Vic High Country

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 22:24
ThreadID: 29729 Views:2359 Replies:6 FollowUps:16
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Just finished 7 days in paradise, AKA Vic High Country.
Started in Bright then onto Lake Cobbler, down the Staircase and onto King Hut. The dunny has been fix since the last time I was there(Nov 05) where some low life took to it with a chain saw.
The rivers were up a bit which was good as it was very hot and a dip in the river was good.
Not much more has been done to Craig's Hut, the new fence has not got the character of the old one but it is getting there.
The Monument Track is as good as ever but would think twice about driving up it.
A lot of timber has fallen and the tracks are open but when I was down the Snowy area the big wind on New Years Day brought down a couple of tree branches. I was there 4 days later and tracks were already made around the branches.With the help of mate of mine called Husqvana and 20 minutes latter with a few helping hands the branches were removed and the track open.
Lovicks Hut has still not been built although there has been some work been done there.
Left Howitt's Hut in light rain which made the run down the Zeka Track just that more interesting.Then we come across a convey of 7 vehicles, 6 of which had camper trailers. I heard on the UHF that a vehicle had to be snatched up a small rise. After talking to them they wanted to go up the Zeka Track in the rain with the camper trailers. One of the vehicles was a Jeep Cherokee Sport towing a T Van.
One of the vehicles was towing a Jayco Van. This was not the normal camper trailer that is seen in the bush.
After a chat I found out that they had not driven the Zeka Track at all and did not know what to except, I then advised them not to do it until they have driven it, with out the trailers. We had enough trouble getting around a corner coming down with out slipping in to a big hole, and if they tried to go up, but by the time that they would have made the turn the trailer would have fallen in the hole and dragged the vehicle back.
After that day the weather was fine again, but the run up to the Pinnacles was bathed in cloud so the view was not as good as it should be. The cloud lifted on the way down Billy Goat Bluff Track so that the true height of the track could be seen.
On the way back to camp we come across some motor bikes coming to wards us. I thought the last bike rider said there was one more bike coming so I was preceding with caution when I saw A bike rider walking on the track. I asked him where was his bike and he pointed down the side of the road. About 20 ft down a near vertical drop was his bike trapped by Blackberry Bush.
I got onto the UHF and asked the tail end vehicle if they could see the other bike riders nd let them know that there mate had gone over the edge of the road.
The other bike riders came up and saw what had happened and were talking about how they were going to get the bike, which had 5 hours riding time on it, up from where it had stopped. There was now way they could drag the bike up the side of the cliff so I offered to winch it up for them. They said that was great but how was I going to winch the bike up as the track was too narrow to turn the vehicle to face the bike.
Lucky for me the vehicle behind me had a winch so I put the snatch block on to the pintle hook on the Troopie, ran the cable through the snatch block and down to the bike. With the three blokes with the bikes they kept the fallen bike up right while it was winched back onto the road again.
The rider and bike were not damaged and were able to continue on after a bit of gaffer tape was applied to the bike to stop the front guard from flapping in the wind.
The rest of the trip was uneventful except for the great weather that we had.

The vehicles we had were varied. A Ford Courier Ute was the only vehicle that was not a Toyota. A 18 year old 60 Series went every where the Lexus 470 went with a 100 Series, a Prado and a standard 80 Series along with the Troopie finished off the Toyota range. Two of the vehicles had travelled down from Queensland and one from the ACT. Two or the drivers are in 4WD clubs and one from the Toyota Landcruiser Club of NSW.

I will have to wait until February for my next trip down there, can't wait.

Wayne
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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 23:49

Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 23:49
I feel sorry for ya dude

LOL
AnswerID: 148841

Reply By: Member - Ozdyssey (QLD) - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 00:49

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 00:49
Had some friends who just came back, all 5 towed 1t+ campers. The Patrol with the diff locks and gears had to individually tow all the trailers one by one up one of the tracks, the billy goat I think they said, and all vehicles and trailers were scratched, damaged etc by the end of the 3 weeks.
They said that it was pure luck on some tracks that no traffic came the other way or they would have been stuffed espec with the trailers.

Glad I couldn't attend. Didn't sound that pleasant, defintely won't be taking the trailer when I go next year.

AnswerID: 148846

Follow Up By: Member - Tony G (ACT) - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 07:56

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 07:56
You would need a well set up vehicle to attempt to go up Billy Goat Bluff with a camper in tow.

Most 4WD's would do this track quite easy, but put a camper on the back and you are asking a lot.

I would say the group did'nt do their research of the trip very well, and had no regard for the track and all who would follow.
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FollowupID: 402027

Follow Up By: Ken - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 09:51

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 09:51
Ozdyssey, well said.
To all you camper towing nutters read this and leave them out of the difficult bits of the Vic High Country. Sure go to King Hut & Pineapple Flat, Talbotville, but stay off the steep narrow tracks and have some sense.
How many of the 'Oh we went up XXX with our camper' brigade are like the Nissan in the report above ? Most I reckon, or when they went it was prfect weather and they forget to tell you their mate without the trailer gave them a fair bit of help. Then some poor sucker in a standard Pajero gets lulled into thinking he can follow suite.
Even for people experienced in the Vic High Country it can become very 'interesting' when the weather turns sour even without a trailer. A few trips down here in the height of summer holidays does not make you an expert on the area and the dusty tracks can turn treacherously slippery in no time. And that is to say nothing about the problems of meeting someone on the likes of Bulltown Spur or Billy Goat Bluff !
The OK Corral will have nothing on the confrontation of 2 campers on Billy Goat. Use radios you say, sure there are radios but who listens out for other users and on what channels and given the rising lack of respect for other travellers who could say that people will take any notice ? Post 29726 provides a good example of the changing nature of the sort of pepole using the tracks, they know everything and push on regardless of the situation.

Ken
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FollowupID: 402045

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 13:15

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 13:15
>Even for people experienced in the Vic High Country it
>can become very 'interesting' when the weather turns
>sour even without a trailer.

Well said. A few years ago we were _very_ nearly trapped in one of my favourite camps (only one track in to it) because of unexpected rain. Had we not just stuffed all the wet/muddy camp gear into the back of the vehicle and hightailed it out at 7am I think we would have been there for another 3 or 4 days before the track dried.

About 6 months ago I was coming down from a spot in the central Gippsland HC on a regularly graded, but little used, road after 2 days of heavy rain and I had enough trouble just keeping the vehicle from heading over the side into one of those nice 200 feet drops - had I had a trailer attached I think I would have parked up for a day or two until the track dried.

The weather in the HC can change in 5 minutes - I've been up there in January and had heavy hail and 0 deg C overnight. If you fail to treat this country with respect it may kill you - or your family.

Mike Harding
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FollowupID: 402078

Follow Up By: Crackles - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 20:10

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 20:10
Ken, unfortunately the Trip Notes most follow don't suggest base camping for trailers & very few give warnings of how serious track conditions can be when wet. This isn't helped when 'experts' get on forums & say how easy the steep tracks are solely based on the fact they drove up 1st go in their highly modified rigs. Before recomending tracks for trailer use one should imagine a novice driving a standard Pajero with road tyres towing an overloaded low slung trailer cos thats what some will have that lurk on this site.
Cheers Craig...........
Vic
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FollowupID: 402174

Follow Up By: Batboy - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 18:20

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 18:20
Seems to me the group DID do their research and went with capable well equiped vehicles to deal with just such a problem.

They also obviously DID have respect for those that follow and the track as they used the best equipment they had. The patrol, to tow all the campers up rather than rip up the track and damage vehicles

I personally know the owners of three of the vehicles on the trip and those three are all very experienced and capable, all three have winches and know how to use them, two have front and rear diff locks. They also had a fantastic time and can't wait to get back!

Agree there definately are plenty of idiots that don't go prepared or don't realise what they are in for but some of us do know what we are doing whether towing a camper or not. Question is how do you tell the difference?
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FollowupID: 402338

Follow Up By: Ken - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 22:12

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 22:12
Batboy,
I can only take your word that this group did their research and were well prepared. I wonder though where it was they did the research, or was it a case of 'we have all the toys let's give it a go'. I suspect this might be the case.
I accept in this instance it may not have been a case blundering off unprepared and ill equipped or poorly advised.
It still begs the question though, what about the rest of the people trying to use Billy Goat that weekend ? This is a very popular track with heavy use during the open season. For a group to plan to use it in this way, winching if they have to is inconsiderate and entirely inappropriate. What would the other vehicles wanting to use the track be doing whilst these possibly well prepared, experienced blokes proved their prowess ? If you know Billy Goat it is very narrow and there are few places to winch from; in the hardest sections it would require multiple set ups to winch up as you would be always dragging the vehicle either to the drop off or the cliff face. Given the length of the difficult bits I think it highly unlikely an electric winch would last the distance if they had needed to winch up.
It is the total lack of regard for others that is disturbing shown by many of the people who now venture into the High Country. You see it in so many ways, some mentioned in recent posts, such as failing to establish the size of oncomming groups, refusing to wait while others pass, barging past as if their lives depended on getting somewhere. Macho stuff that is also exhibited on the roads and gets us all painted as cowboys. We can argue all we like that as a group we are not like that but face it, some are. Its not fair to brand all of us this way but try telling this to some poor sod intimidated by a 4WD at a roundabout or a mate or a wife that has been spooked buy this sort of arrogance in the bush.
I fear that before much longer there will be serious altercations betwen a 'we can take these things everywhere' group blocking tracks and an equally self indulgent group not wanting to get on held up.
I hope I'm wrong.

Ken
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FollowupID: 402404

Follow Up By: Batboy - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2006 at 07:36

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2006 at 07:36
Hi Ken, I tend to agree with you mostly and would be rather annoyed myself to come up against a massive convoy of vehicles that couldn't make the track and spent hours holding me up especially if they showed a lack of regard for others.

Turns out is was not Billy goat they had the problem with. Apparently all vehicles pulled up Billy goat without drama it was a short section of another track (yet to find out which)

Apprently research was books, internet, word of mouth and info from a local guide met on a previous trip by one of the group. Still it seems pointless to defend the actions of one group who I wasn't even a member of when there is still so many people who will do the same thing but won't be as well informed or equiped and will either come to grief or cause greif to others, causing people to label all those who tow trailers into the high country as irresponsible and selfish. Better off to keep to ourselves
Ignorance and arrogance are the problem

Jim

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FollowupID: 402451

Follow Up By: Member - Tony G (ACT) - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2006 at 07:49

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2006 at 07:49
G'day Batboy, nice to see you go into bat for your mates.

You ask how do you tell the experienced blokes from the idiots.

Well the experienced blokes don't tow campers up Billy Goats Bluff the idiots do.

My previous vehicle had twin diff locks, winch, big MT tyres, and I would not tow a camper up there because you would still rip the track up.

Now I've been going into that part of the High Country around there and the G'atta since 1977 and you would be unlucky enough to see another vehicle, and when deer shooting, I could spend a week on the Moroka/Wonnagatta Rivers and see no one. So its not as if I don't know the difficulty of some of the tracks.

Now that the area is becoming very popular we have to some how reduce the impact our vehicles have on the tracks, and if it means keeping campers of tracks like Billy Goats so be it.

So when your mates do their next trip to High Country I hope they enjoy it, but look after it.
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FollowupID: 402455

Reply By: Barnesy - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 01:13

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 01:13
It's a hard life Wayne, isn't it?

Barnesy
AnswerID: 148849

Follow Up By: madcow - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 07:52

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 07:52
Where are you located Barnesy? Reckon I might know you. did you do the Cape last year??

Cheers
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FollowupID: 402025

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 13:19

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 13:19
Madcow - are you a friend of Mad Dog? :)

Barnesy - are you the Barnsey from aus.cars.offroad?

Mike Harding
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FollowupID: 402080

Follow Up By: madcow - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 13:50

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 13:50
I do know a Mad Dog. He drives a troopy! Same bloke?
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FollowupID: 402090

Follow Up By: Barnesy - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 16:31

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 16:31
Madcow and Mike, the answers are no and no. I live in Whyalla SA, didn't do the cape last year, will be doing it next year.
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FollowupID: 402112

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 16:45

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 16:45
>I do know a Mad Dog. He drives a troopy! Same bloke?

Nah. This one's far too mad for anything like that :)

Mike Harding
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FollowupID: 402117

Reply By: Rusrob - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 09:27

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 09:27
Hi Wayne,

I am one if those riders (not the one who fell over the cliff) who you helped on friday.
I would like to thank you and your group for your assistance on winching my mates bike up. much appreciated indeed.

He is OK and we continue our 3 day ride with no other major incidents.

Would be greatful if you or your fellow group have any photos of the ordeal as it would be somethiing to look back on in years to come.

thankyou once again

cheers
Russrob
AnswerID: 148869

Follow Up By: Member - Tony G (ACT) - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 09:47

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 09:47
Nice one Russrob, great to see someone give a public thanks after receiving assitance.

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FollowupID: 402041

Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 09:52

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 09:52
Russrob,

Glad to hear that your trip finished OK.
I was only looking at the photos that Belinda took this morning and only then realised how far down the bike went.
I will get all the photos together from all the other people and send them on.
The people on the trip thought it was great to see the recovery in action. We had to winch some of our vehicles up a greasy slope a couple of days before, but this is the first time that they the winch set up that way to winch the bike up the slop at a 90deg angle.
Latter today I will try and post a couple of the photos on this site.

Wayne
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FollowupID: 402046

Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 13:52

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 13:52
good stuff guys
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FollowupID: 402091

Reply By: Rusrob - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 10:36

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 10:36
Thanks Wayne look forward to seeing the photos

regards

Rusrob
AnswerID: 148881

Reply By: Steve - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 20:35

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 20:35
Wonder if they'll do a "4x4 drivers come to the rescue of bikers" on the telly?
AnswerID: 149005

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