Rutherglen to Mt Beauty

While planning our South-East road trip earlier in the year an unexpected message came through from a group of ex-Burnley Horticultural College student friends. The chance to spend a weekend catching up in Rutherglen with them just couldn’t be missed so we ‘tweaked’ our itinerary a bit. We travelled from Rylstone to Rutherglen with an overnight stop in Young where a cold gusty wind kept us sheltered inside for the latter part of the afternoon. The next day we continued to Rutherglen with a stop in Chiltern for a walk around in the sun enjoying the old buildings and the temperate Spring gardens.

It’s such a long time since I have seen temperate gardens in Spring – distantly familiar plants with names I have mostly forgotten although I occasionally surprise us both!
Many old buildings to admire in Chiltern but this is the only photo I could manage without a modern car in front.

The Burnley gathering was joyous! We had many memories to share as well as much talking about the years since. While a few of us had kept in touch sporadically there were some people I hadn’t seen since 1980 and it was such fun to renew the connection. Butch and Mira hosted the weekend superbly with some in-house guests in addition to a few caravan/camper guests parked in the garden and front paddock. Arrivals were a bit staggered as people travelled from all directions including one fly-in from W.A. However, we were all together for lunch on Saturday at The Pickled Sisters Cafe which just happened to be attached to a winery. The cold wind made the idea of a walk along the river less appealing so we crossed the NSW border into Corowa and visited the Bald Archies exhibition which everyone enjoyed.

This was followed by a visit to Valhalla Wines and some more tasting and purchasing before returning ‘home’. The remainder of the afternoon was happily filled with conversation as we gathered in different small groups. Conversation continued as we consumed a magnificent Saturday night meal along with some delicious wine. A viewing of some old photos provided many laughs and more stories before the evening finished.

On Sunday morning there was a big exchange of contact details followed by many hugs as we prepared to depart. We didn’t have far to travel and by lunchtime we had arrived in Mt Beauty to spend some time with Allen’s Mum, his sister and her partner. We have a lovely quiet caravan site with a pleasant view and all necessary amenities close by.

Mt Beauty sunset from just outside our caravan

Mt Beauty was built in 1947 by the State Electricity Commission (SEC) after the township at Bogong Alpine Village became too small. A town created specifically as accommodation for workers on the Kiewa Hydro-Electric Scheme, which was developed between 1939 and 1961, tourism now makes a significant contribution to the town’s economy.

A view of Mt Beauty township at the southern end of the picturesque Kiewa valley. The large ‘lake’ is the pondage which fluctuates in level depending on whether power is being generated.
Mt Beauty pondage circuit is a 3 km walk easily completed in 45 minutes, an exercise which is popular with both visitors and locals. On the town side of the pondage we passed a neighbourhood centre which includes a cafe, a men’s shed, the school, a playground and the town library.
A couple of white-faced herons enjoying the morning sun.

As Allen and I walked around photographing some of the Spring flowers we were cheerily greeted by locals enjoying the beautiful sunny morning.

Flowering Dogwood with Azaleas making a pretty picture in the village garden.
Azalea mollis spilling over a garden fence
Viburnum softening the look of a metal garden fence.
Another glorious Azalea collection along a garden fence

We’ve also made a few trips out of town including one lovely day out to Corryong to visit family.

Mt Kosciuszko with the last traces of snow as we drove towards Corryong.

And we have been out enjoying the natural world as well as pretty gardens. The photos below were taken along Shady Gully Nature walk, very aptly named with vegetation reminiscent of the Dandenongs.

Beautiful clear running water in Mountain Creek.
Dicksonia antarctica also known as Soft Tree Fern or Man Fern. This gully had many beautiful examples.
Majestic Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans)
Yellow Admiral (Vanessa itea)

As we drove into the Kiewa Valley last Sunday there was only a little snow left on parts of Mt Bogong, Victoria’s highest mountain which overlooks Mt Beauty. We made the most of several beautiful sunny days before the weather changed yesterday. It is now bitterly cold with gusty winds and snow is falling again in the mountains. I am so very pleased that we are living in a caravan and not a tent!

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