Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 3 Buchan Caves and Mallacoota 19/09

We left Lakes Entrance next morning, heading back towards Melbourne before turning onto the Swan Reach Road then the Great Alpine Road. We stopped in Bruthen for a break and we thought it was a lovely town. This rail bridge was still in use until the Orbost train line was truncated to Bairnsdale in 1987.

 Too early for the roses, but they must be glorious when in bloom.

The remains of a RAAF jet which crashed near Bruthen in 1958.

A couple of fine Bruthen buildings.

Every country town has a war memorial and this one is rather good. Sorry about the missing top.

Suddenly old cars appeared. Where are the all going? Not to the Buchan Caves I hope.

A not quite as old Leyland P76, a much underated and unsuccessful car in Australia.

We are now in Buchan and isn't this a wonderful photo of Charlotte Pass in the Snowy Mountains.

The parkland and setting at the Buchan Caves were very nice, although we had to be careful to avoid the kangaroo droppings spread liberally around.

We met our guide who gave us a few warnings, mainly about ducking our heads. One chap in the small group forgot and ended up with a bloodied head. I took a lot of photos which I won't bore you with but these are the better ones.

The cave tunnels you walk along are quite cramped and ducking all the time does nothing for your back. 

It was quite humid and warm inside the caves. I did wear a jacket but it wasn't necessary. It is easier with one though as things can be easily stuffed into pockets.

The reddish colour comes from iron. The heat from lamps was causing some trouble to the caves, but now LED lighting is used and of course is cool.

We were warned not to touch, but when no-one was watching, I tapped this with my knuckle and it was hard as a rock.

I'm afraid one of Red's country bakeries did not live up to her standard, but we had to eat. This is the local pub opposite where we were sitting.

Beautiful, yes? East Gippsland can be very dry, but it was lusciously green when we were there.

We left Buchan and took the Bruthen to Nowa Nowa Road which joined to the Princes Highway and continued on with a brief leg stretch in Orbost. We passed a nice place to stop on the river but too late to stop and we couldn't be bothered going back so we stopped opposite a school and watched the sheep and lambs.

It had been quite a bit of driving for the day but we arrived in Mallacoota mid afternoon and checked into our motel. I had requested upstairs with a view and that is what we got. It was lovely sitting out on the walkway and watching the birdlife, especially the blue wrens.

We drove down to the waterfront to see what is to be seen. It was very peaceful. We bought cereal, bread and milk for breakfast in our motel and it was one of three times when we succumbed to take away food. Once McDonalds for lunch, once KFC chicken for dinner and for our night in Mallacoota we bought a take away pizza. It was very ordinary. Apart from plunger coffee at our friend's in Mallacoota, we had not had a half decent cup of coffee since leaving Melbourne, and it just got worse.

Mallacoota is also a fishing and tourist town. We could detect the weather was getting warmer as we moved up the coast.

Pelicans hung around the boat ramp, no doubt waiting for fishers to return and perhaps receive some fish.

Fishing line discarded into the sea can be disastrous for marine life. We saw several of these containers in different popular fishing towns, a great initiative.

By eleven we were sound asleep.


  1. seems like you had a busy day. Wonder where all those old cars were off to? Looking for decent coffee maybe. Those caves looked interesting. Loved the bit about you knocking on one of the stalagtites - good job it didn't break off.

  2. Fun60, I guess just for a rally drive. It was that big white glacier like formation I tapped. Tens of thousands of years or more they took to form.

  3. A rail bridge on two levels? Interesting...wonder how that worked?
    The caves look great, I'd like a trek through there some day. In the meantime, I have your photos to look at.
    The cars might have been making their way to Adelaide for the Bay to Birdwood run that was held last Sunday.

    1. River, in a state of collapse, it looks like a second level. The cars could have been headed there, but by a very roundabout route in East Gippsland.

  4. The countryside does look green, so you picked a good time to go on hols. Never had to duck when I went through those caves.
    I bet the cars were the highlight of the day for you, though.

    1. No FC, you wouldn't have to duck. The cars were ok. Not the highlight. The caves were. I had wanted to see them since I first heard about them as a kid. But I did like seeing the P76 among them.

  5. This looks like so much fun (and so fascinating, too). But I was reading the captions in the wrong order at the start and got confused when I thought "The remains of a RAAF jet which crashed near Bruthen in 1958." was "A couple of fine Bruthen buildings."

    1. Thanks Mitchell. Yes, I know it is unconventional to have the caption at the top, but to me it makes sense when reading on a screen where you scroll down.

  6. Nice country on this part of your trip. can't beat melbourne for good coffee.

  7. Diane, how hard is it to make a decent cup of coffee in a cafe as we are used to in Melbourne? Apparently very hard.