Easter in the Snowy Mountains – Day 2

9 Jun

Following a huge first day, we wake early the next morning to almost freezing temperatures, and a layer of fairly magical fog. Despite sleeping on some pretty hard ground, we’ve had a deep sleep – I think we can thank the beautiful fast flowing Swampy Plains River. Again, we’ve got another big day ahead of us, so we pack up early.

Geehi Flats Camping Ground - on the banks of Swampy Plains River

Geehi Flats Camping Ground – on the banks of Swampy Plains River

We edge back out onto windy Alpine Way. It’s a tricky drive, but it’s beautiful. We’re deep, deep down – near the Victorian border – and as the road takes us higher and higher we rise above the soupy fog. Viewing the patchy fog while above the patchy fog is a real sight. I’m not able to get pictures because a) there’s nowhere to pull over, and b) it’s so windy, that I catch a glimpse, and around the next bend, the view is gone.

Pretty, pretty drive through Alpine Way

Pretty, pretty drive through Alpine Way

The other campgrounds we pass through look promising, particularly Leather Barrel Creek for how picturesque it is, and Tom Groggin for good facilities.

Our plan today is to do Bob’s Ridge Trail. Again, we’ve taken our notes from the Wild Walks website. Again, we’re a bit confused. Do we stop at Dead Horse Gap? We think so, and begin our walk, but stop after 100 metres. Surely not. We pop back into the car, and, sure enough, the entrance to the trail is just around the corner! We enter around Cascade Trail gate, and spot Thredbo River down below to our right. Basically, Bob’s Ridge Trail and Cascade Trail are the same trail, except Bob’s Ridge stops, well, at Bob’s Ridge, while the Cascade Trail keeps going all the way to the Cascade Hut. After yesterday, we’re not feeling too fond of huts – and after Main Range Track, we’ve made a commitment to try to keep to ~10-12km walks – so Bob’s Ridge it is!

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Looking back from where we’ve come; small granite tors on the left – you can see Thredbo River peeking through

It starts as a fairly steady climb up a fire trail for the first kilometre, before smoothing out and being relatively flat for the next 1.5 kilometres. We’re making a good pace. We come to the river, and while we later see some try to walk through it, the Wild Walks track notes alert us to a narrow metal bridge which takes us across the Thredbo River.

Gorgeous skies from 1600-1800m!

Gorgeous skies from 1600-1800m!

From here, it’s up and up. And up. And some more up: about 200 metres in 2.5 kilometres. We walk through a pretty snow gum forest first, which then leads us to a forest of, well, dead snow gums.

Up, up, up

Up, up, up

At about 1800m and 5 kilometres in, we reach Bob’s Ridge – essentially, a set of granite boulders. We drop our bags and climb up them to get some great views over Victoria.

Bob's Ridge from a boulder

Bob’s Ridge from a boulder

Looking out over Victoria (I think?)

Looking out over Victoria (I think?). The dead trees stand as a reminder of the 2003 devastation.

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Plenty of cyclists take the Cascade Trail (better than what I could do) - this one joins us for the view

Plenty of cyclists take the Cascade Trail (better than what I could do) – this one joins us for the view

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I know, I know. So much wrong with this photo. Not least the skull cap beanie (Boyfriend's) and the shirt from the previous day. But hey, #likecanberra? :)

I know, I know. So much wrong with this photo. Not least the skull cap beanie (Boyfriend’s) and the shirt from the previous day. But hey, #likecanberra? 🙂

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(Check out Hilary Wardhaugh’s page for more photos of the trees and the devastating effect of the fires.)

Our walk down is much easier – and I’m surprised with just how many people are doing the walk or cycling. In one case, there appears to be numerous families with numerous children doing the walk, and the kids are doing a great job not complaining. Thumbs up!

Granted, the dead snow gums make it a bit more eerie than enticing. But, given we were after something a bit unusual, it fits the bill. Here’s the Garmin record.

But we’re now HUNGRY. We’ve got the Wild Brumby Schnapps Distillery – between Jindabyne and Thredbo – in our sights.

We travel out of Kosciuszko National Park, and away from the yellow lined roads, back onto the more familiar white lines. The distillery comes up on the right, and it’s packed.

Busy car park - that gorgeous sky just keeps getting better!

Busy car park – that gorgeous sky just keeps getting better!

There are no free seats in or outside, and the line to the cash register (to pay for meals and other purchases) is snaking almost out the door. We manage to be standing in the right place at the right time and join a group who are doing tastings of their wide range of schnapps.

Schnapps tasting at Wild Brumby, near Jindabyne

Schnapps tasting at Wild Brumby, near Jindabyne

Wild Brumby’s schnapps are really, really good. There’s no chance of us getting a table to eat, but we walk away with a bottle of peach nectar and sour apple schnapps (seriously good – and I usually hate peach).

Instead of eating there, we head to Jindabyne and to the Banjo Paterson Inn. Inside, they’ve got Clancy’s Brasserie. We order at the counter, and enjoy a few schooners of the Kosciuszko Pale Ale.

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Chicken burger

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Steak sandwich – bread buttered on both sides; had to pull it apart to eat it

We finish our meals with full bellies. Being still early afternoon, we agree to stop at the Dalgety Brewery, near Berridale. We take a seat at their bar and choose the $20 ‘beer tasting’. We get all six beers in decent-sized glasses.

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I’m not a huge fan of their beers. They’re not bad, but they’re not mind blowingly good, either. The brewery has also featured at the Small Brewers Beer Festival and Canberra Beer Festival.

Today, it’s also a bit confusing, because the names on the taps above aren’t the names of the beers we try, even though they come from these taps. We like the beer that’s in the Red Ale tap, but I don’t think it’s the Red Ale… anyway. The beer is made with water from the Snowy River; it’s a bit cute, but I also think it does make it a bit special.

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The brewery also does their own schnapps (we get a bottle of choc mint – having now consumed it, it’s a watery chocolate minty taste), and some decent spirits, of which we also get a bottle. They also do wines, and their Noble Rot (another name for botrytis – a dessert wine) is excellent (and, like most, is pricey). We buy it anyway.

It’s a lovely brewery, with a lovely setting, and they’re very friendly. There’s a lot of good conversation. But it’s also… a bit chaotic, even when not too many people are there. As a result, we’re there almost two hours!

We finally extract ourselves, and take a quick glance at Dalgety, proposed to be the capital of Australia. (Luckily Canberra won out – #likecanberra!) There’s not a lot there. Enough said.

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Dalgety *does* get some nice skies, though

After an incredible two days, we’ve almost circumnavigated Kosciuszko National Park and we’ve seen so, so much; walked 20 kilometres; spotted plenty of historical huts (but not Round Mountain Hut); eaten a tonne; gone home with a box full of goodies (er, alcohol); and seen some incredible scenery. It’s a lot for two days, but it’s hard to comprehend all we’ve seen and done in less than 48 hours – and at the end of the second day, we’re tucked up in bed back in Canberra.

Date: Friday 29 and Saturday 30 March

Cost: Food bought while on the trip cost about $40 for two (our food at Cabramurra was VERY cheap); reasonably pricey for the alcohol purchases; camping was free; the views were priceless 🙂

Worthwhile factor: HIGHLY worthwhile

Want more? Try the NSW Environment page.

9 Responses to “Easter in the Snowy Mountains – Day 2”

  1. Gary Lum June 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Beautiful scenery including that chicken burger 😃😃😃

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