Alright, it's finally happened. As you read this quality offering from me I'll be inching my way to Canberra on the Australian Alps Walking Track. Before I could leave though I had one last food drop to stash in the hills. Sam decided to come with me today, probably because she wanted to make sure that the food drop went in safely and that she was really going to get rid of me for a few weeks;) I also bribed her a little with the promise of lunch in Walhalla after our morning driving around the hills. So, before first light we were on our way, yep Sam was real happy about that!
|The Walhalla to Matlock Road was in very good nick on today's drive.|
After my usual breakfast of champions, which we picked up at The Golden Arches, we soon turned off the highway and headed for the hills. I know this area fairly well as I use to come up here with the old man in the truck when the Thompson Dam was being built, it was a lot more comfortable drive in the ute than it was back in the day in the semi-trailer, that's for sure. We were heading up to Mt Selma Road this morning and I was very pleasantly surprised how good the condition of the dirt roads were, normally these roads are absolute goat tracks but today all was good. Incidentally, if anyone thinks that they might head up this way then use the road over the Thomson Dam Wall and not the road up from Walhalla-that one is still pretty rough. Anyway after a bit of poking around the scrub looking for the right spot I stashed my food, marking it with the GPS and saying a prayer that it's still there in a week and a bit.
|Hmm, what are the chances of me finding these boxes again?|
With my food safely hidden in the bush it was time to head down to Walhalla and fulfill the lunch part of the day. Before eating though we decided to take a bit of a walk around this beautiful old mining town. Parking the ute at the northern end of town in the North Gardens Campground we climbed up a short steep pinch to access an old tramway that contours along the west side of the valley above town. This old tramway makes for very nice level walking and we slowly made our way south, stopping fairly frequently to admire the views through the trees down into town meant that we weren't doing it too hard today. After passing the old Long Tunnel Extended Mine we continued on to meet the Australian Alps Walking Track near Long Tunnel Mine, I figured that I may as well take a photo today as you never know what the weather is going to be like later in the week when I head through loaded shown with all my gear.
|Leaving the North Gardens Camping Ground we climbed up onto the old tramway.|
I'd grabbed an old book by John & Marion Siseman to use for notes on this little stroll and with the book dating back to 1993 (yes, you read that right) I wasn't exactly sure how accurate the information would be. The main thought that I'd had was exactly were was my last opportunity to descend from the tramway down to town level, my mud map was less than helpful. After passing Long Tunnel Mine, which came complete today with it's own bag-pipe player perched on an old mine footing serenading the town below, we continued on south along what was now the AAWT. With the town slowly passing us by in the valley below and with no sign of another track to get us down into town we eventually realised that we would have to retrace our walk back towards the Long Tunnel Mine, not a hardship really as we are only talking a few hundred metres.
After descending the unmarked old fire track that zig zagged down through the mine tailings we crossed Stringers Creek on some stepping stones. The rest of our stroll involved a gentle walk up and down the main street through town, first up though I convinced Sam to climb up the the old cemetery to check it out before we continued on to the railway station at the southern end of town, last time I was here I took the short trip on the old train from the Thomson River Bridge into town before I headed off on a walk and I'd highly recommend this little train trip.
|This is the last easy chance to get down off the tramway at the southern end of town.|
Today though we we gave the train a miss and head back up through town to find somewhere to eat. Walhalla isn't a place that you have to be a walker to visit, there is a lot to take in even if you don't want to walk more than a few metres. With our appetites successfully sated we continued up through town passing the rotunda and the Star Hotel on the way. The beautiful old buildings continued all the way back up to North Gardens, the locals really should be proud of this little town as most of the historical building are immaculately presented, on a nice sunny day like today it's hard to take a bad photo here. Arriving back at the ute our afternoon's stroll was now over, all that was left was the two hour drive home.
This is a very easy walk. We walked around 6 kilometres and climbed about 120 metres on todays stroll. I say around as my GPS didn't overly like the steep sided valley as we walked down the tramway and went into it's value add mode whereby it added distance to my stats while it struggled to get a good enough fix on a some satellites. I'd recommend a visit to Walhalla to anyone, there are enough things to keep the kiddies occupied - underground mine tours, old time lollie shop appeared to be favourites with the younger folk. The historical side of town will no doubt have the older generation enthralled and there are a few options for the rest of us if you want a drink or a feed. Like I mentioned earlier I used some notes written up by John & Marion Siseman from their old book Melbourne's Mountains, to be honest these old notes are of very limited use but really if you are not venturing out of town you can't really go too wrong wandering around Walhalla.
|We had an almost perfect spring day|
|There are plenty of old decommissioned mine shafts around town if you look hard enough.|