Sunday, February 14, 2010

Australia Day Weekend - Part 3 - Willis, Victoria to Dalgety

This will be the final real installment of this camping trip.  As I write this it is a dark and rainy morning in Yass, and yesterday was a dark and rainy day as well.  We spent the day away from home yesterday, at the Queanbeyan 4WD Spectacular.  We arrived before the rain set in proper and were able to have a good look around.

Enjoyed it immensely - kudos to the organisers for a job well done.

As our broken tent had thrown what passes for planning out the window we had a swim in the 'mighty' Snowy River after we had set up the campsite and over dinner we had a talk about the plans for the next day.  After a bit of trolling through the maps and guidebooks we decided that we would head to Seldom Seen, the Mackillop's Bridge and Delegate River where we would leave the dirt and Victoria, for the drive to Dalgety, where we wanted to go Platypus spotting.

The maps showed a place called Suggan Buggan as the first town we would pass through and they indicated that there is an historical school house in town.  The history surrounding the school is a bit foggy in my mind, but it seems that the schoolhouse was built by the station owner Edward O'Rourke in 1865.  O'Rourke apparently had 13 children!

The school is worth a look, and the apples for sale in bags, hanging on the fence were great.  However that was the only thing for sale in Suggan Bugan.

Exterior of the historic school

There is camping at Suggan Buggan on the river.  It looked like there were toilets at the site as we drove by.

We hit the tar briefly south of Suggan Buggan as we headed for the Seldom Seen Roadhouse - which we have now seen!

The Seldom Seen Roadhouse fell victim to the 2003 bushfies, and the business was burned to the ground!  The owner and his dog survived by taking shelter in the dam.  He has since rebuilt.  We chatted briefly as the cats, dogs and chooks wandered about.

The driveway

The servo

This is a fairly remote and wild part of the country, and for the business to survive is a testament to the owner.  If you are down this way help him out - buy some fuel or supplies from him.

We then headed back north and turned east, off the bitumen again heading past Little River Falls, which were rather dry, and then on to McKillop's Bridge.  The road through here, while surrounded by spectacular view, is described on the Parks Victoria website as 'one of Victoria's most precarious roads...' and I agree.

The view

I haven't got a photo that gets the idea across, but the road between Little River Gorge and MacKillop's Bridge is signposted as being unsuitable for semi-trailers and caravans.  If you are towing a camper trailer you may have difficulties if you meet an oncoming vehicle as you may have to reverse a considerable distance to a spot where passing is possible.

Little River Gorge is, I'm told, the deepest gorge in Victoria.  The road is very close to it and in places single lane, with no guards.  If it is wet I would avoid traveling here.

 With the most precarious road out of the way we came to MacKillop's Bridge.  It is a pretty cool bridge, being about 250m long and about 20m above the waterline of the Snowy River it must have been a feat of engineering to get it built.  Actually, it was a feat, the first bridge was 15m above the waterline, and when the Deddick River flooded a few days before the official opening, and the bridge was destroyed.

The area is renowned for it's silver mine, interesting bush walks and 4WD tracks, so again I think worth a return trip.

Approaching the bridge
Crossing the bridge

In a fairly short period of time the road improved markedly...

We passed through Deddick township ...

That's about it

  We followed the Deddick River cross country until we joined the main road which took us back to NSW and then up to the township of Dalgety.

We intended visiting friends in Dalgety, but when they were not home we decided to set up at the local caravan park. I have decided against 'reviewing' caravan parks, but this one was cheap, cheerful and after a quick dip in the Snowy River we were more than happy to make use of the shower block.  After three days without a shower we were fairly keen for a bit of a clean up.

And a cuppa

Kudos to the chaps in the Dalgety pub who fed and watered us that night while we waited for our friends to return.

When they did they took us to the Snowy River and we spotted the elusive Platypus, just on dusk.

The next morning we had a fairly standard pack up the gear and head for home.  This time it was a drive up the Monaro Highway, through Cooma, Canberra and then on to Yass.

So there in a nutshell is the way we spent Australia Day and the few days before it.


  1. I have a friend who has always wanted to go to the outback, and I think she would just love this blog! Thank you so much for sharing! Feel free to visit me back :)

  2. NJ Camper - thanks for the nice words. Feel free to let her know, although the part of Australia featured on here to date is not really what Aussies call the outback. Check back late April early May - we will have done an outback trip by then!
    Had a look at your blog. Thanks for the pointer.