Hello Everybody. We are staying in Orbost for a few nights as we make our way to Mallacoota. Orbost is 375 kilometres east of Melbourne and 235 kilometres south of Canberra where the Princes Highway crosses the Snowy River. The park we are staying at is set amongst trees and is very picturesque. The town is small but has the necessary essentials.
Today we went for a drive following the Snowy River to the town of Buchan. The town is situated adjacent to the Buchan River, in the Shire of East Gippsland, upstream from the river’s junction with the Snowy River. It is about 69 Kms from Orbost.
Buchan was affected by the fires in the new year and until you drive up there you really cannot comprehend the extent of damage and the area that the fire covered. To stop in the middle of these burnt areas is eerie. There are no birds or insects that you would usually hear in these dense bush lands. Only silence and the blackness of the trees and the ground. (Although I did spot one really large fly on a tree!!) Signposts have wilted in the heat as have the white posts that used to line the edges of the roads.
As they have had rains here which were of course welcomed with open arms, the soil washing into the rivers from the black hills and gullies turns the rivers a very dirty brown. I did hear one local say it is affecting the fish in the river.
As we were driving, we came across four horses running along the road. The fences on just about all of the properties are pretty much non-existent. New ones are being erected but this will take months to complete. We did talk to one of the local property owners and he said he had never seen anything like it and never wants to again. I admired his courage when he was speaking with us, but you could also see his pain.
All I can say is if you are travelling this way call in and support the locals. I have seen fire devastation before but not on this level. Our hearts go out to all the locals in any of the fire affected areas. In the photos we have you will see green grass in parts. This is due to the rain that has fallen in the last few weeks. Before that the paddocks were all black. The trees are shooting but a lot have been lost and a lot more will still perish.
But there are signs of life in some areas. We were stopping to take pictures of tree ferns that have sprouted up when Chris spotted a ‘Lyre Bird’. We also saw one kangaroo. In some areas near the river flowers are sprouting and bees and butterflies are thriving. There are also lots of wombat burrows down near the river, but we were not lucky enough to spot one.
MELTED BRIDGE – As we were driving we came across an old bridge and noticed the huge steel girder that had melted and warped from the heat of the fire.
We went for a drive here as we were meant to stop here on our way to Orbost but didn’t. Doh! And if you want photos, google. It is obviously on the coast and a very popular place for tourists going by the amount of hotel and caravan parks. We enjoyed an ice cream and went for a walk over the lake on the pedestrian bridge and to the beach, which is still part of the 90-mile beach.
STONY CREEK TRESTLE BRIDGE
On our return trip from Lakes Entrance and nearly into the town of Nowa Nowa, we came across this old trestle bridge. The bridge was built in 1916 and was in in service for over 60 years when the bridge was damaged by bushfire in 1980, with the last train crossing in 1987.
This is where the great Snowy River meets and flows into the sea. Marlo is about 16 Kms from Orbost and about 385 Kms east of Melbourne. There are lots of holiday units available for the summer holidays, general store and of course a pub. We went for a walk along the coast and you could see a line of black along the shore. This is coal that had been washed down the river and into the sea.
We kept heading east from Marlo and came across more fire affected land. The fire burnt right up to the ocean in places here. Unfortunately, the road to Cape Conran was shut due to the cleaning up of burnt trees, but we did stop at a place called West Cape. It had lots of rocks and is known for crayfish. The Joiner family lived here back in the early 1900’s and made a living catching crayfish and shark. They would then take their catch to Lakes Entrance for selling. The Joiner family were also well aware of the dangers on the coast and came to the rescue of many a fisherman.
We are off to Mallacoota now and we will be there for a week. This very popular coastal town has also been severely affected by fires. Chris hopes to fish and catch fish!
Until next time… thanks for following. 🙂