The availability of interesting beer in rural Australia has improved immensely in the last decade. Before the pull up the hill, we stop for a burger and a drink at the Tumut River Brewing Co; recommended.
The road up to the plains twists and turns alongside the reservoirs of the Snowy Mountains hydro scheme. With Snowy 2.0 under construction, apparently it can be pretty hairy with construction trucks. We are in the holidays, so it's not busy thankfully.
Home for the next few days is Yarrangobilly Village, which consists of a spacious green National Parks campground, a drop toilet, a cool mountain stream, and a single heritage cottage. This is our first bush camp, so we will find out how we go relying on our own supplies of food, fuel, water & power.
A beady-eyed D2 spots a dingo on the ridge across the stream. I manage to get a glimpse of Comet Leonard.
Yarrangobilly Caves have been the major tourist destination here for a century. National Parks run tours are all booked out, so we do a self guided tour of the impressive Glory Hole cave system, and take a dip in the thermal pool (D2 somewhat disappointed by the mild temperature). We return another day for a guided tour of a smaller more delicate cave.
A drive across the plains, and more bushwalking at the Blue Waterholes. This includes investigation of some much wilder caves. 2 torches recommended, in case one fails! D2 very excited by this new experience!
House emptied, tenants installed, term ended, leave taken, ute ready, trailer packed. Hitting the road for 13 months on a “big lap” of Australia.
Racing Omicron out of Sydney, heading for the ACT. First leg is a short one, to Mittagong in the Southern highlands; to see some friends and get used to life under canvas. Because of COVID restrictions we have had limited opportunity to do a shakedown trip, so lots of little things need fixing. The awning survives a big storm, the tail end of which later takes the roof of our friend's apartment in Sydney.
We have the first of what will be many bushwalks, and take in the first of many waterfalls. Lots of water around at the moment!
The pandemic throws a spanner at us. Someone in D2's year was COVID positive during the last week of term, and was also with her at after-school care. The school classify this as “casual contact”, after-school care as a “close contact”, with different advice on isolation and risk. It's exasperating that two organisations sharing premises for the same kids have different rules and recommendations for isolation. D2 already had a negative test result; we all line up to get another nose swab, conveniently right next to the caravan park. While we lay low and work out what to do next, the state government change the rules once again (must be Tuesday) and effectively abolish the “close contact” classification, leaving us free to enter the ACT for Christmas. We proceed onwards.