Yarrangobilly Caves & The Snowy Mountains in Spring

My faithful twenty dollar Target case is packed and waiting at the door. We are flying to Sydney and catching a train to Bomaderry, where we will pick up a Ford Falcon and drive to Melbourne via Mt Kosciuszko National Park and Jindabyne.

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Train travel from Sydney airport is a breeze. We sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed a picturesque ride to Kiama. It takes about two hours. My feet were on my case, not the seat!!

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At Kiama, we usually change trains for Bomaderry, but today we were put on a bus – this is a common occurrence. It takes about half an hour by train, but be prepared for a longer trip with buses. It took about fifty minutes due to road works.

Bomaderry station is lovely. There is a great station master, who will amuse you with stories and jokes while you wait for the train.

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After picking up the car, we headed inland. Instead of staying in Canberra, we searched for a place to stay the night where we had never been before. Queanbeyan took our fancy and The Central Motel was bed for the evening.

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Although bordering in need of a cosmetic overhaul, the bed was very comfortable and it was clean. There is a good sized, fully tiled, clean pool. I recommend it as a good alternative stop over to Canberra, and much cheaper. My only complaint is the towels are small, and worn thin. They definitely need to be replaced.

They have pretty flowers in Queanbeyan.

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Ask directions to restaurant precinct. We couldn’t find it, and ended up with a rather dodgy chicken burger from a take away shop and a bottle of wine from the local Liquorland.

The next morning, after a good sleep, we checked our maps and began the two hour drive to Mt Kosciuszko National Park. 

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We stopped for lunch in Adaminaby, I had to add to my collection of BIG Aussie Things. So here is the BIG Trout.

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After a sandwich from the Adaminaby bakery, we hit the highway again. Lots of bendy roads, lined with haunting, spidery, white snow gums and the skeletal remains of alpine ash. An eery landscape.

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It was a scorching day, expected temperature in Queanbeyan was 37 celsius, though it was a milder 26ish in the mountains. The humidity intensified with every hour, it was a good day to wander through Yarrangobilly Caves, which boast cool temperatures of 8 to 10 degrees celsius year round.

There are two easy caves open to visitors. However, if you have mobility difficulties, there are many steps to navigate in both, and some quite narrow walkways. The park charges a four dollar park fee, and it costs thirty dollars per adult to view the two caves, and make use of the thermal pool. We felt the cost was justified.

The views from the walk to the cave entrance are beautiful.

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South Glory Cave is a self guided walk. The impressive entrance had me squealing with excitement. l love caves, and the unknown splendour they promise to share.

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South Glory Cave beckoned seductively.

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Just inside the entrance, the temperature dropped dramatically and the formations had me enthralled.

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There were steps hewn directly into the limestone, as well as plenty made of steel and timber to test our fitness levels…it wasn’t too bad.

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Jersey Cave is only by guided tour. There were five us in the group and the guide was a lovely young lass. Don’t be put off by the idea of a tour. It was intimate and lots of questions and stories flowed.

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Lots of impressive stalactites and stalagmites and all of the different types of limestone formations.

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And we went deeper, and deeper and deeper…

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After the cool of the caves interior, outside was humid and very sticky, we headed down to the thermal pool. 700 metres down. And then 700 metres back up. You can’t drive and it is steep.

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There are huge tadpoles swimming in the thermal pool. Apparently this is an indicator of the cleanliness of the water. Their bodies are about the size of a walnut.Water temperature is 27 Celsius.

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It was getting late, we had to get to Jindabyne for the evening. So reluctantly, we started the slow slog back up from the pool to the car park.

Rydges Horizons in the Snowy Mountains was the location for dinner and bed that evening.

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Well earned glass of wine at the end of the day. The restaurant served simple meals and the waiter had a good sense of humor. Good background music for a relaxed evening.

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The apartments were very well fitted out for long stays, with laundry and dishwasher to make it a home away from home. Reasonably modern furniture made the dated kitchen and bathroom passable.

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And the view was beautiful.

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The room included breakfast in the restaurant, which was okay, but it was hard to find a clean piece of crockery.

Before continuing the drive home, we went for a walk along the lake. It was too beautiful a morning to leave behind. There is an easy path following the water’s edge.

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With places to sit, and interesting sculptural work at intervals.

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Flat out like a lizard in the sun…

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We left the lovely Lake Jindabyne for a look at Thredbo…without the snow. Don’t for a moment think you can avoid paying  for the visitors day pass. There were five cars parked alongside ours with fines on them as we were leaving.

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There was one chair lift working, and the ski runs were busy with lycra lads and lasses on mountain bikes.

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There are ample choices of walks. Beautiful on a sunny day.

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Cakes at the bakery were not brilliant.

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Ha Ha.

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Time to head on home. I will have to do the Alpine Drive during snow season, but it is lovely without as well.

Lunch was at Khancoban. A good old Aussie ham, cheese, lettuce and beetroot sanga. An excellent little town to stop at, with an inviting village square atmosphere, and good fishing I am told. Clean toilets!

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Snowy Hydro visitors centre was a quick drop in and look. Murray 1 Power Station is situated here, the second largest power station in the Snowy Mountains Scheme. There are 10 turbines at Murray 1, each capable of producing enough electricity to supply over 95,000 houses. Hard to believe. It wasn’t running on the day we were there, so it was all quiet and layback. They have a really good video showing the work on the scheme. Usually these documentaries are dry and boring, but this one held our attention and we watched it through to the end. Well worth it.

Husband was able to power the hairdryer and partially boil the kettle by peddling one of the power bike’s. I would have good hair, and lukewarm tea!

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I had one last stop I wanted to make. Bonegilla. A place where friends and relatives had their first experiences of Australia many years ago. I always wanted to feel what it must have been like. Block 19 is the last remaining block of the 24 on the site, housing up to 8,000 people at it busiest. It is hard to imagine the reality. The lack of privacy and the cramped and primitive shower blocks. Block 19 had flushing toilets, but more common were deep pit toilets.

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This was one of the shared dormitories. Imagine this room lined with beds and full of people and their possessions. They give a false sense of how crowded it must have been. There is no insulation. Even on a cool sunny day, the interiors of sleeping huts was quite stifling.

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Huts for housing couples and families.

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I didn’t feel the presence of those who had passed through Bonegilla. It was too stark, to clean. As if the ghosts had been shooed away from the public eye. I tried to summon how those who were interred would have felt, but it was lifeless.

Old Tallangatta – beautiful scenery.

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The White Ford Falcon did a great job. A very comfortable touring car.

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