Book 12 – Omeo to Healsville and the end!

We had a week off in Omeo at the lovely caravan park. We re-shod ponies, went to the Omeo show which happened to be on, were looked after by Sandi and Lou and the rest of the campers at the caravan park! A special thank you to the lions club from Trafalgar who looked after us so well, and even invited us over for a coffee on our way through to Melbourne to do some jobs! They were brilliant and we really enjoyed chatting and learning from them. We had Mal and Shirley and some family arrive and it was nice to have some backup and company for a while!

We got everything sorted and packed, backup vehicle supplied with REAL food and took off into book 12. Thanks to John for all the advice about the area – it was invaluable!
Short day to Upper Livingstone creek, nice and flat and a stunning campsite with mountains of grass… it doesn’t get much better! Then a small climb up to Dogs grave which was a lovely camp with a hut but didn’t have a lot of grass…. its amazing how good having hay in the vehicle feels 🙂
The next day was a little more challenging as we dropped down into the upper Dargo river – the motor home got to the bottom of the hill in a cloud of smoke from the brakes but survived – lucky it didn’t have to come down the stock route as it dropped off the side of the hill – it would have been a quick trip down! The trail then wound along the river – a lovely ride, but beware of the 4WDs and motorbikes on the road! Camp was another good one, great grass and water, so we took the chance to have a rest day and fill up the horses as we had heard from here, the feed gets poor. I could think of worse things that sitting in the bush, with good company, reading a book!
Mal and Shirley left us as we headed onto proper 4WD tracks, but we would see them later on again down the trail! The day across to Talbotville the boys ate up. A big climb up, then down the otherside, it was our first day with big views of the high country and it was spectacular. We were surprised to find good grass at camp! Another good little camp, National parks Victoria have put a lot of effort and money into maintaining and setting up these great camps. We did a quick reccy of the shortcut which was totally overgrown, so the next morning we set off early as we had 40+km to do, up and over a 1000m climbing, and it was fairly verticle. We hit Wonangatta station at 3pm and we pretty tired from the day. We met lots of 4WDers who were brilliant and pulled over where they could and were always up for a chat! The temps had started to rise and the creek was lovely and cool – the first time I have been able to get fully in the creek since we left!!!
We were due for a rest so the next morning we said goodbye to our backup crew and pottered around finishing jobs. It was very windy and hot all day and into the night. We  knew a cold change was coming – we just didnt realise how quickly it would hit us.
The climb up to Howitts hut was a steep and rocky single track, but again the boys showed how fit they were and climbed like champions. It started out warmish, but about 3/4 of the way up, it started snowing. It was so hard I had to put my sunnies on to stop it from hurting my eyeballs! At the top we had 2 choices – camp out on the plains or turn left to head for the hut. Because of the weather, we opted for the hut, and I am so glad we did. When we arrived, we met Julie and her mule who had been stuck there for 6 days already with a stone bruise. We chatted all afternoon whilst we kept the fire going. The poor boys were outside in the wind and the cold, but at least there was brilliant grass to keep their energy up. It would have been lovely for a rest day, but we pressed on to try and get out of the awful weather.
Butchers country spur is a rough little track and we had been told there was no water and we should expect to do 40km. Luckily, Pine Creek was running and there was snow grass, not the best camp, but not the worst and better than doing 40km! Down the spur was pretty rough and I ended up with a bruise on my backside as I hit the deck a couple of times walking down the hill. The McAlister was lovely, but we made a rookie mistake of passing what was a possible campsite – it was a small area but there were no more camps suitable with a horse further down the river. We pressed on to Rumpfs flat, and were rewarded with lots of grass – we later found out that National parks were on strike and not mowing campgrounds…. Lucky for us!!!
After a rest day, we headed off up Lazarini spur. We found middle ridge track and got 750m before it became overgrown and hard work. So we turned around and headed out along the road which was definitely the long way. About 8km from camp we hit the Barkley River Jeep track, which is the rockiest, roughest 2km of the trail. After making our way up it, we came away unscathed – I was suprised to find no cuts on the horses legs at the rocks were pretty sharp. Onto Lazarini spur and found camp, which was awful. Small area, and minimal grass that was underneath weeds, and the camp was 1km down the track in a small spring. Having already done 36km we toughed it out and stayed there, knowing there was grass at tomorrows campsite at Knockwood. After dinner, we were suprised to see Ailenor and her horses with backup arrive! It was lovely to meet her and trade stories! We even had a glass of champagne with her which was fitting, as we hit 5000km that day 🙂
Dropping down Lazarini spur was the day I started loosing things – i left reins on the side of the hill (lucky they ride in a Halter!), I lost my jumper on Mt Terrible, which was not so terrible, and 2 fly masks along the way – It will be like a treasure hunt for Sue and Bob as they come through!!!
Big river horse camp has no grass and bucket water, so we found a campsite to stop for the night. Not alot of grass but the horses scavenged well. We knew it was going to get warm, so we were up at 4, leaving at first light to beat the heat. Lucky we did. We arrived at Royston River to find not one blade of grass – swapped the pack and off we went to Kepples hut. 53km and we arrived to find the grass around the hut had been mowed that day. What were the chances!!!! A lovely little hut not far from Marysville, where again, the picnic table was the mobile phone reception area – if in doubt in Victoria, Stand on a picnic table and you will get reception. It has to be something they have planned!
With no grass for a rest day, we headed into Marysville where we were re-joined by Mal and Shirley with their motorhome and hay! We were tired from the last 3 days, having covered 120km with minimal grass. But the boys proved again how tough they were, maintaining their 5km average for the 120km (that includes all our stops for drinks, wees etc and the hills). Once we hit Marysville, we were able to start relaxing. We had put a finishing date on our trip so family could make it out … we had a week to ride 50km! So we rested, rode 5km to Andersons mill, rested, rode 17km to Jo and John Kaschs where we had such a lovely time and really enjoyed getting to know them and had 2 days off while family and friends arrived. It was so nice to relax before our final day into Healsville.
We woke up on the 12th of December, saddled the horses, then rode off into the early morning. It was 0 degrees on top of the hill and was very cold! My brother, Mal and Shirley walked out with us, then sent us off to finish the day by ourselves. It was a strange feeling know it was our last day on trail, but at the same time it was just another day!
We didnt rush along, and stopped to pack up the packhorse, so our family could see how we rode the whole way. We dropped down the ridge towards the finish line and the temperature started to increase which made us happy! The we wound down to camp where we could hear people chattering away and we knew we were almost there. We popped out to find a group of people waiting for us and we climbed over the finish line (which was quite high!) to greet everyone. I was fine and wasn’t teary until every single person there was choked up and that set me off! It is such a hard emotion to explain – happiness, relief, pride and gratitude towards everyone that helped us along our way, especially towards our boys who had no idea what they were doing, but walked every single day ( mostly without complaint)!!!
The other day I was asked if I was lost without the BNT now we had finished. My answer was no, but I’m sure I will be missing the lifestyle in a couple of months. The trip has been one of a lifetime, and we have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges it has presented. I have learnt SO much, and the trail has changed both of our lives for the better.
We have to thank every single person who helped us along the way, from a smile and a wave, to a hot meal and a shower, to those who did back up for us and those who went way above and helped shift horses and gave us a place to live. The trail wouldn’t have been the experience it was without meeting every single one of you and we are lucky to have made some lifelong friends along the way.
Thank you to the BNT and those who give up their time to volunteer for the cause – the trail wouldn’t be there without you, and all of the help and information is vital to keep the trail open.
P1050011
At the finish
P1040826
Julie and Wendy
P1040829
Howits hut
P1040838
P1040851
Butcher Country Spur
P1040854 P1040866
Mc Alister River
P1040871
Rumpfs
P1040875
P1040890 P1040902
Out of Rumpfs                                              Barklay River Jeep track
P1040903
Top of the jeep track
P1040911
5000km
P1040955
Kepples Hut
P1040962
Feed time
P1040979
P1040993
The morning of the last day

Book 11- Youak to Omeo

With full bellies and resupplied we set off into book 11. We meandered through the youak valley with green grass and fat stock, then headed up lone pine trail, our first real hill and just a tease of what’s to come! Half way up the hill, we entered Kosciusko national park…. finally! We have heard so much about it and feel like we have been waiting forever to get here!  It was interesting to see the scrubby undergrowth that was obviously a relic of the fires that had gone through.  It was beautiful riding and the day seemed to go quickly. We encountered or first brumbies about 800m from camp at old camp site. They had a young foal worth them and took off pretty quickly.  The boys were on their toes at the sight of them, but settled soon after. Camp was a set of yards  with 2 toilets, and there were already some ponies in the yards.  It turned out that the section coordinator was running a tour group from there and they invited us to camp with them and spend a rest day with them. We were spoiled by jen and Peter with beautiful food and great company. The girls on the ride were hilarious and we had some good laughs even if we got rained out!  On our rest day,  jen took us to see the old currango homestead and the plains where the highest concentration of brumbies are in knp.

Our next stop was meant to be circuits hut,  but on peters advice we headed to Schofields where there was more water. During the ride,  laurie became sore which was a bit upsetting.  We gave him some painkillers and decided to wait to see how he was the next day.  It poured all night and the boys weren’t very settled. ..we slept with one ear open being in brumby country without yards.  A wet a windy day where we followed PowerLines down to lake eucumbene for a lovely camp at denison.  Great grass and water with tables and toilets.  We were being spoiled with the creature comforts!  Laurie walked well so we decided to take 2 days of for him to heal and see how get went after that.  We chatted to the fly fisher men, some of who didnt eat fish so we had a lovely brown trout for tea one night. I grabbed a ride into adaminaby fire a shower at the pub and to grab some more real food! !!!

The ponies slept and ate green grass,  and had 3 escapes from the fence. .. we think the wallabies may have been knocking it down.  The boys thought it was great and had a midnight adventure into everyone else’s camps!

Over the next 2 days laurie would look good for 95% of the time and a bit sore intermittently. When we got to bradleys hut we decided to find him a paddock and leave him to heal.  Thanks to Peter and Bec who drove out to pick him up and took him back to their place.  I had a bit of a tear after he left, but know it was the right decision for him.  .

It was freezing up at bradleys hut with winds of 80kph and weatherzone told us it’felt like’ -7. In the morning, our 4l water bags were slush with ice! We had some his company that night from phil, a guy passing through using the shelter overnight.  It was nice to chat to him and we appreciated the chocolate and milk power he shared with us! While on our rest day at bradleys, preston was mistaken for one of the fugitives on the run and we received a visit from the national parks gut who was ready to press the emergency button!  He was relieved to find it was just 2 crazy people and 4 horses camped in the hut.

The other 4 ponies weren’t perturbed by lauries disappearance and they took off without a backwards glance.  A big downhill to a lovely camp at jagumba,  then uphill to yellow bog (the book says it’s flat. ..its not) where there wasn’t alot of feed. We then followed the power lines into khancoban where we erred greeted with enthusiasm by the new owners and made very welcome.  The boys helped with the mowing which was a win win situation.  We stayed in a cabin (luxury) as it promised to rain and rain over the next 2 days.  We stayed out and again were touched by the generosity of strangers lending us a car to do some shopping in corryong for our days off. We met Charlie the coordinator (and unofficial mayor of khancoban) and Ken,  of Ken and Sharon,  who completed the trail in 1989. It was amazing to trade stories and compare how the trail had changed in the last  25 years. They had 12 horses and drove them through,  leading not 1 the whole way.

Rested and recouped from a real bed and hot showers,  we said goodbye to the caravan park and headed off to Victoria.  2 days of fairly easy going with yards each night and we were camped across the Murray from Victoria. The new boardmans run was much nicer than the bitumen alternative.  Thanks so much to jenny who brought our food drop down to tom groggin. We had lovely meal with jenny and her riding friends on ton groggin station and then took our last rest day in NSW. The ponies must be fit,  as they were into everything.  We made a rookie error and went to sit in the shade without fencing off our gear.  We came back to find a hole in the tent 1.2m long,  copra all over the ground,  and someone had tried to eat a roll of toilet paper as it was mangled,  wet and green! We patched the tent as black cloud rolled in,  but we didn’t get any rain to test or handiwork.

Here we come victoria! I declared as we crossed he Murray and headed up the Davies plain track.  We had heard so many stories about vic… mostly bad /tough, but some good and it was time to find out what was true !

We climbed up to 1750m before dropping into the hut. .. it was cloudy and miserable so we were glad for shelter.  The poor ponies had to weather the cold. .. i don’t think they know whether it’s summer or winter! We were suprised to see a group of 13 boys hike in and set up camp. .. there were 16 groups of them all across the mountains on their 21 day grade 10 camp. We camped with them at Davies plains and down at Charlies creek where they took their brumby watch very seriously and all followed as preston cracked the whip and chased them away.  They all stood back and applauded!  In not sure they were so impressed with the bells they got to listen to all night. .. but we might have done their leaders a favour and stopped them from asking a million questions a minute?

The trail then descends deeply into limestone creek where you follow and old jeep track to stay off the 4wd track.  It was slow going as we had to cut or way through,  doing 1km in an hour,  but across the creeks it opened up and we followed brumby pads out to camp.  Camp was lovely big flats but plenty of signs of brumbies.  Bundi was on patrol for us and let us know what was going on. We then headed for a place called brumby hill which was probably the worst camp we have had so far.  Boggy and little feed.  It lived up to its name and at about 2 pm we heard a rumble as 2 of them galloped towards our boys who were hobbled out in an attempt to get some feed into them. Preston yelled ” brumbies” and i ran,  flat chat towards them.  Well i probably would have been frightened if i saw that sight too, they left 3m skid marks as they hit the breaks and took off into the bush again . We were glad to leave that camp.

 The next day was a big day which brought us to bindi station.  It was rocky,  and hilly. 1500m down to 800m, back up to 1200m to undulating then drop to 400. Big day.  We were happy to see feed at bindi. … in fact it was clover up to my knees high.  Amazing.  We put the boys in the “chewed out” paddock and they were happy as pigs in mud. We were shown the shearer s quarters and had a hot shower. Thanks so much to penny and Fraser for their hospitality.  We were chatting to them and found out the they never send anyone the way we came in as is to hard. .. there is a much nicer ride.  And the same with the next day to omeo.

With our alternative route in hand we headed towards omeo and the end of book 11. A 40km day and we were shagged, but happy to see the rolling green hills of omeo and the prospect of a good rest.

We set up camp at the caravan park after being welcomed by Lou and Sandy and had a great meal at the pub.  A week here to shoe and do some other jobs,  and we will head into our Last book. It’s getting close !!!!

So far it has been tough but no where near as bad as what we had been told, although i hear the worst is to come in book 12! Healsville here we come!

 

 

P1040520

Bundi at the highest point on the trail

P1040533

Bradleys Hut

 

 

P1040585

Youak Valley

 

 

 

P1040574

More powerlines

P1040568

Cheeky ponies

P1040545

Overnight at Bradleys Hut

P1040603

Checking out the cows

P1040604

The ripped tents

P1040615

That’s Victoria!

P1040622

 

P1040634

Davies Hut

P1040678 P1040668

Some Brumbies                                                Nutella Pony

P1040646

Brumby Tracks

P1040641

Charlies Creek and our fellow campes

P1040639

Brumby in the mist

P1040681

 

P1040689

 

P1040693 P1040695

Brumby hill – our pick was Craig and Shirley for the horse shoes????

P1040702 P1040708

The hills never look as big in photos

P1040427

BNT and Alpine walking tracks

P1040422

Oldfields hut

 

P1040394

 

P1040385

youak valley

P1040721

P1040450

Schofields hut

P1040459

Dennison and sleeping ponies

P1040463
P1040471

Our break in Gundaroo

Our break in Gundaroo.

 

After finding a paddock, jobs and a little Barn to rent, we settled in to Gundaroo and have had the best time living here. It is close to the city if you need it, but far enough away that you are out in the bush on the weekends! You have the best of both worlds!

The locals are so friendly and we have made some great friends here – nice town and great company… how much better can it get!

Since we have been here, we have done a heap of things, but there is definitely more to do! I went to a horsemanship course in Sydney which I thoroughly enjoyed, we went up to the snow, down to Batemans Bay, camping at Wee Jasper and visited some friends in Sydney, just to name a few.

We had a lot of BNT reminiscing with Sue, Bill and Bob when we went down for a visit, and with Craig and Shirley who stopped in Gundaroo to do their book launch.

I was lucky enough to find a job that I have really enjoyed, and the girls at work have been so lovely.

One of the highlights of the rest stop was definitely on September 4, when Preston presented me with an engagement ring, which I have to brag that he designed and made himself (well with a bit of help from his sneaky offsider Cheryl!! ). I am happy to say that my answer was yes, and we are happily engaged. This BNT trip has definitely been a life changer for the both of us!!! I also had my 30th birthday here and I was lucky enough to have Mum fly down for the weekend. We have had a lot of big life events in this little, unsuspecting town!

The boys have also enjoyed their break, putting on so much weight that we had to get our saddle re-fitted …. They not only have been gutsing the brilliant grass, but having fun chasing the sheep around the paddock and galloping from grass patch to grass patch. They have not only fattened, but muscled up through their toplines thanks to the flat work and ground work we have been doing with them. They should be plenty fit enough when we get on the road again.

We have to say thank you to all the people we have met and loved spending time with… Phil, Jo, Hamish, Lachie, Col, Tanner, Lamby, Matt, Lyndal, Billy, Marsie, Libbie, George, Alarna, Dan and last but definitely not least of all, Kylie and Jimmy. Words cannot express how grateful we are to all of you who took us in and made us feel at home almost instantly. We look forward to seeing you all soon J

We are looking forward to this section of the trail as we have heard many great things about it – we have also heard how tough it can be and have been prepping ourselves for the steep hills as well! We have bought 2 ½ months of food to get us through, sorted it and sent it forward to different points on the trail. We prepped our gear, made new panels for our pack saddle as it had worn enough for us to replace it so it would make the end, ordered replacements for any broken or worn out gear and set out a rough timeline for the next couple of months. We are prepped and ready (we think!) for the next 1000km to go…..

The Creb Track

Creb Track

 

On our way to Gundaroo, we had the idea of heading back up to Cairns for a couple of reasons. Our idea was to hike/bike the section of the BNT that we had missed up there while we were still fit and before we found jobs and started to pay rent! Our plans came into fruition, and we left the boys in a 60 acre paddock with sheep for company – we would know whether they could handle the cold temperatures by the time we got back and whether they would need constant rugging or not.

 

We took all the gear we might need for our hike with us, and in between catching up with family and friends, we prepped ourselves and borrowed some bikes. Gav, Rob and Indy drove us up to Ayton where we had made the decision to float around to Mossman as the rivers were too high to cross after Cyclone Ita. After smoko, we got on our bikes and rode to the start of the creb track. Rob and Gav then picked up our bikes with the plan of meeting us on the other side of the daintree river in a couple of days time.

 

On our own again, we were greeted by a steady uphill but at the top were the most magnificent views over the rainforest, the river and the ocean. We continued walking along a dirt road and ran into lots of cars travelling in and out – some locals, some visiting the roaring meg waterfalls. We were surprised by the number of people that we saw! We stopped for some lunch which was a novelty for us – normally we continue to camp so that the horses are carrying load for less time, and so they get more time to eat. Shoes back on and the first couple of steps were a bit wincy with some new blisters starting, but we made it to camp in good time, and found a lovely little spot next to a creek. We could see evidence of Carol and the boys, and Jackie and Gibbo, both who had camped with their horses on their journeys north and south respectively. We spent the afternoon with our feet in the river which was lovely and cool, until we looked at the sky which was threatening rain. We set up camp before the light sprinkle started and managed to keep everything nice and dry.

 

Shoes on (with tape over those newly formed blisters) and we were packed up in 20 minutes after breaky and on our way to complete our 25km day. The night before we had been trying to send a message from our sat phone to let Gav know we were travelling well, but found out our credit had expired. All we could do was keep going and hope we would run on time and Gav would show up at the other end like we had discussed! We wandered along as the track deteriorated and ended up in washouts and step ups and downs – there were signs informing 4WDs that they were not allowed in and in case of a vehicle getting stuck, there would be no rescue attempt. if found, there would be a on the spot $2000 fine. Despite the closure, we saw multiple vehicles heading through the track which was pretty slippery from the recent rain. Wandering along the track, we were talking about gav and the Sat phone – no joke, we walked around a corner to find a free to landline telephone sitting by the side of the track. Wondering if it was an illusion, we picked up the phone, dialled Gav who picked up – we couldn’t stop laughing in amazement! We had one hill which took about 20 minutes to climb and 30 to descend, but it was pretty smooth sailing. We hit camp by 3 o’clock and decided to park about 5m above the river which was only ankle deep at the crossing. I peeled off my shoes to find some pretty nice blisters – the one on my R little toe was actually the size of my little toe. I decided to burst it and tape it the next day which was alot more pleasant than trying to fit my foot back into my shoe.

 

Overnight it rained. And rained. At one point I wondered whether I was getting wet, but decided there was nothing I could do about it so I just went back to sleep. Morning came and we peeked out the tent to find the creek lapping the bottom of the tent, and underneath my sleeping mat was a stream of water. We packed up all the wet gear, took our shoes off and walked across the swollen creek – it was now up to my belly button and we had to try and lift our backpacks and keep them out of the water! The track was extremely slippery and we were both glad we brought out hiking poles… despite this, I still ended up on my bum, sliding down 2 of the red clay hills, laughing my head off! The last challenge of the creb track was to cross the daintree river, which is well known for its huge crocodiles. We scanned the crossing quickly, decided the water was too shallow, clear and moving too quickly for the crocs and proceeded to cross the knee deep crossing no worries at all.

 

From there we switched to bikes for the 45km ride into Mossman. Despite the headwind, rain and flat tire I got 4 km out of Mossman (it was a hard slog from there) we made it. Itis a pretty good feeling knowing that the BNT is now complete up to Gundaroo… 4300km done and dusted!  

P1040193 (Small)

At the start of the Creb track

P1040200 (Small)

 

One of the many creeks along the way

P1040205 (Small)

Selfie!

P1040209 (Small)

Random phone in the middle of the bush

P1040217 (Small)

The river before it rose

P1040233 (Small)

P1040236 (Small)

It was pretty slippery!

P1040252 (Small)

The daintree crossing

P1040188 (Small)

Indy dog lending a helping hand

Book 9 – Gundaroo

Beginning of Book 9 to Gundaroo

We had 4 rest days with the McCourts, the section coordinators around Shooters Hill. We spent hours chatting everything from family to the obvious – horses and the trail. The horses had a much needed rest and filled up on hay and water whilst the temperatures rose slightly. We are so grateful to Hazel and Martin, and are sure that we will remain great friends.

A highlight of our rest days was our little treasure hunt. We got a message from Di and Judy (the walkers we met in the Wang) which told us they had skipped ahead to Canberra because of the cold weather. They also said that we were more than welcome to their food drop, and gave instructions on where to find it. So all 4 of us set out to find this package. We hunted high and low in pine forests with LOTS of tree stumps… we finally stumbled along the correct one and with a cry of “Found It” we loaded it into the car. I couldn’t wait to open it and explore the contents – even though it was dehydrated food, it was different, and it was exciting.

While on our rest days, we decided that as the temperatures had dropped and the weather was on and off rainy, we were going to try and carry rainsheets/winter rugs for the boys to help them out through the next section. To do this, one of us had to be off walking at all times, and the 2nd riding horse now became a pack horse, carrying the extra weight on his saddle. We also knew that we wouldn’t be on the road for much longer as we had to find somewhere to stop, live and work while winter passed and we waited for the snow to melt on the Snowy mountains.

Hazel rode out with us for an hour or so, then left us with the promise of dropping out to see us while we were still in their section. The next day as we headed off, the rain started… and continued all the way to camp. It was a wet, soggy walk and we were happy to be greeted by a hut. It even had an undercover parking space for the ponies so our gear stayed relatively dry while we unpacked. It was cold, rainy, and there wasn’t a lot of feed, so we were so grateful when we saw a car pull up – it was Hazel bearing Hay and horse feed. If the boys are happy, so are we.

As luck would have it, it was sunny the next morning so we packed up and headed towards Taralga. Again, we are so grateful to the people along the way as the boys were offered a big paddock over night, outside which we found our first BNT granite marker for the whole trip! We hit Taralga the weekend of the Working Dog show, which was great for some entertainment on our day off. We had a visit from Di and Judy who had finished their walk, and were heading up to do another walk on their way home. Our rest day was rainy and wet, but as we headed off towards Crookwell, the sun popped out for us. Half way into the day we made the decision to push all the way through to Crookwell in one day, which made it a 42 Km day. Half way through the day, the horses all got swapped over.  After the halfway point, it was like Dusty knew that he had to pull the rest of us and the boys to camp. He put his head down and did not slow up from his 6.3km an hour walk for the whole 21 km. It was amazing to watch him and just gives me goosebumps thinking about how much effort and work that horse has put into our trip. He is the ever reliable one, and seems to know when he has to dig deep and pull everyone else along. He is one amazing horse. We arrived at crookwell and were put up in the bull shed – nice and dry. It also happened to be the weekend of the Brew and Bake Festival and there were hundreds of caravans there, so we headed over for all you can eat camp oven dinner and the biggest camp fire you have ever seen – we were pretty happy. We just happened to be sitting next to Chris, Nigel, Ingrid and Mark who were from Canberra and have relations in Gundaroo. Talk about a small world! They were a great help to us when arriving in Gundaroo organising ourselves, and we greatly appreciate everything they have done for us – they are such kind people!

After a rest and our coldest nights yet at -5 degrees, we woke up to a frost and decided to let that melt before we packed up and head towards Canberra. It was a fairly flat section of trail that travelled past a lot of windmills. We were quite surprised at how far away from them you could hear them… one night we felt like we were camped close to the highways, but after 5 km ride the next morning, we realised it was the windmills making all of the noise.

This part of Australia has so much history – we were riding past buildings that we hundreds of years old! It’s a pretty special part of Australia with lots of fertile pockets of land. No wonder our forefathers decided to grow sheep and potatoes here!

2 nights out of Gundaroo we arrived at camp to find it dry. The boys had had a good drink about 3 kms earlier and the temps were quite cool, and we were promised water 2km down the road in the morning by the guidebook. So we camped dry. As luck would have it, a lovely lady we met by the side of the road text her friends who decided to come out for a visit – with hay, and a tank full of water of the back of their ute! Talk about trail angels. The horses were happy with the drink they got, and it turned out well as the water promised by the guidebook had been fenced off onto someone’s land. Steve and Tracey stayed for a while for a chat, and came up with lots of offers of short term agistment while we found somewhere for our horses to live, which we are so grateful for.

Riding into Gundaroo we kept thinking about what we were going to do for the winter. We knew we had to get our car down here, so that was our first priority. We turned up in Gundaroo, settled the horses in, then headed up to the Gundaroo Pub – If you need to know anything in town, the local pub is where you will find it! We found our there was no public transport into Canberra, and couldn’t manage to find someone heading into town the next morning, But Chris and Nigel and Alarna came to our rescue! We met Lamby, a local, who proceeded to call Craig and Shirley (2 BNTers who had obviously made an impression on the locals and were still in touch with many of them) and we chatted to them for an hour or so. Lamby then introduced us to Kylie and Jimmy who offered a paddock and a horse truck for us to camp in, which we happily accepted while we sorted our lives out. We still cannot believe the generosity of people.

So it looks like we are in Gundaroo for the winter, and now just need to find somewhere to live and work…..

4150km down ….

 

P1040114 (Small)

Undercover Horse parking!

P1040110 (Small)

Welcome to the Blue mountains

P1040106 (Small)

leaving Shooters Hill

 

P1040187 (Small)

Almost at Gundaroo

 

 

P1040184 (Small)

Dusty Checking out the view

P1040177 (Small)

Lots of Windmills

P1040154 (Small) P1040151 (Small)

Taralga

P1040146 (Small)

Almost at Taralga

P1040133 (Small)

Our first BNT granite marker

P1040125 (Small)

Wandering along the road

P1040117 (Small)

Ready to head off!