Victoria High Country trip 22/04/2014 to 30/04/2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 09:01

Member - Nolo (Brisbane)

I entered the VHC at Tom Groggin, crossed the Murray after some difficulty and literally didn’t know which way to go. I had intended to go right and up Mt Pinnibar. Fortunately I met Leigh and Kathy who advised against it due to the track condition and with some track feedback from another traveller, guided me up the Davies Plain Track to the Davies Plain Hut where I was to spend the first night. Met some people there from Sydney - Ivan & Mel and Mel’s parents John & Barb. They were camped inside the hut and after it got fairly cold around the outside fire, we transferred the fire inside the hut and roasted some chestnuts with a few drinks. Woke to much frost on the ground -1 degrees.

Next day travelled across Davies plains ridge, and worked my way up to Wheelers Creek (camped at O’Hagans camp just down from the hut where I had the place to myself). Doesn’t sound much but it took all day. Very interesting country and good 4WDing.

Next day went via Mt Hotham to Blue Rag. Fully in cloud and saw little until the way down from Blue Rag when the cloud lifted and I saw what I had done - sheeiite. In fact when I arrived at the start of Blue Rag track I took one look at what I could see through the cloud and decided that on my own it was too risky. I had actually turned around and pulled over to let three other vehicles past, a mob of blokes from Sydney. One of the drivers, Ali said that I would regret not doing this as one of the famous tracks so I turned around and followed them up. I am so happy I did accept their ribbing and went, as it prepared me for what was to follow on the trip. Farewelled them and travelled south to Talbotville, finally down Conway Track to camp at Black Snake Creek hut on the Wonnagatta River. Dead set that Conway track was seriously steep. I was glad to be coming down and the surface was in good condition. Possibly the steepest I have come down. Camp area was very picturesque on the river. It was full with the long weekend campers of course. Met a couple up from Melbourne Mike and Stacey and their son Charlie, a 5 year old going on 17. Charlie invited me over to their fire which comprised one huge stump which they were trying to ignite with a few twigs. I had some firewood in the truck which I added and after much fanning we had a reasonable fire. Nice family even if they are Collingwood supporters (some sort of family tradition).

Headed off in the morning essentially having decided to give Billy Goats a miss (too steep, very shaly rocks, busy traffic, and me no winch). Went in to Dargo and after talking to the publican headed south then in towards The Pinnacles via McDonalds Gap Track. Some seriously great 4WDing on this track. Whilst totally solo, the track had been bulldozed recently, possibly to restore the firebreak as the area had been heavily affected by fire. Got to The Pinnacles and was blessed with a beautifully clear day, enjoying the magnificent view from the top of the world. I had intended to head north from here, going as far as possible before camp. Passed the Billy Goat turnoff and driving down the forestry road, got the guilts and turned around. Started the descent down Billy Goat and again sheeiite what have I done! No room to turn around here so press on. What a track. I am glad to have been going down as with the weight I was carrying on the back (and no winch), I could have had difficulty getting up. Anyway I got all the thrills I wanted going down and I can cross that one off the list. Dropped in to Black Snake again and now only one camper. Travelled on to Dargo and after a couple of beers in the pub, camped down the back paddock at the rear.

After several days of fairly solid 4WDing using all the Landcruiser’s capabilities, I decided to take an easy day and travel some bitumen and skirt around the bottom. Headed across and up through through Rawson and back on the dirt, stopped just past Wood’s Point at Scott’s Reserve for an early camp. Had the place to myself and after struggling to get a fire going with some very damp wood, enjoyed what was to be my final bush camp.

The day dawned very overcast and on the road again early. I intended to travel up to Mt Buller, see Craig’s Hut and if time permitted on to Lake Cobler. If not that night then the next and stay maybe two nights. Coffee at Jamieson and on to Mansfield where it started to rain. Looking at the forecast and talking to the locals, indications were that it would continue for 2/3 days. I decided that it would not be very comfortable doing what I intended so I decided to head towards home. Got to Dubbo that afternoon and stayed at the Caravan Park. Up early next day and pressed on home, arriving at Brisbane 10.30 that night.

I started out with a loose itinerary from an early plan. However as so often happens this changed from the first turn. Being on my own I pretty well travelled anywhere I wanted, until I felt like stopping or found a great spot. The VHC is a fantastic playground with so many options to suit any taste. It seems well managed and I liked the track conditions, signage, and especially the lack of litter. Plenty of toilets and just so interesting with the history so evident in the form of past mining enterprises and of course the huts. Quite different to Queensland camping too in so many ways. Need another go at it perhaps a little earlier in the year to avoid the early cold / wet (not used to these going together).

Greg N
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