peter, Stuart and Sandy

The Telstra Tower

The War Memorial

Parliament House
The Carillon

The Carillon is a huge musical instrument with bells and someone has to play it the same as any musical instrument

We did a trip to the Arboretum one day and there was an amazing display of Bonsai.  These are only two of the trees

As we were only about 3 hours from West Wyalong we had New Years with Kylie, Peter and Zac.  Emma and Joel were in Mackay.  Joe came down from Yeppoon to celebrate with us as well.

We did a trip to Griffith to take in the wineries and Joe stocked up.

 And New Year was great as well.....

Our aim was to get to the Murray and we were anxious to start our run.  The start of, for us, an epic journey.  The Murray is  2,508 Klms long and we intend to travel the entire length of it.  That story we will leave for another time.
Dog on the Tuckerbox
After getting the regulation photo and of the "dog on the tucker box" which according to the song was 5 miles from Gundagai,

The old road bridge and rail bridge from another era in Gundagai
obviously not used anymore

we arrived at our first overnight stop which ended up being 2 nights on the banks of a little creek which in better days, runs into the Murrumbidgee River.  A little further down the track we crossed a very small Murrumbidgee River.

We made our way closer to Mt Kosciuszko and found another nice camp spot for the night.  We left our van and did a drive to the high plains where the Yarrangobilly Caves are.
A beautiful avenue of trees on our way to the caves

The opening to the Glory Hole Cave

The entrance to the Glory Hole Cave was an amazing sight.  It was a half a klm walk in.  Right in the car park were a few old Snow Gums.  So beautiful. 

and Cooinbil Hut was built in 1866 but a tree fell in a storm taking out one corner and so it was re built using as much original slabs as possible.

The drovers huts we visited were over a hundred years old.    This was the setting for our lunch that day.

On the way through we were also lucky enough to encounter 2 of the reported hundred of wild brumbys that still roam the area.

We assumed that we would spend a day or so in the Snowy's and then head to the reaches of the Murray.  How wrong where were we?  The beautiful and at the same time stark countryside is both amazing and wild.  We drove to all the places that we hear about on the news every winter regarding snow reports.   Like Perisher Valley,  Thredbo, Tumut, Tumbarumba, Jindabyne and Khancoban.
We also saw signs that we would never see in North Queensland.

Yellow line marking to be seen in snow

Stuart crossed another one off his bucket list while here.  We went to Thredbo and took the chair lift halfway up the mountain to Eagles Nest and then while I sat and drank hot chocolate he trekked the next 14 Klms return to the top and back. 
Stuart standing near the cairn on top of Mt Kosciusko
A great effort on his part.  There were hundreds of people doing the trip over the weekend and Australia Day and the community were holding an event called "Kossie on Aussie Day". Those who made the trip also got a Sausage Sizzle on return to the top off the chair lift.

The start of the chair lift up to the restaurant half way up
Looking down on Thredbo from half way up
There were a lot of people catching the chair lift up and riding mountain bikes down the trail specially designed for bikes
For quite a while we stayed at an Adventist run caravan park  about 4 Klms out of Jindabyne.  We tried to book in there a few days earlier but they were in the middle of a conference and had no room.  We came back 3 days later to watch some of the 500 odd people leave while we got our own prime piece of real estate.  Once they all left and there were only a few of us not connected to the conference the locals came out to greet us in the form of kangaroos and wombats.  They also had alpacas, sheep, horses, chooks, emus and a small bird nesting in a giant snow gum tree near us called a Pardalote.

We had never seen one before but it had the nicest call.  It had been raining nearly every day since we arrived in the area and On our second last day we got a fairly loud storm with a little t of wind and by about 10.30 pm we both agreed that the awning would go if we didn't bring it in.  In a lull, Stuart went out and put everything away and rolled it in but the storm had passed.

So quiet and peaceful we didn't want to leave but we knew that the Murray was calling us.

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