We’ve made it to Perisher! And, oh my gosh, what an interesting drive.
It was a long drive; 14.5 hours plus stops from Adelaide’s CBD to Perisher’s Ski Tuber terminal at Bullocks Flat. It has been a while since I’ve done a road trip that long, but it had a few odd and amusing moments.
Adelaide to Ouyen
We left straight from work on Friday afternoon, having packed the car up in the morning. It was a nice night because the rain had finally let up and the skies were clear. We took the M1 past Murray Bridge and went over the River Murray as the sun was setting. Just past Tailem Bend, we turned onto the B12 towards the Victorian border through a few small towns.
Along the way, we stopped in Pinnaroo for dinner at the Golden Grain Hotel. It’s a classic country Aussie pub; the staff were really nice and the Chicken Parmi was tasty and filling, with just the right amount of cheesiness. (Pretty much every Aussie pub has a Chicken Parmigiana option – a Parmi – and I feel like it tells you a lot about the pub; if they can’t get that right, well….)
A few hours after dinner, we made it to Ouyen and our stop for the night – Victoria Hotel Ouyen. Ouyen was a good stopping point and we expected the Victoria to be basic. It was. I haven’t stayed at a proper Aussie country hotel before, and decided it was part way between staying in a motel and a dorm. The building was quite large, with really high ceilings and a lot more rooms than I expected. I’m sure it was a beautiful building back in the day, but it’s gotten old and is in need of a some love. If you believe in ghosts it might not be your kind of place. The room was small but clean and the bed was a double. The bathrooms were shared and just down the hall. There was a small sink in the room, but it wasn’t working because the area is in the middle of bad drought and the taps were turned off. The only ones working were in the shared toilets and there were signs everywhere reminding you to use as little as possible. The lady we spoke to when we checked in at the bar was nice; she gave us the key and told us that there was breakfast in the morning. The breakfast was sell-serve cereal or toast in a common room down the hall. All-in-all pretty good for $80 total.
Ouyen to Bullocks Flat
Saturday was the long leg of the drive and we cut across the country from Ouyen through the New South Wales border towards Albury. On the way, we went through a very long patch of country-side with no towns. This part of the country is partially arid with small patches of scrum interspersed with the irrigated farm fields. The gum trees line the road and stand up solo in the fields, their thin naked limbs stretching towards the sky with leaves spreading out at the end like fans.
There was also a lot of animals – most of them dead. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many dead Kangaroos on one stretch of road! We guesstimated 30 at the start then stopped counting after 120. There was a lot of live animals too. We had to slow down for several crossing our path, including two kangaroos, several Emus (travelling together), a few stubborn Eagles that wouldn’t leave the road (they were big so we had to slow), a flock of galahs (also a bit stubborn), and a herd of cattle. The cattle were particularly obstinate, one or two actually walked down the middle of the road right toward the car!
Once we got close to Albury things got a bit easier – less wildlife crossings. We stopped for a quick lunch then as we headed out of Albury we started heading up the hills and gaining elevation. We got our fist sighting of snow about half way up the Alpine Way. Luckily we made it to Bullocks Flat with just enough time to get our passes and catch the last Ski Tube trip up. The ride up only takes about 10 minutes and it is mostly inside a tunnel. At the Perisher Valley station, we were able to transfer to the Hans Oversnow which was pre-booked through our accommodation – The Matterhorn Lodge.
We arrived and unpacked just in time to relax over dinner.
Now that we are settled in and have seen all the snow, I am looking forward to going skiing tomorrow!