Monday 23rd April
We woke to drizzly cool rain at our Yachting Point, Lake Blowering campsite.
It was an easy decision to pack up and travel no more than 50 Klms to Yarrangobilly Village campsite located on the banks of the Yarrangobilly River.
At this point I should mention there is no permanent occupants of the “village”. It is little more than a convenient picnic area or campsite. On old historical house owned by NSW Parks & Wildlife Service is in the process of being restored. The drive up the mountain was quite steep forcing us back to 3rdgear in a couple of places. After setting up, the sun made a wan but welcome appearance amongst the clouds. We drove TERIOS a further 20 Klms to Yarrangobilly Caves and filled in our afternoon to the point of near exhaustion. We walked the steep 1klm track to
the Thermal Poolwhich runs at 27° all year, summer or winter. The CO-PILOT had the courage to enter the water but as I am still in the throes of a head cold I was not prepared to risk getting a chill from the wind on my wet body.
After leaving the thermal pool we followed the Yarrangobilly River walk back to the caves reception area.
The track became gradually steeper and required a slow and steady climb
until we reached another walk to take us back to the parking area or onto the Glory Hole Arch
and The South Glory Cave which is self-guided.
We entered the cave as far as the light would allow, suddenly more lights turned on.
As we progressed further, more lights continued to light the path as well as highlights within the cave. We wandered this cave for a good half hour before emerging above the carpark.
We had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and if the weather is fine tomorrow we will explore another cave and the walk to Bluff Lookout.
Tuesday 24th April
We woke to another wet and miserable morning. Even more wet and miserable than yesterday. Donnis also woke with a sore throat, swollen glands, runny nose and a headache. We suspect it was from swimming and getting a wind chill afterwards. No more cave exploring for us today. We decided to pack up and head to Adaminaby in the hope there was fuel and a caravan park where we can hook up to power and allow Donnis to warm up. The drive up to Kiandra was again steep and opened up onto a majestic valley covered in Alpine Grass with the Eucumbene River running through the centre.
The roads here rose to 1,500 metres combining steep climbs and tight 35KPH corners. With the constant cold rain the road was slippery and demanded constant attention. The dashboard showed temperature outside was 3°.
After fuelling at Adaminaby we drove out to Lake Eucumbene and plugged into power at the caravan park. While the CO-PILOT rugged up, turned on the heater I drove 37Klms back to Kiandra to take photos and perhaps follow the interpretive walks. The views across the valley were spectacular but from the top of the mountain the wind was an icy blast. I reached the Kiandra Snow Plough station and as I stepped out of TERIOS noticed SNOW was piled up against walls and on the grass and was landing on me.
No way did I expect to encounter snow at this time of year. I managed to see a couple of ruins
from goldrush days but the temperature was dropping, the wind picking up and snow falling constantly. I was not dressed for this sort of weather so skipped any further exploration and went back to WWWGO.
Sigh! I really want to see more of the historical sites but the weather forecast for tomorrow is worse. Snow above 1,100 metres. Maybe another time.
Wednesday 25th April – ANZAC DAY
The forecast for today was snow plus strong winds with gusts up to 55 Kph. We did not feel like hanging around especially as we woke to 3° temps and a wind chill factor which sent me running for my ski mittens. We headed down The Snowy Mountains Highway to Cooma and picked up the Monaro Highway and drove on to Canberra, Capital of Australia. Being Anzac Day many places were closed including the camp office at Exhibition Grounds. We found a site, set up and drove to the Australian War Museum.
This place is WOW! The displays need days to view properly and we had less than 2 hours. First task was to locate a grandfather on the Honour Roll on the Commemorative Wall. After some initial help via one of the dozens of volunteers and staff I finally found his name.
At closing time there were more Anzac Day ceremony’s being carried out including a changing of the guard.
Afterwards we found our way to the suburb of Kingston and stumbled upon what can only be described as an Eastern eating district. There was Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai, Indian restaurants galore. Of course we stayed and had dinner. In all the restaurants and in the streets it was obvious we were the odd people out.
Lately we have had problems with our internet connection via the Gateway modem. This happened once before in October 2010 when we were at Ilfracombe in western Queensland. Telstra replaced the modem. Although the modem is talking with the laptop and the modem is receiving excellent wireless signal, there is no internet signal. I called Telstra who asked me to carry out a number of tests including removing the SIM card. At last they declared the modem faulty and would replace it free of charge. Only drawback is it could take a week and we must supply a postal address for it to be sent. We will be off the air until the modem catches up with us in Sydney next week. Then we have to install and re-set passwords and such things.
Thursday 26th April
The sun greeted us this morning although a cool breeze was keeping the air brisk. Once again we had a WOW day.
The first attraction on the list was Parliament House.
I knew Julia (Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia) was in Turkey yesterday so there was little chance we would bump into her and ruin our day. I thought we would just do a drive by, admire the building, take a photograph or three and be on our way. The reality was totally different. Just like the War memorial yesterday we took the underground car park option and soon found our way into the building via the main entrance. What an entrance! What a building! It is huge, tasteful, accessible and easy to get lost. We spent three hours exploring and could have spent all day. The displays of art and photography and historic documents and even a video on the building kept us busy. Then we walked into the public gallery and viewed the House of Representatives
and the Senate chamber.
Entry into the building was simple although a security check was carried out. I declared a knife in my bag and left it with Security for collection when we left. We were impressed by the quality marble stair case
and railings, timber artwork wall panels , hush quality carpet and parquetry flooring.
There was staff everywhere to answer questions, point you in the right direction and just be polite and helpful. The interesting visitors were mainly from overseas and included Asian, Indian and Africans. WASPS were in the minority. We enjoyed our visit immensely.
Next we drove over to Black Mountain and the Telstra Tower
which can be seen almost everywhere in Canberra and for 30 Klms in any direction. The tower stands 880 Mtrs above sea level but is only 182 Mtrs from its base. We visited the observation deck and coffee shop at the 66Mtr level. The views are 360° and clearly shows Canberra sitting in a bowl with mountains all around. There is in interior and an exterior observation deck.
The wind was rather strong and bitterly cold. Cleaning the windows must be a terrible job.
Next on the list was the National Gallery but we mistook the signs and ended up next door at the National Portrait Gallery. Once more we parked underground. The gallery displays were incredible and again we need to spend more time here to see all that was on display. We were the last to leave the building when it closed at 5pm.
After a bit more grocery shopping we found our way back to WWWGO at the Exhibition Grounds. We were tired but extremely happy that at the last minute Canberra got included on our list of places to visit. We will stay another day and explore some more.
Friday 27th April
In the morning we visited the Australian National Botanical Gardens. This is a huge garden, growing only native species and is set up to include, alpine, desert, rainforest, savannah and all other plant habitat found in Australia. To see the whole display would take at least a day and we have so many things to do so the garden only got a one hour visit.
Next on the agenda was the Australian National Archives. Once again the visit was free and the displays were well worth a visit as many of them are interactive. Our main reason for visiting was to carry out some research on family members. Staff are friendly, helpful and patient. We were given access to a computer and a printer and guidance how to find our way through records. There is a Reading Room and it is partitioned off with glass. The room is at a constant temperature and is de-humidified. To gain access to the room requires leaving all personal belongings behind in a locker, obtaining a pass and requesting documents be brought to you. Some documents are over 100 years old and have been carefully preserved. Some documents are classified and requires security clearance. Some documents are “top secret” and can only be accessed by top level authorised persons and can be read in another closed off security room. All very impressive and once again we could have spent a day here. In fact a cafeteria is on premises so visitors can stay all day.
The final visit for the day was the Australian National Gallery and we parked below street level. The building is huge and has so many floors, rooms, chambers and alcoves it is/was easy to get lost. The finish of the walls is mostly bare concrete and is not as attractive as the Australian National Portrait Gallery across the road. Still we managed to stay until it was time to get kicked out and once again we did not see all the displays.
There is so much to see in Canberra and we only visited a few. As always I can only say that we have left the door open for an opportunity to visit again in the future.
As we have discovered, “the more we see, the more there is to see”.
Saturday 28th April
We woke to a cold and heavy fog. As the fog lifted we noticed hundreds of car parked nearby. Unbeknownst to us there was a Farmers Market in the Exhibition Grounds and we could hear singing. We traipsed over to a large covered area and found the market, chock a block full of people looking to score something which cost twice as much as in a Woolies or Coles. Call the food organic and people will flock to it. So it was I bought a organic, stoneground 70% sourdough rye loaf of bread. At $6 it was about the same price we pay in other bakeries. A dozen eggs was $9. Get the picture.
A group of men were singing, in harmony, and their voices carried throughout the building and across the park. They all looked happy. Hmmm! If I ever settle down again I would like to join a singing group.
After spending big at the markets we rewarded ourselves with a homemade cappuccino and a couple of slices of fresh bread. We packed WWWGO and hitched TERIOS and were soon on our way via the Federal Highway in the direction of Goulburn. Instead of looking for somewhere to stay for the night we pushed on to Maroulan where we had lunch – sourdough rye – of chicken salad sandwiches. We then made the decision to drive straight through to Gymea to stay with my sister Bev.
Sunday 29th April.
The day started warm n sunny but soon deteriorated to windy, overcast and cold.
It was a long day of catching up on washing and emptying WWWGO in preparation for work to be carried out over the next week or so.
I also wasted lots of time carrying out ancestry searches.