Kevtoberfest #23 The Great Alpine Road
With the fun of Kevin’s birthday party over, it was time to say farewell and begin the long journey home. Instead of returning the way we’d come, we had planned to travel through the Alpine National Park to the ski resorts of Mount Hotham and Falls Creek. But late winter snowfalls meant the roads were closed in places and only accessible in other areas with tyre chains.
The alternative was to follow the Great Alpine Road from Bairnsdale into the mountains to Omeo, then through the mountain passes to Mitta Mitta on the other side. We’d heard the road was steep and winding, and we were warned to take it slowly on the narrow curves.
The hills and pastures of the lower alpine region were still wearing their brown overcoats, parched and bare after a dry winter.
As the road climbed we began to see signs of the change in seasons, with wattle in full bloom gilding the steep hillsides. Alpine ashes, tall and spindly, had begun to shed their old bark, revealing pristine white trunks beneath.
Even though spring had definitely arrived, winter wasn’t quite gone either. As northerners, we rarely see snow and our first glimpse of a dusting on the distant mountains was exciting. Icy remnants of long ago snowfalls remained in the roadside culverts.
We paused several times to admire the distant peaks, their white blanketed slopes in stark contrast with the deep green of the surrounding eucalypt forest.
Our frequent stops to admire the views combined with the slow pace of travel on the winding mountain road meant our journey of just 236 kilometres took more than six hours.
Lucky we had plenty to look at on the way!