Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Into Victoria

My journey south takes me a little away from the coast until I reach the town of Orbost.  The road takes me through stands of Eucalypt forests, some small and stringy, some large and quite old.  I also see lots of dead trees but am not sure if the cause is from bush fires or the long drought that the south has experienced over the recent years.

At the moment there have been heavy falls in the centre of NSW, according to the news, as much as 300mm over the course of just 2 days.  Lots of flooding because of it, but the farmers are finally smiling again.  The area around Orbost is also cattle country, many cows feeding happily on the fresh green growth of grass.

From Orbost I drive back to the coast again, wanting to check "Lakes Entrance", a location that looks inviting on the map.  When I get there it looks as if half of Melbourne has come to spend the Christmas holidays there, in fact, it reminds me very much of the town of Foster / Tuncurry where I stayed on my way south from Queensland. Lots of shops lots of families, lots of young people enjoying being close to the water.

Lakes Entrance seen from above

I decide to check a few campgrounds, find them all full to the brim despite the  extravagant pricing and as a consequence decide to drive a little further to Bairnsdale, quite a large town with even an Aldi Store for my groceries.

There has been a cool breeze blowing from the ocean, the night there turns out quite cold, around 14 degrees, I wonder what they get in the winter...
I re-fuel in the morning as I want to take a look at the ski fields of Victoria, in particular Mount Hotham.  A good decision!  More about Mt. Hotham... A wonderful drive along great mountain scenes.  The road that has started like most other highways, gets to be tight turns and bends, constantly going uphill.

Rolling Foothills along my way

I drive through colourful valleys along the side of a mountain, gradually reaching ever higher ground providing outstanding views of the land below.  Orange posts mark the right edge of the highway and I can only imagine what the land looks like during the winter months, after all, the mountain is about 1860m above sea level.

Views from the top of Mount Hotham

The way down is even more winding than the road up, many sections very steep, advisory speed signs saying 30km/h as a safe speed.  Most of the way down I am in 3rd gear and in very steep sections I have to change down to second.  This is a 6-speed gearbox and its really important to keep the rig in low gear otherwise there will be brake burnout.

Arriving at the town of Bright I realise that this is yet another favourite destination for Melbournians.  It is also quite hot this side of the mountains, so after checking multiple campsites, finding all of them fully booked, I finally travel on to the small town of Myrtleford where I stop for a powered site so I can use my aircon to keep me cool in this heat, the temperature now in the high 30s.

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