The Final Part of The Great Alpine Road

Today, we drove about 250 kilometres from Omeo to Cabbage Tree Creek. We left Omeo at about 9.30 am and stopped off at  a shop in the Main Street to buy a newspaper. There was quite a line up of prestige cars in the street and they weren’t the usual vehicles driven by locals – they are normally 4X4 utilities and trucks – not this type of sports car. We could only assume that a Porsche Car Club was having a weekend in this area.

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For much of the first part of our drive today, we travelled  south though undulating farming country with pretty valleys and interesting landscapes. 


The first town of any significance that we came to was Swifts Creek which is thought to be named after a local prospector who found gold in the creek. A small settlement grew at the junction of Swifts Creek and the Tambo River and by 1880 had a store, post office, butcher, baker, and boarding house. A school commenced classes in 1874. As the alluvial gold petered out, selectors settled along the valley. Sheep and cattle were raised and oats grown for chaff production. Farmers began dairying and a butter factory was established at Swifts Creek in 1905.

In 1945 a modern sawmill was established here and this stimulated much growth in the town. The current mill provides about 40% of the town’s employment. 


From there, we followed the Tambo River downstream for many kilometres through the towns of Ensay and Bruthen

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As we travelled further south, we encountered some of the areas that were impacted by those terrible fires of January 2020. Mother Nature is a wonderful (and very demanding) thing. Whilst the fires devastated this area, many of the trees are coppicing and new shoots are already growing from dormant buds on their trunks. Eventually the forest will recover, although the local economy will take  some more time to get back on its feet.


We stopped at Nowa Nowa which is situated on Boggy Creek. To stretch my legs, I did a short walk along a wetlands area by the creek. It has been very wet over the last few days and this area was flooded and very boggy. Fortunately due to propitious timing, most of the rain fallen overnight in places where we have been staying so our driving trip has experienced very little interruption.


From Nowa Nowa, we drove on to Orbost. This is a much larger town than any we have driven through so far today. It is a pleasant rural town on the river flats of the Snowy River. The town is primarily a service centre for a district dominated by beef and dairy cattle. Orbost is essentially a one-street town with most of the town’s hotels, historic buildings and businesses located on its Nicholson Street. We had a picnic lunch in a nice park beside the river and marvelled at the old railway bridge that crossed the Snowy Rive Flood Plain.


The railway line to Omeo has long since been closed but part of it crossed  two lengthy low-level bridges forming part of a causeway over the river flats. One bridge is 770 metres long and the other 183 metres long. The bridges still exist in a degraded state, and there is a local campaign to preserve them,. They are clearly incapable of carrying any more rail traffic!

From Orbost, we followed a scenic route to the mouth of the Snowy River and then along the coast to Cape Conran. The Cape has some outcrops of granite rock that provide for some good photographs.





The fires in this area were very severe. They clearly burnt right to the beach as we could see at Cape Conran.

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We reached our overnight stop at ‘Bird Songs B&B’ in the tiny hamlet of Cabbage Tree Creek by 4.00 pm. There is nothing here but a general store and a bus stop. I suspect that the bus probably carries more people out of the town than into it.  Our B&B is very aptly named with the constant ‘dinging’ sound of Bell Birds in nearby trees. There was a family of King Parrots that flew on to the balcony railing to feed from seed and honeyeaters were prolific in nearby bushes. Apparently Swamp Wallabies, Lyrebirds and Platypus are seen at this place although none were evident tonight – maybe tomorrow morning?

I spent a little time looking to see if I could photograph any of the the birds but they are much easier to hear than they are to see. I’m happy with one image that I was able to get of a Bell Bird as they are quite shy and don’t sit still for every long.


We are now at our furthest distance from home on this trip. Tomorrow, we start heading back and we will spend a couple of nights in Bairnsdale.

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