Thursday, January 10, 2008

DAY 96: Day off in Cooma

Weds 9th January 2008
Very warm & sunny

Not a good nights sleep again unfortunately - drinking session was going on until the early hours nearby, and then I was wide awake very early with the usual morning noises. I need to get to sleep early to get a full night’s quota of sleep.
I took my time over breakfast and headed into Cooma and to the camping / trekking gear shop as I have decided to chuck my old trousers and buy new, and get a shirt also to replace the one I left behind. The shop had a good selection and I got what I wanted. I also looked up the chance of a ride on the tourist train but it only runs weekends - beautifully-kept station though (see pic). I was also impressed with the dozens of mosaics on the edge of the park in the centre of town - they depict life and work in the area and are very well done.
I headed the 2km on the other side of time to have a look at the exhibition centre for the Snowy Mountain Hydro-Electric scheme, the biggest in Australia I think. It was built between the 50’s and 70’s to divert water from the mountains to augment the Murray and Murrumbidgee River systems and so irrigate land in these catchments, where rainfall is very low. The system is huge and includes 16 major dams, seven power stations (2 underground), a large pumping station, 145 km of interconnected tunnels and 80km of aqueducts. The system sits in the Mount Kosciuszko National park in the highest part of Australia (Mt.K is 2228m high).
The (permanent) exhibition is worth a visit, there’s lots to look at.

I spent a long lazy lunch at a pavement cafe watching the world go by and reading the Canberra daily and had little energy to do anything else other than a bit of shopping and riding back up to the CP. Lack of sleep made me a little jaded and my usual enthusiasm was somewhat lacking!

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