At the beginning of February each year, Tumbarumba plays host to walking enthusiasts for the annual Tumbatrek. My husband and I have participated in most of the walks over recent years and enjoy the scenery, the company and the opportunity to share our beautiful area with others. There are usually over 100 walkers of all ages and fitness levels who join in the day’s trek.
Tim Fischer, the former National Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister started Tumbatrek in 1985 to promote summer tourism in the NSW Snowy Mountains, particularly on the ‘less fashionable’ Tumbarumba side, which at the time was in his electorate of Farrer. It continued with Tim at the helm until 2007 and was resurrected in 2012 with Federal Member Michael McCormack taking over.
Tumbatrek has continued to grow in popularity each year attracting high profile politicians, visitors, media representatives, local townspeople and their families along with bushwalking enthusiasts spanning all age groups.
Due to the size of our Shire the trek usually starts with a bus ride to the starting point, a short briefing and welcome before we start walking. This year was no exception – we met at 6.30am for registration and the buses departed for the 2 hour drive to the starting point at Tooma Dam in the Kosciuszko National Park.
We started walking at approximately 8.45am through native bush, following well defined tracks to the Tooma River Gauging Station, which was built as part of the Snowy Mountains Scheme. We stopped for morning tea at Paton’s Hut, which was originally built in 1934, but was destroyed by fires in 2003 and had to be rebuilt in 2007/08. It was used by the family for alpine grazing.
The entire trek was approximately 11km with undulating terrain causing some discomfort to walkers who weren’t as fit as they thought they were. There were support vehicles following for those who decided it was too much for them along the way. The council also transported a portable cool room in order to provide a healthy lunch and a porta-loo, as the lunch spot had no toilet facilities.
Along the way we observed the mountain gums and eucalyptus forests which were damaged in the bush fires of 2013 and were still recovering. In the photos below you may see some white trees, these were severely burnt and are still regenerating from the fires. We were at an altitude of 1400 metres above sea level throughout the walk. The Snowy Mountains area is beautiful and we are very fortunate to live within close proximity.
The weather leading up to Tumbatrek this year was extremely hot with temperatures in the high 30s and 40s (celcius), and Saturday was forecast to be 38 degrees. We were very fortunate to be in the mountain areas for a start where it is always cooler and to have cloud cover and even some rain come through on our walk. When we returned home later in the afternoon the temperature was back up to 36 degrees but yet we walked in very comfortable temperatures all day! Some people withdrew from the trek beforehand given the dire weather prediction.
This area is also the site of the famous Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme which was started in 1949 and finished in 1974. It was the largest engineering project ever undertaken in Australia and is one of the most complex hydro-electric schemes in the world. I learnt that only 2% of the entire construction is visible above the ground! We also owe a lot of our cultural diversity to the scheme as it used labourers from all the world , many of whom stayed and made Australia their home.
The surroundings were magnificent, the organisation was great and everyone enjoyed the trek in the mountains. It’s a great way to share our shire’s natural beauty with others and promote our little town. Given all the local government issues we’ve had lately I was glad the politicians didn’t get too vocal and were happy to enjoy their day out of the office with ‘real’ people.
Thanks for coming along with me on our Tumbatrek this year, I hope you enjoyed it!