Monday 11th March
The CO-PILOT has two days off work so I planned a trip which would feel a bit like a holiday for her. Of course, as with all my best laid plans, something gets in the way and slows us down. The planned departure time of 8am became 10am. As our route passed through Albury we decided to drop in to visit Dick Smith Electronics. The remote control for the Personal Video Recorder I bought in December has stopped working. No, it was not the batteries. The night before I had tried three new sets of batteries. I also tested the batteries in the device and all replacements. All had a full charge of 1.5 volts or greater. Long story short, DSE replaced the remote control and we were on our way.
After leaving Albury we passed over the Murray River into Wodonga, Victoria and turned on to the Murray Valley Highway, which is not the same valley through which the Murray River flows.
Nevertheless the valley is very pretty and has many historical sites and towns along the way. First stop was Tallangatta for lunch.
It was a public holiday in Victoria today, so many of the shops were closed. The pubs were open but their lunch prices were a bit extreme so we elected for a pie and salad at the bakery.
Lots of old motorcycles, mostly on the back of utes or trailers,
were arriving in town.
Two old Indian motorcycles were ridden into town. There was a rally somewhere over Jindabyne or Khancoban way and the bikes were on their way home. Where better to meet up on the drive home than to call into the Tallangatta Pub.
We continued along the Murray Valley Highway, noticing the High Country Rail Trail mostly follows the same route as far as Cudgewa. We stopped to walk to an historic trestle bridge at the Lawson State Park between Darbyshire and Koetong.
The bridge, although now in a state of near collapse is a fine example of the workmanship of almost 100 years ago.
All the rail lines have been removed but the basic track bedding is kept in good condition for hikers, cyclists and horse riders. Following the track we noted an original timber road bridge, also in a state of near collapse, crosses over the cutting through which the original rail track ran.
From the car-park to the trestle bridge is a well formed track joining the High Country Rail Trail. Along the way we happened upon a fresh wombat hole.
Arriving late in the afternoon at Corryong we decided to stay in a motel for the night and used the last few hours of the day looking around this historical old town.
It is reported the poet, Banjo Patterson, met a local bushman, Jack Riley and based his epic poem, The Man From Snowy River on his exploits and fine horsemanship.
Others dispute the claim but the locals believe it to be the truth and have capitalised upon the link. In late March each year Corryong has The man From Snowy River Bush Festival and the town was already geared up for the influx of participants and tourists. We took time to visit the cemetery
and the grave of Jack Riley.
Corryong is in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains and views of the surrounding mountains are everywhere. It would be a wonderful sight in the winter when the snow arrives. Cold though!
Although at the last Census there were 1200 people living here it seems a far more prosperous and busy place than say Henty or Culcairn, towns with which we are familiar and of similar population. Most shops are occupied and those which are look in good condition and doing well. Today was a public holiday but nevertheless the two hotels and several motels were open for business as were three take away stores.
Dinner was at one of the hotels where we had roast lamb and veg.
Tuesday 13th March
Today we drove over the NSW border (Murray River) to Khancoban (last Census in 2006 had the population as 241) where the Alpine Way Highway commences then returned to home via the Murray River Highway in Victoria through Towong, Tintaldra, Walwa, and crossed the Murray again at Bellbridge back into NSW and home. The road pretty much faithfully follows the turns and contours of the river making it a longer trip than returning via the way we came.
It felt like we were driving in Tasmania again.
While in Khancoban we took a drive along what must be one of the shortest highways anywhere. It is the Alpine Way highway, 136 Klms from Khancoban to Jindabynne. It is a narrow steep and winding road through isolated and inhospitable bush.
We only drove as far as the Murray Number 1 Power Station and looked at the history in the visitor centre.
The Snowy Mountains Scheme, now called Snowy Hydro, has seven hydro power stations which supplies power to the national grid.
The water is used to turn the 10 turbines then runs into Swampy Plains River
and then into the Khancoban Dam which is then released into the Murray River. Guided tours, in fact any kind of tour, are no longer carried out in any of the power stations in the Snowy Mountains Scheme. It seems there are too many security and safety issues involved. Especially security and threats of terrorism issues.
Back in Khancoban we looked at the Dam
and I, being me, decided to climb through a loose wire fence on the creek bank in front of the dam. I wanted to get a clear photo of the turbulence stirred up by the dam water being released. I did not realise and there were no warning signs, the fence was electrified. I lifted the top strand and stepped through with one leg and whammo! I got a full electric shock on the umm err, you know the umm err, privates. I am sorry to report I let out a scream as I felt my parts burning. Well, not actually burning but that was the sensation. It was rather painful for the next 15 minutes and left me shaken and doubled over. The discomfort gradually eased enough for me to go in search of a sign. Found one, down the dirt track around a corner and nowhere near where I had my incident. I was back to normal a couple of hours later.
The local Khancoban airstrip is below the dam wall.
I would love to visit here later in the year when the snow is all around.
Around this end of the Murray River (which is near the headwaters, located somewhere around a place called Tom Groggin) they refer to the area as “The Pure End of the Murray”. From what we saw of the clear sparkling rushing water we can agree with the comments.