2013 Deua NP, Vic High Country & Beyond .. Part 3

Saturday, Nov 02, 2013 at 09:04

Navigator 1 (NSW)

Friday 4th - Monday 20th May
It was still 10 days before we were to catch up with Carl & Annie, owners also of an Amesz 4x4 motorhome. This left us time to see a little more. On our way back along Wonangatta Road we passed a group of Massey Ferguson Tractors heading out to Eaglevale and then back to Talbotville. Once we reached the bridge at the Crooked River we decided that we would to go back into Talbotville via the now open Crooked River Rd.
Areas were still smoldering from the burn off, the track was quite narrow in parts but generally well graded. We had three or four shallow water crossings along the picturesque track. We passed the track leading up to Cynthea Range but, although the pull was strong,
we decided that we would resist the temptation.

After the final crossing of the Crooked River we were back into the delightful Talbotville campground and were soon joined by the tractors. Terry, a member of the group, was a good friend of Bonz, a fellow Exploroz member, and he had shown him pictures of our truck posted on the site. He was thrilled to actually see it ‘in the flesh’. The campground was only a lunch stop off for them so soon we left to enjoy the ambience of the area by ourselves.
We were up early the next morning and left at midday (don’t travel with us). Once again we were lucky and didn’t meet any cars travelling down.

On our way north on the Dargo High Plains road decided to turn off onto Blue Rag Track and camp where we had an excellent view of the valley and the trig off into the distance. I think it was -4 degrees that evening but we were as snug as bugs inside the truck with the diesel heater running.
There was frost on the ground in the morning and it was nippy so we had breakfast inside before continuing north to the Alpine Way. Once again things did not go to plan. The road crews had still not finished making the Alpine Way safe from fires earlier in the year. The road between Hotham and Harrietville was closed between the hours of 8am and 4.30pm during the week. With only several weeks before the ski season opened there was still a lot of cleaning up to be done from the felling of dangerous trees along the road. Hundreds of people would soon be heading to Hotham and Dinner Plains ski fields, so the pressure was on.

The road closure was at the junction of Dargo High Plains Road and the Alpine Way so we were able to make the short trip into Hotham to wait for the road to open. Since our last visit to Hotham things had improved – one cafe had open that morning. $38 for 4 cups of coffee and 2 pies! Glad we didn’t have to stay longer. Tip trucks carring timber were the only vehicles on the road, empty this way, loaded that way.
At 4.20pm we joined the long line of cars waiting for the road to open.
Eventually we were on our way and then saw for ourselves how this section was hit hard by the fires back in January. Cut trees were still piled by the side of the road waiting to be loaded onto trucks. Machinery was being parked for the evening and the workers were returning to home base.

We pulled into Harrietville around 5.15pm and stopped at Pioneer Park. All residents from this town were evacuated during the fire but returned later to find that their little town, although ringed by fire, had been saved. The autumn trees, lining the main road, were ablaze with colour and for a brief moment we both thought it would be a beautiful place to live.
We were on our way again in the morning stopping at Bright to do our laundry. After a look around we made our way to Pioneer Bridge camp site alongside the bridge. It was definitely a one nighter!
Before we reached the Hume Highway we passed through an area with old tobacco drying sheds which were very unusual. Today they are not used for their original purpose.

Years ago we rescued a deer hunter on a High Country track and he said, “Don’t you ever go past Benalla without calling in”. We had done so in the past but now he wanted to see our truck AND this time it was exciting – he was making venison sausages.
The shed was turned into a butchery. A beast, which had been stored in the cool room, was hung, skinned, cut into portions and the meat stripped from the bone. The sausage making machine was brought out and the process of making sausages began.
Finally the job was done and all the boys were treated to a BBQ. What a great night!
In the morning Lucy, Steve’s pet deer, was in the front garden for a pat. We left with our frig loaded up with Venison steaks, mince and sausages.

With still a week to go before meeting up with Carl and Annie at Beachworth so we took the road north which brought us onto the Murray River. For the next four nights we camped along the river at different locations, near Tocumwal, Brentnal’s Beach, Cottadidda NP and Doolan’s Bend. All were great but with high river levels when it rains, toilets were non existant.

Before heading to Beachworth we travelled around the SW side of the Hume Weir which had several possible camping areas but strong winds made it unfavourable. We did a little exploring in the Stanley Forest but its tracks were boggy and campsites were under a heavy canopy. Although a day early we settled into the Lake Sambell CP in the CMCA section which allowed members with self contained vehicles to camp for $5 per person. It was also on the hill overlooking Lake Sambell, not down in the general camping area. It was all so pretty with the trees in full autumn dress. We were happy to settle in for the evening.

We had a full day to fill in so we took a trip to Yackandanda. Now this town had the deepest gutters around giving us the idea that they have substantial down pours. After a look around it was time to check out the bakery for morning tea.

Back in Beachworth we walked around the historical buildings and did a goal tour. This goal was made famous because Ned Kelly’s mother was once an inmate. The conditions at any time would have been horiffic but in winter, with temperatures below zero and no heating, it would have been unbearable. To finish the day we took the one way tourist drive around Beachworth Historic Park. Unfortunately the historic Gun Powder Magazine was not open but hey, what’s new! In the evening we went into town to the Chinese Restaurant.

Around lunch time Carl and Annie arrived and we finally got to see their new truck, now one year old. The afternoon was spent checking things out.

We were both heading north so before parting ways we stopped off at Sandy Beach, between Junee and Gundigai. It was an unexpected find on a flowing creek. Our evening was spent by the fire.

After our farewells we made our way to Tumut and then across the Brindabella Track into Canberra. Along the way we stopped off at Adelong Falls Gold Mine ruins which we viewed from the viewing platform. The more energetic could walk down the track and explore the ruins close up. Our evening was spent at Cotter Reserve.

In Canberra Chicka spent several hours in the War Memorial Museum and then we camped at Anderson VC Rest Area on Lake George before ending our trip in Sydney the next day.

Now for our next adventure!
The outback calls
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