At Bairnsdale we found there was no accommodation as the DNRE (Department of Natural Resources & Environment) and the CFA (Country Fire Authority) were in town en masse. We moved on towards Bruthen and finding nothing there either, headed for Omeo. The road was splendid in the afternoon sun and I enjoyed the drive in that open golden light. Gentle, rolling, hills, clear, smokeless sky and bitumen underneath was a respite from concern for me.
Omeo is a beautiful town. I found it quite a surprise. Nestled in these smooth, brown hills with clean distinctive buildings, we found a unique and effective accommodation for the night and enjoyed our brief time there.
There were lovely plants and I got up early and had breakfast in the local bakery surrounded by CFA brave souls who had also filled that town to protect from the surrounding fires. I read that Omeo had been severely affected by fires in 2003. There were posters on the wall describing the effects of a great firestorm that had ravished the area and then the flooding rains that followed had created harmful environmental consequences as unprotected topsoil had washed into the water supply.
From Omeo we headed towards Jindabyne on an amazing road that passed along the Snowy River. The road that passes through Suggan Buggan is one that has to be experienced to be believed. It is a slender dirt road that winds along a cliff that looks out onto vast treed ranges. There is no room for error on those roads. We stopped at one point to take photos after a few kms, and a weary driver stopped to warn that it seemed to go on forever, he looked tired and concerned and wanted to know how much further he had to go on this road. He had traveled from Queensland and was heading towards Tasmania. I had already began to feel queasy from the height and his stress made a deposit in my mind! Andy remained his usual calm self and loves the challenge and adventure of roads like that.
Entering Jindabyne was majestic. The lake is vast and it is surrounded by mountains. It is quite a big place really although much of the commercial nature was subdued as it was summer and it is the snow that draws the crowds in places like that. We attempted to get a spot at the caravan park, yet it was booked out. We searched for landmarks from the film we had recently seen, ‘Jindabyne’ (which I loved and will possibly write about later). We stayed at a ski lodge and it began raining and we were glad we weren’t in the tent.