Our friends in Cobargo had their house wiped out in the 2020 bush fires, and are rebuilding. We camp just downhill from the construction site; D2 gets to stay in the yurt which mirraculously survived the fire.
This is a good chance to dry out after the rains in the Snowys, and fix some niggles with the camper. Sadly my first attempt to go diving is cancelled due to high winds.
D2 gets her first COVID jab; we are now all up to date. No tears, and no side effects.
If you're a resident of NSW, you probably know that the south coast has a string of beautiful little towns with great beaches and seafood. We make good use of both. If you aren't, then nothing to see here, please move on, thanks.
The Cobargo pub is a good place to see friends & eat pizza. We only make third in the pub quiz, but we do win the bonus prize.
Australia has about 1,700 small towns and they all seem to be different in their own way.
We stop in Nimmitabel for a few days on our way to the coast, because it has a cheap council run camp site. This turns out to have a friendly caretaker, a couple of colourful long term residents, and great showers. They can't stop the rain though; luckily we have a hard floor camper and D1's new tent is waterproof, so we cope with a little mud.
There are a few more characters at the bowlo and the pub, both of which are low on custom, due to bushfires & covid. I hope they bounce back.
Nimmitabel has a famous mill, hand built by a German immigrant in the 1860s, who was then refused permission to operate in case it scared the horses on the highway. The politics of this are lost to time, but it smells to me like a competing miller had some friends on the council, and got him shut down. More modern mill products are available at the local bakery, which is top class, 5-stars, would pie again.
Some other campers don't like Nimmitabel as much as we do. A late arriving family with a broken ute are overheard saying “We're stuck in Schitts Creek!”
Lake Jindabyne is currently at very high levels, leading to flooding at the somewhat overpriced caravan park we have booked. We are shunted onto a very small site, and it rains some more. Other facilities are closed to Covid.
D1 celebrates her birthday. We go for a meal in Jindabyne, coincidentally at the home of Kosciuszko beer. A major rainfall washes rocks across the road on the drive back to camp. The camper is a little damp, and will require some additional waterproofing.
The next day has better weather forecast, so we aim to climb Mount Kosciuszko, the highest peak in mainland Australia. The path is very busy, but well mantained, everyone is having a good day. D2 got to ride on a ski lift for the first time, and made it to the top!
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.