Craig's Hut / Mt Speculation trip report 20/04/08


5th Annual Victorian Gathering member
I led some fellow Pathfinder drivers from the PCOA forum on a trip last weekend and thought I would share it with you all. We had 3 R50 Pathfinders, 2 R51 Pathfinders and a Rodeo. Most of the area can be reached with a stockish AWD but the track up to Mt Speculation requires some lift, low range and a good set of AT, ST or MT tyres. The road up there is really rocky and quite a slow treck in low range.

This trip was planned to show visiting South Australians Darrin and Kylie, some of our magnificent Victorian High Country. I will apologise now for the extremely long day, it really would be best broken up with a night under the stars, but who can knock back a warm bed?
The trip was attended by:
nickj and family (including Sienna-Lee the mechanical baby)
Bobby and co
Jason and Michelle
Sean and partner (sorry your name escapes me)
Nic (alias Bruce) and Gayle
and our visitors - Darr1n and Kylie
Jason and Sean decided to meet up with Darrin and Bobby on Saturday morning for some touring around the Howqua Hills - Sheepyard Flat area. While nic and Nick started the trip with the rest of the bunch at the Hunt Club Hotel in Merrijig.
As part of my daughter's Childhood Studies at school, it was her turn to take home Sienna-Lee the mechanical baby. Now Sienna-Lee is designed to assist as a deterrent to avoiding early unwanted pregnancies. Well, we decided to leave Sienna-Lee in the car (obvious embarrassment to daughter to take her inside) but asked some people sitting on the balcony to listen out for one mechanical baby and advise us accordingly. We were all sat down, well into our evening meal, now with Sienna-Lee accompanying us, when two of Victoria Police's members walked in and proceeded directly towards us. After sighting Sienna-Lee and touching her plastic head, revealled that someone had seen her in the car alone (and probably overheard us asking people on the balcony to look out for her) and called the ploice in to investigate this appearant breach of child care. We explained the situation to the visiting police members who had travelled a lazy 25km to join us what Sienna-Lee was all about. They left shortly after, a little embarrassed I think.


Introducing Sienna-Lee the mechanical baby

Us nickjs arrived early enough for a quick drive on the low Lake EIldon lake bed at Bonnie Doon. Last time we were here, the water was kms away but has slowly risen to its current level. The lake has been down to 19% of its capacity and sometimes was down to under 10% capacity. We were really blessed at this time as the sun was well on it's way down. Let the approaching sunset photos do the talking.

Some pics of the scenery around the almost dried up Eildon Lake bed

Eildon Lake bed

Eildon Lake bed

The planned trip:
A beautiful sunny but crisp morning greeted us at the meeting point, how I love the mountain air!
We met up on Sunday morning and departed approx 8:45am, picking up Nic and Gayle on the way to our first destination of the infamous recently rebuilt Craig's Hut - as seen in The Man From Snowy River movie. Craig's Hut was rebuilt in 1993, but was again destroyed by the monsterous great Victorian Bushfires of Summer 2006/2007. We stopped as soon as we hit the dirt road for a quick air down and continued. An easy gravel road drive, with the last couple of kms requiring 4wd vehicles which was travelled easily in high range. Arriving at Craig's Hut, we assembled and took the obligatory Pathy gathering pics.


Assembly of Pathys and 1 Rodeo at Craig's Hut car park

After a good look around and more pics

The crew at Craig's Hut

The rebult Craig's Hut

We departed Craig's Hut after some chat and drinks, heading for Mt Speculation, via "The Staircase", so named for its resemblance to an actual staircase but formed by the local rocky surroundings.


We all got out to survey the rough terrain and try to pick our lines for the tricky ascent, which in the end, was all about good wheel placement.

The rough Staircase

We all escaped with only minor scrapes, or so we thought. We headed off on our journey over some still very rough rocky tracks via some muddy puddles. Some took the challenge and for Sean, perhaps it was a little looser than anticipated. Some groaning from the front end of Sean's car required a closer look to find the front right rotor caked with mud. This was causing the scraping noise. After elevating the wheel on some rocks, the rotor was squirted with water and the offending mud released.


Sean's front wheel
Just ready to move on, I realised nic was under his car. It seemed one of the noises he heard was a rock that had all but removed his left rear lower shocker mount from the diff housing. Nic raised the pressure in the poly airs enough to relieve the load from the shocker and we continued. Shortly after, we found a nice flat spot where we all parked and setup for lunch.


Lunchtime gathering

We headed off for the remainder of the boring tedious rocky track finally arriving at Mt Speculation. Some took the 45min return hard walk to the top, while others stayed and helped nic secure his rear shock for the trip home. Jason and co had to leave us early as their baby sitters would be in double time when they got home. Once at the top, you are treated to an almost 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains from 1660m above sea level!


View from Mt Speculation




Yet another

We commenced the boring low range descent towards The Staircase.
The trip down The Staircase still required some carful wheel placement but was travelled fine by all. We headed east near King Hut and stopped for a quick look at the old hut.


King's Hut (needs some TLC)

This track eventually took us back to our original meeting point, after some short shallow river crossings - much to Bobby's delight! But unfortunately, not deep enough to test out the new snorkel.





By this time, it was nearly dark and the radio had gone quiet as all occupants were tired from the big day's outing. We travelled the remainder of the trip under headlights until we reached the main road to air up and say goodbyes.

Thanks to all, it was nice to meet Darrin, Kylie, Nic and Gayle while catching up with the other trip regulars and friends. We hope you enjoyed your trip to the Victorian High Country, next time we will go to Walhalla for some real 4wding!

Jason, I hope you will show us what you did on Saturday in the Howqua Hills area.

Nick, Donna and co.
Last edited:


Looks like you had a great trip through some great country. If I ever get down your way I'll have to book your services as a tour guide.



5th Annual Victorian Gathering member
Can I have some of the drugs that they are on in Algeria :D:D:D

By the way Nick, great post that I wouldn't have otherwise seen.

Not sure I follow your humour David. Did I miss something??

It was a great trip, we still remember baby Sienna.....



4x4 Earth Contributer
When the Golden rock comes down, I come too!:):):) He'll need someone to lay a coat over the puddles so he does'nt get his thongs wet!!:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:


New Member
Great report nick,,,i have traveled those tracks many many times before thanks for re kindling the memories. I love camping in and around King hut area especialy when know onelse is around,,,Bloody good fishing;)