After a quick stop at the visitor centre in Tumut we headed down the snowy mts highway towards the National park stopping for lunch and a swim at Blowering Dam. Talking about a mud bog getting in and out of this “fake”lake! It was also a bit warm to be really refreshing but it’s always nice to get in water on a hot day.
We entered the national park and headed first to Cooinbil Hut built 1866-1905. It was surrounded by a high plains pasture full of wildflowers (many paper daisy’s- or straw flowers as my Mum used to call them) and cockatoos. On the way there we began to notice wild horses on the open plains off in the distance. There seemed to be many of them. We also saw rabbits and 2 wild dogs. They looked like a mix between a dingo and a blue heeler. Our first 3 animals spotted in the first 10 min in the park and they were all feral! The poor native animals don’t get a chance! M
There were many people camping with horses at Cooinbil hut so we decided to go onto the next camp at Cooleman Mountain which we had to ourselves. In was in a small clearing surrounded by huge trees.
Cooinbil hut built 1885 added to/repaired 1905
We love the feel of these old mountain huts. In the early 1800’s these high plains huts were used by graziers during summer periods and droughts. Some of the bigger properties became homesteads and became permanent residences. Before white man came here this area was once a part of a major travel route through the mountains to the coast for Aboriginal people to trade. It was these people who showed the first settlers the way through and the best water etc.
On the way to our first camp spot we came upon our first Brumbies close to the road. They gallop off when they see you and it looks so beautiful to see. The stallion usually stops and turns around to face you with a look of pride and one that tells you that he is the boss and these are his girls! M
We had no water near our camp, so in the afternoon we drove to the source of the same big river we had been camped at in Jugiong the night before-the Murrumbidgee. It was a tiny little creek up here and not very deep. We both got in and it was not long before we realized we were being nibbled by something. It ended up being the largest leeches we had even seen, that lived in the water on the creek bottom. We got out pretty quickly and flicked them off ! M
The next morning we headed to Coolamine Homestead which was in the most gorgeous setting and had such a nice feel. There was nobody there and we were able to walk around all the different buildings. The main house had newspaper on the inner walls to stop the cold mountain wind blowing through. We were told there was newpapers there from last century but we could only find as old as 1930’s. Still these were pretty interesting to read. One advertised electric cooking. M
These old huts are maintained by the National Park service and volunteer groups. Our outdoor club SPAN is involved in the maintainance of Derschkos hut near Mt Jagungal. M