Sunday, 16 November 2014

23 - 29 October 2014 - Snowy Mountains

We left Canberra and headed to Jindabyne which is a lovely town set by Lake Jindabyne and a perfect spot from which to explore the mountains. Lake Jindabyne is part of the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme. We chose a caravan park outside town which came highly recommended by Wikicamps. The caravan park turned out to be part of a church retreat and is set in a magnificent setting which was basically a paddock with power, water and superb ablutions nearby. We settled in and relaxed amoung the romantic snowgums, horses, sheep and alpacas.

The next day we headed for Thredbo to climb Mount Kosciuszko which is the highest mountain on mainland Australia at 2228 metres, not very high by most standards but then Australia is the oldest and therefore the most eroded continent in the world. We purchased tickets to ride the chairlift to the top of the ski slopes which was now closed after the ski season. The upper slopes still had a little snow and the wind was howling so it was rather cold with our legs dangling in the air for the 15 minute ride. At the top we had a short but steep walk to the closed cafe at the top of the highest skilift. This was the real departure point to Kosciuszko and the wind was now gusting to 89 kph into our faces! Most of the 'walk' to the top was along a metal boardwalk to protect the fragile vegetation. The going was tough and we had second thoughts about getting to the top in this wind considering we had to be back to get the chairlift at 4pm before it closed. At the lookout where we finally got a good view of the mountain, we decided to make a push for the summit. We had to cross approximately a dozen snow drifts to reach the top which proved to be relatively easy. After quite a hike and many photo-stops later we arrived at the summit. The views were fantastic with snow-covered mountains in all directions. We took photos and then relaxed and had a snack while enjoying the view. We could not linger long because we had to catch the chairlift, so we set out on our return journey. We had a short snowball duel on one of the drifts and arrived at the skilift in plenty of time but with very weary legs. We enjoyed the ride back down to Thredbo and we stumbled off the chairlift on legs that had seized up on the way down! We could not find anywhere to get a cup of coffee so we drove home to recuperate and give the legs a well-earned rest.

The next day we spent doing some chores and relaxing and catching up on some sleep. In the afternoon we walked around the property taking photos and generally enjoying our peaceful surroundings.

The next morning we woke to a misty scene with the snowgums looming ghost-like around us. We headed back into the mountains but this time through Perisher to Charlotte Pass. On the way we came across an echidna which was very cute and did not mind us taking his photo. At Charlotte Pass we walked down to the Snowy River in the valley below and explored the area for a while, taking photos of the river and snow gums with their twisted shapes and intricately patterned bark.

The next day we drove the road through Thredbo halfway to Khancoban to see if the road was suitable for the caravan. Although the road was twisty with long downhill sections we thought it was OK to take the caravan along to Khancoban. We did see someone towing a large caravan up the pass so felt comfortable we could do it too. On the way back we stopped at the Wild Brumby Schnapps Distillery where we tasted their schnapps and purchased their Devils Tongue liqueur schnapps and a bottle of Gluhwein. On returning to the caravan park we were informed that there was a severe weather warning and that we needed to turn the caravan into the wind as we were in a valley where the wind is funnelled with quite some force at times. The evidence of this was a couple of caravans stored on site which had been very securely tied down with large stakes and straps! As it turned out the wind dropped and we had a very peaceful night with less wind than at other times.

In the morning we completed the Blue Mountains blog and then visited the Gaden Trout Hatchery where we had a picnic lunch before having a tour of the hatchery. The rest of the day we relaxed. The hatchery has 4 different species of trout: rainbow trout, atlantic salmon, brook trout and brown trout.

In the morning we set off for Charlotte Pass with the mad idea of climbing Mount Kosciuszko again! This time it was a much longer but gentler sloping walk to the peak. We loaded up with a camera each and walking poles to assist us, both on the walk and to cross the snow drifts. The walk was long - about 18.5 km round trip and climbing 611 metres in altitude! The walking poles proved invaluable over the snow drifts and on the return to help us down some of the slightly steeper sections of the path. By the time we returned to the car our legs were finished! Along the path we heard the endangered Corroborree Frogs everywhere but just could not find them although we did see a couple at the information centre. This day brought our most enjoyable but exhausting visit to the Snowy Mountains to an end.

A storm brewing on arrival in Jindabyne
The Adventist Alpine Caravan Park
How is this for a caravan park?
Snow gums outside our caravan
The chairlift from Thredbo to the top of the ski slopes
Lookout to Mt Kosciuszko
Mt Kosciuszko and the steel boardwalk
On the summit of Mt Kosciuszko
These are what took us to the summit!
The ski town of Thredbo
An Echidna
The beautiful snow gums
The Snowy River
The Snowy River
Traversing a snow drift over the path near Rawson's Pass just below Mt Kosciuszco
The second last snow drift before the summit of Mt Kosciuszko
On the summit again!

1 comment:

  1. Well done reaching the summit. Enjoying your blogs immensely. We had breakfast at Peaberrys yesterday and thought of you both. Keep up the good work :-D