Vic High Country - lucky Vics!

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 14:46
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This is not a question but an observation.
Have recently returned from a few weeks in the Vic HC (first time for us) and what an awesome place it is.

Unfortunately it was a bit warm and dusty and the flies were quite annoying.

But there are so many positives about the place:
* fantastic scenery everywhere;
* great tracks (that are in excellent condition - I assume due to the seasonal closures). Plenty of steep ups and downs. Having a camper trailer we had to be very careful as to what tracks we chose. Blue Rag - awesome (without trailer).
* free camp sites - usually with fireplaces including swinging billy hanging arms and hot plates (didn't use latter);
* plenty of water - all clear and close to camp sites;
* not many people (at least after New Year);
* great huts (unfortunately spoilt by idiotic graffiti);
* brumbies at one camp site (Davies Hut);
* magnificent wild flower displays in the higher regions.

I reckon the authorities down there do a bloody fine job in looking after the place - as far as catering for 4WDers and campers goes.

We did notice a lack of animal life - saw very few wallabies, goannas etc which I assume is a fire related issue. Plenty of Crimson Rosellas though. And heaps of rabbits.

Overall we had an absolutely fantastic time.

Now I'd like to see the area in the Winter with snow about - I think that would be really magic stuff. But then of course we wouldn't be able to drive some of those amazing tracks.

Cheers from the Moose
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Reply By: madcow - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 14:49

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 14:49
Damn our secrets out!! :))

We are in Wodonga and are pretty spoiled in that regard. The big challenge is keeping the tracks and areas open to everyone. An issue we all face
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Follow Up By: Moose - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 14:57

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 14:57
Bloody Wodonga - nearly got lost in there. LOL
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Reply By: Member -Signman - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 14:56

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 14:56
Yea Moose
I'm just in the process of putting a letter together to Parks Victoria.
Same observations as you- with the addition of clean dunnys at most locations. I guess departments like Parks Vic. get bagged so often- but when you appreciate just what they do- I think they deserve a bouquet.
Cheers
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Follow Up By: Moose - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 15:01

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 15:01
I knew I'd miss something off that list. As you say the dunnies were usually clean - and most even contained toilet paper. Parks Victoria do a great job.
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Reply By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 15:42

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 15:42
Moose

Not sure when but a Vic High Country trip is coming up for us. CAn you spell out your route in a bit more detail please. Sounds great.

cheers JD
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Follow Up By: Moose - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 16:07

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 16:07
JD
The best advice I can give you is get yourself a complete set of Rooftop maps (buy from EO) and then go from there. They have all the tracks as well as details on which are steep, very steep, etc.

Also get the trek notes book (also available from EO). However we found that we were rarely near the start or end of their treks and thus only ever followed bits and pieces. The book was more useful as a guide and general historical information source for us.

There are also some HC trek notes under the Treks pages above.

We just made up our own routes as appropriate at the time. We didn't have any specific routes mapped out from the start - just a rough idea that we wanted to start in Ned Kelly country and end up going out through Tom Groggin. The in between bits were planned day by day as we went.

The trailers (both vehicles had one) necessitated this approach because they are rather limiting in what you can do. Some of those tracks are bloody steep and not getting into strife with a trailer was a huge consideration for us (neither had lockers, nor a winch and only AT tyres - but we were both experienced drivers and still took those damn trailers over some amazingly steep tracks).

We basically used base camps for a few days and did day trips - but we ended up doing more ks than we would have liked that way - tents would have been a better option.

Cheers from the Moose

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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 18:38

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 18:38
>Some of those tracks are bloody steep

Indeed they are - and if you're a newbie to 4WDing and/or the High Country review them carefully before you tackle them and _DO NOT_ be uncomfortable about turning back.

Other than tackling water crossings a fish would baulk at the steep inclines are about the only 4WDing one can die in - exercise caution.

Mike Harding
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Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 18:24

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 18:24
Moose you said it in one, (three actually) we are spoilt with the HC and the Pyrenees we are spoilt for choice. The High Country is and will always be a special place for me
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 22:29

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 22:29
Bonz, I think we will have try the Grampians some time to see what tracks are of interest. That is if the moderator will let you ;-))
Cheers,
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 23:21

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 23:21
Sounds good John.
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Reply By: desert - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 20:36

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 20:36
I'm happy that you enjoyed your tour of the high country, Moose and the best way to explore the joint is to drop the camper at a base camp and then do daily treks out and about from the base. Even better, is the shifting camp each night types trek, where one can really get their teeth into some of the more challenging routes. Pity you could not experience some of the more excellent treks that are now closed off by those magnificent managers - Parks Vic. I'm afraid, 32 years of watching the buggers mis-manage, taints my view of them. The cycle goes roughly like this - they pick up on a popular camp destination, usually due to the popular use of an area because it is relatively unknown, has good camp sites, water, firewood and reasonable access. So then they feel the need to put in a long-drop dunny, grade the access (read turn it into 2wd access) and then control where you can and can't put your tent. Sometimes they cut and supply a neat pile of wood to make the visitor even more welcome. Word gets around, more people cotton on, then in a season or two, the dunny is overflowing, there is not enough camp sites, and the local firewood is stripped. Parks answer - close it off! This put's more pressure on the next site until it too has to suffer the same end effect.Pristine 4wd camps will always be doomed when some shiney bum steps in to "manage" it.What happens if they don't close it off? I'll tell ya - they have to make it bigger, grade more sites, install more dunnys and this always seems to equate to them opening up the access roads/track where the camp site now becomes like Rosebud with the resultant influx of hoon element and bush bandits!Rubbish everywhere, dunnys full and very crowded sites esp. long weekends.It gets worse every year because more and more areas are deemed to be needing management.The Pine poles and billy hooks are closing in, and look as nice clean dunny is great to have, but lets keep the bush camp in perspective.
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Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 21:16

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 21:16
desert,

Are we talking about the same place.

The area that I go to is nothing like what you are on about. Tracks do get closed but for a good reason.
A couple of years back after some heavy rain, there was a land slide. This covered the road. To clear the road the road was closed and after the road was safe to travel on the road reopened. There is nothing wrong with this practice.

Sometime it is not clear why a road or track is closed but it is for a good reason. It even protects some people from themselves.

I have also found the rangers that I meet on the track or come over to the camp site very helpful. They have always advised me of any thing that I should know of and I always tell them what I have found that they might need to know. They have taken the time to talk to the campers about the area and on the fauna and flora.

Also the areas that I go to don't have "pine poles" except around places that they don't need a vehicle to be. Some of the huts are like this.

Rubbish is mismanagement of campers not the parks.

Wayne

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Follow Up By: desert - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 21:28

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 21:28
Closing roads for safety reasons is not my point. Closing 4x4 tracks as an easy management tool is the cop out, that Parks sometimes take. Most rangers are frustrated by the bean-counters that determine how far and much they can do. Most are enthusiastic and environmentally savvy, if not 4x4 savvy.Few stay for the long haul though. I mention the rubbish factor as it seems to always equate to area's that are well frequented and yes it is an unfortunate by-product of un-caring bush users.
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Reply By: Jim from Best Off Road - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 21:15

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 21:15
We are very lucky.

Having lived in FNQ for 8 years, it simply doesn't hold a candle to Melbourne for diversity of choice. Sounds dopey but that is the way it is.

Living in the SE of Melb, we have places like Gembrook, just 40 minutes away that offers oustanding tracks.

The camping options within a 1 to 2 hour drive are immense.

I suppose this is the benefit of living in a small state.

We can hit the high country from our place in 3 hours.

It's a hell of a place to live. Even the weather is great, aircon one day, heater the next: that's called variation. Never boring here.

Jim
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Follow Up By: HGMonaro - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 22:10

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 22:10
But Jim, according to many on this and other caravan/camping site, Victoria is the pits and they don't want us visiting their so called paradises either!

Nige.
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Follow Up By: SteveL - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 23:38

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 23:38
Victoria may be the pits for caravanning ,but you can't beat the HC for 4wding, there is nothing like it in the rest of the country.
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Follow Up By: ddr - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 07:46

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 07:46
Gembrook is all but closed. There is bugger all tracks in Bunyip state park now.
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Reply By: DarrynJ - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 21:10

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 21:10
Hi Moose, did you get to go Trail Riiding?

Regd's Darryn
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Follow Up By: Moose - Thursday, Jan 24, 2008 at 09:59

Thursday, Jan 24, 2008 at 09:59
G'day Darryn
Yes mate we managed to fit that in. Ended up going with a mob at a place called Tawonga (near Mt Beauty).
Whilst it was OK, we were somewhat disappointed that they just rode along the flats beside roads. We were hoping to get into the bush, but I guess that they can't get too adventurous on a 2 hours ride.
Most of the outfits we looked at were based away from what I'd call the high country - they were down in the lower areas, generally in farming type open country. These guys at least had bush at the back door - but the ride went downhill, not up. It was the best we could find in the circumstances.
A full day ride would have achieved the goal of riding through the bush but I doubt that the old rear end could stand it - was sore enough after 2 hours!
I imagine that if one could ride well, and not get a sore bum, that one of the 5 day type rides would be magical. Saw one group of riders up on Mt Stirling - lucky buggers. Later met up with their support crew at a hut (can't recall which one - saw so many).
Cheers from the Moose
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