Camping in the Snowy Mountains

With the summer school holidays over we decided this was a good time to go camping. The main destination was the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, not too far from home. The mountains are beautiful at this time of the year, not as hot as it is closer to the sea, with masses of wildflowers out in summer, some only growing in this area.

First stop was Canberra though, for a flying visit to see an exhibition at the National Gallery. The work was by Cressida Campbell, known as a printmaker, but using an unconventional approach of carving her image on to a wood block – some very large – then painting the block in meticulous detail in watercolour. From this she makes a single print each time, unlike the traditional method of printing an edition of a number of prints. She also exhibits the blocks which still have the paint in place, some were shown side by side with the print. This was the first major retrospective exhibition by a living female Australian artist at the gallery – a fact which I found quite shocking. How did it take so long! The work is impeccable in its technical mastery, ranging from still life and interiors to landscapes of the Australian bush and harbour.

From Canberra we drove to Tumbarumba, up and over the Brindabella Ranges, through dense mist till we broke through at the top where we could appreciate the broad views. Two nights in Tumbarumba, a lovely small town, camping with friends, then we all headed towards Khancoban. In the winter many of these places are part of the snowfields. It was a beautiful drive to Khancoban, through a mix of agricultural land and national parks, a clear sunny day which enhanced the beauty of the scenery. There we farewelled our friends, and turned towards Kiandra, which was once a thriving gold mining own but now is no more. Our journey along narrow, winding roads took us up the mountains again, frequently stopping to take in the scenery – some years ago there were massive bush fires all through this area, so hot that most of the Snow Gums, and other trees died. Many Australian eucalypts can survive fire and regenerate, but these fires were too hot for that to happen. New growth is appearing though from around the base of the trees, but will take many years to return to anything like the cover there was before. Nevertheless, the grandeur of the scenery with great sweeps of blackened trees is dramatic and beautiful.

We spent two nights camping beside Three Mile Dam, which was originally created by the early gold miners in the mid-nineteenth century, then later used to supply water to the workers on the Snowy Hydro Scheme, in the 1940s. We camped there last year, but on the other side of the dam. Plenty of walks in the area, and wild (feral) horses not far away.

Our final night was spent in Bungonia National Park, on our way home to Sydney, closer to the coast. Here the heat caught up with us – till then the days had been sunny and warm, the nights cool, but now it was hot, 34ºC, very dry and only minimal cooling at night. Not conducive to walking! It was very quiet there, with just a few intrepid campers who were there for caving and abseiling, so we had plenty of space to ourselves, and an opportunity to enjoy the local kangaroos who came close to the camp. Then home to plan the next trip!

Below are some of the sketches from the trip – in a week or two I will post some photos.

Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

10 thoughts

  1. Love your work Anna! Years ago my husband and I spent a wild and stormy night camping on top of the Snowy Mountains anoint all the twisted eucalyptus trees. You paintings and narrative brought back great memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The weather can change dramatically up in the mountains, a week before there was snow on some of the high ground! Your experience would have been memorable, probably not too much fun at the time, but definitely one to remember!


      1. That’s exactly what we experienced. A sudden storm with tremendous winds. So windy that we had to drive our car onto the edge of our little tent so it wouldn’t blow away! Scary then ….. makes for great memories tho! We love Australia!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I always love seeing your travel sketches Anna. Thank you for sharing them. Seeing Cressida Campbell‘s artwork must have been wonderful. I agree, it is strange and perhaps shortsighted to think she is the only living female Australian artist featured at the gallery.

    Glad you had mild temperatures until the end of the trip. Sounds like summer is starting to wind down a little just not the temperatures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully Cressida Campbell’s exhibition will be the first of many – there have been other group exhibitions showing women artists at the National Gallery, there was one a year or so ago with only women, so it is beginning! There are plenty of other women they could feature, some quite elderly now, so I hope they get on with it!

      We were up in the mountains only a year ago, so some of my drawings are similar to the ones I posted then, but somehow there is always something a bit different about each trip! We are beginning to see the end of the heat, once we get into March it will be much more comfortable, we just have to get through the next week or so! Thanks Cathe!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s