Monday, January 18, 2010

On The Move Again

The oppressive heat that had cloaked the valley and caravan park had dissipated overnight.  However, the air in the Land Rover remained thick and heavy with the apprehension of would we be able to find a camping spot.  The crowds we had seen along the River and the booked out Camp Ground had us worried about what we would find at First Falls.
We made a quick stop in Bright to buy some fresh fruit and vegetables.  This small community, nestled at the base of the Australian Alps,  has maintained its character and charm by retaining many of its historic buildings built in the 1880's.  The town also boasts an impressive array of trees including oaks, chestnuts, elms, and some of the largest cedars that I have ever seen.

As we headed out of town, we decided to stop at the information center to check out the hiking in the Alpine area.  At first I was a bit worried about the quality of information we were receiving as the volunteer at the desk rummaged through a stack of 4wd maps, looking for the one that corresponded to First Falls.  Did she understand that we wanted hiking trails, not dirt roads to walk on?  Fortunately, she realized she had no idea what she was looking for and called to another women for some help.  Mary turned out to be a wealth of information.  Not only did she give us detailed information about many of the Highland trails, but she was able to give us tips on camping.  She suggested that we head to the furthest campground; because of its remoteness, its entrance was hidden and most people miss it.  She also suggested that we head there immediately and stake out a camping area since today was the day that the hordes of people would be arriving.
We made a beeline to the camp ground.  Actually the road was far from a straight line as we twisted and turned our way up not one but two mountains on small narrow roads that we had to share with several dozen motorcycle riders that thought they were all Vallentino Rossi.
After about an hour of stressful mountain driving we arrived at Alpine National Park. As we drove through the ski resort, we couldn't figure out where people skied.  There were no majestic peaks, just small bumps.  We decided we would figure it out later since we were in a hurry to arrive at the campground.  About 20 km from the resort we passed the first campground located on a creek.  The place was packed.  All we could do was hope that Mary was right.  A few more kilometers down the road our spirits rose as we passed the second campground that had only a few visitors.  As Mary predicted we went flying past Buckety Plain.  If you hadn't known to look for it, it was as though it didn't exist.  A sharp u-turn and a short drive through an arched tunnel of low lying tree branches on a very rough dirt road brought us to an open, empty meadow.  We couldn't believe our luck.  We were the first to arrive.
We picked a spot as far from the dunny as possible, and hoped that no one would come and camp on top of us.  Like a dog marking its territory, we set up our tent and set out some water containers and plastic boxes on the picnic table.  Mark was concerned that there were only two fire pits in the area, and that by staking out one of them it would mean we would have to share the area, but we decided to take our chances-- a gamble that paid off in the end.  When we returned after a 5 hour hike, we were surprised to find the campground virtually empty.  With exception of one other couple, we were the only ones who would be staying at Buckety Plain that evening.  It appeared that we had found a perfect bush spot in the Alpine National Park.


  1. Hi Maya, thanks to Mary and some good luck, it does look like you positioned yourselves in a beautiful spot in the Alpine National Park. Hope you had no encounters with one of those large falling pine cones during this trip. Yikes...

    Thanks so much for sharing your photos and experiences. Have a great day today.

  2. Hi Kathy, Mary was a lifesaver!!
    Hope your week goes well.

  3. It sounds like a great campsite and a fun drive. It looks beautiful.

  4. Marta, it was a wonderful place!