Aus | Beechworth - Cabramurra - Cooma - Batemans Bay | 23rd Feb '15 - 03rd Mar '15 | 5600km
To get to the highest town in Australia, sitting at 1488m, we spent almost a whole day crawling uphill. It was worth it however, as we made it to the tiny store at the top just in time to be offered the remnants of the pie oven, free of charge before they were disposed of - small victories! In the lower parts of the climb, before a significant thunder storm rolled in, we had spent large parts of the afternoon slapping ourselves in the face. This wasn’t in dismay over the choice of route, crossing the Snowy Mountains was ultimately hugely rewarding and we'd recommend it as a inland way from Melbourne to Sydney (you’re off the hook Pete!). The facial self assaults were in response to letting the infamous Aussie flies get to us, both mentally and physically, as we were going slow enough on many occasions for them to hitch a lift. Flora boasted the highest kill count, Luke just had red cheeks.
Crossing into New South Wales, and losing a some altitude, we were back into thick forest. We learnt that we were riding past Antarctic Beech trees, also found in various parts of the Pacific Ocean rim and thus acting as evidence that Antarctica, Australia and South America were once connected as part of the land mass referred to as Gondwana. Sadly, and not for the first time, swathes of forest were reduced to spindly, leafless figures after large fires.
Camping was a lot chillier up high (yes, we moaned it was too hot last week), and bands of Brumbies (Australian wild horses) were our only company on a couple of nights. We over took our first logging truck on the decent off the range, leaving the Great Dividing Range behind us and sighting the East Coast for the first time. The impression of Australia is of long flat straights, but we certainly haven’t hit them yet - it’s been the definition of undulating since Melbourne and we were shattered as we approached our next rest stop at sleepy Broulee, right next to the beach.