Tag: Sightseeing

First two months on the road

Our first two months on the road

Well, what do you know? Time really does fly by, all of a sudden, we have been on the road for two months now (although really speaking, we have stay put in Canberra for the whole month)! It has certainly been a very different experience for us, we are still pinching ourselves every now and then to confirm whether this is a reality!

Even though we have just started our trip and our dream, there had been a lot happened with many fond memories. It is true when they say, ‘It is not just about the places you have been, but also about the people you have met along the way.’

We have certainly met many wonderful people, we have made some friends and have learned so much from others with different backgrounds, knowledge and experiences.

Apart from these fond moments, we have also come across some challenges. One of the main challenges we had would certainly be the tight budget we are on, it’s not easy when you have a set weekly budget and there are so many places to see, things to do and delicious food to eat! Not to mention about the feelings, when you don’t have a stable income and you see the amount of cash decrease in the bank every week.

However, it has also been a good lesson for us to learn how to use our budget wisely, be creative on spending and still visit places and do the majority of things we’ve wanted. Aren’t we glad that we have set a budget and stuck to it, imagine how worse it can get if we hadn’t?

The limited amount of space has also been a new normal for us. Yes, we have a 4WD plus a camper trailer. Yes, we are only travelling as a couple. Yet, you’ll still be surprised by the limited amount of space you will get when you pack to be travelling full time on the road for four seasons. So far, we are blessed that we have listened to other’s advice on packing only the basics and essentials, otherwise, it would’ve been very difficult for us to try and fit everything into the 4WD or the camper.

If we do run out of things, or we have realised we needed something that we didn’t pack, we can always buy again on the road. At this stage, we are using frequently of what we have brought with us, and we haven’t needed to buy anything major, apart from the little fan heater to deal with the cooler weather.

We have enjoyed our journey so far, we have had more time to learn to live a simpler live. More importantly, we have been envied by many we have met along the way, as we are living their dreams at the moment. Which we hope one day, those people would make a move and live their own dreams, before it becomes too late!

Go explore this great country!

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Our travel buddy – Curly!!

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Looking forward to the great moments ahead

Back – Albury-Wodonga |

Albury-Wodonga

Albury Railway Station

Albury-Wodonga – Connecting Victoria and New South Wales

Albury-Wodonga is the twin regional city that is located on the North-Eastern part of Victoria. With the Hume Highway running next to it connecting Melbourne and Sydney, Albury-Wodonga became the major stop for travellers on the Hume Hwy.

Although often being referred as the twin city, yet, they are actually two cities. With Wodonga located on the South of the Murray River in Victoria and Albury on the North of the Murray in New South Wales.

Albury Motor Village Tourist Park

Albury Motor Village Tourist Park

Albury Motor Village Tourist Park

For this trip, we have spend majority of our time in Albury. We stayed at a nice little caravan park called Albury Motor Village Tourist Park (http://www.alburytouristpark.com.au). It is located in a suburb called Lavington, which is just 10 mins drive North of Albury CBD.

The park is now under new management and the new park owners are very friendly and helpful. They also have plans in doing some major upgrades to the park in very near future.

The park has only a handful of van sites, so they are generally fully booked. Though, there may be upgrading to more van sites in the future. The van sites can be tight, especially with the drive thru sites, so call in early to confirm with the owners in regards to availability and van size limitation. There are other accommodation options such as various style of cabins and YHA shared dormitory.

Book early to avoid disappointment.

Book early to avoid disappointment.

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Nice wooden cabins.

The park may be small, but it comes with the lot! It has free Wi-Fi (24 hours per night stay), a children’s playground, a swimming pool, a shared BBQ area, a shared guest centre with TV and a very well equipped kitchen area. Guests are also spoiled with choice when choosing your dining options, there are various eateries within walking distance from the park, you can either drive or commute to the CBD for more options, or cook up a storm with the ALDI supermarket just across the street.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

Children's Playground.

Children’s Playground.

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Well equipped, clean and tidy shared kitchen.

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Guest Centre with dining area and TV.

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Undercover BBQ area.

As mentioned above, the new owners have plans for some major upgrades to the park in near future, so it will be interesting to see what will happen in the next 12 months.

Albury CBD

The heart of Albury is on Dean Street, spreading between Young Street and Wodonga Place. There are also a lot of shops, service stations and other supplies surrounding the CBD of Albury.

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Intersection in Albury CBD.

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The busy Dean Street.

The visitor information centre is also very close by, situated on the corner of Young Street and Smollett Street, right next to the Albury Railway Station. The staffs there are knowledgeable, friendly and willing to help.

Interesting crossing sign in Albury.

Interesting crossing sign in Albury.

Diners can be spoiled by choice if you decided to enjoy a meal in the CBD, ranging from fast food outlets to restaurants for a sit down meal. For alternative, you can walk further to Noreuil Parade, where the famous The River Deck is located. It is sitting just on the bank of the Murray and diners can enjoy their meal with a glass overlooking the beautiful Murray River.

We have found the average costs for a sit down lunch to be $15-20 per person, which can be pricey for some people.

There are quite a few attractions in Albury. The Albury Library Museum and the Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) are in the CBD and are within minutes of walking distance to each other.

The Albury Library Museum is a free and permanent exhibition showing some of the culture of the Wiradjuri people, their history and how they live. The museum also exhibition the insight into Albury’s past and some famous people who were from the town, including the famous Margret Court (Australian Tennis Legend) and Lauren Jackson (Famous Australian Basketball player).

Albury Library Museum

Albury Library Museum

The Library museum also house some information regarding the Bonegilla Story, which involves the migrants of many nations, especially the European nations, which formed the foundation of Australia’s multiculturalism.

Scarred tree and canoe.

Scarred tree and canoe.

Traditional Aborigines tools.

Traditional Aborigines tools.

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Display of early Chinese settlement.

For those who have an artistic sense, MAMA is the place to go. The entrance fee as at March 2016, is $15 per adult. Also, during the time of our visit, it was the Festival of Marilyn, which celebrates the life of the one and only Marilyn Monroe, featuring iconic imagery and artworks inspired by her.

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Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA)

 

Murray River

With the mighty Murray being so close to town, it plays an important role to the locals and tourists. There are many parklands, walking tracks and public open space along the river, and we saw many locals gathering along the river with their lunch and enjoy the river-view, or the local parents catching up while their children have fun at the playground near The River Deck, or just simply have a relaxing afternoon nap under the natural shading from the trees around.

The River Deck

The River Deck

Locals enjoying their afternoon.

Locals enjoying their afternoon.

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Children’s Playground

Albury Botanic Gardens

If you prefer just some relaxing and quiet time close to the nature, apart from the Murray River, the Albury Botanic Gardens would be another nice option. It is located at the West side of Wodonga Place between Dean Street and Smollett Street. So it is just a few minutes’ walk from the CBD. It is another popular place for the locals with their picnic lunch or a relaxing walk during the day.

Albury Botanic Gardens.

Albury Botanic Gardens.

It is not a very big park, however, it is very well maintained. It is facilitated with many park seats and benches under shades and a drinking fountain. The gardeners did a wonderful job to keep the place functioning, clean and tidy and the plants happy.

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Plenty of shaded seats.

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During the summer months, there are signs everywhere telling visitors to beware of snakes, therefore, keep an eye out for your children.

Wonga Wetlands

Wonga Wetlands is predominately a man-made area, with an ecosystem lagoons and billabong. It is aim to bring back birds and wildlife back in the area, as the construction of the Hume Dam has altered what used to be floodplains along the Murray River. Since the restoration of the wetlands, it is said to house more than 150 species of bird in the area.

A bridge crossing a lagoon.

A bridge crossing a lagoon.

Hidden wetland?

Hidden wetland?

Apart from the lagoons and bird watching, the Wonga Wetlands has also recreated a Wiradjuri campsite. It is to show visitors how the Wiradjuri people used to live, and how they used the land back in the days. It is interesting to see how they have men’s camp, women’s camp, young men’s camp, a working area, etc. When we went to Uluru and learned about the Anangu tribe, they also have a very similar camp allocation. Maybe this is a common practice for the Aboriginal tribes?

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Display of Wiradjuri campsite

Unfortunately, during our time of visit, the Wonga Wetlands is quite dry and we didn’t get to see much birds, apart from a few magpies and ducks. We hope we will have better chance next time, more importantly, we hope our readers will get to see the true beauty of the Wonga Wetlands.

We've managed to see a few magpies...

We’ve managed to see a few magpies…

...and a few ducks.

…and a few ducks.

Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk

We’ve found the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk to be the most iconic walk in Albury. It is located at the North side of the might Murray River, spanning almost 6km between Kremur Street Boat Ramp and the Wonga Wetlands.

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Information about the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk.

Along the walking track, not only do you see beautiful river scenery and wildlife, there are also a total of eleven contemporary Aboriginal sculptures created by local Aboriginal artists.

You can choose to either do only a part of the walk or in the full return trip (10.5km – 2-3hrs walk). It is a fairly easy walk with very well paved paths. You can also choose to do the walk in sections by stopping at a few stops in your car, do the full walk on foot or even ride a bike.

Nicely paved path suitable for walking, running and riding a bike.

Nicely paved path suitable for walking, running and riding a bike.

There are some pretty amazing artwork on display. You can appreciate the amount of hard work that has put into them and the messages they are trying to express through their art work.

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Goanna

Teaming Life of Milawa Billa.

Teaming Life of Milawa Billa.

Bogong Moth Migration.

Bogong Moth Migration.

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Wiradjuri Woman

Reconciliation Shield

Reconciliation Shield

In order to make the most out of this walk’s experience, we were recommended to download the ‘APositive’ app on our smart phones. Once you turn on the app and scan the QR code or images with ‘AR’ symbols, there will be descriptions and even the animated explanations from the artists themselves.

We would personally recommend to bring enough drinking water and a sun hat, especially during warmer and sunny days. From our experience, when we did the walk, it was a sunny warm day, and there were parts of the track which was close to the road and had no shade, without water and a hat, it would be a less enjoyable experience.

Peaceful and beautiful scenery along the Murray River.

Peaceful and beautiful scenery along the Murray River.

We saw more birds here than the Wetlands!

We saw more birds here than the Wetlands!

Others

There are quite a few other attraction points which we haven’t visited. Some because we haven’t arrived at the right time or season, such as Lake Hume, we were told there was only about 30% capacity when we were there, so we didn’t put it on the top of our list. Also, we haven’t been able to visit the local markets, especially the twilight market in Albury CBD, as when we arrived it was already finished (Oct – Mar).

There are some other attractions, we simply didn’t have enough time reserved for them, such as the Gateway Village, Bonegilla Migrant Centre, Bandiana Army Museum, Albury War Memorial and Huon Hill Parklands.

There is really a lot to see and explore in Albury/Wodonga, we truly believe it is much more than an overnight stop when travelling between Melbourne and Sydney. So we would strongly encourage if next time you get a chance to visit the area, allow some extra days to truly experience the area!

Albury and Wodonga are very colorful cities!

Albury and Wodonga are very colorful cities!

Back – Bemm River  | Next – First two months on the road

Jindabyne – ‘The Valley’

Jindabyne

Jindabyne is a beautiful township located 35km East of Thredbo or 178km South of Canberra.
This is also one of the major town with supplies if you wanted to visit and explore the Southern precinct of Kosciuszko National Park.
The name ‘Jindabyne’ was derived from the aboriginal word meaning ‘valley’, and what a correct description it was.

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Hills surrounding the area, no wonder it was named ‘the valley’.

Lake Jindabyne

As we were driving West from Cooma along the Kosciuszko Road, we had to come through a series of windy hilly roads as we were getting closer to Jindabyne.
It will be the same if you either continue West towards Crackenback or North towards Charlotte Pass.
When we’ve driven passed East Jindabyne, we came across a beautiful scenery.
It was the Lake Jindabyne in sight and with the afternoon sun shining across the surface of the lake, it was such a refreshing scenic change from the boring windy roads!

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Some locals with their dogs having a bit of a cool down in the lake.

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A popular swimming spot for the locals.

The lake is very popular water activity area for the locals, with many choose to have a swim in the lake, kayaking or even pedal boarding.
If you prefer to be less active, a walk along the lake side is a wonderful option.
There is a very well formed concrete path along the lake side, water refilling station, seats and plenty of natural shades from the trees and bushes along the path.

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One very creative artwork along the path.

The Lion (left) island and its cub (right).

The Lion (left) island and its cub (right).

Local Bakery and cafes

After your walk along the lake side, you can choose to relax at your local cafes and bakery.
We went to a cafe called CoffeeBeatsDrinks (a.k.a. CBD to the locals), they have a rather modern and relaxing environment inside, their menu is kept very simple and their choice to use glass jars to serve their coffee was quite an interesting idea. Not to mention, their coffees are pretty good!

Coffee in a jar?

Coffee in a jar?

Lunch at the local bakery.

Lunch at the Sundance Bakery.

Jindabyne Tourist Information Centre

There is a Tourist Information Centre next to the main shopping complex in town, it is a decent size information centre, with a cafe and cinema in the building.
There are plenty of information for Thredbo, Mt Kosciuszko, Kosciuszko National Park and surrounding towns and attraction.
The staffs there are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, there is even a theatre with a video showing information about the Snowy Mountain region.

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Jindabyne Tourist Information Centre

Getting around town

Driving around town is quite easy with the main road cutting through the heart of Jindabyne.
As mentioned, there is a main shopping area in the town, with a supermarket, local cafes, bakery, a pub and other eateries.
There is also a medical centre, pharmacy, banks, post office and newsagency to deal with any daily needs.
On top of that, there are plenty of shops to sell souvenirs, skiing, fishing and camping gear.
There are also two service stations in town for your choice of fuel.

It has everything you need in town.

It has everything you need in town.

We also took the chance to stock up.

We also took the chance to stock up.

Jindabyne town is truly beautiful town with character. It maybe a snow season town for the skiers, but this friendly town warmly welcomes you no matter in the snow or sun.
We hope to visit this town again in the future, hopefully in the snow season, where we can see the beautiful town and lake surrounded by fluffy white snow!

Back – Yarrangobilly Caves  |  Next – Bemm River

Yarrangobilly Caves

Beautiful limestone cave formation.

Yarrangobilly Caves

Yarrangobilly caves are located at the Northern precinct of Kosciuszko National Park. It is approx. 160km from Crackenback and would take 2hrs to drive each way.

There are three main attraction caves at Yarrangobilly:

  • South Glory Cave – the largest cave of all, which can be self-guided.
  • Jersey Cave – mid-sized cave, well known for the rare grey and black flowstones and its variation in formation and colour. (Guided tour)
  • Jillabenan Cave – the smallest and possibly the eldest of all caves and has amazingly delicate formation of all. (Guided tour)

You can choose to pay by the cave, two-cave pass or three-cave pass. If you can spend enough time there, we would recommend you do the three-cave pass, as we believe it is the best deal and you get to see them all at once! Some caves only offer guided tour only, and they have specific time for each tour, please phone Yarrangobilly Caves on (02) 6454 9597 to confirm the tour times for that day.

As of March 2016 the cost of visiting the caves as follows:

 

  • Self-Guided Cave Tour: $18 adults, $13 concession, $45 families
  • Guided Cave Tour: $22 adults, $17 concession, $55 families
  • Two-Cave Pass: $30 adults, $23 concession, $75 families
  • Three-Cave Pass: $45 adults, $35 concession, $100 families (Note: the family price includes 2 adults and up to 3 school-age children)

You can get the most up-to-date information from this web site – Yarrangobilly Caves Kosciuszko National Park

There is also a small $4 park entry fee per day per vehicle that applies.

Once you have finished walking around the caves, you can choose to wind down and relax at the natural thermal pool. The thermal pool car park is only a short 2mins drive from the park entrance, and then another 700m walk from the car park to the pool, which is at the bottom of the valley. This natural thermal pool is permanently heated to 27ºC and it has an adult pool and a kid’s pool. There are also change rooms available.

The peaceful environment, with wildlife presents and right by the Yarrangobilly River side, making this place a picture perfect spot to relax and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. If you prefer to be more active, there are a couple of walks in the area that can take you along side the river and explore the area.

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The well constructed thermal pool area.

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The Yarrangobilly River.

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There were a few kangaroos paying us a visit.

Due to the limited time we have at the area, we have decided to only focus on one cave, as we’d rather fully enjoy one than rushing through a couple. So at the end, we chose the Jersey Cave guided tour, and we were not disappointed!

Our guide Regina, is a very experienced, humorous, passionate tour guide. She explained a lot of the geological history of the cave formation, how the stalagmites, stalactites, columns, shawls and cave corals were formed. How the people discovered the caves and invited people to come and visit the caves in the old days. There were a lot of history behind the formation of the caves and how much man power has been put into opening the caves for the public.

On our way back, there was a section where our guide has offered us to have a taste of the kind of environment the people experienced in the late 19th Century when the caves were first discovered. So she switched off the artificial light and the cave turned into complete darkness! When she lit up a fire lighter, although we can still see her face, but the light was very limited, you wouldn’t be able to see more than 5-10 steps in front of you, not to mention any movements would cause to fire lighter to go off.

This made us appreciate the effort people put into opening these caves to the public and the danger involved when doing it! As there are sections that would’ve been very dark, difficult and dangerous to access with just candle lights or oil lamps. Also, imagine back in the days when the people who would’ve been invited to visit these caves, the men would’ve all been in suits, wearing proper hats and leather dress shoes, and the ladies were all in long dresses, boots and may even be carrying an umbrella! How difficult would it be for them to walk around in the caves in limited lighting, not well formed steps and in tight space.

It is very important to bare in mind, even though the limestone / crystals are very attractive, please do not touch any rock or crystal, as the invisible oil on our skin permanently damages the irreplaceable cave crystal.

Things to bring:

  1. The cave’s temperature is a lot cooler than the outside temperature, at the time we were inside the Jersey Cave, the outside temperature was around 30°C and the caves temperature was only 10-12°C! Please consider bring a light jacket / jumper if you are afraid of cold.
  2. Cameras are welcome, just to make sure you are not blocking other people’s view, also please check with your guide if you are allow to bring  tripod or a selfie stick into the caves as each cave’s formation maybe different and space can be limited.
  3. It maybe a good idea to bring a small torch / headlight with you. The caves itself has lights in it but if you want to take clearer photos, it’s always good to have more lighting to make sure you capture the most beautiful side of the limestone.
  4. The ground inside the cave maybe wet, so yo  may consider to bring a pair of good footwear with you.

If you happened to be in the area next time, don’t only spend time at the snow or the summit hike, spare some time at this wonderful area and see for yourselves, as cameras and photos don’t do them justice.

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Magnificent formation of stalactites.

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A pool inside the cave.

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Cave Corals.

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Simply amazing cave formations.

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If the rock is pure, you can shine your light through it!

Back – Kosciuszko Nation Park  |  Next – Jindabyne