• Departed Tumut on Tuesday

  • Travelled to Talbingo

  • Travelled to Kiandra

  • Travelled to Adaminaby

  • Travelled to Cooma

  • Travelled to Nimmitabel

  • Travelled over Brown Mountain and down to Bemboka

  • Camped overnight Tuesday at Bemboka




Day 21


Tuesday 8th December 2009

Click on the pictures for larger versions




After checking the radiator water and packing up, we left Riverglade Caravan Park at Tumut around 8.30am.

As we had been on the road to Blowering Dam the previous afternoon, we didn't stop again to look.

We passed the Kosciuszko National Park sign at 9.01am.

I was looking forward to driving through the area after learning in Primary School in the late 50's and early 60's about the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

To my surprise, only five minutes later we arrived in Talbingo.
I remembered the warning given by the girls at the Oriental Hotel about Talbingo.
I also remembered mum saying how dad had trouble with his vehicle while towing the caravan at Talbingo in February 1976.
She said the Chrysler AP5 Valiant they had at the time overheated and boiled the radiator, on the road out of the town, and they had to stop on the side of the road till it cooled.
She said every time he thought he was out of the hills, ANOTHER corner turned up, and the road kept climbing.
I had these thoughts as I entered the town. As we hadn't eaten, we visited the local shop.
While waiting for the food, I told the story to the owner and asked if things had changed. He said the road was better but the climb was still the same and that as long as your vehicle was in good condition, there would be no problems.
My mind went straight to thoughts about the mystery overheating radiator in the Daihatsu towing the caravan!
I told him I was towing a caravan and he winced. He then said to just take my time and not be pressured by other vehicles. He also told me that once I started up the range that there would be no chance of turning around and going back.

All of this information was going though my mind as we sat in the shade of a tree eating.
I thought about the radiator - it seemed fine now. I thought about the way the Daihatsu was responding - it had performed well, though slower than I liked on hills.
I talked to Judy about the road ahead, telling her my concerns.
We decided it couldn't be THAT bad as it was a main road.

9.06am 9.07am 9.08am
Views around Talbingo
9.07am 9.07am 9.08am
Talbingo Shopping Centre
9.32am 9.34am 9.34am
Talbingo has an area (above) in the shopping centre with pictures and models showing the building of the Snowy Mountains Scheme

I spent time there looking at the models and left feeling a little apprehensive, after seeing the ascent angle of a scaled down model of the road winding up the range, out of Talbingo.


To try to give you some idea of the climb ahead of us, I downloaded, from different angles, the Google Earth pictures below.
The road (above) marked in orange, is the path we had to take to get out of Talbingo.
I drove the short distance out of Talbingo to the Snowy Mountains Highway junction.
I noted the radiator temperature was "normal", so I was hoping that wasn't going to be a problem.

I turned the nose of the Daihatsu to the hill and went through the usual motions, speed up, change gear, speed up.
That's when the shock came. When I changed to second gear, the motor died. Quickly I changed back to first gear and recovered the forward movement again.
I thought that I mustn't have gathered enough speed before changing gear but when I tried again the same thing happened!
I looked over to Judy and told her "that's it!...we will be going up in first gear!"
By that time we had gone up the winding road too far to reverse.

Being a diesel motor, it pulled the caravan up the range in first gear with ease. I just had to be careful not to over rev the motor.
At first I was pretty anxious. I had visions of a boiling motor and sitting, blocking one lane, as I fully expected the temperature gauge to climb to "high", but amazingly it didn't move.

Luckily no vehicles came up behind me. Only 3 cars came down.

We were going so slowly that I had ample time to take pictures.
The centre picture below, shows the highest speed we achieved, as we crept up the range, without over revving the motor, 10kph.

The series of pictures below with the times above, indicates the time it took to drive the up the range.
9.56am 9.57am 9.57am
Talbingo way below A massive 10kph Looking back over Talbingo
9.57am 9.58am 9.58am
The climb out of Talbingo
9.58am   9.58am
The climb out of Talbingo, still!
9.58am 9.59am 10.02am
Still climbing!

Finally we reached a spot to give the Daihatsu a break, even though the temperature gauge still showed normal.

We had a drink and took the dogs for a walk.
10.15am 10.18am 10.19am


The driving after the sign below was a lot easier.

The crest of the
Cumberland Range.

Google Earth I gather the spot is named Pinbeyan.

I wondered why the lines either side of the road had changed from white to yellow. I also wondered why there were orange posts along the edge of the road.
The link below explained it.

"When driving in the Alpine Region, the RTA has identified possible snow and ice risk sections with yellow lane line marking and signposting."

We drove past a sign pointing to Yarrangobilly Caves.
The sign said
"Not suitable for Caravans", so obviously we gave it a miss. Looking at Google Earth, it looked really interesting but that's one of the limitations of caravanning.

After driving for so long up and down through tree covered areas, we came out onto what seemed like a plain.
The trees were very stunted and the grass short and windblown.
I gathered we were driving over one the highest areas of Australia, which would be covered by snow in Winter.
The road was brilliant.
11.01am 11.02am 11.03am
As we drove along the Snowy Mountains Highway we noticed a sign which said,

NEXT 4km

Judy's interest peaked out.
She loves animals, especially horses.
She has ridden horses in many competitions in South America, which she did really well in.
She also spent a lot of time working with them around cattle and exploring the countryside with her dogs.

Not far on from the sign, a vehicle was stopped. He waved us over and asked if we had seen the mob of brumbies.
Even though Judy had been watching for them through the trees flashing by, she must have missed them.
He and his female friend were very excited and told us there must have been around 20 of them.

From the sign onwards I had driven a lot slower but we never did see any, much to Judy's disappointment.

11.03am 11.04am 11.08am
The sign warning of possible Brumbies ahead. Judy watching for Brumbies. This is typical of the trees we were passing.
11.34am 11.35am 11.35am
Above and below are shots I took of the terrific road through the area. It was such a pleasure to be able sit back and relax.
I could look at the view and drive without having to constantly keep an eye on the road just up ahead.
As we have no air conditioning, we nearly always have the windows open.
It was Summer, but the air at the level we were at was pleasantly cool.
I noticed a beautiful honey perfume in the air every now and then.
I found that it was only in the air as we passed the masses of yellow plants in the left picture below.

The perfume reminded me of a plant I grew in the 70's called a Grevillea Biternata but this plant was a lot smaller.

If anyone reading this knows what the perfume comes from, can you let me know here please.
11.35am 11.35am 11.36am
11.37am 11.39am 11.40am
11.41am   11.41am
The turn to the snow resorts just before Kiandra   A section of the Eucumbene River near Kiandra
We pulled off to the side of the road near the Kiandra sign below.
The wind was blowing across the plain but it wasn't unpleasant.

We could see people in a 4WD vehicle on the banks of the Eucumbene River a long way in the distance.
11.44am 11.45am 11.46am
Judy decided to go for a wander and took a picture of the yellow flowers below.
Coming back up was way harder on Judy's knees than going down!



no longer exists as a town.
It's now just remains.


11.56am   11.57am

Around the general area of Kiandra were Lupins.
Judy took some shots of them.

We assumed they were left from the time people lived and worked in the town.
11.58am 12.00pm 12.00pm
In the distance were headstones.
We didn't go up to the site but
after researching, found it was
the Kiandra Cemetery.
Here is a link to details.
12.01pm 12.02pm 12.04pm

We continued along the Snowy Mountains Highway.
The road climbed towards what looked like a sea of silvery skeleton trees. It turned out the trees were dead and had silvery ground cover around them.
Obviously something killed the trees en masse as there was a huge area of dead young and old trees.
After doing some searching on
Google, the story seems to be that a fire in 2003 was the cause.


12.04pm 12.04pm 12.04pm

Above is the view looking back towards Kiandra over the Eucumbene River.
A beautiful sight in it's own way.
12.05pm 12.06pm 12.06pm
The shots above and below illustrate the damage done. It was a very eerie feeling driving through such a large area of dead trees.
Underneath the skeletons is new lush growth luckily.
It must have been a very large, hot fire.
12.07pm 12.08pm 12.08pm

We started the descent to Adaminaby.
Even though it was fairly gradual, I had to change down gears and tap on the brakes.
I started to smell burning, so decided to stop, let the dogs have a pit stop and check the Daihatsu and the caravan.
It was hard to pinpoint the location of the smell but after the use of the brakes fairly regularly, I decided it was just brake pads heating up.



We hadn't eaten since Talbingo, 5 hours before, so decided to check out the food shops in Adaminaby.
We parked the Daihatsu with the dogs in it, in an area behind the shops.
It was cool and the dogs seemed happy except for having an argument with a local dog behind a fence.
We left them to their "fun" and walked back to the strip of shops.

We had very little cash, so I went looking for a "hole in the wall".
A local told me to go to the Post Office where they helped me out. They were very friendly.

We found a nice little pastry shop and being so hungry, over bought.

My memory is of relaxing, watching the locals, while eating a "Bee Sting" and a Pastie. Yum!

So much for the Diabetes 2 !!



Around the town of Adaminaby.

1.46pm 1.46pm 1.47pm

As we left Adaminaby, the overcast sky started to get darker.

We drove generally uphill through green undulating countryside.

2.26pm 2.27pm 2.37pm

As we reached a high point, before us, around 25km out of Cooma, we saw a darker sky and showers. The weather had definitely turned cooler. A front was moving towards us.

We knew we'd be in for a wet night. Our destination, from our Camps Australia bible, was to be a rest area at a place named Bemboka, still at least a couple of hours away.



It was getting dreary as we drove through the town of Cooma.
2.54pm   2.54pm

The Daihatsu made hard work of the road out of Cooma.

On the road between Nimmitabel and Brown Mountain it started to drizzle.

I pulled over, let the dogs out and we all had a pit stop and I took the picture below.



It wasn't long before we had our excitement for the day, as we descended from Brown Mountain to Bemboka.
It was then I understood the warning the girls at the Oriental Hotel in Tumut gave me.

The road dropped from
1150m to 200m above sea level in around 20km, so it was STEEP!!

Judy took the pictures below as we descended, as I changed down gears and guided the vehicle down the very winding range.
When I could look, I noticed it was very pretty and lush but that wasn't very often as I couldn't take my eyes off the road ahead for long.
As well as vehicles coming up the range, there were faster vehicles than us going down. I had to move off to the edge a number of times to allow the following vehicles to pass.
Changing to very low gears wasn't enough to slow us, as the weight behind caused us to head downhill very fast. I just had to stop many times to prevent us picking up too much speed and over revving the gearbox.
The brakes smell cut in again.
I knew we'd have to stop for a bit to allow the brakes to cool. Luckily there were a couple of spots where I was able to pull off to the side and stop.
I was very relieved when I saw the road straighten out and level off.

Phew !!

From there onwards to Bemboka it was just a pleasant country drive.


3.59pm 3.59pm 4.08pm

Drizzle started as we drove into the Rest Area at Bemboka.

It was a very welcome sight. Covered picnic tables and coin operated BBQ's. A clean toilet block with showers ( only cold, but you can't have everything ) and best of all, we were the only campers there.

There was a sports field beside the amenities. A woman was walking around it exercising her dogs.

It all seemed too good to be true.

As the woman's car was near us, she had to pass us to leave. She was really friendly. I was concerned we may not be welcome but she told us we were very welcome and that the town had provided the facilities for travellers. She thought a key was available for power as well but I told her we were self sufficient as we had our Honda alternator.

As she waved goodbye, the first solid rain drops began to fall.
I set the alternator up under one of the picnic table shelters just as it began to come down heavily.

Judy was her usual self and put together a wonderful meal.

It was great going to sleep with the heavy raindrops on the caravan roof. I was really tired after the days driving and went to sleep very quickly.





Last Updated : 24/01/2012 08:36 PM +1000