Current Update – We are in Alaska having made it over the Top of the World Hwy successfully. Now in Fairbanks we have a few choices of things to do for a few days before we set off again towards Denali National park.
Blog 251 Koala Heaven – Raymond Island – March 2013
Heading back though Cann River we stopped for fuel and a car passed beeping frantically. The man parked up, hopped out and came running over the road towards us all in about 20 secs, I said to Kev “I think he knows us”. It turned out it was Kym who we had met at the Spaghetti rally much earlier. We all headed to Skip and Bec’s cafe for coffee and a muffin. Kym then gave us heaps of advice for the return journey including staying at his place. We headed off to the first of his recommendations.
We also got a photo of Skip and Bec by our bike before we left.
Detouring off the main highway we went via Marlo and ended up at Cape Conran, it was here Kym recommended we could swim. As it was a scorcher of a day, we swam in Yeerung river waterhole where there was a sandbar stopping it meeting the sea. Without Kym we would have never found this swimming hole as it was way off the beaten track. The water was brackish but nowhere near as salty as the sea and a lot warmer than the cold southern ocean. In the soaring heat the swim was bliss.
The route back followed along the snowy river from Marlo to Orbost. I managed to photo a flock of birds (geese we think) flying North for the winter this put things in to perspective for us as all our migratory birds in England fly South for the winter.
Along the route we also stumbled across this tractor graveyard.
Orbost had a cool information centre housed in the historic Slab Hut. The hut was an original family dwelling built in 1872, on a site approximately three km’s upstream from the junction of the Buchan and Snowy Rivers. The second photo was done by a local artist. The objects on the second shelf in the hut are decorated Emus eggs. Nearly everything in the hut was hand crafted in Australia.
We passed Lakes Entrance once more, this time we stopped at the Cunningham Arm footbridge opened in 1937 which was built to provide access to the ocean beach the other side that was becoming a popular tourist attraction. This bridge constructed in 2009 is the new version built in the same style and character. The pelicans underneath entertained us as they fished in the waters.
We stopped for one last view at the top looking down on Lakes Entrance, from here we headed to Kyms.
Kym and his wife Jen asked us about our trip around Australia and what were our highlights and disappointments etc. This led to me saying my only regret was not to have seen Koalas in the wild. Easily rectified they laughed, Raymond Island not far away is overrun with them and well worth the detour. For the observant among you it’s a Scottish cup I’m holding.
As it turned out the plans they had for that day were rained off so we all went to Raymond Island. Jumping on the ferry we could easily see the other side but the locals liked not having a bridge so the ferry was still in operation.
We were rewarded straight away by this Koala right by the ferry docking area, hunched up against the cold in the crook of the branch.
In the 1920′s Koalas were almost wiped out in Victoria so some were relocated to islands for their protection. The letter from the Fisheries and game stated that a consignment of Koalas were to be delivered to Raymond Island 25th September 1955 and they would interested to hear reports on how they suited island life. Well we can report there are still good numbers of Koalas living in Raymond and they have a hierarchy. There were older ones that had better gum trees and we could see differences in the thickness of fur.
They all looked sleepy and a bit fed up with the rain. When we walked under their trees they glanced up to see who it was then hunkered back down again. Kym and Jen explained they probably were mildly intoxicated from the gum leaves they chewed.
The female Koala is smaller and can breed from the age of two, she has joey’s which climb into her pouch.
We had one last challenge as we passed this locals house, to work out what all the springs meant. Can you work them out?
We left the island happy and the next day headed back towards Melbourne once more.
Our route back took us through Baw Baw NP and up in the ski resort areas on the mountains.
It was cool enough to enjoy a fire that night. In the morning we watched a kookaburra beating a bug on the stones.
We rode via Thompson dam in the morning this supplies drinking water for Melbourne. Construction of a 19km long tunnel in the 1970′s through the Thompson Yarra divide allowed water to flow from the Thompson river into the Upper Yarra reservoir. The dam was then built and ready by 1983. The tunnel which is located at the northern end of the reservoir, allows water to be transferred west to Upper Yarra Reservoir and then on to Silvan reservoir (just below Olinda where we stayed) for distribution as drinking water in Melbourne.
We took a meandering route back to Melbourne through Bunyip state park, a cracking road that rivalled the black spur route.
Our little holiday had been a real test for both me and the bike and we were pleased with how we both fared. The welded fork leg got us home safely but to be on the safe side was going to be re-enforced with a bar sleeved inside.
I was not fully fit but I only declined two of the most strenuous walks so I was well on my way.
We now had to focus on crating our bike for its onward adventure to Canada.
Next up – Show and Shine and crating the bike