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Brindabellas, Bago Forest and Snowy Mountains NSW
Thursday, Aug 12, 2010 at 21:47
Member - Michael O (NSW)
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SATURDAY AUGUST 7
Met the crew at the picnic area at the pleasant Cotter picnic area to air down tyres and check our maps. We had a large group of vehicles and kids and were a little concerned when one couple turned up in a stock Pajero with 18-inch street tyres. It was winter of course (and cold in early August) but we felt well prepared and headed for the hills.
Up the Brindabella Road as far as Curries Road, then onto Pabral Road where the Pajero (and a Grandtrek tyred Prado) struggled in the clay sections. We turned up the Mt Coree Rd and were shocked to find it graded and a very easy ascent. Still worth it though with glorious views in all directions. There is limited room at the top for a large group of vehicles so we split into two groups. The new earth works at Cotter Dam were evident as
mt Coree Summit
well as the damage from the '05 fires which started not far to the west of Coree.
There is a small clearing near the base of the Mt Coree Summit Rd with a dam and a picnic table so we decided to stop there for lunch. This would make a good campsite for a small group.
South to Two Sticks and on to Piccadilly Circus, where we turned west on the Brindabella Rd headed for Tumut. The road is unsealed but in very good condition and we arrived in Tumut with a welcome from someone who had obviously scanned us on the UHF and told us what a sh**hole Tumut was… We disagreed.
and on to
, then took the Elliot Way to the Alpine Retreat at McPhersons Plains, where we were welcomed by a large fire bucket and a smile from Julie and Chris who also cooked us a great dinner.
There are cabins at McPhersons Plains Retreat and with the mercury plummeting, we were grateful not to be in the tents....
SUNDAY AUGUST 8
Breakfast in the restaurant for a drivers’ briefing and the convoy headed back onto the Elliot Way, turned west and then north onto the Powerline Road. The track was very wet and the clay sections were “interesting…” Onto Jimmies Road, which was snowbound (but easier to drive in than the mud) We passed a graffiti-covered hut, then gingerly picked our way up to the Navigation Tower at Mt Granite, which was covered in deep snow.
Snowfights and snowmen took place as some admired the view south towards Tabletop Mountain. Back down the
to Jimmies Rd, then Bullongra Rd, then Hardy’s Rd and JDX Track into
Paddys River Dam
, which had an incredible ice sheet covering it to a thickness of about 1cm. The tracks were slippery and the road tyred Prado and Pajero had more than a few moments of excitement.
Ice covered Paddys River Dam
In the heart of the Bago State Forest,
Paddys River Dam
is a delightful campsite on, naturally, Paddys River. The campsite has seperate areas for caravans and tents. The shallow Dam is full of life with trout and even a resident platypus. Brumbies roam through the bush, and there is abundant bird life everywhere. Lying on the Hume & Hovell Walking Track,
Paddys River Dam
Campsite is a favourite with bushwalker, day trippers, and campers. And for those who are fascinated by history, the area and the nearby Quartzville have plenty of indications of the settlement that used to be there.
We retraced our route to Bullongra Rd, then Granites Track and Bull and Damper Road southwards, passing below the nav tower we had visited in the morning. Fallen trees stopped us four times and the chainsaw got a workout!
We had a late lunch at the junction of Jimmies Rd and Bull and Damper Rd in a large clearing beside a dam. Snow clouds were gathering so we didn’t hang around too long.
With the afternoon fast disappearing, the plans to reach
were shelved in favour of a visit to
Paddys River Falls
, a delightful
on the Paddys River just out of
Back at the Retreat Chris and Julie had cooked up a Xmas in July dinner in August, and "Santa" made his arrival in a 1940’s vintage tractor much to the kids’ delight, dishing out the presents we had all arranged in advance.
Santa arrives for Xmas in July in August
MONDAY AUGUST 9
Leisurely morning after a late night and we set off for
, the highest town in
was established in 1954 using prefabricated houses, as part of the
Scheme and associated
Hydro-Electric Scheme. An earlier surveying camp had been established there in 1951. The town was moved some 500m and 20m vertically to a more sheltered position, its current site, in 1974, leaving the original site as the lookout.
is a 'company town', being the place of residence for workers in the nearby Tumut 2 hydro-electric power station and electrical switching yards, and Tumut Pondage dam.
The town has 48 houses, a general store and petrol station, primary school, pub (tavern), indoor swimming pool, downhill ski slope, and tennis courts. The nearest small towns for other shopping are Adaminaby and Tumut; the nearest large towns (that is, with a hospital) are
and Cooma. Emergency evacuation can be conducted by helicopter.
In winter, the town can be covered by snow for 3-4 months. This has dictated the building design with a very highly pitched roof for the houses. The town's downhill ski run was the first in
to have lighting installed to allow night use.
Recent snowfalls left a great
up near the lookouts above town so we spent hours there with the kids on toboggans. It was a beautiful morning, snow, blue skies and not a breath of wind.
Down into the coffee
in the village for a recharge before setting off for
Three Mile Dam
, near Mt Selwyn.
Three Mile Dam
was established during the Kiandra gold mining era providing water for sluicing operations via race lines to Kiandra (New Chum
). The eastern side of the dam was once a former
Hydro Electric Scheme site.
We “waded” out across the snow to the camping area for a look at the Dam which was frozen in Parts and looked magnificent. We did vow to bring the X-country skis next time…
Dropped below the snow not far from the
turnoff and had a lunch stop at the old cottage at Yarrangobilly Village on the
Highway before heading back home.
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