Sydney or Bust (I think I mean “Bush”)

A fairly straightforward flight from Perth brought me to Sydney one Thursday afternoon over a week ago – and a rapid couple of trains got me via the centre of the City to West Ryde, the nearest train station to my friend Brenda.

I was so early (for that read ahead-of-my-gestimated arrival time) that she’d hardly got ready to meet me and it took longer to do the final 3 miles or so than the whole journey from the airport!!  Our reunion – after 11 years – was brief as an early night called.

We left Sydney at 6am Friday – the 13th – for what became an 8+ hour journey into the wilderness. We eventually arrived at Tom Groggin Station (google it if you like). An old property right on the NSW/Victoria border – indeed, the Murray River which marks the border thereabouts, actually runs through the property! Here are some photos I took there.

Please don’t think for a moment we were roughing it! This is the main house at Tom Groggin.

Below  is part of the old farm down the hill – where a famous Australian poem (and film etc etc) has taken it’s inspiration : called The Man from Snowy River (if you like poetry, Google that as well).

When you enter the property there is the working farm – “our”  house is a further 4 Km (2.5 miles) up the hill, across the River Murray and then across a smaller river (the Omeo) – twice! All our possessions were transferred to a 4-WD Toyota at the farm for the final part of the trip. When the water is too high at the Omeo – everything gets carried over this bridge – which of course we had to try. Terrifying for this townie!!

It’s really a home-made mini-suspension bridge and (as you might imagine) sways and bucks a bit as one crosses! The most disconcerting bit being to look down through the metal mesh and realise only a few Meccano-like screws and a single cable are holding you 40 feet above the rushing river! Oo-er….

Not sure whether to take it at a run – or tip-toe!!

This is some of the view from the house – we are next to a National Park, quite close to Australia’s highest mountain – Mount Kosiosko (not sure about the spelling) and have crossed the Great Dividing Range to get here – in the Snowy Mountains. We came through a snowline at about 5000 feet and are about 3000 feet now in a gentler valley. At night though it is close the freezing, so we are glad of the enormous log fire.

The house is owned by a wealthy Sydney businessman and has 5 bedrooms all with en suite bathrooms, huge lounge and dining areas (inside and out)  and some lovely pieces of modern Australian and other native art.  It has been an enormous treat to be here, watching wild horses (brumbies) grazing up and down the hill, kangaroos (natch!), emus and herds of Black Angus cattle – which also supplied some of our dinners!!

You never saw such clear skies and legions of stars in your life, I bet!! We even managed a full moon, by good fortune.

After a bracing and relaxing weekend away, it was back again to the bright lights of Sydney, including this awesome sign when we stopped to use a road-side service area loo!!


Good idea to look down the dunny (that’s Aussie for loo)  before using it!!

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