We grew up in NSW, where the beaches are glorious and the summer seemingly endless. That is if you don’t count those cold bone-chilling winters. We moved into Queensland some 40-50 years ago and began to really explore Australia, vegemiters and dogs in tow. It was something of a true love for both The Man’s and myself… exploring that is.
But when you grow up around our golden beaches and long hot summers there are places on our continent, which easily escape the attention and often largely live in legend. We are currently camped up for an extended stay in The Snowy region of Victoria, otherwise known as the Lakes region as we are surf side of the Snowy Mountains. It is a seemingly unexplored by many travellers who take the straight stretch between Melbourne and Sydney and as such is a relatively un-acknowledged part of Australia’s beach-line and hinterland. This region holds the legend of the Snowy River firmly in its grasp and I have never truly appreciated that. To me the legend was euphoric almost, something wonderful and distant, but you can touch it still in these steep and rolling hills and mountains behind us. Those of the Alpine heights.
The Snowy River is born in Mount Kosciuszko, which is in NSW, and it flows on into the Bass Strait or the ocean side of SE Victoria. Banjo Paterson immortalized the river in the poem written in the 1890’s ‘The Man from the Snowy River’ that was further commemorated by the movie of the same name. It is a truly iconic Aussie movie.
We have been exploring this country and legends and have found the experience truly enthralling. Having visited now the wonderful towns, the beautiful yet dangerous country and the breathtaking landscape, I have put this lack of attention on our part down to the knowledge that we have so many very remarkable and beautiful beaches. Golden sands, blue skies and rolling surf are our world along with vast distances and magnificent truly ancient and sunburnt outback often devoid of the mark of men, of past civilizations. It is truly a wilderness out there and there are few places on Earth that can match it.
In our travels we have often headed out to reach as far south as the border between NSW & Victoria regularly. We have dabbled in the gold hunt in the tablelands behind the coastline, places you probably know well such as Ballarat and Bendigo. We’ve also been out and about on the Monaro Plains of NSW and across the length of the Great Dividing Range.
The mighty River Murray too, commonly drew our attention. With her beautiful meandering river (albeit a bit low in these times) and the lovely old paddle steamers and water boats of yesteryear still to be found on her waters. We have wandered her length and reach, swam in the Darling and been awestruck at the ancient and still wild rivers, which wind their way down the length of the continent in its season. This time however we deliberately chose to first explore the High Alpine Country, and then meander our way around the SE corner of the continent. What an absolute and unexpected delight it has been and something of a real surprise!.
Country Victoria is always a pleasant place with tones of yesteryear and lovely old buildings. Many of the country towns here, such as Rosedale, Buchan, Omeo, Orbost and the like, now really welcome the RVer’s to their towns. They value our custom, knowing the advantages and economic growth we can bring to the region and with near a million travellers now living ‘on the wallaby’ we are a true demographic all of our own, one that has a strong and often stubborn voice. We are people of an independent mind who often refuse to be mustered like so many rogue cows into a holiday park. As I have so often said… we are not on a holiday! Plus there are more often than not, no caravan parks where we travel… and we are richer for this wilderness experience.
This little part of country Victoria to be found down in this the Central Gippsland and touring about within the Snowy River Shire it is a real pleasure. Tracks abound for the 4×4 adventurer and the campsites for the wilderness camper and tourer are many. One real gem of a stop we found in Orbost was the Information Centre itself. An original slab hut, it was an absolute delight to wander around, complete with vege’ gardens, dunny, geese and wonderful volunteers who were very welcoming and helpful.
Many of these old Victorian country towns have a lot to commend them, and really do try to welcome the traveller, often despite the apparent efforts of their Shire Councils. Such as in Rosedale where the council bulldozed the toilet block only to have the locals site a couple of portaloo’s to the benefit of the small freecamp across the river from their lovely little shopping strip. They make the most delightful pies at their iconic bakery and they also service, without help from the Shire, the dump point near the bowling club. Some councillors are most certainly not worthy of their title or office having no respect for the communities needs, both local and national.
Another gem is the Bakery in Bruthen where their pasties are to die for and the man tells me the pies are a real tasty too. A real country treat these bear no resemblance to the gluey ones you buy in the bigger cities as they are full of real meat and home diced vegies wrapped in a light crisp pastry.
We enjoyed an extended stay at the lakeside of Lake Tyler where we had an encounter of a different type. It isn’t often you come across a fur seal enjoying the heat of the sand on the beachside, within feet of your fishing haunt and it was an encounter that made our visit something special.We headed out then, onto explore the many forbie tracks and trails to be found in ‘them, there mountains’. We particularly enjoyed the trout fishing in the local streams and rivers which make their way down from the heights, and despite The Man’s lack of the correct gear he did manage to bag a tasty rainbow trout… his first and a happy catch even if the guy up from us thought it was a tiddler.
It is really a beautiful area and one we plan on returning too soon, particularly for their summer season when everyone else in Aus’ seems to think the Snowy Mountains is not really the place to be. They couldn’t be more wrong!
Jan has just released the new and 3rd edition of ‘Oldies at Large’, It is a compilation of her travels across Australia in 2015.
Filled with pic’s and information it is available for less than the cost of a cuppa at Amazon. You are invited to enjoy her travels around Australia in your own time.