Monday 2 May 2011

Snowy Mountains Trip - Day 8

Day 8 - 2/5/2011 - Lobs Hole Ravine Rd and Yarrangobilly Caves Day Trip

Today we were going to tackle Lobbs Hole Ravine Road that we aborted a few days ago.  We set off at around 8am this morning because the guide says the track takes about 3-4 hours - so we’d though that we would start early because you never know what the track conditions are like.  We entered the Lobbs Hole Ravine Rd from the northern end.

The start of Lobb Hole Ravine Road

The road was in quite good condition all the way through except for a few patches on the southern end (before the lookout) - there was a fair bit of erosion on the hills but nothing too bad.  If I was going to take the Quantum there to camp, then I would only most likely take it in via the northern entrance as the southern end was a little bit narrower and windier with steeper drops off the edges.  Also, until I get a bit more experienced towing off road then I would also feel safer if there was at least one other vehicle.

Winding down through the valley, it was very impressive seeing the type of country that the power transmission lines of the power scheme traverse.  We later found out that when they were constructing the power lines they actually fired rockets from ridge to ridge to get the cable across the steep valleys!!  Glad I wasn't the receiver!!

Typical Terrain
There was a small side track that led down to the tail of the Talbingo Reservoir.  The site looked like a fantastic little bush camp site.  Ok for a small tent or a swag and that is about it.  It also looked like a great spot of launching a kayak.

Talbingo Reservoir
We pressed on to the ravine campsite.  It was a fairly big grassy area right beside a running creek.  I imagine that it would be a pretty popular spot in summer.

Camping area
We had a quick smoko beside the creek because there was some very heavy storm clouds approaching and we still had to cross the creek to exit via the southern entrance.

The creek crossing had a rocky bottom so it wasn’t too bad.  I broke the golden rule of walking the crossing before attempting it due to the temperature of the water.  It was absolutely freezing.  You couldn’t hold your hand in the water for longer than about 20 seconds before it started to become painfull!  I did however rock hop as far across beside the line to make sure that the depth was ok and that there was no potholes or bolders that I was going to get hung up on.

Creek crossing
It ended up being slightly deeper than I suspected, it is amazing at how deceptive crystal clear water is!  It came up to just over the wheel hubs to around the bottom of the bullbar.  All good though, no water entered anywhere.

There was another camp ground on the southern side of the creek but we didn’t investigate it as the storm clouds looked like they were closing in.  The track on the way out was a bit narrower with steeper sides offering great views over the other ranges.  As we were nearing the end the rain and mist started to set in and the temperature was dropping.   At midday it was only 10deg!!!

Misty Mountains
Here is a link to the campground.

Once back out on the Link Road we headed for the Snowy Mountain Highway - on the way through we took a detour to go to the Mt Selwyn Snowfields.  Obviously there was no one there but it was amazing to see the size of the carpark for the snowfields.  Must get pretty busy there in the ski season!  These places are like ghost towns in the off season.

Mt Selwyn Snowfields carpark
We made a brief detour to Kiandra after joining back up with the Snowy Mountains Highway.  The storm was still chasing us so we didn’t worry about stopping and kept moving.

We made our way back along the Snowy Mt Highway towards Yarrangobilly Caves.  We had our lunch there - it was freezing cold.  After lunch we wandered down to see the thermal pool - the water may be a “constant 27 degrees” but it certainly was not warm enough to entice anyone to get their gear off and go for a swim!  Plus the algae was a bit of a turn off.  We decided to leave it to when we visit the area again when it is slightly warmer and have our reef shoes for the pool floor.

Thermal pool
The bottom of the pool!
It started to rain lightly as we left Yarrangobilly so we headed straight back to Tumut.  On the way home we noted a few of the free camps near Talbingo & the Blowering Reservoir.  The one near the Talbingo Turn-off was by far the prettiest camp called Jounama Creek.  The others weren’t so great -unless you were into fishing or water-skiing on the Reservoir.  The ground was very uneven on the Pines camp. The others had quite a slope to the ground running down towards the Reservoir - and they were quite close to the road.

On arriving back at camp we found that due to the orientation of the Quantum and the trees beside us we hadn’t been getting a lot of sun on the solar panels.  This was the first time that I had seen the solar regular still on the orange “half” full mode at the end of the day.  Generally even in overcast/raining days it has managed to get back up to the green light by around lunch time at the worst.  The clouds that had been coming in as the sun was setting on our clear side of the van also didn’t help.  It was the first night where I have felt that we had to ration power.  I think the battery voltage was only about 12.5V just as the sun went down.  I didn’t want the power to go below 12V so it was a very early dinner.  We cooked and cleaned up by the fading light.  The fridge was the main appliance that we wanted to keep going and also the diesel heater so we conserved power by not using any lights that night and only turning the heater on just as we were going to bed.  The lack of light didn’t bother us as we were pretty tired from the days adventure so we fell asleep pretty quickly.

View Snowy Mountains and Jindabyne Trip in a larger map

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