Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Christmas Day Journey

After a Christmas brekkie of cold cereal with yogurt and a 2.5 hour leg stretch that included our Christmas gift from Mother Nature--a Swamp Wallaby--it was time to hit the road.  We knew that we would be leaving the plains of Eastern Victoria and heading to the highlands.  We had a region picked out, but we had not mapped out specific destinations because we wanted flexibility--especially since we couldn't be sure of crowds and/or fire bans.

We were leaning towards heading to Mt. Buffalo National Park which is located in the Australian Alps. We were drawn by the promise of "sheer cliffs, imposing granite tors, tumbling waterfalls, snow gums and stunning wildflowers" (  However, we were concerned about being able to get a campsite, since at this specific park there is no bush camping.  We had read some conflicting information about the National Park; some sources stated you must have a booking during high season but others said there were several spots in the campground that were on first-come basis.  We had tried to call the Park directly, but they were closed for the day.  At least we were able to confirm that there was no fire ban, which meant we would be able to eat a warm meal.  So we decided to take a gamble and headed to Mt. Buffalo.

The drive was long and the last 30 plus kilometers were slow going as we wound our way up a steep mountain road.  This part of the journey was made in silence.  We were anxious, not from the twists and turns but because we were unsure of finding a camp site.  If there was no space at the "inn," it would mean a long drive back down to the valley and a night at a trailer park.
All of a sudden the tall cliffs that flanked the road gave way to a large meadow and there in the center lay the alpine Lake Catani.  We had reached the top and the scene before us was breathtaking.  Now our only deilmma was whether or not we would find a camp spot.

At the entrance to the campground we were greeted with a sign that said sites 1 to 18 for non-reservations.  Our hearts began to beat quicker, and we broke into an internal cheer as we found the only a couple of those sites occupied.  Our journey for the day was complete and in the end well worth the risk.  After checking in with the camp hostess, who didn't say much except that we could take an empty spot and a ranger would be by in the morning, and a short walk around the lake, we settled in for our Traditional New Mexican Christmas Eve meal of Tamales and Posole.  A day late, but it was delicious.


  1. Hi Maya, that's a very beautiful lake and scene to have spending your day later Christmas Eve meal. Looks like it was definitely worth the worry of finding out whether there was going to be a vacancy there. Looking forward to reading more about your experiences.

    Have a great day.

  2. It looks beautiful. And congrats on finding a spot. We went camping one 4th of July without reservations and found everything taken so I know how anxious it can be.

    I hope you are doing well in the heat. It sounds pretty dangerous right now in SA.

    And thanks for reporting the my blog is showing up again. It was frustrating trying to get it solved.

  3. Kathy, the place was enchanting and I will post more about it.

    Marta, we were glad to have found a spot, but....more to come. Anyways one thing that we have found was that if there isn't hot running water at a campground here in Australia you can probably get in.
    No worries about reporting about your blog, just glad you got it solved.