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^rad^'s adventures driving across the great dividing range

Day 4 - Tuesday October 18th, 2005

Departure from Bright at 0730

Today is the exciting drive, across Australias highest mountains, a 1 lane road for about 300km (not 1 lane in each direction, 1 lane total, if something comes the other way you just hope for the best).

Soon after departing Bright you cross another mountain range into a valley, a different mountain and valley from yesterday.

Looking down from the Mount Beauty pass at the Kiewa Valley.

The drive is very picturesque, there are nice little towns, unpainted cows, rivers and lots of little mountains.

The first stop of the day is the last town in Victoria, Corryong.

The Corryong Pirate Ship! note cannons, masts, it has it all

Just out of Corryong and over the border to New South Wales and the reason for driving this way is spotted, Snow!

The drive up the mountains is awesome, lots of rain forest, areas burnt by fire, and no cars coming the other way. There are a few motorbikes travelling the same way as me, returing from the Moto GP which was on at the weekend in Melbourne.
Unfortunately you cannot see snow, once you are up the mountain it is a high plain for a long way, and looks a lot flatter than when you are at the bottom, there are areas without trees though which is an unusual landscape.
The main feature at the top is the snowy river scheme, a massive hydroelectric project built in the 1950's, rivers and lakes are dammed, and tunnels are cut through mountains, the tunnels become narrower making the water move faster and turn turbines at the bottom. I find this very interesting and read all about it at the one town on the route, which serves as a maintenance station for the hydroelectric scheme.

Typical view from the mountain plain, the trees are quite short and have been burnt numerous times

The snowy river - originally a stream I think most of this is man made

One of the many dams along the path

Australias Highest town - Cabramurra, this was the service centre for the building of the dams etc. A lot of people once lived here but now hardly anyone does. There are largely deserted rows of sheds where people used to live, they are however blessed with great infrastructure, a school, swimming pools, tennis courts etc. to share amongst the 10 people that still live here.

To go with Australias highest town is Australias highest petrol station, I guess the roof is like that to allow the snow to slide off.

Transformers - more than meets the eye

The road down from the top is equally as interesting, but with a lot less trees, I suspect they have been cut down as this is where the main ski fields are for Sydney people, Mount Selwyn.
There are a lot of rocks jutting out and snow chain bays and the road edge has snow depth gauges, but there is no snow at the moment.

It is not too far to Canberra, todays destination, once you reach the bottom of the mountains. Along the way you pass through Cooma which appears to be quite a wealthy town, around the area are many 'resorts' and 'spas' to fleece rich folks of their money as they bathe in dishwashing detergent labelled as a natural mountain spring therapy.

The motel in Canberra is a Best Western again, but its more of an apartment, it is a bit out of central Canberra but cheap, and near a shopping centre.

To find the motel I stopped at an information centre and was browsing the accommodation board when a stupid looking guy used the public phone box and said 'A little birdy told me you might have some ice cream for sale' to his pimp/dealer on the other end. Then later I was walking the shopping centre and saw quite a few people who looked like zombies. I guess drugs are the answer when you live in a city built to service the needs of the federal government.

Day 5 - Wednesday October 19th, 2005

Departure from Canberra at 0730

Today the drive takes us to the Southern Highlands, the place where people from Sydney with too much money live some of the time. Its not too far from Canberra and is made up of a few cities, Mittagon, Bowral, Moss Vale.

The main attraction for tourists is the 'Bradman Museum'. Sir Donald Bradman is the most famous cricket player of all time. The museum dissapoints. It costs a lot and is only as big as a house, sure some fo the stuff is interesting but really it should only be $2 worth of interesting, not $20.

The cricket ground which adjoins the Bradman Museum, they play charity games here featuring famous ex players, coupled with the admission fee to the museum this should outweight the GDP of many industrialized countries.

Lunch is equally a rip off! A pizza restuarant that focuses on the quality of the ingredients, far more than quality of whats served, flavour or presentation. The pizza is bad, but I am sure most people think its great when they see the price.

Theres lots of shops in the southern highlands to walk around and not buy anything at, dinner is at the mittagong club which is an interesting experience.
This is again a club whos main point of existance is to re distribute the funds of poor people to a few rich folks via slot machines, so the meals are cheap. Normally the meals are of high quality but not here, once you are in its too hard to leave you get a number and a position in the queue before you can see whats on offer.

I guess the good thing is it was cheap, I would say it was worth about as much as I paid.

Not too many pictures today sorry!

Day 6 - Thursday October 20th, 2005

Departure from Bowral at 0730

A small town in the southern highlands is Berrimah, which features a training jail! Apparently there are real prisoners in it but the prison guards/drug dealers are trainees. I wonder what qualifications as a prisoner you need to get transferred to the training jail?

Breakfast is great, at a place called the White Horse Inn

Great breakfast to be had here, a favourite spot of prisoners on a trainee escape exercise

The drive back to Canberra is planned to go on back roads as much as possible, and to my surprise we drive right past the largest rubbish dump in Australia, owned by who I work for, I had no idea it was on the back road I chose.

In the afternoon its time to go to Parliament House! Parliament is not sitting but you can walk around the whole place and look at pictures of politicians and various aboriginal paintings, aboriginal embroideries, aboriginal sculptures etc (to make up for the lack of aboriginal politicians and to make people feel good about the succesful invasion).

I am surprised you can drive your car right under parliament house into the car park with out security, due to sedition laws I wont take that thought any further.

The outside of parliament house - despite being fairly new it looks badly dated

The Senate - where politicians too offensive to be voted in directly sit and overturn the decisions of the people that come up with the ideas

The House of Representatives - where the people that win seats based on their personality and ability to not offend anyone sit

View from the roof of parliament house, yes it really has grass on the roof, perhaps they should allow sheep up their to graze. Canberra is a new city built around the government, so its all properly designed, from the top of parliament you look towards the tomb of the unknown soldier - which is the new global trend in war rememberance tourism.

Dinner tonight is at Montezumas - a mexican style franchise which started in Adelaide, I have never been so I try it in Canberra.

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