With the weekend approching we decided to do a quick trip to the Blue Mountains to cover a few things we haven't yet seen.
I had the van ready and packed by the time Trish got to my place, and by 630pm we were on our way to Lake Wallace about 8km west of Lithgow. It's a 3 hour trip from my place to the lake, and it was cold. We turned up the heater and looked at the temperature it was 15 degrees outside.
By the time we had reached the bottom the Blue Mountains the temperature was 6 degree, we reached Katoomba and it was snowing in patches and a chilly zero degrees. We were loving the sight of the snow, covering the sides of the road, houses and parked cars, this continued as we drove through the top of Mt Victoria then there wasn't much snow till we reach Lithgow. We pulled into maccas for a hot chocolate, the ground was white with snow and the bins had frozen shut. I looked at Trish and said how stupid are we.
We jumped back into the van for our final stretch to Lake Wallace, a free camp area with hot showers, toilets, a dump point and rubbish bins. The lake was cold but no snow there and only 2 other camper-vans, with plenty of options we picked a spot behind a tree which helped protect us from that icy wind.
Next morning the lake was cold, a chilly -2.7 degrees, the puddles of water had a thin layer of ice covering them and the mountains towards Lithgow were covered in patches of snow, but the sunrise was magical.
We got ready and headed back to the Blackheath and into the Megalong Valley. Along the way we were in wonder of the snow which looked stunning on the drive into the Megalong Valley.
Our first stop was Mermaids Cave a short walk along a dirt track and down a lot of stone steps between two very large rocks, once we reached the bottom we took in the beauty of this place and the small waterfall. We spent a bit of time looking around and snapping a few photos. Before taking on the steps back up to the van. Apparently Mermaids Caves was used in the Mad Max film Beyond Thunderdome.
On the way out of the Valley we stopped at the side of the road a take a few photos and to make our very own Olaf . (miniature snowman)
Our next stop was Govetts Leap in Blackheath an absolute stunning view over the Grose Valley encased in the soaring mountains, we made our way down a small muddy track to Horse Shoe Falls the lookouts along the way were amazing the views were stunning. It took us about half an hour to reach the top of the falls but unfortunately the track was shut.
We saw a small waterfall cascade before the large falls, a beautiful quiet spot, from here the track continues a further 3 km to another lookout.
Driving to the next stop was Pulpit Rock and Bushrangers Cave in Mt Victoria. We took a short 100 meter walk to Pulpit Rock and took a few photos and took in the amazing view down the Kanimbla Valley. There was patches of snow along the walk and all the puddles on the lookout all had a layer of ice on top.
We walked 50 meter back up the track and took a turn down a zig zag dirt rocky track which is 400 meters to Bushrangers Cave, this area is used for abseiling and rock climbing.
Trish made a late lunch and we sat and enjoy a great view surrounded by snow.
We packed up and headed back to Lake Wallace for the night, by the time we had reached the lake it was 4:30pm and the temperature had dropped to 1 degree and with it forecast to drop to -4 degrees over night we decided to grab a motel room for the night. Trish got onto Trivago and found a hotel called the Zig Zag hotel in Lithgow, we got a better deal than what was offered on Trivago. The room was very tidy and had everything we needed a hot shower, reverse cycle air conditioner and electric blankets, we were in heaven.
Next morning it was -3 at 6am and the van was covered in a thin layer of ice, thank god we decided to stay at the hotel. We got ready packed the van and headed off to Blackheath to Pulpit Rock Lookout (different location to previous day) another short bush walk to an amazing view, on one side we could see where we were yesterday at Govetts Leap and Horse Shoe Falls and down the Grose Valley the other way. The walk back up all the steps soon warmed us up. We had lunch and headed into Sydney to catch up with some friends and later head home.
Here's an earlier post on the Blue Mountains HERE
Saturday, June 18, 2016
We had the van packed and by 7pm we were on our way to Lake George, via Jamberoo Mountain which is a stunning picturesque drive, but tonight the weather was against us and the rain and wind had covered this narrow windy steep road with many fallen branches. Making our journey a little longer, but this wouldn't deter us from heading onto our next adventure.
By 10pm we had reached Anderson Rest Area at Lake George. The rest area is a car park facing Lake George with toilets, picnic tables and BBQs, it is also right next to the Federal Highway so there is a little traffic noise, though we managed to have a good night sleep regardless.
Next morning we were up early to watch the sun rise and to watch a mob of kangaroos feed and hop by.
After a hot brew, we packed up and headed for our next stop, Dickson Tourist Information Center in Canberra, they offer free hot showers for travelers which helped warm us up after a very cold night and morning.
Back in the van and through the streets of Canberra looking to find the Monaro Highway to Cooma, a quick bite to eat, top up the fuel tank before turning right as we left Cooma to the Snowy Mountains Highway which soon became a hit with both of us. The scenery blew us away from open farmland to open plains and soaring mountain ranges and deep valleys covered in a thick gum tree forests and the Eucumbene River weaved its way through all of it.
We took a left turn at The Link Road and took a quick look at Kiandra and some of its historic gold mining machinery.
On the road again, we left the low plains and headed up a steep narrow mountain to Cabramurra Australia's Highest town at 1488 meter above sea level. The town is small and mainly for workers, we made our way to the lookout and just our luck it was foggy, very foggy and cold with the temperature only being 3 degrees. We snapped a few pic and quickly got back in the van and stopped at the cafe for a hot drink. By the time we had finished our drinks the sky had cleared to blue skies.
When Trish spotted a warning sign at the side of the road, warning about brumby's. Trish said "hope we see some brumby's " and just around the next bend we saw a herd of them, feeding not far from the road side but close enough to get a photo or two.
Yarrangobilly Village is in the Kosciuszko National Park its a great little camp ground on the edge of the Yarrangobilly River with BBQs picnic tables and a long drop toilet. And its an historical site with only Cotterill's Cottage still remaining and a steam engine. There is also a few bush walks in the area.
Trish started cooking dinner while I started a wet wood fire which took awhile to get going, with every minute the temperature was dropping. We ate dinner and huddled in front of the fire to keep warm on this very cloudy and dark night.
The van was very cold and took awhile for us to get to sleep. We awoke very early in the morning while it was still dark and notice by torch light it was snowing, but it was to little and light and turned to dew on the ground.
Trish practiced her barista skills while I whinged about how numb my feet were, while watching a mob of kangaroos hop across the grassy plain, and we watched a couple boxing each other.
Today we back tracking a few kilometers to Yarrangobilly Caves, it was a one way dirt road which had turned to a slippy thick mud in sections so the drive in was very slow. But once we reached the caves main area we were blown away with how nice the area was. They have shelter sheds with picnic tables and electric BBQs, Toilet block and picnic tables with wood fire BBQs out in a grassed areas. Trish went to buy tickets and to talk about a few walks in the area, while I watched the kangaroos graze on the open picnic grounds.
Trish soon returned with a huge smile on her face, I knew then she had a bush walk in mind, and once her mind is set on something we do it. She is good at planning and making the best out of most situations. Out came the plan, first we had to drive to the South Glory Cave car park and walk to the Thermal Pool car park a short kilometer walk up hill, walk down the steep hill to the pools, Trish got her swimmers on and had a quick dip in the 27deg pool, while I looked around and got some great pictures of the wild flowers surrounding the area.
We then walk along the river to where the track joins the South Glory Cave walking track, which has a few steep bits to navigate and a lot of stairs. Once your on the cave track its relatively easy, flat walking to the start of our self guided tour of the South Glory Cave, The cave entry was huge, we were excited to get in and look around. The tour cost $13 each and the walk was about 3.5km plus the cave section. Defiantly worth the effort the area and cave were both amazing.
Once back at the van we drove around the picnic ground and found a quiet picnic shelter and had lunch with a few magpies and a couple of kangaroos. There were a few power point to charge up our electronic gadgets.
Mid afternoon we were back on the Snowy Mountain Highway and taking a slow scenic drive to Tumut ,with a stop at a lookout and a quick stop at Talbingo a little town along the way.
We reached Tumut about 4pm grabbed a few supplies and headed to the Riverglades Caravan Park on the Banks of the Tumut River. We took site 23 at the end of the van park overlooking the river, very quiet and surrounded by trees shedding their colorful autumn leaves, leaving the ground with a blanket of color. The powered site cost $30 for the night. The park was quiet and has two amenities blocks, a coin operated laundry and is pet friendly. The owners were lovely here, gave us some great tips of local areas and sights in the surrounding area.
We had dinner by the fire pit and chatted until it got too cold so we decided to turn the fan heater on and watch a movie in the van. The van heated up nicely and we had the best sleep, nice and warm.
Next morning it was zero degrees and a little frosty on the ground and the river was misty, the grass and leaves crunched under our feet as we walked over them from the frost. We sat huddled by the heater sipping our cuppas while Trish was making plans for the day.
We left Tumut and drove along the Snowy Mountains Highway to Adelong a small historic town which is worth a look itself with its old colonial buildings and the Adelong Falls Gold Mine Ruins which were a gem to spend time at. Stunning scenery and an old mine ruins on the banks of the Adelong River. There is a viewing platform, picnic areas with a few walks that crossed the river to see the ruins. We had lunch and took on the circuit walk which took us through all the ruins and on our way back we spotted at a small water fall and some more ruins hidden next to the waterfall, we must of walked 3 to 4 kilometers but it was well worth it, this place was amazing.
Back on the road again and we headed towards Batlow and then onto Tumbarumba where we had a quick look around and coffee break before heading on to our free camp at Three Mile Dam. The drive there was amazing the scenery is breath taking and worth the effort. there is also a few free camps along the way in this area.
We made it to Three Mile Dam about 4pm and it was cold with patches of ice on the ground, Trish made dinner and I got the fire blazing. We virtually sat on top of the fire, the temperature was zero degrees and getting colder. Three Mile Dam is about 1500 meter on the Great Dividing Range, there are a few wood BBQs and picnic tables and two long drop toilets. There isn't to much camp ground and only a few level spots. There may of been more camp spots down the track but a 4wd needed as the track was muddy.
Next morning the temperature was a chilly -0.4 degrees at 7am, the van windows were frosted up outside and in and above our heads icicles started form from out breathing. We both looked a little surprised but still had a little giggle over it, we then slide the side door open to be greeted by a blanket of frost covering everything and the muddy track we came in on now was hard and all the mud puddles had frozen solid and even the water around the edge of the dam had frozen.
I scrapped the ice off and dried up the wet roof as the car idled away with the heater blaring to help defrost the car. By 9am we were back on the road and heading back to Tumut the way we came in,
We didn't get time to take photos or explore the previous day so we decided to take a slow trip back and check out a few spots along the way. Amazing waterfalls and lookouts, the drive through the mountain terrain was awsome, frozen ferns along the road and snow. We spotted another herd of brumby's grazing by the road as we got closer to Tumbarumba.
Back in Tumut we stocked up again and fueled up and set off again to Wee Jasper, the road started off as tar and soon narrowed and then turned to a good dirt road which also got narrow, steep and as it hung on to the side of a mountain the corners were sharp and dangerous in places. The road got worse the closer we got to Wee Jasper but we made it and drove to Billy Grace Reserve Camping Ground and looked around for a nice camp spot, we settled for a spot by the river and made dinner and a fire and enjoyed a few beers.
We both slept well, but it was cold the next morning and by 9am we headed up the track to checkout Swinging Bridge Reserve and Micalong Reserve which we both fell in love with.
Just over the bridge and to the right at the end of the car park we took a walk to a small waterfall, the walk was only about 1 kilometer but a real goat track plus having to climbing up massive rock was making the walk more difficult.
We decided to have lunch at Swinging Bridge Reserve before heading off to our next destination, Queanbeyan. Trish had booked a room at the Best Western for the night and we went out for a yummy Thai meal, it was nice to get back to a 30 degree room and relax.
We left the hotel at 10am next morning and headed to Deakin in Canberra and to the Royal Cambodian Embassy to apply for our visa, we had to leave our passports and return later in the day to pick them up.
So we headed to the war memorial and had a walk around, it was hard to come to terms with what these men and women put themselves through or even giving up their lives for a better future for all of us. Lest We Forget !
We had a delicious Vietnamese lunch then we picked up our visas at 2pm and started our 3 hour journey home. Besides the freezing weather this visit, the snowy mountains has so much to offer explore. Our next trip will be early summer and we hope to see more of this amazing place.