Our afternoon walk was around the reservoir. We can’t actually see it from the caravan park as there is a bank around it. We enjoyed the walk, though it meant that the pebble beach walk along our creek will have to wait for next time.
It was another beautiful, clear, frosty morning yesterday. I walked over to the cafe near the entrance to the caravan park for a coffee. We were easily able to be ready to leave by 10.00 a.m. One of the people who said we could do the Great Alpine Road over to the other side was the woman at the Visitor Centre. Her advice was to travel in the middle of the day because the ice left behind by the snow ploughs would have melted from all the vehicles travelling on the road.
Stephen had also asked the caravan park manager about the road, and advised it was doable, but the final word was from the snow chain provider in Harrietville. He had a look at our vehicle and I noticed him checking our tyres. He was also confident that we could do it. I was prepared to turn around if he had doubts. As I got out of the driver’s seat to greet him he said ‘good morning young lady’, later seeing my driver’s licence he would have realised just how much he had flattered me. I guess he just wasn’t expecting me to be the driver.
Several times as we drove slowly up long steep sweeping slopes I regretted the decision, but later in the day, when it was all over, it has left such a feeling of accomplishment that it all feels worthwhile. Plus, it was only about 150 kms all up from Mount Beauty to Omeo that it surely beats going all the way around. We were indeed coming through in the middle of the day and didn’t encounter any obvious ice, although the trick with ice is that it isn’t actually visible.
Once through the resort at the top the rest of the journey has had very few steep areas, and even those seem easy in comparison with our journey yesterday. There were lots of warning about ice on the roads so we still took the slopes cautiously, but in authomatic most of the way. We stopped for lunch at Dinner Plain (so named because the mailman used to stop there for his dinner (what we usually call lunch) on the way. So the story goes. It is also a snow resort, but less frantic than Hotham, and less snow as far as we could see.
We stopped again at a viewing point where we could see across the alps to Mt Kosciuszko. We thought of staying the night there, but it was cold and we still had to drop off our snow chains. Although it was known that we wouldn’t need them it is still a legal requirement to carry them. We were also shown how to put them on the wheels.
There are two free camping spots in Omeo, one in a park near a creek and one in a field next to a hotel. We looked at both, but it was hard to find a level spot that wasn’t under trees (and the trees looked gleefully ready to drop limbs on us if we stayed under them). So the pub it is. Stephen went in to check about staying overnight. Later he went back to get us a couple of ciders. I wasn’t feeling up to being in a pub, and given we are in our fifth wave and most deadly stage of the virus, it would be risky as well.
We had a lovely peaceful night here and ran out of gas in the morning. I only put the heater on at 4.00 a.m. as I didn’t want to use too much gas and it’s also noisy when it starts up. We’ve switched on the reserve tank and will have to get a replacement today.
Today we are heading down to the Victorian coast where we have some choices of overnight places to stay. And it won’t be as cold.