Victoria: High Country - Day 22

Sunday, Jan 16, 2005 at 01:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

This page covers 5 days in Victorian State Forest and Alpine/High Country. We started our offroad segment at Loch Valley and continued north through the Upper Yarra Ranges and then onto Woods Point where we plotted a "short-cut" north through some exciting high-country tracks to meet up with the Bluff Track at Lovicks Hut. We then spent another 2 days in the High Country visiting Howitts Hut and the Wongangatta Valley before heading further north via the Hummfrays and Harts Spur Trks to meet up with the Great Alpine Highway near Bright where we parted company with the Jacka's who returned to Sydney whilst we would turn west to begin our trip back to Perth.

We arrived by ferry in Port Melbourne at 6.30am but we were the last car off the ferry around 7.30am. We are still travelling with the Jacka's so we rejoined at the terminal exit, refitted UHF aerials and once more hit the road. Breakfast was the first priority, and being a Sunday morning we thought we'd treat ourselves to a trendy cafe on the beachfront. Although David and my father both travel to Melbourne frequently for work by plane, neither had actually been let loose in a car here for quite some years and so none of us were totally confident about how to get anywhere. Driving big 4WDs around the city isn't terribly easy and we suspected that to use the motorways you needed a tag, which we didn't have so we just followed our noses along the coast until we came to a trendy cafe at Brighton beach called North Rd Pavilion. And then an ironic thing happened - we got out of our fully equipped camping vehicles and went into the trendy cafe, whilst an elderly couple in their family sedan arrived and began setting up a portable barbeque to cook themselves bacon and eggs in the park outside the trendy cafe. We stopped to chat and laughed how they thought it was a great treat to come out and pretend they were camping, and we had come to the same location to get away from camp cooking. Anyway, we spent $96 on breakfast and theirs cost about $3.

Mum had a friend living on Phillip Island, and so our next stop was to visit them today. We drove out of Melbourne on the Nepean Hwy, taking the South Gippsland Hwy to Phillip Island. It was quite a lengthy slow drive through the traffic lights and the only action was when our passenger window visor flew off. I radioed back to Colin to keep an eye out for it and he said "Don't worry about it, it's gone now." Meaning he had just run over it. At $50 from Toyota, it was not going to be replaced this trip.

Mum's friends have a gorgeous property on Phillip Island and we enjoyed a few hours with them. We still have a lot of driving yet to do and rather than spend time exploring here we moved on up towards the High Country after lunch. We retraced our tracks along the South Gippsland Hwy to Lang Lang and turned off here to reach Drouin where we stopped to stock up on food supplies. There was a bit of a misunderstanding about what range we needed to stock up for, and I felt it was necessary to do a major stock up and took, what I was later told, an "excessive" amount of time buying the groceries. David stayed in the carpark with the kids and was totally beside himself when Sandy returned quickly with a small amount of supplies but I didn't appear until more than an hour later with an overflowing trolley. A polite version of the story is that he was jumping up and down and I was "in trouble", but I was adamant that I was in the right and that they would all thank me for the food in a few days time. Actually, I did end up being thanked when not only did we find a great campsite well before dark, but in a few days time I ended up feeding the Jacka's a meal when they ran out of food!

So after shopping (and arguing) in Drouin, we headed to Warragul, Nerrim, Noojee, and then up Toorongo Rd (signed to Loch Valley). This road then becomes Nine Mile Rd. We found free campsites at The Poplars Reserve that were great. Running creek, large trees, lots of firewood, and toilets. The only downside was that we weren't the only campers and had to share the area with a family of kids on peewee 50's. Leah befriended the young boys and together they were soon absorbed throwing stones into the creek.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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