15/01/2015 We took a leisurely drive today from our camp at the Colac Colac Caravan Park, through nearby Corryong to Towong where we stopped in at the racecourse to see the historic century-old grandstand. The very picturesque racecourse and grandstand were used in the filming of the movie, Phar Lap.
Just beyond Towong, we crossed the Murray River into New South Wales. The scenery was spectacular, with rolling green pastures of very fat Black Angus cattle.
On the banks of the Tumbarumba Creek, the small rural community of Tooma centres around the old Tooma Inn, established in 1879, and the adjacent General Store. Hoping for a cleansing ale, we had a look through the inn but encountered not a soul except for an angry dog out back. Minus the ale, we continued on to Tumbarumba, about 35kms north.
On the way, we stopped at the Southern Cloud Memorial Lookout on the Tooma Road, seven kilometres north. The crash of the Southern Cloud, on 21 March 1931, was Australia’s first commercial air disaster and the lookout is a permanent commemoration, at a spectacular site on Bald Hill, overlooking the Maragle and Tooma valleys. Far in the distance, we could see the north ridge of Mt Kosciuszko.
A short distance up the road, we had a look at some great bush camping spots at Paddy’s River Flats and Henry Angel, and drove the short distance in to Paddy’s River Falls, a gushing waterfall about fifteen metres high. A path descended from the upper lookouts at the top of the falls to the end of the track a short distance before the base of the falls, but it would have been a bit difficult for Di to manage so we contented ourselves with taking photos from the lookouts above.
A short stop for lunch at Tumbarumba, and we continued on through Mannus State Forest to Jingellic, located near a crossing on the upper Murray River. The Bridge Hotel was established in 1925 and below the hotel is a camping ground on the banks of the river.
After passing through Walwa, we viewed Pine Mountain which is argued to be the largest monolith in Australia at 1.5 times bigger than Uluru. The gigantic granite monolith was uplifted to its present height of 1062m more than 2 million years ago. Since then erosion has highlighted the steep eastern side, established several creeks, and in the upper area, created small rock pools which contain shrimps and tadpoles despite annual drying, and large granite ‘marbles’ 2-3.5m in diameter.
Across the river and down the Murray River Road, we next came to the small town of Tintaldra, located on the upper reaches of the Murray. The village was first established in the early 1860s as a customs duty collection point for the colony of Victoria prior to Federation. We spread some wealth at the nicely renovated pub, but unfortunately the Tintaldra store, constructed in 1864 with rough-hewn River Red Gum beams and rafters and walls made from vertical slats of Stringybark timber, was closed.
It was then back to camp, down the road from Corryong. For much of the drive, the mountain and valley scenery was absolutely spectacular, and during the latter part, we’d followed along next to the Murray River and had driven in to a number of very picturesque riverside camping spots.