Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Mallacoota mon amour

This is the first of possibly 6 posts covering our Winter trip to Mallacoota in Victoria.

The title has two references.  First up I am currently “into” the cadence of phrases and this fits nicely into the cadence of “Hiroshima mon amour”: a classic movie.  Secondly I do love Mallacoota (except when150mm of rain are forecast).

So this week the weather forecast was a  lot better with just a few showers around, which for Victoria is a very promising forecast indeed!

The only dipterid in the vaseline was that as a result of me not telling our landscaper where electrical lines had been laid (in self defence, because I didn't know) on our day of departure I spent from about 9am to 11:30 assisting a local electrician - great job, Clint Dixon – restoring the power supply to our big shed.  Thus we didn't hit the road until 12:30, rather than 8:30. 

Whatever, we rolled away with well laden Pajero (aka the Beast – we took it as Beauty the Jetta would probably not enjoy some of the tracks around the Mallacoota airport and West thereof).   The drive down to Cooma was a drive.  Notable only for the occasional showers we encountered, and sighting a Cattle Egret near Burra.  The Tinderry range was pleasant.
The same could not be said for the stretch from Cooma to Nimmitabel.  I regard this treeless plain as one of the most desolate stretches of road in NSW: it doesn't even have the emus to liven it up a la Hay Plain.  (When we finished the drive, Frances was looking at an (English) Country Life magazine featuring one of England's best views – from Berkshire: a white horse was visible but no Hunt.   Very like the Nimmi Plains.  Perhaps Nimmi needs some chalk hills into which a white macropod could be carved?) In addition to a few showers the area was well endowed with cold.  When we got to Nimmitabel (elevation 1070m) about 1430 it was a magnificent +6 degrees C. 

By the time we got to Bombala the thermometer had soared to +8!  The town boasts of being platypus country, but although there was a good flow in the river not a wake did we see.   The other advert for Bombala is their interest in bikers: however in contrast to our previous trips to the area we didn't see a single one.  Would you ride a motorbike at 8 degrees?

Despite a slight contretemps with road works we found our way on the road to Cann River and started to drop off the Monaro.  This was the signal for low cloud and more showers!   
However we got to Imlay Rd and rumbled along it marvelling at the high number of Traffic Hazard signs (and the low number of tangible hazards – other than stupid signs which distract drivers).  Somewhere along here I saw a Superb Lyrebird beside the road – always a good sight. 

We stopped at the Imlay Creek Rest Area to have a squizz at the flow in the Creek through the Rockpool.  

It was magnificent.  Lyrebirds were calling in the bush as were Bell Miners.

Although it was still only 4pm the roos were beginning to emerge on the roadside.  They all stayed where they were but I was glad:
1.                  it was no later in the day; and
2.                  that we had a good roo bar fitted!

Getting out to the Princes Highway we were surprised to find how little traffic was on it, compared to the Monaro Highway (and in fairness many of trucks on that seemed to be triple-deckers leaving the Cooma market).  Just about as soon as I thought that we approache the State border to find the curvy road well occupied by a Victorian registered campervan doing 80kph.

Whatever: the paramedic who followed me along the road from Genoa is probably filling in an official report as I type complaining about me driving slowly.  I'm sure he would not front to hose out the car if I had induced Chunder Pooch!

So we turn into Karbethong Road and see a sign warning of Lyrebirds.  About 500m past this Frances called to stop and go back to see something in the bush.  This turned out to be two male Superb Lyrebirds getting a tad competitive inncluding raising their tails at each and then crossing the road in front of us.  A magnificent sight: a definite contender for bird of the year.

We got to the house, and all is good.  Another good thing is that The Beast achieved 9.6l/100km on the trip.  While about double Beauty's efforts, it is still not bad for a full size 4x4.

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Drive home in the rain.

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