Jack Riley - 'The Man From Snowy River'
2010 statue situated near the Information Centre in Corryong
On Friday 28th October we prepared to hit the road again after a very pleasant few days staying in Yass. Unusually, we couldn’t agree on where our next destination would be. I wanted to head for the town of Tumut from where I thought we could access the Kosciuszko National Park. Graham had studied the map a little more closely and felt that Tumut was in the wrong general direction. A better approach would be from the Victoria side of the mountain range, but that required a much longer journey today. Tumut was just 120 kilometers away but I had to concede that the contours on the map suggested that getting beyond Tumut and within a reasonable distance of the top of the mountains would be a bit of an ordeal, especially with the caravan. Even approaching from Victoria it would be very hilly and quite a challenge but there are a couple of towns which have a much shorter access to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko and we could probably leave the caravan at one of them and progress up the mountain just taking the car. As usual at times like this, Graham’s argument won the day so we set
off in the direction of Corryong – a distance of almost 300 kilometers if we were going to do it in one day. The first part of the journey was along the Hume Highway, mainly a dual-carriageway, so progress was excellent. Eventually we turned off towards the small town of Adelong. The road became poor and quite narrow in places but actually it was a “short cut” that our sat-nav had chosen and which eventually, though not before making us wonder if we’d done the right thing, linked up with a better road which took us to Adelong.
Adelong is a very pleasant town and came just at the right time for us to have some lunch. I had prepared sandwiches but, as we sometimes do, we chose to have some lunch out and to save our sandwiches for later. We found a lovely little café which was doing roast dinners and at very reasonable cost. Graham had lamb and I had chicken and it was accompanied by a huge pot from which we were able to enjoy copious amounts of tea. Even though we thought we had chosen the easier road option, we were still a bit concerned
about the surrounding hills and the road to Corryong. So I enquired at the local Post Office about road conditions. Fortunately the Postmaster was confident that we would get to Corryong without trouble but he added that he wouldn’t choose to go much further towing a caravan. We left Adelong confidently and headed for the hills, at one point ignoring a sat-nav suggestion in favour of an obviously better road. The hills were challenging but manageable and the traffic was fairly light so we didn’t hold anybody up with our slow negotiations of some of the steeper climbs. We passed through a couple of delightful hillside towns including the quaintly named Tumbarumba and eventually drove into Corryong at about 3:30pm. We didn’t bother checking out which of the two caravan parks looked the best – we just went straight to the first one we came across called Mount Mittamatite Caravan Park and checked in for two nights. We asked about the possibility of leaving the caravan there for a couple of days and were relieved when they said that would not be a problem. So everything was beginning to fall into place nicely. We were handily placed to visit Kosciuszko
National Park, we were on a reasonable caravan park which wasn’t very busy, we had bags of room and privacy, we could leave the caravan there if we wanted, and we were well placed for our eventual on-going journey towards Wangaratta and eventually Melbourne. After a quick visit to the local Information Centre, from where we discovered the best place to obtain fuel, we were able to relax in the sun with our sandwiches and with a few birds for company - I always thought Corryong was the better choice (!!!!).
Saturday 29th proved to be a very pleasant day - admittedly we had some rain during the night but this had cleared by the time we were up and about. I had expressed a wish to visit ‘The Man From Snowy River’ museum so off we went, arriving at about 9.45. As we pulled up we could see a man putting signs out and then as he unlocked the door he beckoned to us to go on in. Although the opening time was 10.00 he was happy for us to enter early although he still had a few outside buildings to unlock. The museum was much the same
as many we have visited on our travels – absolutely chock full of old artifacts and photographs, much of which still need to be categorized and renovated. Again, as with many museums, they are operated on a voluntary basis so they depend entirely on people freely giving their time to identify items and then to set them up in a museum-type display. Some of the old buildings were fascinating, especially the old gaol and the Jarvis Homestead. We expected more association with the ‘Man From Snowy River’ poem and film but in truth there was little connection with them. They did have a CD of ‘bush’ poems by Banjo Paterson, read by famous Aussie actor Jack Thompson, which we bought. I was disappointed that neither the museum nor the Information Centre had any books of Banjo’s poems. After our tour we drove the short distance into Corryong and then carried on for a couple of kilometers. At the Information Centre yesterday we had discovered that by far the cheapest place for fuel was an out-of–town garage adjacent to an out-of-town grocery store. It was an odd set-up as there was nothing else in the area but by spending $30 or
more in the shop, the fuel was considerably cheaper so it was well worth the journey out of town. Ironically, the most expensive fuel in town was at our caravan park but we didn’t feel too disloyal.
We had planned a drive out to some waterfalls today but a lady at the caravan park had said that she and her friends had tried to get there the previous day but a fallen tree had prevented them from reaching the falls. They were in Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park, an area we thought would probably be worth exploring anyway. It was a lovely drive through some delightful countryside where, eventually, we spotted the sign for Bluff Falls. Sure enough, after a few kilometers on a mucky gravel road we reached the point where the tree was down. There was no way past, not even with a 4WD, but we felt we couldn’t be too far away. A passing walker confirmed that the fallen tree was only 50 meters shy of the official car-park and the falls were only another 170 meters beyond that. The poor lady from the caravan park and her friends were so near, if only they had realised.
We clambered over the fallen tree and walked the relatively short distance to the falls which, because of the recent heavy rains, were magnificent and well worth the walk. Back in town we drove up to the Lookout which was good although the weather began to change a bit for the worse. We retreated to the caravan and planned how we were going to spend the next few days which, of course, include Graham’s Halloween birthday. The forecast for tomorrow was poor and they tend to be pretty accurate in this part of Aus. We desperately wanted to go up into the mountains but obviously the views would be severely impaired if the weather was bad. So we agreed to hang on for another day at Corryong and then travel up to Thredbo on the Monday – Graham’s birthday. So that’s what we did. The caravan park people were happy for us to leave the caravan with them at no extra cost – we didn’t even have to move it anywhere – and we booked a hotel room in Thredbo for Monday and Tuesday nights.
Unfortunately Sunday was a bit of a mixed bag. It started reasonably well and
I was able to get some washing done and dry whilst getting other things ready for our trip to the mountains. I’d not long collected the washing when the heavens opened and we had quite a downpour and it rained on and off until after dark. At least it meant we could relax a bit so we did some reading and watched a bit of telly. A couple of units left the park this morning so there were just three remaining – us in our caravan, another couple in an off-road camper-trailer and a lady in her camper van. A few of the cabins on the park were also occupied but no new units came in so it was very quiet. However, our evening was brightened up considerably when we had a very pleasant surprise. At about 8:00pm we had a Skype call from Tewkesbury where not only Barb and Tony were on line but also Auntie Enid who was staying there for a few days. It was a very pleasant way to end the day and we went to bed looking forward to our trip up into the mountains, keeping our fingers crossed that the weather would improve.
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