The Alpine Way PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 November 2009 05:26
As those of the Muslim faith undertake the Hajj, and Sikhs, Buddhists and Hindus make their spiritual journeys each year—so Griffo and I make annual pilgrimage to a Mecca of our own: the Alpine Way in the Snowy regions of New South Wales and Victoria. 
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We usually set off in the cooling months of March and April, every year by a different route, but always with the same destination. The Alpine Way sits at the top of my list for great bike roads in NSW. Stretching 74 km between Thredbo and Khancoban, the Way enters Kosciusko National Park just before Thredbo, around 20 minutes out from Jindabyne.
 
Constructed in 1956 as a direct result of the needs of the Snowy Mountain Authority, it wasn’t until 2002 that the road was  completely sealed end-to-end. Before the sealed road, there was a track, built in the early 1930s, which supposedly followed the same route the Aborigines used to take in making their annual pilgrimage to the Bogong moth country.
 
Apart from the spectacular road itself, the beauty of this area in mid-autumn always takes my breath way. Sheer mountain-sides loom around every turn, the bush changing colour as it prepares for winter and the numerous creek crossings, with their crystal clear waters, make for one of the most scenic rides in New South Wales.
 
Leaving Thredbo, the road snakes its way to Dead Horse Gap—the highest point on the road—which, according to local legend, was named for the brumbies that died there one year, caught in a terrible blizzard. Wallabies, emu and brumbies still flourish in the area, so be careful.
 
Leatherbarrel_creekAs the road winds its way down to rest areas at Leatherbarrel Creek and Tom Groggin, you find yourself in a blissful state as the tight twisties roll from one corner to the next.. It’s worth taking a short break just to absorb the serenity and visual pleasures, the purity of the water in the rocky creeks, flowing straight from the mountains.
 
Back on the track and moving towards Khancoban, the road widens ascends again through the mountains. The climb continues until just past the turn-off to Murray 1 Power Station. The path here is blasted through the sheer rock of the mountain-side. Take particular care on these narrow sections, as the blind corners tend to invite other road-users to hug the centre line.
 
A lazy 10 km from the Murray 1 Power Station, Khancoban is a good place to camp. Accommodation can be found at the local pub or at the numerous bed-and-breakfasts. We usually stay at the pub for a couple of days, using it as a base for the other top rides in the area. Accomodation costs won't break the bank and you can usually get a good feed at the end of the day. Top it off with a bevy or two with your mates and life doesn't get much better.
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 12:02