The beautiful autumn weather continued as we arrived at Tumut and found the amazing free camp at Blowering Dam. We decided to make our base here for a week while we explored the region. This was one of the best camps we had been to on the trip with abundant wildlife including kangaroos, emus, owls, kookaburras and a family of blue wrens (the real name is the Superb Fairy Wren) who decided that our campsite was a good place to look for food and examine every new piece of firewood that was added to the woodpile.
Early one morning we drove over the mountain range to Batlow, the home of the famous apples, via the recently reopened to the public forestry road that starts near Talbingo. After a home cooked breakfast in a cafe at Batlow we went to see the Sugar Pines walk, a great stand of sugar pines planted in the 1920’s. There was hardly any breeze to speak of but the tall pines gently swayed and rubbed against each other murmuring and creaking as they moved – an eerie sound but a magical place. Next we passed through Tumbarumba and found the beautiful Paddy’s River Falls reserve, before heading back to Batlow. In true Batlow style we found ourselves following a truck carting one of the last loads of freshly-picked apples heading to the packing sheds.
From Blowering Reservoir we continued south east towards the mountainous alps region. The Snowy Mountain Highway has a challenging and fairly steep 10kms from Talbingo, but the Pajero got us to the top without breaking sweat (the 7 degree morning helped!) and set up at a Campground close to Jindabyne. On a beautiful clear sunny autumn morning we donned the woolly hats, gloves and jackets and drove up to Thredbo and took the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift up to the Eagles Nest which is the closest you can get to Mt Kosciuszko. The 5 km return walk to the lookout was a little hard going on the way up for the two of us a little out of condition but the view was worth it. The thin mountain air was cool and calm and the view of Australias highest peak was inspiring.