HIGH COUNTRY

Sometimes things just fall into place. Soon after agreeing to a workshop with the ASOC in Canberra, I received an email inviting me to a Canberra High School reunion – 5 days before the workshop.

Catching up with school friends from 45 years ago was amazing. Appearances had changed but personalities were just as they were way back then.

After the workshop and reunion we headed over the mountains west of Canberra and down to the high country and Kosciuszko National Park

 

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Driving down the New England Highway there are some very prosperous towns and others in slow decline. Back when these towns were established, being a days ride from the next town guaranteed their future. Today they are quickly passed through and forgotten. Here are the remnants of a few of them.

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Coolah Tops is a great National Park with sweeping views across the Liverpool Plains. I have never seen the country so green and cant believe the government would consider allowing a coal mine in, what must be some of the worlds best agricultural land.

snow8678 snow8689 snow8692 snow8702 snow8752 Falls near Sofala

snow8821This guy thought sticking his head under a rock made him invisible.

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We left Canberra and headed out through Brindabella to join the top end of the Long Plain Road. We were told the road was closed in winter due to snow, then re opened each October.

We drove in to find a locked gate leading to the National Park. As we were about to drive back a farmer, whose property the road runs through, turned up. After chatting for a while we were about to head off and drive the long way around when he kindly offered to unlock the gate and let us through.

Twenty kilometres down the track we were stopped by a fallen tree. Not being able to go back through the locked gate and unable to move the tree, our only option was to somehow get over it.

We built long ramps of logs and rocks to give us plenty of clearance. Unfortunately, as we descended the ramp the right hand front wheel sunk into the soft ground, hanging us up on the log. After four hours of jacking, packing and digging, all we managed to do was sink deeper into the soft ground.

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It was getting dark when we gave up digging so we spent an uncomfortable night camped at thirty degrees.

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The ground was too soft for us to lift the heavy truck so, in the morning, we contacted the National Park Office by satellite phone and explained our situation. They were fantastic and had a ranger up there with a chainsaw within a couple of hours.

As it turned out, National Parks were sending a tractor up to clear any fallen trees later that day. If only we had known. We could have saved 4 hours of hard work and camped on level ground! cutlogsnow9082 Coolamine Homestead was built in the late 1800’s when they used to run horses and cattle in the high country.

Today the cattle have all but disappeared but wild brumbies are breeding up.

snow9112 snow9116 snow9132 I spotted this mare laying on the ground way off in the bush above the plains. When I walked up I discovered she had died giving birth. Her head was resting on a log and her eyes were still open, looking out across the plains.

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The Kosciuszko High country is stark and beautiful, and the weather always unpredictable. Overnight temperatures were below freezing and, in spite of the sun, seven or eight degrees was as warm as the days would get – and this was late spring!

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BACK FROM TASMANIA

Our last week in Tasmania was spent along the north coast. We camped on the beach a few kilometres east of Stanley. What an amazing sight early in the morning as the sun came up.

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We met Gus in Bothwell. He is from Bend in Oregon where we have conducted a couple of workshops with Art in The Mountains.

Gus came to Australia, got himself a 1956 Landrover and is in the process of taking it to all the extremities of the country. Cape Byron, Mt Kosciusko and the Southern tip of Tasmania have been ticked off the list so far. When he leaves Tassie, he’s off to Cape York via Shark Bay, WA. Good luck Gus!guss

This outdoor kitchen seems to have escaped all the workplace health and safety restrictions. They did save a lot of space by installing it the electricity metre box.

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Oatlands cricket nets

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Sunrise Reeds

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Tasmanian Lawnmower

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Camped by the river in Rossross

No matter how hard we looked, we couldn’t find a Thylacine, but we did stumble across these little critters in our search.

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goats

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horses wet horses

 

Shooting things is popular in some areas of Tasmania – maybe thats why we had such trouble finding a thylacine.

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Back across Bass Straight, we spent a few days in Melbourne before heading home via the Hay Plains, One Tree Hotel and Bourke.

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The weather turned foul north of One Tree. Pulling off the road quickly bogged us down to the axle. A shovel, frantic digging and a lot of encouragement and advice from the passenger window, soon saw us on our way

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The further east we travelled the more saturated the country became. From Brewarrina home all unsealed roads were closed so it was a quick trip back along the bitumen.

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