Category Archives: Corryong, Victoria

Last day & the Alpine Highway

Our short 3 day break was over.  It had flown passed but the final morning was to be a beautiful start to the day.

Another glorious start to the day with the mountains just peaking over the fog/mist and clouds..
Foggy or is it misty? Whatever it was it was slowly clearing, and was also catching the morning sunrise.
Catching the first rays of the sunshine

By this point, Stuart was up and about.  I had knitted some more of his socks and he was to get up and tell me about the wonderful sunrise.  I didn’t point out that he had missed most of it!

The view from the from veranda was wonderful

But I was to capture this image as a result.  Breakfast was a little later than usual but was in front of a fantastic fire.

The slow combustion stove in the kitchen/dinning/sitting room.

We were up and out by 9am.  We had opted to drive the long way home, knowing that we would be getting home around dark by doing so, but the weather was good, some of the tops were clear and there was a chance of seeing something on the Alpine Highway, unlike the day before.  So.…

But just be fore we left, we explored the onsite vintage motor museum…

The on-site vintage car museum. This vehicle was on the road until 10 years ago.
The restoration team need to work a touch harder
And you may have some additional passengers!

And so by 9am we were on the road, ready to climb and hoping for the good weather to last.

First stop was… well a corner on the road. I just had to grab a photo

Sometimes you just have to stop on a bend and get that photo…. there are mountains over there and they have snow on the tops. Is this all we will get to see of them today? You just never know.

And so we hit the Alpine Highway. But before long we were to come across the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric visitors centre.

Yep – that is it. You would have thought that they could have cut back some of the vegetation for us to see it wouldn’t you?
Stuart finding the information board very stimulating

And so we left it to drive into yet more trees and see, well more trees actually.  In fact unless you actually stop at the dedicated viewing points, the likelihood of actually seeing anything is close to nil.  Actually if you are the driver, it really is nil.  Oh and the noticeboard nicely informs you that the road is now entirely sealed.

The top of this particular section of the Alpine Highway. Not a lot to see unless you really like seeing 100’s of kms of Eucalyptus trees.

So when we spotted a rest stop, we knew we had to stop.  If only to rest from the winding nature of this road.  It covers a lot of km’s to go pretty much nowhere.

This is the road. You don’t need to guess what you can see from it!

And at the rest stop there are the obligatory toilets, BBQ point and picnic benches.  And luckily a viewing platform!

We get to see something!
Actually the view was stunning and we were so fortunate with the weather! You are looking at the Kosciuszko National Park and Mount Kosciuszko … is in there somewhere. Just pick what looks like the highest summit.

It was worth it as you can see!  But there are only so many Eucalyptus trees I can show you. Honest.

This is a typical view along lots of roads in most national parks around here!

And so we carried on, winding our way up and down, round and round and round again.  This is one of the few times we do actually find the sat nav and GPS in the car quite useful.  It gives you a heads up of the nature and seriousness of the bend ahead.

And eventually we get to a river crossing, the Swampy Plains Creek in fact.  And there is the nation parks camping site, and a tiny view of something other than eucalyptus trees.

A camping area at the side of the swampy plains creek.
A tiny bit of a view to the left,
and to the right. It reminded us of the river flowering through Pitlochry around the Kinloch Rannoch turn off.

And to the next opportunity for a view… but this is stop in the road job.  However, it was Stuart that chose to stop this time, but he had other ideas on what the stop was for.  Now what was the alternate name for our attempted world cycle tour?  That’s right, scent marking his way around the world…

Byatt’s Camp. A view, and a good one at that. Now there is some history about this area all dating back to summer grazing of cattle and who created the access.

Not a bad view.

From there it was another climb back up and out of the area.

Looking back the way we had come from.
The road ahead and onwards to the ski resorts and the way home
Dead Horse Gap. Now was it the fact that your horse was dead on its feet by the time they got to the top (1,582m or 5,190ft) or was there the skeleton of a dead horse up there? I’ve no idea, but there are plenty of skeletons of dead trees from the deadly forest fires that swept through the area 15 years ago.
The place was eerie with all the dead trees around.

From there it was pretty mundane except for our lunch stop at the side of a lake and for the fact that I alone was to see 4 emu.  Stuart, as the driver, totally failed to see the 2 that were standing less than 10m from the side of the road!  And I can tell you one thing, they are huge!

Day 2 of our mini-holiday

Day 2 arrived bright and clear but didn’t take long to cloud over and for the tops to disappear completely!  The plan for today had always been to get over to Yarrangobilly Caves to get around at least one of the caves and with any luck to use the thermal pools there as well.  But the plan was also to explore a touch as well, and with that came a visit to several viewing points because often you don’t get to see anything unless you stop at these viewing points!

The autumnal colours are now really beginning to show. Looking down across 2 states and the Murray River
The autumnal colours are now really beginning to show. Looking down across 2 states and the Murray River

Then it was onwards and upwards and into Eucalyptus rainforest again.

One advantage of quiet roads even if it is part of the Alpine Way, is that you can stop pretty much anywhere and reverse back to that corner where you spotted the photograph that you wanted, wander to the front of the car, take a few photos, review them, decide that you should have been standing in the exact middle of the road instead and move there, now take another few photos, review those whilst standing in exactly the middle of the road, decide they are ok, wander back to the car and get back into it, all the time knowing that the likelihood of meeting any traffic in any direction is approximately zero…  oh course should you be needed help in an emergency – well this is Australia.  You are expected to be able to look after yourself or simply not be out there anyway!

Then after a number of kilometres and a reasonable amount of height gained, we met this…

… low cloud.  We had driven into it and we had well over 100km to travel at or above this height.  And then we met this…

… and it wasn’t to get any better until we were to suddenly find ourselves in the middle of a massive carpark marked out in yellow road markings.  It had us utterly confused until we exited it and realised that we had entered the ski resort from the ‘unplanned’ entrance.  Not the one that they expected you to use but that had existed presumably long before the ski resort had.  Luckily it was too early in the season and the car park deserted.

From there it was to the visitors’ centre at the caves and lunch and a hot drink.  We had forgotten to even pack the flasks let alone bring them with us today.

We made arrangements to be taken around the cave that has wheelchair access.  There is a special narrow wheelchair that they can use and I needed this because of the steps, and the continual staring at the ceiling which currently sends my arms numb making using crutches rather difficult.

Whilst we were waiting for our ‘private’ viewing, (there was an extra member of staff that day and she volunteered to take us around before the 3:30pm scheduled guided tour) I had a nosy around some of the eucalyptus trees around the car park.  I love the colours of the bark and the patterns and several of the trees caught my eye but one in particular was extra special.  On one side the colours were like this

No enhancements made, no extra saturation, nothing.  Just as it was recorded.  Magic isn’t it?  And on the other side of the tree…

… were these wonderful greens (which might not be coming through as well as they could be!)

Then it was onto the caves.  The area is a limestone and I gather that there is not a lot of limestone around in Australia generally because this patch is something like only 11km by 1.5km.  Water erodes the limestone, which makes the caves and then also drips back into the caves making the most amazing shapes.  Not just stalactites and stalagmites, but shawls and straws and corals and more…

The brown is caused by iron oxide in the calcium carbonate.  In places the calcium carbonate is pure white, in other parts it is covered in a layer of ‘soot’ and in other places, many other places it is stained with the impurity of iron oxide.

A pool with water in it
And another that is dry, but reveals the wonderful pure shite crystals that are below the surface

This cave is famous for its corals, shawls and straws that have formed.

An example of a coral that is soon to join up
A fantastic example of a shawl. No-one knows why they form like this.
More wonderful formations
General cave view
General cave view
General cave view

Now can you spot the crocodile teeth and the set of dentures?

In the background are also the ‘straws’ that form abundantly in this cave.  They are hollow.  Examples are available to be seen in the cave.

Finally, there is a stalagmite that was cut through when the cave was first opened back before the WWI and it shows a remarkable history that would probably not be available nowadays.  Those black lines are soot from massive bush fires back over 400,000 years ago (the soot has been carbon dated).

We thoroughly enjoyed the tour, stayed inside longer than we should have done (we were meant to be out by the timing on the next scheduled tour in case the wheelchair was needed, we weren’t but it wasn’t!)…. we can really recommend the guide gave tours.