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Thread: Kosciuszko Nat Park Trip. (Part 2, In the Aussie Alps)

  1. #1
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    Jan 2015
    Northern Suburbs Melbourne

    Kosciuszko Nat Park Trip. (Part 2, In the Aussie Alps)

    My last report from this trip finished with Jen and I at Blowering Dam about 15 ks from Tumut, we then drove up and into the Australian Alps. The Snowy Mountains Highway follows the Dams shoreline for awhile before steadily climbing the mountains and into the Kosciuszko National Park. At the Yarrangabilly River we stopped for lunch and whilst there checked out an old cottage and other points of interest.

    Cotterill’s Cottage was built in the 1890s as part of a grazing property, a small Village developed around it and in time it was used as a post office and then later on it was a forestry depot, it now can be hired out for recreational purposes.

    Nearby was an old Buffalo Pitts Steam Engine, they were imported into Australia around 1890 and got their name from the Pitts Agricultural Company who built them in Buffalo New York. They were favoured because they were lighter than the English equivalent at around two tonnes, it still would have been an effort for the horses or oxen who would have had to drag it up suspect tracks high into the Alps. Working at full steam they produced around 6 horsepower, about the same as a modern day lawn mower!!

    Time to hit the road/track again, a few ks further on the Long Plain Track leaves the bitumen and takes you into one of the most remarkable areas in Australia. Within this National Heritage zone and National Park you will find historical points of interest, wildlife and wildflowers that are absolutely stunning plus vistas and landforms not equalled anywhere else in Australia. To say I like this area is a real understatement, I love it.

    Along the Long Plain Track we crossed the mighty Murrumbidgee River, it starts near here from a wet heath/bog (at just under 1600 mts altitude) and flows for another 900 ks to where it joins the Murray River between Swan Hill and Mildura.

    A short time later we arrived at the Blue Holes Campground where we stayed for the next two nights.

    Only a few hundred metres from our van was a natural feature called Blue Holes.

    And why is it called that, well these pics tell the story.

    Such a scenic spot.

    It is actually the source of Cave Creek which rises from underground, to the left of the main hole the creek flows off towards spectacular gorges, to the right is where the creek once came from.

    All around us Alpine wildflowers were showing in all their glory, Jen kept saying for Pete’s sake sit down and relax, but how could I when I show you these next few pics, they were all taken within 10 metres of our van.

    I loved the subtle colours of these next ones, and the texture of the petals softened their appearance even further.

    Late that day as we sat near our van this Eastern Grey made an appearance, what was interesting was the position of the Joey in her pouch.

    Both front paws, both hind legs tail and head all were protruding at the same time.

    Later still, we had a visit by a Red-necked Wallaby, what a stunning animal. (Note the Burs on his rump and tail)

    And then Mum arrived with her Joey.

    She was a bit toey for awhile but soon settled down.

    Check out the size of the Joey’s head, it seemed as large as Mum’s.

    We then lit our fire and settled in as night descended. Well after dark we heard a noise and then not 5 metres from our van some wild brumbies strolled pass. What a surreal moment as we counted 18 walking head to tale right past us and our van, then disappearing into the night. To be so close to those large beasts just topped off what had been an amazing day as so much had been seen and experienced since we had left the Murray that morning. And then out of the dark, towards our fire came this Brumby.

    Over my shoulder to our left we heard another noise.

    And then more appeared, there are four heads in this pic, how amazing was that.

    The stars that night were so bright and clear being so far from civilisation.

    The early morning sun lights up our van and as I was taking that shot Mum and bub Brumby strolled into camp.

    The foal never ventured too far from mum.

    As beautiful as they are, they are a huge problem within the park causing major problems with erosion and weed infestation, estimates of their numbers have them totalling nearly 15,000.

    The main feature of this part of the park is a walk along Cave Creek into and through Clarke Gorge. For photography reasons it is best to do that walk around midday to early afternoon as the sun then shines nearly directly above so there are less shadows on the walls of the Gorge. Whilst waiting for that time we did the Nicole Gorge Walk, this was once the source of Cave Creek until thousands of years ago it changed direction and disappeared under ground.

    Along this walk there are a number of caves which you can explore for some distance, the various chambers were once the rivers course through the limestone ranges.

    Another thing I found interesting along this walk were these seed heads which were over 100 mm in diameter, I had never seen ones that large before.

    On our way back to camp we spied a couple of Cunningham’s Skinks. They are one of the largest skinks in Australia and can grow up to 400mm in length preferring a rocky type of terrain with crevices that they use for protection. They have evolved a spiny type of appearance which they use to wedge themselves into the gaps in the rocks when they feel threatened.

    Well it was time to do the main 2.5 ks walk through Clarke Gorge to the Cave Creek Falls.

    Here is Jen making the first of six crossings that you need to do to get to the end, and a few more pics taken along the route. At the bottom of the second pic you can just make out a Brown Snake that swam between my legs whilst I was taking the photo, I didn't see it till after I had taken the pic, I then jumped to the creeks bank and before you knew it, it was gone.

    These are the falls at the end of the track, click on the second pic for a short clip of them.

    MVI_2218 by Colin Judkins, on Flickr

    On the way back we decided to take a swim at this magnificent water hole, absolutely sensational.

    And to show you that I didn’t pike it, I got Jen to take my pic to prove that I also braved those balmy waters. With the water temperature around 10 degrees it made us Victorians feel right at home!!!!

    And the final photo from our walk is Jen crossing the creek for the final time, she was so happy as I asked her to pause just once more mid stream!!

    A couple of hours of rest and then we set off to explore the Coolamine Homestead complex.

    The first of these buildings was constructed in 1883, the first dwelling (if you can call it that, was built in 1839) doesn’t now exist but the ones that do show three different types of construction.

    The building here on the right is called the Cheesehouse and the one to the left is the original homestead called Southwell’s after the family that built and lived in it.

    As you can see many of the inside walls had been lined with old newspapers to help insulate the cabins and keep them as warm as possible during the long winters, as at this altitude they were snow bound for many months. It was fascinating reading and perusing the various articles and adds from so long ago.

    These next buildings are known as Campbell’s Huts after Fred Campbell who built them (along with the Cheesehouse) back in 1889, assisted by Fred Southwell. (What’s with all the Freds way back then?)

    On our last evening a mob of Roo’s kept us company, along with mum and bubs who could probably only fit in the pouch the one way, being so big!!

    Safety first, look left, look centre then look right.

    Well our time at the Blue Holes Campground was up, more of our holiday will be shown in the next report.

    Regards, Col & Jen.
    Life is not a destination but a journey, make the most of it and remember, the worst day above ground is a whole lot better than the best one under it.

  2. #2
    The Boss Smokey2.8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Sth Sydney
    I really need to get out more, I’m feeling more relaxed staring at the pictures!

    Very calming.
    Adam aka Smokey

    2.8's Sound great, but a worked 3.0L goes better

  3. #3
    Junior Member Hoyks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Hunter & SE-QLD
    Last time I rode that road there were still cattle grazing through there in summer.

    Right about where that pool is there was a stockman, on his horse, flicking a fly for trout into the pool while the horse munched on the grass. Seemed like a nice way to pass the time.

    Water was bloody freezing though.

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