The day after we left Melbourne the rain poured down and parts of Melbourne were flooded. We spent the 2 days of torrential rain with Jack’s niece in the Dandenongs.They say it is very unusual to have such heavy rain in summer. It was like a tropical storm. We slept in the house but when I checked Matilda next day she was as dry as a bone.
The sun came out on the third day and we set off for the high point of our journey, up and over the Alps. The highest mountain range in Australia. Would Matilda be up to the hard work….
We are now on the Great Alpine Way. Travelling slowly, as we always do, to take in the beautiful scenery, we stayed at 2 camp grounds before we finally reached the steep winding section that would take us almost 2,000 mts to the top. Good old Matilda, I just dropped her into second gear and she slowly made her way to the top.
On the way up we stopped at the oddly named alpine village of Dinner Plains for a look around and a coffee and lunch. Most of the shops and cafes were shut, this is the off-season. But an army of tradesmen were busy building more chalets. It was a very 5 star looking place. We found one café open and had a delicious home cooked Quiche and coffee before getting on the road again.
At the top was another alpine village of Mt Hotham but this was all closed and again the tradesmen were painting and repairing and getting ready for the ski season but oh what a breathtaking view it was from the top. We stopped and took photo after photo, every bend we went round the view just became more incredible. The aerial perspective would be an artists dream to capture. Photos and words cannot describe it, it is a scene that you must witness first hand to appreciate the stunning vista that spreads out before you. This is all the more remarkable as in 2003 this whole area was devastated by a furious bushfire that razed all before it. At first it appears that the mountains have a scattering of snow on them but as you look closer you can see it is the naked branches of the snow gums that have been stripped bare by the fire. Very slowly the new growth is appearing but it will be years before it is back to its former cover.
Now was the daunting prospect of going back down…
It was a long slow trip to the bottom. The road was winding and in places quite steep. It was low gear and steady does it. I had to stop a few times to give the brakes and engine time to cool down. It was a bit scary, but I could only imagine how it would be in the winter covered in ice and snow, you would have to be a dedicated ski bunny to come up here in the winter…
The first camp ground we arrived at was Harrietteville, a charming little village with a deciduous tree-lined main street, how stunning it would look in autumn. Right next to the camp ground was the pub. You guessed it we went in for dinner and they served local grown trout.With a glass of wine it was a great way to end a very memorable day.