The Snowy River Corridor: Pre-tour reading about The Barry Way and Snowy River Road - Lake to Lake Sitting on a Thorn - CycleBlaze

The Snowy River Corridor: Pre-tour reading about The Barry Way and Snowy River Road

The Barry Way and Snow River Road

The far south east corner of mainland Australia is endowed with national parks, state forests and wilderness areas. Heading due south from Jindabyne to the sea following the Snowy River corridor will pass through some of the best conservation areas. The blue line marks about one-quarter of the total Canberra to Melbourne ride. It is the most remote section of the ride.
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A highlight of this ride will hopefully be the 230 km section from near Jindabyne down to coastal Gippsland on The Barry Way and Snowy River Road. The route roughly parallels the Snowy River which winds 500km from Mt Kosciuszko (Australia's highest mountain at 2228 metres) into the Bass Strait near Orbost.

This vast area of big hills and remote valleys is important for nature conservation, as it is relatively undisturbed, remote from any settlements and sustains a wide variety of vegetation, animal habitats and geological formations.

From near Jindabyne, the route passes through undulating grazing country dotted with Snow gums and Blakely's red gums. The road enters Kosciuszko National Park and becomes dirt at the settlement of Ingebyra about 34km from Jindabyne.

The road descends steeply through sparse, dry vegetation from the Wallace Craigie lookout with views south to the Snowy River valley and across four wilderness areas - southeast to Byadbo, south to Tingaringy (with the Snowy Wilderness beyond) and southwest to the Pilot wilderness area. Further on, Jacks lookout has views to the north over the rocky gorges of the Snowy River valley, Pinch River and Jacobs River.

The Snowy River has a notable place in Australian folklore and history thanks largely to a popular 1890 Banjo Paterson poem "The Man from Snowy River", several movies, a TV series and even a musical.

The river itself is a mere trickle compared to what it was before water diversion to the massive Snowy Mountains hydro power scheme since the mid-1950's. Thankfully it has been granted a new lease of life over the last few years thanks to better environmental management and rainfall after a decade of drought. It will be interesting to see if higher flows are making a visible difference to the health of the river.

Camping sites with basic facilities along the Snowy River and Jacobs River include:
Willis camping area (picnic tables, fireplaces, toilets and an information display
Scotchies Yards camping area (picnic tables and fireplaces),
Running Waters camping area (picnic tables, fireplaces and toilets),
Pinch River camping area (picnic tables, fireplaces, shelters and toilets) and
Jacobs River camping area (picnic tables, fireplaces and toilets).
Past Pinch River, access to the Snowy River is restricted to only a couple of places, including Half-way Flat, which has a toilet, fireplaces and picnic tables.

Willis was the name given to the area that lies on the border between Victoria (Alpine National Park) and New South Wales (Kosciuszko National Park) on the Barry Way.

Archaeological surveys of Willis have revealed that the region has many Aboriginal and European cultural heritage sites, including scarred trees, stone scatters (flakes and tools of quartz, flint and chert), rock cairns (constructed by Alexander Black when surveying the eastern or 'straight line section' of the Victoria-New South Wales border in 1870), and old stockyards from the droving of cattle between Gippsland and the Monaro.

Before the Australian states were federated in 1901, a customs post operated in the Willis area. The Snowy River corridor is a lush corridor through an otherwise dry and harsh landscape. It provided a passage for Aboriginal people, and later for European miners and graziers as they travelled between Gippsland and the Monaro.

All going well, it will provide a passage for our small group of cycle tourers. We have information of flood damaged road surfaces and the road being closed to motor vehicles because of a damaged bridge but it is very likely we will be able to get through on our bikes.

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