Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

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Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby Hallu » Tue 24 Dec, 2013 2:18 pm

As it was my last trip in Australia, I had several choices : the SW of Western Australia, the rainforests North of Brisbane, the coast West of Adelaide (Coffin Bay, Innes etc...) or the cheapest option, driving from Melbourne to Omeo, then Kosciuszko and come back via Croajingolong. I opted for the last choice, as it was simpler to carry all my gear.

After a long drive to Omeo, the next day was spent doing 2 half day walks instead of a big one. I first did Mount Nelse, in the Bogong High Plains. Lovely walk, although the flies are terrible this year. 360° views, but I wished it were a real walking track and not a vehicular track used by Parks VIC (which they did that day). Next up was a more off the beaten path walk, Mt Wills. Situated East of the Bogong High Plains, it offers a perspective rarely experienced by bushwalkers. It was more harduous (the heat didn't help), and views were very limited until the summit, all the walk being in a snow gum forest. At the summit, climbing boulders was needed to get the views, but they were worth it. A nice walk, with no one in sight. They're also sealing the road in that area, a couple of years ago apparently there was about 15 m of gravel road before the Mt Wills turn off, now it's only about 2. I got out the walk in a hurry though, escaping by only 5 min a huge shower.
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby Hallu » Tue 24 Dec, 2013 3:02 pm

Second day I drove all the way to Kosciuszko. The drive between Omeo and Corryong isn't very good. No views, 70km of gravel, and dangerous logging trucks. However, the drive to Thredbo is better. More open views, sealed all the way. Once at Thredbo at 1:30 pm I had a dilemma. I wanted to climb Mt Kosciuszko but the last chairlift back to Thredbo is at 4:30 pm (which is ridiculous), so I only took a one way ticket (27 $, just insane O_o) and decided to walk back. I didn't expect the walk to Kosciuszko to be so enjoyable. Open views, streams, a lake, and the walk wasn't too hard. I even got some snow, both off and on the track, which I didn't expect at all. The final ascent to the summit of Australia is actually easier than the rest of the walk. Lots of flies though, but 360° views and a beautiful day. Honestly, from the guide books I had (Take A Walk series) I didn't expect the whole walk to be so beautiful. The authors made it sound like Mt Kosciuszko often disappoints because it's "just" a hill with nice views, and failed to mention the amazing surrounding mountains, the open walking with views everywhere.

The walk back to Thredbo from the top of the chairlift wasn't that bad. It's very steep, but the snowgum forest is interesting. The descent is quite tough on the knees though. And for the 2nd day in a row, I escaped a huge shower. Evening storms seemed to be the norm.
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby Hallu » Tue 24 Dec, 2013 3:16 pm

The next day I explored Charlotte's Pass. Again the guidebook didn't say much appart from the fact that the Blue Lake Walk is very popular. Nothing again about the beautiful valley and streams, and the fact that Blue Lake is quite sizeable and surrounded by snow even in summer. It's quite steep though, and there was a pretty dangerous patch of snow on the track. But the lake is a huge reward and reminded me on the lakes in the Pyrénées back in France. Despite about 20 cars parked, I only ran into 2 groups of hikers. So apart from the swarm of flies, it was a beautiful day. Probably the best mountain walk I did on mainland Australia with the Razorback/Mt Feathertop.
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby Hallu » Tue 24 Dec, 2013 3:29 pm

Next I initially wanted to go through Barry Way and explore Snowy River National Park. But the 600 m ascent of the daywalk and the scorching sun made me want some coastal walking instead. So I decided to go to Mallacoota, and do some exploring there. On the way I stopped at Bombala Platypus Reserve and Myanba Gorge. Didn't see a platypus, but it's good birdwatching spot. Regarding Myanba, it's a beautiful lookout, although the drive is a bit long and those pine plantations scarring for the area. Next I did a supposedly guided drive in Nadgee Nature Reserve. Unfortunately, it hasn't been taken care of in quite some times : many signs are down, and I got back to the highway too soon through the wrong road. Finally I found the so called "Mallacoota Lookout" which offers some view towards the inlet, but quite obscured by trees. Nevertheless, I saw a lace monitor. Once at Mallacoota I enjoyed the evening light for some nice photos at Bastion Point and near the Lake Drive.
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby Hallu » Tue 24 Dec, 2013 3:46 pm

For my full day at Mallacoota, I first explored Shipwreck Creek. The goal was Little Rame Head : the info panel talked about 360° views. First the walk stopped a Seal Creek. A nice isolated creek, with a beautiful beach. It was scortching hot though, and as an idiot I only packed 2 L of water. The water ran out once I was at Little Rame Head, with no views... Rame Head further West was the same last year : no views either. Really frustrating. On the grassy open areas, I saw a couple of ground parrots though, not that shy, and I got some nice shots. Dehydration kicked it pretty quickly though, and by the time I got to my car, I had cracked lips, strange taste in my mouth, and was on the verge of passing out. Luckily I had some cold water in my car. Lesson learned : even for a 10 km walk in the morning, the sun can be deadly. Coastal views weren't there, but plenty of birds on this walk, including some musk lorikeets. The best views are actually on the other walk from Shipwreck Creek towards Mallacoota. Some nice lookouts, more shade than the Seal Creek walk, and better beaches. I wish I'd known earlier. In the evening I explored Gipsy Point and other vantage points to the Mallacoota Inlet. Beautiful spots.
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby Hallu » Tue 24 Dec, 2013 3:59 pm

On the last day, on the way back to Melbourne, I simply explored Cape Conran and Marlo, despite the bad weather. Beautiful area, nice coastal vegetation for birdwatching. All in all a great trip, and a nice conclusion to my 2.5 years in Australia.
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby stepbystep » Tue 24 Dec, 2013 4:59 pm

Nice pics and report Hallu.
The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders ~ Edward Abbey
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby corvus » Tue 24 Dec, 2013 8:22 pm

G'day Hallu,
Very nice report and I especially enjoyed your bird pics , despite us never appearing to agree with anything on this forum we both have a love for Australia and I wish you all the best for your future .
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby climberman » Tue 24 Dec, 2013 8:59 pm

Wonderful report hall, glad you enjoyed your walks and, hopefully, your 2.5 years !

Where is home?
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby Hallu » Wed 25 Dec, 2013 1:23 am

Home is nowhere, really. Back to my parents' near Sauternes now. Next step ? Hopefully West Canada/US or Scandinavia. Yes I have a genuine love for Australia, but I couldn't find any work here anymore (as a physicist).
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby neilmny » Wed 25 Dec, 2013 7:56 am

Your reports and pictures will be missed Hallu, maybe we can see some bushwalking in France reports and pictures
in the international thread when you get out and about back home. Good luck and safe travels.
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby Hallu » Wed 25 Dec, 2013 6:19 pm

Thanks for the support guys, I really do appreciate it. I'll still be active on the forum, and hopefully some new trip reports once I find my new home country.
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby north-north-west » Wed 01 Jan, 2014 8:34 am

The drive between Omeo and Corryong isn't very good. No views, 70km of gravel, and dangerous logging trucks.

:shock: ??????????????????????????????????
The Omeo highway north of Omeo is one of Victoria's best drives. You have the river down below most of the stretch up to the BHP turn off, and then you follow it, you have heaps of steep granite hills and cliffs, there are a number of lookouts on the northern unsealed stretch.
And even the route via Benambra has some brilliant country, with valleys, mountains, rivers and plenty of lookouts.
Were you driving with your eyes (or mind) closed?

You also made a bad choice by dodging Barry Way & Suggan Buggan. Not the best road, but one of the country's great drives.
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby Hallu » Thu 02 Jan, 2014 7:32 pm

The route via Benambra is the one I took, it wasn't the Omeo highway . There was only one "lookout" which was just a hole in the trees by the road, not much to see. Yes it's nice driving among tree covered hills, but you can do that pretty much everywhere, often with better formed roads and better lookouts (such as the drive to Mt Buffalo).
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Re: Last time in Australia : Aussie Alps & Croajingolong

Postby frenchy_84 » Sat 04 Jan, 2014 10:30 am

corvus wrote:G'day Hallu,
Very nice report and I especially enjoyed your bird pics , despite us never appearing to agree with anything on this forum we both have a love for Australia and I wish you all the best for your future .
corvus


+1
Thanks for the trip report. You got some great bird pics
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