Well, just to recap my last day in Melbourne.
I woke up early, and managed to get in a swim at the City Baths AND go to the Melbourne Aquarium.
The swim felt great! The aquarium was fun cause I got to hang out with the King Penguins, the rays, the sharks, the jellies. It was top notch as aquariums go.
Got to the airport an hour early and so jumped on an earlier flight to Canberra. Later in the day Johnno and I went for a bike ride around 3/4's of the lake into town. This is such a bike friendly town.
The next day we headed to the Snowy Mountains. We took the scenic route through the Brindabellas (mostly dirt). It was a beautiful drive up to Mt. Kosciuszko National Park. Our destination that day was Thredbo...one of Australia's ski towns. We booked two nights at the local hostel, a very comfy clean place.
For dinner that night we went to a tapas bar...shared a few dishes and had some good aussie Coopers (beers).
The next morning after a good brekkie of muesli, eggs, fried mushrooms, toast and coffee we headed out on our hike.
It was foggy, which made for good hiking weather. So, instead of taking the lift to the top and hiking to Mt Kosciuszko (Kozzie for short)....we energetically opted to walk FROM THE VILLAGE to Kozzie, the highest mountain in Oz. The elevation is a whooping 2228 meters. The hike up to just the Eagle's Nest (highest restaurant in Oz) was pretty difficult. There were steep stairs, and lots of elevation gain. We basically walked up to the top of the lift. The second half of the hike was above treeline and follows a raised mesh pathway. The pathway was complete in 1999 after 17 years of construction. By then, the fog had lifted and the views just kept getting better and better. We talked and walked to the top. The 360 views from the top were well worth it! Savored some peanuts, and wasibi peas at the top! All said and done we hiked 12 miles with a 3,000 feet elevation gain.
Tapas and Coopers for dinner that night tasted pretty good! We hobbled back to the hostel and passed out. A good day of fresh air and exercise.
The next day we drove back down to Jindabyne
for brekkie, and camping food. Then, back to Thredbo and beyond. We spotted a Wombat and I jumped out to take a picture. I now want a Wombat for a pet. They are such cute furry little marsupials. The road was very pleasant, through the ever present Gum trees. Stopped at a rest stop and had a sandwich and a head dunk in the beautiful river! Did a little off roading to see some off road scenery and some old historic huts. Drove through a lot of country that had been severly burned in the 2003 fires. The trees are coming back ever so slowly but the white ghostly remains of the Gum trees were everywhere! I think the fire burned for two weeks and burned an area the size of England.
We stopped at the highest town in Oz...a company town called Cabramurra.
I saw my first Brumbies on our way to Long Plain Road. I wanted to see them running like they did in the movie, 'Man from Snowy River', but these ones must have been unemployed . As they were just peacefully grazing in the field. We camped out on Long Plain Road. The stars
were as vibrant and plentiful as nothing I have seen before. Sandwiches, red wine and Scrabble, made for a cozy night in the tent.
Next morning, talked with and hung out at our neighbors campfire. A very nice retired couple enjoying their time in the bush. So nice to meet you John and Lorelle!! Did you finish the jumper?
Broke camp and headed down to the Yarrangobilly Caves. Bought entry into two caves...the Jersey cave which is noted for its rare displays of black and grey flowstones. This cave takes you back in time 700,000 years. The second cave was only 100,000 years old...but contained some pretty amazing lofty chambers that made you feel like a dwarf!
Also, took a swim in the outdoor thermal pools. A 20 meter pool, about 80 degrees, in a river bed meadow setting.
Had a nice picnic afterwards with our left over camp food, and a smidge of wine that 'ole thirsty quickly polished off.
Took another back road back to Canberra. Here for a couple of days before we head West into the plains....Johnno wants to show me some flat country. We will head to Mungo National Park,
for more exploring, hiking and camping.
The weather is getting more autumn like. So, far Australia is pretty dang beautiful!!
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