So bummed we have only got 2 days here. With Christmas less than a week away we need to get to Lakes Entrance, Victoria, so we can settle down for a few days, deck the van with bails of tinsel and get into full swing of festive frivolities. While it was short we definitely enjoyed every little minute.
Our drive delivered a beautiful little discovery that we’d be driving through Cooma and right past the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre. Perfect timing for lunch and an education on a real jewel of Australian engineering.
The Snowy Hydro Scheme began in 1949 and took 25 year to complete. It is a hydroelectric and irrigation system consisting of 16 major dams, 7 power stations and 1 pumping station, 225 kilometers (140 miles) or tunnels, pipelines and aqueducts. It is about to undergo a massive expansion with Snowy Hydro 2 scheme in the not too distant future.
Living in the van and loving free camping the girls have had to become very aware of; what requires power, how we get it and how we use it depending on whether we are plugged in to 240 v in a caravan park or replying purely on solar from our panels and solar blanket. So this just added to the discussions we have been having as we travel around and past these sources of renewable energies, (solar farms, a solar collector, wind farms and now a hydroelectricity).
If your passing through Cooma the discovery centre is a must see. The construction and scale of the scheme is certainly impressive but my favorite little knowledge pick up was Cloud seeding. I never thought you could grow clouds but then, why not?
An unfortunate result of our warming planet, is less snow fall in the Australian Alps. A cloud seeding program began trial in 2004 and started in 2011. It enhances the snowfall in the catchment areas, increasing the runoff and ultimately the volume of water to generate, clean, renewable energy. As an added bonus the NSW ski resorts have reliable snowfall, and there is an increase run off for the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers, (for irrigation).
It was a beautiful drive and we jagged a fabulous camp site on Lake Jindabinyne. One of our most scenic camps. On one hand so grateful to be here and on the other a full on forehead slap, agh only 2 nights. There was a nice little bike path along the foreshore of the lake so after dinner we went for a lovely evening ride.
The next day I was feeling very excited, Mt Kosciusko! Australia’s highest peak on the mainland at 2,228 meters (7310 feet). A little know fact Mawson Peak in the Australian Antarctic Territory, is arguably the highest Australian peak at 2,745 meters (9006 feet).
We would have loved to do the full track but time, weather and with Lulu refusing to go the the sling, walking long distances is a really struggle. But I was determined we’d make it one way or another. So armed with snacks and chocolate and the discovery you could get a chairlift from Thredbo most of the way (with the pram), we set off. It seemed do-able. From there it’s either a 4 km walk to the Kosciusko lookout or 6 km to the summit.
The weather wasn’t looking kind with storms, thunder and lightening forecast. But with an early start we hoped to beat the bad weather. It was cold and overcast, but the sun did break through in patches making it just exquisite! So so so beautiful. One of my absolutely favorite spots.
200 species of alpine flowering plants have been recorded and home to the endangered southern corroboree frog. We didn’t see one but I was excitedly on the look out as they are truely spectacular and it was breeding season.
We did however get to see snow still on the ground from winter and the girls were thrilled!
We had really enjoyed our walk but decided we’d only go as far as the lookout. Was a bit gutted to not make the summit and be so close but I’ll look forward to coming back to do it another time.
We timed things perfectly getting back to the chairlift with enough time to grab a quick drink at Austrlia’s highest restaurant before taking the slightly freaky but stunning ride down the mountain. About 10 mins after we got down the heavens opened and the forecasted storm unleashed.
Although it was brief we left the Snowy Mountains content but keen to return.