As the Great Alpine Road leaves the Ovens River Valley and begins its ascent into the Victorian Alps, the scenery changes dramatically. Dairy farms, orchards and vineyards give way to mountain slopes covered with dense eucalypt forests.
When the road climbs even higher, the view changes again. Stands of magnificent Alpine Ash, their white trunks reaching high into the sky, line the sides of the road. These beautiful trees only grow between elevations of 900 to 1450 metres and are amongst Australia’s tallest flowering plants. While most average around 50 metres, a few are almost 90 metres tall.
Eventually the Great Alpine Road reaches the tree line, beyond which trees do not grow. But here, where conditions are just right, forests of Alpine Ash reign supreme.
Unlike the silos at Thallon or the water tower in Cunnamulla, the painted water tower in Lockhart takes some effort to find. For a start, Lockhart isn’t on any major roads so you’ll need to make a detour. And, once you’ve arrived in this small Riverina town, you’ll still need to search because the water tower is almost hidden by the trees in the garden around it.
But it’s worth looking for!
Located on the main street, the water tower was painted in 2018 by two Blue Mountains artists using freehand techniques and spray cans. The mural they created pays tribute to one of Australia’s most important resources – water. It depicts a waterfall tumbling over a rocky cliff before flowing down to a creek on the forest floor, giving sustenance to the plants and animals native to this area.
If you’re on the road in the Riverina district, look out for the turn off to Lockhart. The extra kilometres will be forgotten when you do find the water tower!