LONG WAY HOME
Cabramarra, Mt Canobolis, Dunns Swamp
March 2-4, 2014
Wednesday morning we left Harrietville hoping to get breakfast along the way. Little did we know that between Bright and Omeo there is only only one cafe open serving coffee, at Mt Hotham village and one serving breakfast, at Dinner Plain. Of course there was nothing at Harrietville where we stayed last night. After a very pricey breakfast at Dinner Plain we drove around the village. It really is a monochromatic satellite town to Mt Hothams’ skiing attractions.
From there we headed south towards Omeo, reluctantly leaving the mountains behind. In Omeo we had a short stop before turning north for a long track towards home. We seem to spend very slow hours on a dirt road through the eastern edges of the Alpine National Park before arriving in Corryong, the town of the man from Snowy River. Along the way we only had brief glimpses toward Mt Bogong in the distance. A slow unrewarding drive which we would not choose to do again.
From Corryong we made it to NSW and the western edges of the Kosciusczo National Park. We spent the night camped alone by O’Briens hut just outside of Cabramarra. The hut is a relic of the old stockmans route through the mountains.
A clear star filled night made for some nice night time photography. The first time in weeks I was awake when the stars came out. Hammer was asleep, there was no wind,it was so silent and still. I felt like I was being absorbed by the stars. The spirit of the old time stockmen was alive in the old tin hut. I imagined what it must have been like for them when they were droving cattle through these high mountain passes. To remind me that I was not that far from civilisation and Canberra, the silence of the night was broken occasionally by aircraft flying overhead. It was such a beautiful night I wanted to stay up all night letting my imagination roam, getting lost in the stillness and the blanket of stars.
The next day we continued north stopping briefly at Cabramarra and Kiandra, towns whose names we were family with from our cross-country skiing trips.
Soon we left the cool mountain air behind as we headed north and started to enter the furnace of country NSW passing through Tumut, Gundagai, Yass, Cowra and Canowindra before stopping for the night at Hopetown Falls in Mt Canobolas State Recreation Area, just outside of Orange. The temperature peaked at 40 degrees in Cowra. It was simply too hot to step out of the car, so no visit to the war graves. By the time we arrived at Mt Canobolas I the early evening, the temperature dropped and the rain arrived. We shared the campsite with a group of young French speakers who were in town to pick fruit.
The following morning we wandered around Orange visiting two of our old time favourite wineries, Borrodalle and Brangayne. Lunch at Millthorpe completed our morning in this region and we headed through Bathurst towards Rylstone and our destination for the day at Dunns Swamp in the Wollomi National Park.
Dunns Swamp is a man made feature, created by a dam on the Cudgegong River. We arrived at Dunns in the late afternoon and were surprised by the number of campers already there. The road in is rough and not sealed for much of the way so we had not expected many people to be there. We found a campsite that seemed relatively quite with one other family nearby. Just as we started to set up we were invaded by what felt like an armada of four- wheel drives which started disgorging mountains of gear and an endless stream of children. Damn it, we forgot it was the weekend.
The Swamp itself is really misnamed as it is a lovely waterway, surrounded by amazingly shaped sandstone formations. It would be a great spot to explore on a canoe. Our neighbours partied till 1am keeping us awake for much of the time. I got up well before sunrise to take some photos of the surroundings. But the weather did not cooperate, overcast sky and fog filled valley. I was keen to get going before the morning silence was broken.