Australian Alps – break out the oxygen bottles

From Canberra we make our way to Jindabyne, a gateway to the Australian Alps.

Jindabyne is one of the towns that benefit from the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a giant hydro power-and-water-conservation project.

Australian Alps
There’s no business like snow business

It’s strange to see snow in Australia. Above is the Perisher Valley ski resort. It’s on the way to Charlotte Pass, from which you can walk to the peak of Mt. Kosciusko, Australia’s highest mountain. We see many masochistic cyclists working their way up to Charlotte Pass, no doubt looking forward to the gravity-powered return trip.

In the background is the Snowy River, a household word in Australia thanks to the poem The Man from Snowy River. The river has its origins around Mt. Kosciusko.

(By coincidence, a few days later we pass through Marlo, Victoria, where the Snowy enters the sea.)

Australian Alps
Source of the Snowy River

‘He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko’s side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse’s hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between…’

A rare photo with both of us, thanks to passing couple.

Australian Alps
Australian Alps

Maria rests on a snow gum.

Australian Alps
Eucalyptus pauciflora

We backtrack to Jindabyne and head to Thredbo on the other side of Mt. Kosciusko. Thredbo is the Whistler of Australia – such as it is – including sky-high prices for everything.

Australian Alps
Thredbo from the top of the chair lift

It’s a breathtaking journey from Jindabyne to Omeo on the Great Alpine Way, via Khancoban.

Australian Alps
The road less traveled
Australian Alps
Australian Alps

The scenery driving through the mountains is spectacular. We don’t have many pictures because that means stopping every few minutes. You can get an idea of what it looks like here. (Thanks, Google.)

After crossing the Murray River back into the state of Victoria, we spot another echidna and help him cross the road.

Australian Alps
Call me Spike

We spend the night in Omeo, Victoria. Our caravan park sits on Livingstone Creek. There are platypus in the river, but we don’t see any.

We make a point of visiting the Buchan Caves, after seeing this antique  tourist poster in the Australian National Museum.

Fairy Cave, complete with real fairies

Turns out to be worth it. The formations in these caves are on the mind-blowing side.

Australian Alps
Buchan caves

Once again, we can’t stop every few metres to take photos, so we enlist the help of Google images here.

Australian Alps
Cave man

Sight or Insight of the Day – Australian Alps

We drive across Gippsland to Wilsons Promontory. At the Tidal River campground where we stay, the wildlife is very tame.

Australian Alps
Maria gets up close and personal with a grazing wombat