The Snowy Mountain Scheme in the 50's could never be done now

The Snowy Mountain Scheme in the 50's could never be done now

We woke to our now familiar chorus of birdsong and flowing water. The campsite was shrouded with tall eucalyptus trees lining the steep hills that surrounded us. 

A quick breakfast (porridge of course), stuffing gear in to assorted bags, a tour of the campsite including the lovely creek and we hit the trail.

The road from from Kancoban north to Cabramurra and onto Tumut is one of the most beautiful rides in the Snowy Mountains – and that’s saying something in such a scenic area. 

It winds through much of the infrastructure built for the huge Snowy Mountains hydro electric scheme built in the 1950s. Dams, reservoirs, enormous pipes carrying water and even bigger power lines and pylons snake through the landscape.

The scale of construction and the complexity building it using the technology back then is amazing. 

Yet amazingly enough, nestled amongst all the modern infrastructure, is a rich heritage of the stockmen and women who lived, worked and are buried in the High Country for 150 years.

Echoes of The Man from Snowy River are everywhere.

 


Small huts like this are dotted through out the alps. Always int he most amazing settings

Small huts like this are dotted through out the alps. Always int he most amazing settings

We stopped at a couple of huts and homesteads on the side of the road, tough little corrugated constructions with a shady porch for the summer heat and large fireplace for the winter cold. 

Horse trails ran off in all directions and their ‘sign’ (a professor of Richard’s described poo as a ‘rich organic matrix’) was equally common in place. Signs warned of ‘wild horses’ along long sections of the road. 

here were surprisingly few cars around and even fewer motorbikes. Once you pass through the Jagumba Wilderness Area and Cabramurra the narrow, winding tree-lined roads open out onto open plains and fast roads with gentle bends. 

 

 

Bushman humour - gotta love it!

Bushman humour - gotta love it!

Dead trees in the dams

Dead trees in the dams

Lots of nice place to ride off grad.

Lots of nice place to ride off grad.

 

We rode throughout this area about three months ago when I was relatively new to riding and I felt the difference that putting several thousand kilometres under my tyres would make. So comfortable and relaxed on my little MT now! I could see Richard’s head swivelling around checking out rough tracks heading off into the wilderness- clearly thinking about his DR650 dirt bike and charging along them. Another trip I think …

My daughter Teya after her performance

My daughter Teya after her performance

After about 160km of alpine riding we found ourselves sitting in the warm sun in Tumut drinking coffee and eating delicious baklava. It’s tough on the road! Beaten up 4WDs surrounded our grimy bikes and everything looked very in place.

Our destination tonight was Canberra 150 km from Tumut to see my daughter, Teya, perform in a university production of Miss Saigon. The ride down the multi-laned Hume Highway was a far cry from being pelted with stones by road trains on tiny roads in western Queensland! 

But we moved fast and soon we were in the Australian Capital Territory and I crossed my sixth border for the trip – woohoo!

We caught the show (which was fabulous and I had many “proud mother” moments), scoffed down noodles (no haloumi tonight) and went to sleep in a bed.

Heaven!


The ride from Canberra to Bateman’s Bay was beautiful albeit quite slow. Long weekend traffic over the Clyde Mountain made for an interesting trip. 

The little township of Bungendore was bustling with activity. It has become a major tourist centre in recent years with heritage buildings, cafes and antique stores drawing visitors from Canberra and further afield. Apparently in 1901 Bungendore and nearby Lake George were proposed as sites for the nation’s capital city. This did not eventuate, as the drawcard of Lake George failed to impress the visiting Commissioners of the time. Not entirely sure what they found attractive about the location they did choose!

Six states later and a bunch of stickers!

Six states later and a bunch of stickers!

We swung through Braidwood and then wound our way slowly over the mountain. It was bloody hot – hotter in fact than the outback had been and we were baking in our motorcycle gear. We arrived in Bateman’s Bay to a sweltering 37 degrees Celsius and met my Dad and step mum there for a lovely lunch by the river. I looked on enviously as Dad and Richard downed a beer each. Damn P plates! From there it was north to Sydney along the Princess Highway. After all the amazing roads we’d been on and the fabulous scenery we had seen, this ride was pretty dull (and it was still so hot!). We arrived at Richard’s place in Kings Cross (a long way and a million years from Birdsville!) in the early evening and celebrated the fact that for Richard the Big Loop was finished. I still had the Sydney to Newcastle stretch to ride.

We left Sydney at lunch time and were relieved to be heading north as we rode past bumper to bumper ‘end of school holiday’ traffic heading south along the M1. I didn’t envy them one bit sitting in their cars in the heat battling the traffic. Give me two wheels any day!

I had a huge smile on my face for the last 20km or so as we rode into Newcastle. Woohoo! I had ridden close to 8,000km across 6 States and Territories in two and a half weeks. And I had more than doubled the number of kilometres I had ridden up to that point!

Home sweet home: close to 8,000km and 6 States and Territories later
A truly amazing adventure and one I would fully recommend to anyone. I learned so much along the way – about outback Australia, about the people, the roads, my bike and importantly about myself.

Can’t wait for the next adventure!