Taking the scenic route to Melbourne
On our recent road trip we realised how complacent you can become when travelling in your own area. You are so busy taking the “usual route” that you often fail to take a detour and explore as you would if travelling in an unknown area.
Our decision to take a detour on a tourist route was rewarded with the discovery of an amazing piece of coastal Victorian scenery.
The drive from Eden to Cann River
We find the drive along the Princes Highway between Eden and Cann River towards Melbourne to be one of mindless ennui.
Two hours and nine minutes of pine forests bordering each side of the road. No radio reception. No phone or internet reception. Just driving through trees.
Interesting the first time. The second and third time you find things to be interested in. Maybe the fourth and fifth you LOOK for things to be interested in.
But when you have driven towards Melbourne as frequently as we have, you do not look forward to this stretch of the drive. Mind you, we have always stuck to the Princes Highway.
Road stop in the forest
There is an interesting little road stop on the right hand side just before the NSW/ Victorian border. Nothing amazing, just a “long drop” and some picnic tables where you can have a walk, a nature stop and listen to the bellbirds in the forest for a while.
It is one the Pawesome Foursome have become very familiar with on our regular jaunts into Victoria. Then it is on to the seemingly interminable drive through the forest.
Which is why we usually opt for the circuitous route up the Clyde Mountain towards Yass and then down the Hume Highway whenever we drive towards Melbourne.
However on our latest road trip we decided to bite the bullet and take the “boring route”, which is actually quicker.
On seeing the turnoff to Mallacoota, I commented that we have never taken the coastal route. We are always in a hurry and stick to the highway.
Discovering the Mouth of the Snowy River Estuary.
On we drove to the next turnoff on a “scenic route’ towards the town of Marlo.
Sheer boredom had gotten the better of us by now, so we decided to take a detour.
The first few kilometres were “well at least it’s not trees”. Turning off towards Marlo our seaviews were thwarted by vegetation until we approached “French’s Narrows” and met the Mouth of the Snowy River Estuary.
Here the mighty Snowy River ends her 350 kilometre journey from Mount Kocsiusko. What a breathtaking view! How did we not know this gem existed, having whizzed past on the highway several hundred times over the years?
Looking for somewhere to walk and water the Pawesome Foursome, we soon came to a park, where we discovered the start of the Snowy River Estuary Walk.
The walk takes you through endangered rainforest, lined with banksias and native scrub. This is also a native habitat for a number of threatened native species.
A two kilometre walk will bring you through the dunes to the surf beach at French’s Narrows, or in the other direction you will reach the coastal township of Marlo.
The health of the Snowy River has been of major environmental concern for several decades. During the 1950’s much of the flow of the once raging river was diverted into a hydro electric scheme. In some places the once mighty river has been reduced to a relative trickle.
The walkways we stumbled upon in Littoral Rainforest are also a conservation area for a range of local fauna and flora. Checking first that the Pawesome Foursome we in fact allowed along the walkways on leash, we ventured off to enjoy a walk through the cool rainforests, sand dunes and spectacular coastal scenery. The cockers enjoyed sniffing the trail of every specimen of endangered species who had recently crossed the path.
We not only discovered this remarkable piece of coastal Australia because of our spontaneous detour, but the story boards provided us with some great information on the environmental issues surrounding the Snowy River.
It was so great to meet this mighty river up close, inspiration to Banjo Paterson and the subject of iconic Aussie folklore.
Greatly refreshed and rejuvenated, we bid goodbye to the Snowy River and continued through the seaside village of Marlo on our trek towards Melbourne.
If you are heading down the Princes Highway towards Melbourne, do yourself a favour and take a detour.
Read also: Travelling with Dogs