Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

New Year was seen in from the top of Mount Buffalo which provided welcome relief from temperatures in the high thirties down in Bright. We had met friends in historic Beechworth and very much enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the well preserved former gold mining town.

Previously we had crossed over the Bogong Plains from Omeo and enjoyed good walks including a circuit to the top of Mt Bogong taking some 8 hours. A night up at Buckety Plain had been our coldest here but a roaring fire took the edge off and we dug out Sarah's hot water bottle!

It is the height of the summer holidays here so places are busier but we intend to head to quieter parts of the Alpine Park drifting towards Melbourne for the ferry two weeks today.

We are both well and enjoy hearing from folks back home where the rise in temperatures must be welcome - Happy New Year to all.

Links to photos and locations as usual

Thursday, 23 December 2010

A Yuletide Log

Our return to the hills started with a night at Goongerah where we sampled kangaroo courtesy of a group of lads living a somewhat itinerant lifestyle - it may well have been roadkill but was nevertheless delicious. We then followed the Barry Way which took us through wonderful upland scenery to McKillops Bridge on the Snowy River where a good day walk and an empty camping area provided a memorable stay.

The route along the Snowy River valley to Jindabyne passed through mountains and eucalyptus woods that had been totally destroyed in the 2003 bushfires. New growth was evident everywhere but the bare white trunks of dead trees stretched as far as the eye could see covering every ridge and valley.

From Jindabyne where we had a powered site as the temperature had dropped sharply we travelled via Adaminaby to collect some mail and then headed over the tops via Kiandra to Yarrangabilly caves which provided a couple of good walks. Fresh snow lay on the tops despite it being the summer solstice but the forecast was improving so we headed out on Long Plain Road to visit a number of historic drovers huts and to observe herds of brumbies (wild horses).

During a night back at 3 Mile Dam we saw the lunar eclipse as the skies had cleared to give a cold but spectacular night.

Cabramurra - Australia's highest town - had a surreal feeling with snow drifts melting under the hot sun after which we dropped to sleepy Khancoban before pulling in to the Tom Groggin camping area where the kangaroos were surprisingly approachable.

Up at Thredbo we enjoyed a chair lift to the plateau above the valley that gave us access to the four hour return walk across to Kosciuszco's summit at 2223m ASL. Panoramic views across the nearby snow covered tops dissolved in to the lower foothills that seemed to stretch to infinity covering much of the area we have explored over the last fortnight.

The Christmas weekend is approaching so we intend to walk in the Perisher/Charlotte Pass area before the holiday makers arrive and then head through less popular areas towards Melbourne.

Wishing everyone a good Christmas and Happy New Year with photos here and our various locations here.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Mountains and Coast

Sarah enjoyed an excellent few days riding in the Snowy Mountains high country with good camps, good company and sightings of brumbies whilst I hunkered down at Mount Selwyn with a couple of walks completed.

After meeting Silwyn for a boozy night at Jindabyne we headed to the NSW/Victoria coast again to enjoy empty beaches, peaceful camping areas and a variety of reptiles and mammals. The lighthouses that protect the coast made good focal ( ha ha) points to aim for - one was best reached by bike followed by a swim in the clear waters of West Bay.

We now head via Orbost to the hills again as we expect Christmas to be busier on the coast and will then follow the ranges south west to Melbourne where we have booked the ferry to Tasmania for mid January. A de luxe cabin each way and a flexible return date will do as our Xmas pressies to each other - on which note we wish all at home a very Happy Christmas.

Pictures and SPOTS and Horse PIctures courtesy of Sarah here

Saturday, 4 December 2010

South East New South Wales

Well the last ten days or so have been diverse to say the least. A visit to the magical beaches of Jervis Bay preceeded a very enjoyable stay with a couple we had met in Gloucester Tops. Their comfortable house and excellent hospitality was followed by an invite to a memorable Xmas function where we danced the night away until the small hours.
A couple of unsettled days followed which saw us hunkering down in one site as the road was too slippery to get out, a peaceful night in the Congo with a lovely walk on the Bingi Bingi track from which we saw several sea eagles and a pod of dolphins from the beach and three hours spent assisting a stranded van to get out of a very muddy track followed by a night at Dalmeny to get ourselves cleaned up and clothing washed. The excellent coastal location offered good views but the overnight wind and rain rocked the van alarmingly at times.
A variety of beaches and bays were visited with Naroomba providing a boardwalk out to the harbour entrance where a seal was playing and pelicans on the return trip were waiting for scraps from local fishermen.
Mystery Bay provided quiet bush camping where we met a guy from Orange who has travelled extensively in Europe and is now exploring Australia - he had loads of useful tips for Tasmania and the rest of our planned itinerary.
Central Tilba was a well preserved and interesting historical village with traditional wooden buildings set in granite hills
The whale museum at Eden was well worth a visit with plenty of interest and we are now in Bournda NP having back tracked slightly as tomorrow we head inland for the start of Sarah's riding trip. We took the bikes around the local tracks and lakes for a couple of hours this evening - considering they have been out in all weathers for over a year now and regularly exposed to mud, dust and dirt they were in good mechanical order.
We have very much taken to Australia and although the locals feel summer has yet to start for us it is quite hot enough - even when it rains it is still warm to us. Images of a wintry Britain remind us how lucky we are - the Christmas decorations here look somewhat incongruous when people are in shorts and T shirts.

Spot the pictures here and picture the SPOT here