This article was written for and originally appeared on Home Camp
After a week in the Grampians, we headed east along the Great Alpine Road towards Mount Buffalo. Having visited Australia a few years ago but never stepped foot in the alpine region, I was keen to spend some time travelling slowly through the National Parks. The twisting roads and mountain views were similar to what we had left behind but on a much grander scale.
As we neared our planned camp spot that evening, the mountain tops were bathed in soft orange light as the sun began to dip beyond the horizon. That night we sat around the campfire under crystal clear skies formulating a plan for the next few days. We decided to spend the following morning exploring the waterfalls in the area and then drive almost 1,800m above sea level to The Horn to watch the sun set. Kleus- our trusty little van- only just made it up the steep incline, squealing at every hairpin as the engine struggled to maintain forward trajectory. But, the struggle was worth it as we were treated to a magical sunset whilst we cooked dinner at the top.
The following morning we drove further east, leaving Victoria behind and entering NSW and Kosciuszko National Park. We spent that night camped in Thredbo, from where we would climb to the roof of Australia. I don’t know what it is but I like to climb to the highest point (within reason) of every country I visit.
And so, the following morning, armed with my tent and camping gear, we set off from Dead Horse Gap along the winding single track path through the snow gum forest. The leafless forms of the gum trees against the cobalt blue skies was a strange sight, and in the 35-degree heat, I wished the gum trees had leaves to offer some respite from the sun. Ten kilometres of well-marked paths through alpine meadows, filled with blooming wildflowers lead to the viewing platform from where we caught the first glimpse of Mount Kosciusko.
The last remaining snow drifts were clinging onto the mountainside, avoiding the inevitable. To be honest, it was a bit of a shock to see snow during the summer months, despite the fact we were at 2000m above sea level. We met a local who explained that this high plateau is a playground for cross-country skiers through the winter.
As we reached the summit, a hazy glow was cast over the landscape as the sun began to retire, so we decided to head down to Seaman’s hut for a drink before pitching the tent. One of many mountain shelters, Seaman’s Hut was built in 1928 after Laurie Seaman died skiing in the area. I love visiting mountain bothies in the UK so it was interesting to see a mountain refuge in the Australian mountains. Unlike bothies in the UK, Seaman’s Hut is only for use in emergencies so I found a sheltered spot to pitch the tent for the night.
The following morning, after a relatively chilly night outside, we awoke to a beautiful sunrise with just enough time to boil some water to make a coffee sat in the doorway of the tent. Mornings like this one are what travelling is all about for me- waking up outside and enjoying time spent in nature.
The early morning stroll down the mountain back to the van was calm and peaceful. We didn’t see a soul until we reached the chairlift station, and by that time we had veered off the track towards Dead Horse Gap and into the snow gum forest once more.
After coffee and eggs back at the van we began our long journey to the coast where our journey would continue. It had been a wonderful few days wandering through the hills and I could have stayed for weeks longer. Next time, perhaps.