The Australian Highlands

Dinsdag 27 november2012

Vandaag rijden we vanuit Cooma naar Jindabyne waar we in het Snowy Region Visitor Centre de nodige informatie vinden voor de komende dagen. Al vlug beseffen we dat we weeral veel te weinig tijd hebben.
Rond 10u30 vertrekken we naar de Charlotte’s Pass in het Kosciuszko National Park. Na een prachtige rit langs het Lake Jindabyne komen we aan de ingang van het park waar we een entry fee betalen van 16dollar om er precies 24u te verblijven.


De rit gaat verder door een desolaat landschap vol eucalyptusbomen en gele struiken.
Aan de Charlottte’s Pass besluiten we om toch onze stappers aan te trekken en een wandelingetje van 21km te maken.
We vertrekken in de regen tot de berghut en daarna in de mist tot Mount Kosciuszko op een hoogte van 2228m en daarmee ook de hoogste berg van Australië. Wat een belevenis.
Daarna gaan we verder langs de merenroute. We krijgen zelfs zon.
7uur later komen we voldaan terug aan onze Janis.

Een snitzel met groenten als afsluiter van de dag is schitterend.

Woensdag 28 november2012

Vanuit de restarea zo’n 10km van Jindabyne rijden we via de Barry Way naar Suggan Bugan waar we naar de Little River Falls willen rijden. Een prachtige ongeasfalteerde bergweg tussen de eucalyptusbomen. We beseffen bij de splitsing dat we eigenlijk te weinig benzine hebben om op een veilige manier tot Bonang te geraken en ook daar is geen benzine.
Dus rijden we eerst zuidwaarts richting Gelantipy waar we bijtanken en van de eigenaar een gratis douche mogen nemen. Een schitterende man die me terug het vuur in mijn hartje laat branden dankzij zijn levensfilosofie.
Daarna gaat het verder naar Omeo. Een stadje die ons beiden verrast door zijn oude gebouwen en gezelligheid. Ook de weg ernaartoe is adembenemend. De alpenweiden glijden aan ons voorbij en ik word ontroerd door de natuurpracht.
Even voorbij Omeo rijden we naar de Victoria Falls waar we nu kamperen. Er staan nog 3andere kampeerders maar het is er muisstil.
Onderweg komen we nog kudde koeien tegen die met paarden van het ene grasveld naar het andere geleid wordt. Mijn hartje begint opnieuw te kloppen. Wat zou ik graag even het echte leven op de range een tijdje beleven.
Dikke kus aan jullie allemaal.

From Canberra we drive to Cooma in the evening. After we leave the city, we park along the road, so we can arrive in the Snowy Mountain info centre of Jindabybe quite early to get all the necessary information about our trip in Australia’s highlands. Part of them are located in New South Wales (NSW), but most of them lie in Victoria. In Jindabyne we don’t get that much help, because they only have some information about the Kosciuszko National Park, situated in NSW. The Victoria side is not their concern…

We leave the town with little more information and head to Charlotte’s Pass, where the walking trail around Australia’s Highest Peak – Mt Kosciuszko – start. There are only two choices, a 18 km go and return summit walk or a 20 km loop walk. We doubted a little about doing the walk or not, but once we’ve seen the peaks, we decide to go for it.
Fully equipped we start… But after 4 km’s walking, we see numerous dark clouds fly over the summits and 1 km further we receive a long, cold heavenly shower. Struggling in the wind and the rain we keep walking to the summit. After 3 more km’s the rain stops, but the clouds stay around. So we reach the summit on 2228m – after 9 km’s walking – in the fog. However we don’t care that much about it, we’ve made it. We’re on the roof of Australia!
After that, we decide to go for the loop walk, while we steadily see the clouds break open because of the strong winds. Half an hour later the different tops are in sight again and two hours later the sun dries our last clothes. During the walk we get some stunning views of Australia’s roof and have fun by crossing some snowy remnants along the trip.
A couple of hours later we reach our car back, decide to go for a dinner and park our car finally on a rest area near Jindabyne to sleep. Unfortunately no camping is permitted on the rest area’s, but we don’t care and park our car.

Next morning we start at the Greater Alpine Road, a trip along the different high peaks of these Highlands. These roads are partly sealed and another part is unsealed. Normally the trip starts already in Canberra, but no one informed us about it, so we start near Jindabyne.
Our first part of the trip goes over an unsealed part. Both of us are really happy with this winding, sandy road through numerous eucalyptus forests. In the meantime we also get some beautiful mountain views, while Janis ploughs happily over hilltops and through the valleys.
One hour and a half later, we make a small detour for fuel because we planned another trip through the mountain area. At the station we also get the option for a good, hot shower – miraculous after a couple of days. Finally we decide to follow the original trip and drive to Omeo.
The unsealed roads keep winding through eucalyptus forests, grasslands and stunning views. Both of us enjoy driving through this picturesque mountain landscape. In Omeo we drive further on the Alpine Highway for the next part of our trip. First we pay a visit to the Mt Kosciuszko lookout and camp near the Victoria Falls. Tomorrow we’ll keep on driving along this scenic route.

From the falls, we follow the way along the Mt Feathertop valley, another group of mountains reaching 1900m and more. This scenic route leads us over a mountaintop into the valley to Bright. In the local information centre we receive loads of information about visiting Victoria and decide to switch a part of our route. We’ll spend some more time here in the Alpine Parks, not just crossing through them.
So in the afternoon we drive to the Mt Buffalo NP and enjoy the winding road to the Horn, the highest peak – 1723m – in the park. Afterwards we make a small walk to the Eurobin Falls and jump into an icy swimming pool over there. Refreshed we drive again partly uphill to camp near the Lake Catani area. There we watch a sunset over this mountain lake.

Next morning we decide to return to Omeo, along another mountain route, because this is the fastest and best route to Wilson Promontory. Another scenic mountain road is our part. Some 40 km before Omeo we decide to take a few days of at the horse ranch of Helen, the Willows. A beautiful mountain view welcomes us from the terrace, followed by a warm welcome on the ranch. We can stay as long as we want and receive a nice room in the guest house part. As a compensation we help with some gardening and other tasks in the household.
Soon we meet the other guests, Klaus – a horse trainer, Cornelia – an artist and horse trainer trainee and Rowling – a friend of Klaus. Sometimes there pass others, which join the crowd like its their home. We spend many evenings on the terrace or near the fireplace, talking or reading, while we enjoy the delicious meals.
Twice we get the opportunity to visit the mountains on a horseback.
The weeks flies forward, while we enjoy the good company, the wonderful mountain views, the horses and the good food. But after some nine days resting we decide to go on… We leave this wonderful location and head to Wilsons Promontory – or the Proms, like the Aussies call it.