The Tour of the Snowy Mountains got underway on Monday 21st November. 8 Cars gathered for an early morning coffee before hitting the road, included in the fleet were 2 Boxsters, a Ferrari 512TR, a Bentley Continental GTC, a MG Rover V8, a Mitsubishi 3000GT, a well loved Mercedes 300CE and my early 911.
|1st Fuel at Marulan|
We started with a trundle out of Sydney and down the Freeway to Marulan for the first of many refuels. Once topped up life became a lot more enjoyable as we headed onto some fast and flowing back roads through Tarago and onto Bungendore. The pub is being renovated so lunch was at the cafe next door where the hotel kitchen has been set up. The meals were huge and very tasty. Back on the road we skirted Canberra before heading down the Monaro to Cooma. Here we headed onto another series of back roads across the high plains to Jindabyne then up the Alpine Way to Lake Crackenback Resort.
|Lake Crackenback Resort|
If you have not visited Lake Crackenback, you should. It has been a pleasant surprise for every group that we have taken there. The units are large and comfortable, the setting magnificent and the food is always very good and reasonably priced. We managed a group dinner in the cafe, lots of laughter and some very tall tales.
|Across the Dam at Jindabyne|
Tuesday was a bit of a slow start, something to do with dinner I suspect. We hit the road about 10 am, grabbed some fuel at Jindabyne before discovering more back roads on the way to Adaminaby. From here the road climbs into the Snowy Mountains National Park. The scenery is breathtaking and the road is superb, on a previous tour here one 911 driver leaped out at every stop exclaiming, “That, is the best road I have ever driven.” At Kiandra we turned off the Snowy Mountains Highway and headed towards Cabramurra and Khancoban.
|Into the mountains “Safely” Kiandra|
On this 90 km stretch there are virtually no straights, just one set of bends after another, up and down mountains, through alpine meadows and dense forest. This is the type of roads they have in mind when they build sports cars.
The Khancoban Hotel was the only spot for lunch. The staff were very welcoming and for the 2nd day straight lunch was way bigger than I needed. The locals took great interest in our cars with lots of pictures being taken. Khancoban is on the Murray River and was an accommodation base during the construction of the Snowy Scheme.
Leaving town on the Alpine Way you immediately start climbing into the mountains, past one of the large Hydro Power Stations. 20 km from Khancoban is the Scammell’s Spur Lookout. This offers a stunning view of the main range from a lovely forest setting. A further 30 km on is the Tom Groggin rest area. This is worth a stop as it sits on the banks of the upper reaches of the Murray and is a great picnic spot. Mobs of Kangaroo graze, totally uninterested in the passing cars. Just across the river is Tom Groggin Station the setting for Banjo Patterson’s Man from Snowy River. A lovely spot.
|Dead Horse Gap|
Leaving the rest area is the best part of the tour, over the next 20 km the road snakes it’s way up the mountain to Dead Horse Gap, climbing over 1,000 metres along the way. The road surface is smooth, the bends constantly changing and the scenery stunning. We stopped for a pictures and a few laughs at the top before heading quietly past Thredbo and onto the resort for the night.
|Dead Horse Gap|
|High Plains Dalgety|
Wednesday brought the only car problem of the trip when a battery died. A few quick calls to Jindabyne located a replacement and with a minimum of fuss we were underway again. Out of the mountains we headed along some amazing high plains roads to the hamlet of Dalgety and onto Cooma.
Carefully watching the speed limit up the Monaro before turning left south of Canberra and into the Brindabella Ranges where great roads hide. The surface is getting a little bumpy but I cannot believe that such delightful roads exist so close to the heart of the nations capital.
The group started to go in different directions after Cotter Dam although most met again at Marulan where we filled up. I was distraught to find that my 2.2 litre Porsche used 30% more fuel that the 5 litre 12 cylinder Ferrari.
A big thanks to all who came along on the tour and made such a great success. Stay tuned for the next Driving Adventure.