Drove through where the massive fire at Tuncurry had recently been – quite devastating and surreal!!
Headed to the Cypress Lakes Resort in the Hunter Valley – Birthday treat – had a fantastic apartment within the resort – surrounded by bush and golf course. It was very very smoky – the sun was deep orange.
Nice dinner at a cottage overlooking the grapes – Amanda's on the Edge.
Winery tour the next day – Lambloch and First Creek Winerys first up – both very nice – followed by a cheese and wine pairing with a very knowledgeable fella, great lunch - and finished with some schnapps and chocolate tasting. Great day – educational – and nice wines.
Then headed to Singleton and onto Newcastle for a nice Lunch with our Nephew – Matt and girlfriend Livvy. The drive back to Singleton was through the thickest smoke we have seen – deep orange, cars with headlights on mid-afternoon - eerie. Caught up with lots of Donna's relatives, and headed back into the Hunter – visiting Tyrells and Pepper Tree Wineries, and wandering around the very impressing Hunter Valley Gardens.
Then it was onto Bylong Valley to stay with an old GSK friend – Merran and Phil. They have a farm in the valley … cattle and sheep. Had to be done. They have successfully (so far) thwarted a Korean Co’s Coal Mine from digging up the valley. It would be a beautiful spot – except it is so dry from the drought that it was certainly not looking its peak. Had a great couple of days relaxing, eating, drinking, learning about farm life, and looking around the valley and Mudgee.
Drove to Rylstone – a tiny country town – for some of the yummiest dumplings on the planet … and then kept heading south through Sofala – a bizarre little village caught in a time warp, and past some massive fires / smoke plumes.
We decided to head to the Snowy Mountains to get away from the heat and bone dry (and unattractive) fields – stopping overnight in Goulburn.
Drove through Jindabyne and onto a camp site within the Kosciusko National Park – fantastic spot between the mountains beside the Thredbo River – although tainted a little by the black snake I nearly stepped on trying a shortcut!!!!. Decided to venture up to Mt Kosciusko – caught the chairlift up – then
walked up towards the summit – but we weren’t quite prepared for the cold so stopped at the lookout – then returned down the long steep path down to Thredbo Village. Took us a few hours – and we were stiff and sore by the end – but had to be done. We also had a bobsled ride, did another walk, and played golf at the beautiful lush green Thredbo Golf Course. We made the course look very hard!!!!. Great time of year to visit Kosciusko National Park – quiet, beautiful weather … cooler than the scorching plains, green, … could easily stay here for a week or more.
Then drove down the incredibly winding road down the side of the National Park – through some grand forests and past the Snowy River Power Station – down to Towong – where we camped right beside the Murray River …. with water flowing straight from the Snowy …. before it turns brown – was a very different Murray from what we are used to. Super spot!!!!
Then onto Yea in Victoria for our Last Hurrah!!!