Favorite thing: One of my fondest memories of Braidwood town is the beautiful local architecture of the buildings. You can see such historical and colourful architecture on the buildings along the main road of the town.
Favorite thing: When you explore Braidwood town, you will discover information boards at historical sites and buildings all over the town (examples shown on attached photos). These boards contain information on the name of the sites and their history, which are very informative :)
When I was at Braidwood in Oct 2008, George (VT member Tiabunna) was kind enough to show me around this region as well as hosted me to stay in his cattle farm house (called Tiabunna) located in a hilly region about 1 hour drive from Braidwood.
I stayed at George's farm for a night, and we went exploring around his farm. I had an enjoyable stay at his farm and will cherish the fond memories, as George and his family has now moved to Batemans Bay.
More information & photos are at part 2 of this tip.
Dasyrus Picnic area is a short distance from Mongarlowe River Picnic Area and is significant because it's the head of the Corn Trail which is a 15 km one way trail where pack horse teams travelled in the 1830s.
Fondest memory: It's a moderate to difficult trail that crosses high mountain ridges and deep rainforest valleys. It's also available for horse riding, just like the old days. Remember to take some water and sturdy footwear.
The river that runs through is called Mongarlowe but there's not a lot of water pouring over the small rapids so it is only in flood that it would get you excited. No, this is more your tranquil stream.
It's situated about 30 kms out of Braidwood and when you take the turn off to the park you are apt to see dead wombats (opening pic) on the side of the road. This is due to the fact that they are fairly prolific in this area and you are bound to notice some wombat holes as well.
Fondest memory: I crossed over and tried 15 different ways to shoot a cascade (pics 2 & 3) while George wandered off to find his stump that he's elaborated on in his tips.
There was bird life there and I managed a pic of a yellow robin (pic 4) and a fantail (pic 5) bt I will have to return one day because there is ample bird life there but it takes more time than I had to get some decent shots.
George (Tiabunna in VT language) took me next off to another area, one of botanical significance this time. It's called the Penance Grove Walk and is situated 800 metres from the picnic area. The landscape is fairly unique.
Here the eucalypts (gum trees) are in absentia, instead there are ancient species of trees and treeferns dating from Gondwanaland time, with a dense layer of leaf litter on the ground and some areas with a strange ground cover. Taking the provided elevated boardwalk allows you a wonderful insight into just what this treasure trove is all about.
Fondest memory: You ascend into a cool temperate rainforest which would have been typical of Gondwana which was actually the former southern super continent incorporating Antarctica, from which Africa, South America, India and Australia separated to go their seperate ways. Thus this vegetation has antecedents going back 100 million years ago, even before I was born! Can't get much older than that.
As George suggest, turn off your MP3 player and let the atmosphere soak through you. This forest is not just tranquil, it is silent.
"Few people visit, few know it is here. Take a few moments to absorb your surroundings. Dim light filters through the tree canopy, the ambiance is incredible – and yes, seeing a little south polar dinosaur run past almost seems credible!" That's a quote from George (I owe you!)
All the time I was there and, even as I write this, I can't help but think of Blazing Saddles and that classic character (Me, Mongo). Which has, of course, absolutely nothing to do with Monga, a tiny settlement in the past and 2 houses these days that sits around 30 kms from Braidwood.
This is where Tiabunna took me a few months before he moved house.
As a national parks site it doesn't rate high for being spectacular but it does give you a real sense of Aussie bushland and, there is abundant bird life here, if only I'd managed to get more decent pictures!
Fondest memory: The river that meanders through the forest is undoubtedly the star attraction as it provides regular water in times of drought and allows many plants to flourish which, naturally enough, in turn attracts wildlife in numbers.
In places it's quite pretty but you will need to understand camera settings to get the best out of what's on offer. I hope you find my offering up to standard.
In the next tip I'll elaborate on where it is exactly and what else there is.
One of the real delights of living in a country area, such as this, is the marvellous community spirit: something which high-paced modern lifestyles are destroying in more urbanised areas. If ever a tangible symbol of this spirit was needed, it would be the Gundillion Hall – about 40km south of Braidwood.
The Hall is the social centre for a sparsely distributed community spread over more than 60 km of valley, between Cooma and Braidwood. Several years ago, it was deemed by the Sydney ‘Powers that Be’ that, to meet their standards, it required a new kitchen and upgraded toilet facilities. Various fundraisers since then have seen those facilities upgraded. Earlier upgrades have added a large BBQ area outside. Yes, the hall you now see is constantly evolving – though much of the old original structure remains.
How old is it? Nobody quite knows, but in December 2006 the 99th annual kid’s Christmas Party was held here! The kids had a full program of novelty races and games, before the fat man in the red coat arrived on a firetruck with siren wailing, then distributed gifts. The day finished with a BBQ for everyone, plus cakes and desserts provided by the ladies of the local community.
Inside, some of the walls are lined with ancient timbers – suitably marked at some time with wool bale stencils to warn “no drinking”: advice which has been cheerfully ignored by everyone since I’ve known the place!
Main photo: Gundillion Hall
Second photo: Gundillion Hall
Third photo: Santa arrives
Fourth photo: Gifts distributed
Fifth photo: “No drinking” !!
Favorite thing: Attached here are more photos of the former cattle farm of George (VT member Tiabunna). More photos can also be found at the travelogue section of this VT page :)