My intention was to hire a car in Canberra and drive down to Thredbo but the major companies wanted far too much money and getting in contact with a “cheapie” was getting problematic. I consulted a Coaster group I am a member of and with encouragement that others had done it without any dramas I decided to take Rhonda for a run.
I headed off from Queanbeyan about 8am and only just got out of the ACT on the Cooma road when traffic came to a standstill. There had been a fatal accident a little earlier and the road was blocked in both directions. Trucks, Buses and caravans were unable to get through but after a 2 hour wait smaller vehicles were allowed through on a side dirt road. The traffic controller wasn’t going to let me through to start with but after talking on the 2way to his boss I was allowed through as well.
After the sobering start, the drive south was perhaps the most scenic I have encountered on my travels so far. I just loved the Monaro Plains with the rolling hills in the background and coming into Jindabyne is so so beautiful on the lake.
Cooma was a bigger town than I had imagined but it does service all the alpine villages on the northern snowfields and is the administrative centre for the Snowy Mountain Scheme. With Snowy Mountains 2.0 underway it is a hive of activity. I called into the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre on the northern edge of town. This was a great place to start. It was free entry and they had a 20 minute show on a huge 3D screen that gave a run down on how the Snowy Mountain Scheme came to be, it’s construction and the plan for the next stage. There was heaps of information there to digest and it was good to do this before venturing up into the mountains as it gave you a great understanding of everything that was going on in the area.
The landscape south of Cooma changed again as you start to get into some bigger peaks and coming into Jindabyne just took my breath away. Absolutely beautiful. It was a steep descent into the town via the dam wall. Jindabyne is a quaint village that is so dominated by the vastness of the lake which is one of the 2 major water storage areas. I had a walk around the village and along the walkway beside the lake before heading further south where you turn off for the climb up to Thredbo. The first section was the steepest climb and seems to go on forever but being 2 lanes up and light traffic in the afternoon it was no drama. Entering the National Park cost $17 (off-season rate) for 24 hours.
I stopped at Ngarigo Campground which was 8km shy of Thredbo. It was only a small campground but there were not many there apart from a school group of about 40 kids who set up tents at the far end of the campground. I am glad I had already set up at the other end of the grounds. They weren’t really noisy though and were all well behaved when I saw them the next morning waiting for the ski lift to Mt Kosciusko.
Thredbo itself is a small Village and somewhat what I expected for an Alpine Village. The place is just full of various accomodation styles from the budget to the upmarket. All geared to cater for the winter Ski crowd.
I would have liked to explore more of the area, like Adiminiby and Lake Eucumbene but I just wasn’t completely comfortable putting Rhonda through too much pressure. Which ever way you look it is just all mountainous country. Next time I will hire a car (probably from Sydney) for a week and do the area thoroughly.