Picnic Point – Sun 15th / Mon 16th Feb
Delightful as Coolendel was, it was time to move on
With a short stop to visit friends near Nowra (and happily coming away with a jar of top notch marmalade, thanks Louise) Sunday night saw us at Picnic Point. This is a lovely little camp in Mimosa Rocks National Park just south of Bermagui. Located down an easy track on a point between 2 beaches it only has a few sites, with a long drop the only facilities; but the views are great. Apparently the fishing is also excellent
Jindabyne – Tue 17th Feb
Time to head towards the hills. The original aim was to make it onto the Barry Way, but time and some pretty poor weather conspired against. Leaving Picnic Point towards Bega there are 2 options, tarmac via Tathra or dirt via Dr George Mountain – dirt the order of the day and rewarded with some fine views.
A short stop at Bega Cheese Heritage Centre, as the girls for their schoolwork needed to learn about a food item that is now mass produced. Whilst it has some interesting dairy items from the old days it does seem more an excuse for a cafe / shop.
Again choosing dirt over tarmac saw a cross country run from Nimmitabel to Dalgety, an easy hard packed highway but through some great open space and right under one of the wind farms usually seen only in the distance.
The heavens then opened, sealing the deal to stop. Despite being in the middle of town the holiday park has a lovely location by the lake, with all facilities.
Crossing the Border – Wed 18th Feb
Finally! A leisurely start, with a fine morning, saw us onto the Barry Way (Snowy River Road in VIC). This is simply stunning, as it twists its way along the side of the hills, with views across the valleys beneath. Not a difficult drive, just need to keep your speed under control.
Given the relaxed start camp time came just over the border at Willis. For all of 5 minutes it was ours alone, with the rain; then the sound of an engine as another traveller pulled in. No matter, plenty of spots available without being in view.
Despite its location on the Snowy River its not the best camping spot. Dirt and a sloping site, obligatory long drop, probably better in the dry. Memories of this spot also not enhanced by my tussle with an axe (posted separately).
Bairnsdale – Thu 19th Feb
Not originally on the route, but a quick chat with the lovely nurse at Buchan Bush Clinic sent me on the way to A&E, and Bairnsdale was it. The largest city in East Gippsland, with about 12000 people, it also has a very comfortable holiday park on the river, so a chance to get the washing done. The town itself has all the usual suspects, but pleasingly also seems to have retained its smaller local shops rather than bleed to death to an out of town shopping mall
Davies Plain Hut (Almost..) – Fri 20th / Sat 21st Feb
All patched up and back into the high country. However first a delightfully scenic drive up the Great Àlpine Road to Omeo. We’d been told how pretty this road is, and in the flesh it lives up to the promise. However its more of a Sunday drive with Aunty Maude than an adventure.
Leaving the tarmac at Benambra the aim was to make Davies Plain Hut via Macs Creek, then stop for the night. Local knowledge can be invaluable; a chance meeting with a local farmer revealed Macs was closed, and he pointed us up Misery Trail with a worrying ”it will test you”.
Never was a trail named better, bumpy in a fun way to start and winding up through the forest, the pinch at the top was steep, narrow and had rocky steps with soft dirt / small rocks between. Despite being aired down, trail building and pulling out the Treds we were defeated and handed an awkward 20 point turn to reverse direction.
Somewhat humbled the question was where to camp that night. A quick consult of the map and the options were Limestone Creek or Native Dog Flat. Discretion won out at Limestone, aided by the “not recommended for trailers”sign at the start and the ever steepening descents – we gave the first 2 a try then decided to play it safe.
So Native Dog Flat it was to be, and a more scenic site would be hard to find. Grassed, with a stream running through it, the only downside would be the horse flies. But on the flipside these are only there because of the wild horses, which we could hear nightly munching on the grass outside the tent.