Monday, January 27, 2014

Summer Snowy Mountains

We headed to the mountains for a weekend to cool down; it's slightly cooler up there than in Canberra, and when you live in a house without air-conditioning and the temperatures are in the mid-40s, this a welcome relief.

Wild brumbies

We walked to the Yarrangobilly Caves through shady forest paths.

The caves themselves are very dramatic and we explored on a self-guided tour in the largest cave, South Glory. It has typical limestone features of stalactites and stalagmites, shawls and cave corals.

Many have been given names such as the fleece or the judge's wig, but interpretative panels disapprove of this, preferring to classify them in geological terms rather than what they resemble visually to the lay-person. Killjoys!

A short river walk brought us to the thermal pool. Heated by a natural spring, it stays at the same temperature (27 degrees) all year round and, apparently is delightful when there is snow on the ground. It's pretty pleasant when there isn't.

The next day we headed to Lake Eucumbene and Old Adaminaby. The lake is the largest in the Snowy River Hydro Scheme. When the dam was constructed (1956-58) the valley was flooded and many of the buildings and homesteads of Old Adaminaby lay within the proposed flood zone. Over 100 buildings were transported on the backs of trucks and relocated to a site on the Snowy Mountains Highway but some remained. 

When the lake is low, some of these emerge from the lake and in 2007 following severe drought, Old Adaminaby began to reveal itself from the water after having been submerged for over fifty years. There is a strange but tranquil feel to the area.

Old Adaminaby

Anglers' Reach
At 1488m/ 4880ft, Cabramurra is the highest town in Australia and was established in 1954 to house the workers on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. The houses are all built with steep sloping roofs to allow the snow to slide off. 

The town is frequently closed off during the winter months with the only access being by helicopter. It also has its own skifield, which was the first in Australia to have lighting installed to allow skiing at night.

And then a run at Mt Selwyn. In winter this is a cross-country ski field; in summer it is a series of meadows plagued by flies.

Kiandra is an old gold-mining town and the birthplace of skiing in Australia. Apparently the name is a corruption of the Aboriginal 'Gianderra', which means 'sharp stones for sharpening knives'.

Now the plains are dotted with abandoned gold-mining equipment and the wind whistles eerily through the grave-stones.

Bond, Spaz Bond
Kiandra Courthouse - built 1890; restored 2012
The ruins of Kiandra's General Store
Alpine wolf spider
The Big Trout at Adaminaby

No comments:

Post a Comment