Crossing briefly into Victoria from Eden one passes through the area known as East Gippsland – pretty, forested, but otherwise quite remote, our route took us on to Cann River before heading north up into Australia’s famous Snowy Mountains region. Now, it was late November ( and hence, almost summer ) so our expectations were “managed” as to how much snow we’d see ( we glimpsed a bit ! ) but regardless of the scarcity of snow, it’s simply a beautiful area with a unique look given it’s obviously higher elevations.

Alfred National Park, East Gippsland, Victoria.
The Snowy Mountains.
We paused as we crossed the Snowy River itself. Readers may remember an iconic Australian movie “The Man From Snowy River”, based on the poem of the same name ( written by legendary Australian, AB “Banjo” Paterson).
Entering Kosciusko National Park, the Ranger wanted to check out the van ( she was building one herself ). We happily obliged.

There’s a distinct alpine feeling to this whole area. Home to most of Australia’s best ski areas, “The Snowy” as it’s known locally, is also home to ( what was then, in the late 1940’s ) Australia’s largest engineering feat, the Snowy Mountains Scheme. A massive undertaking that would require 25 years to complete, it’s basically a gigantic water diversion program ( via dams and giant tunnels ) built to harness the power of water from the snow runoff for both irrigation and the production of power. Every Aussie kid learns about it in school ( we did back in my day, anyway ! ) and its enormous demand for skilled labour was a catalyst for early waves of European immigration into Australia in the immediate post-war era. A fascinating museum tells the story in Cooma, where the scheme is still administered. Sadly, due to high winds while we were there, we were not able to take the chairlift to the Mt. Kosciusko viewpoint ( from which one can do the 13km return hike to the actual summit, Australia’s highest point ) – a real disappointment. A shorter, lower valley hike was the next best option but we may get another crack at Mt. Kosciusko on our way to Tasmania in the new year.

Wildflowers, Thredbo hike.

Ski lift employee apologizing for the chair closure – and we were all kitted out, ready to tackle it !
Snowy Mountains Scheme display at the museum in Cooma.
The “why”………
…..and the “how” !

 Our plans from the Snowy Mountains took us north through Canberra then west out via Wagga Wagga to parts of the Riverina, our interest primarily being to explore some of Griffith’s great wineries given that our turn inland from the coast had delivered the improved weather we were seeking – not hard to enjoy Griffith’s fine wines !  Circling back to Forbes ( sort of our home base in Oz ) a quick visit was made with family before driving on to Sydney where this segment of our Australian adventure goes on “pause” for a few weeks. Lois is flying back to Canada for a few weeks ( missing our new grand daughter too much ! ) while I head back to Temora to join my brother and his wife. I’ll be borrowing their hangar ( regular readers may recall they live in an airpark ) to park up the van and do some long overdue cleaning, general maintenance, minor repairs and a few ( very minor ) redesigns. I need space, a flat concrete floor, a roof over my head, access to tools and power – and they have it all !

It was wonderful to catch up with my old mate Ian Martin while passing through Canberra.

Canberra this time was a bit of a blitz, us both having visited in the past. Here passing Parliament House ( old Parliament House in the foreground ) seen behind Lake Burley Griffen.

We’d not seen the National Museum of Australia before so visited this time. Lots of “Australiana” and a great display on indigenous history. Here, one of the the first Australian – made cars, a Holden ( with a very early model caravan ).

Visited two Griffith wineries but Yarran was definitely our favourite.
The setting at Yarran was beautiful.

Griffith not only produces excellent wines, but also rice and oranges from its fertile soils. The Riverina area is one of Australia’s most productive agricultural areas, thanks in large part to water from the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
Rows and rows of orange trees in Griffith.
We were visited by this beautiful peacock while camping in Griffith.
Weethallie silo, one of best examples of silo art we’ve seen.
A brief pit stop in Forbes ( my home town ) with my sister, Karen.
Driving down the street I grew up on always make me a bit nostalgic -seeing school kids in uniform ( from my old primary school ) really brings it home !
A long flight home to Canada for Lois, but at least it was direct ( and not a milk run ! ).
Great to catch up with another old school mate, Steve – here enjoying a coffee in Yass on my way from Sydney to Temora. It had been more than 40 years !
Home for the van for the next little while – the hangar in Temora. I am truly fortunate to have access to this, a wonderful spot to do necessary maintenance, cleaning, and to replace a few parts – thank you Ian and Anne !

We’ll re-start the blog just after Christmas at which point we head south ( via the Victorian coast ) to Melbourne and then on by ferry to Tasmania – our last Australian state. We want to thank our readers for following along with us in 2023 and sending us all your comments. Both Lois and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !

Till the New Year…….!