Solo Vic High Country tour

aids84

Active Member
As has become a bit of a tradition each February for the past 3 years my partner Ali and I headed to the VHC for a week last Monday. We find that once school holidays is over the place is pretty quiet and we have no worries getting prime campsites and hitting the tracks without any traffic.

We head off early from Mittagong on Monday morning, hitting the road at around 5am. This saw us get to Tom Groggin at around 9.30, where it was time to air down and cross the Murray into Victoria.


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Once over the river we turned left and started along Davies Plain track. Having done this track in the fog on a motorbike in 2013 I was keen to see at least 10 metres past the side of the track. We stopped at Buckwong Creek because we noticed someone had left their campfire smouldering. So I got a tub of water from the creek and made sure it was out.

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From there it was a climb up to the Davies High Plains, only meeting an old couple in a 79 series coming the other way.

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We made it to the hut and stopped to take a look around and have some fruit.

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I'm pleased to say that this time around the weather was very clear and offered up some fantastic views as we continued southwards.


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aids84

Active Member
We drove past Charlie Creek campsite and made it to the intersection at the end of the track. We took the left onto McCarthy's Track and then went down to the Poplars Campsite for lunch

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The Murray was beautiful up this high and we have made a note to someday come back and camp here the night.

Once we had lunch we went back up the hill and headed onto Limestone Creek Track. This was a fun track with a few ups and downs, including a couple of dusty hills with big wombat holes and some small creek crossing. Arriving at Limestone Creek campground we were greeted by several herds of Brumbies. Some were happy to stand and let us watch them while the ones I decided to take photos of were a bit camera shy.

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Anyway they looked pretty fat and healthy. We crossed the creek and went into the cave for a look, it was nice and cool inside.

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Once back in the Triton we headed onto Limestone road and out to the Snowy River Road. We headed towards McKillops bridge, stopping at little river falls however there was no water flowing over them. The long windy road to the bridge is very narrow and scenic.

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aids84

Active Member
We set up camp at the Bull Flat picnic area for the night on the banks of the Deddick River.

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We realised in the morning that there was a no camping sign at the entrance to the picnic area, despite there being plenty of room and those campfire bbq plate setups everywhere. We checked the sign down closer to the bridge and it is marked as a camping area so not sure what the deal is there. We didn't see anyone else down there so it doesn't really matter. We checked out the bridge from underneath and read about the amazing misfortune they had in constructing the bridge.

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Then it was onto the start of the Deddick Track. A notice at the start of the track said the track was closed to southbound traffic, due to the steepness of the Mt Joan staircase climb. This was a major setback in my planned route, but I checked the map and saw that we could backtrack onto Waratah Flat road if the Staircase was way to gnarly as the sign suggested. We spoke to a couple of national parks contractors who were spraying weeds a bit further up the track and they told us that it should be ok since we have twin lockers and a winch if needed.

With that bit of information we continued up the track, getting some great views of the Snowy River and back to the bridge.

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The track was pretty slow going for the first bit up the ridge but once up high it smoothed out and we were able to get back into high range for a while. It was getting pretty windy and I was hoping that no trees would fall across the track, even though I had the chainsaw ready in the back.

We reached the bottom of the staircase, engaged both lockers and started our way up. To be honest there wasn't anything sinister about it, a wombat hole section about a third of the way up and another chopped out section with some roots and rock steps closer to the top but nothing that would cause us any problems continuing to the top.

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The rest of the track out to Yalmy Road was in good condition, with a couple of boggy bits and a nice creek crossing

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aids84

Active Member
We then headed south and turned onto Varney's Track down to Jacksons Crossing. I had planned this to be our camp for the night but as it was only 2pm we decided we'd stop here for lunch and then continue over the river. I was also worried about the possibility of rain, the river already was quite brown from extra water flow and the weather looked to be turning so I wanted to cross the river to make sure we weren't stuck on the eastern side.

We both walked the first section of the ford, the water was quite murky and although only knee deep you couldn't see the bottom which made it tricky to walk in bare feet. Once we crossed the first section Ali volunteered to walk the second section to get a video of the crossing.

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This section was even shallower and we were across with no dramas.

Once across the river it was disappointing to see a rolled vehicle abandoned on the grassy hill behind the rocky bluff. Two sets of tyre tracks had been cut up the side of the hill and this D22 obviously had got it wrong.

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As far as I am aware this area is private property and the owner allows public access to vehicles on the track. This sort of stuff happening could easily have the owner change their mind so I hope someone comes to retrieve their vehicle one day soon.

Since it now had started to rain and we weren't particularly keen on setting up camp, we continued to drive the tracks out towards Buchan. The rain got heavier as we were approaching town so we figured we'd keep driving through. We ended up stopping to look at the map to figure out where we were going to stay for the night, we saw that there were a couple of spots around Tambo crossing so we took some forestry roads in that direction just as the rain started to clear up.

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We drove past some pretty nice farmland along Sandy Creek Road and arrived at Tambo Crossing. The only spot we could find was an open area next to the road that already had a few caravans parked there, so we decided to head into the Haunted Stream Track to find a camp. We found a great little spot at the old town of Stirling and setup for the night.

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aids84

Active Member
The next morning the weather had cleared up to a nice sunny morning. We packed up camp after breakfast and head westwards on the Haunted Stream Track. The track has over fifty creek crossings and passes some old town sites from the goldrush era. A few boggy patches here and there but nothing really too extreme. At the end we head up Boomerang Spur and onto Baldhead Road. We turned onto Jones Road at the Seldom Seen hut and made our way towards Dargo on the forestry roads.

We stopped at Dargo pub for lunch, each having a different variety of their famous chicken parmigianas. We were hoping to catch up with some mates from Canberra who we knew were around the area but there was no sign of them at Dargo.

We then decided we'd head up to the Pinnacles for a look, so we went up Scrubby Creek Track, Junction Spur track and Castle Hill track to get to the top.

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The view from the Pinnacles firetower is breathtaking, we had never been before so it was great to tick this off the bucket list.

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We then decided that we'd head to Talbotville for the night so we went over to Billy Goat Bluff track and started our descent to the valley.

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Had a quick break at the helipad and then kept going. The track seemed to be a lot rougher than I remembered it from a couple of years ago

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I then decided that instead of driving up the Crooked River Track to Talbotville we would tackle Conway track and come back down Randalls Track. Both these tracks are really steep and offer some amazing views, especially this time of the afternoon.

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aids84

Active Member
We arrived at Talbotville at around 7 and set up for the night. Just as Ali had started the fire we heard the sound of a V8 coming through the river crossing on the north side of the camp. It was our mates from Canberra, Steve in a Y62 and Chris in a Ranger. They had spent the day driving from Wonangatta via the Twins Jeep track, Blue Rag and South Basalt knob. We were equally surprised to have run into each other purely by chance and we spent the night around the campfire having a yarn.

The next morning Steve and Chris departed to go and do Billy Goats while we head north. We drove along the Crooked River track for a while before chucking a u-turn and heading back to climb the South Basalt Knob track. The track has gotten a bit trickier since we drove up two years ago but nothing the Triton couldn't handle.


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Once we had gotten all the way north we turned left and went up to the Blue Rag trig. We have been here a couple of times before but the views are too good to drive past, so we went up again.

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Then it was down onto Dargo High Plains road before turning down King Spur towards our camp for the night at Mayford. Found that we had the entire valley to ourselves and picked a great spot near the river to set up camp.

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The next day (Thursday I think) we packed up and went looking for the infamous Mayford Spur track, a track that was closed off by National Parks in the early 2000's. Renowned for being steep and relentless it use to be a second way into and out of the valley, but since it's closure has left King spur track the only way in or out. We found it and walked up to about halfway to have a look.

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It looked to us as though somebody has driven it recently with a clear line going up the left hand side of all the fallen trees. That and we saw a few knobby tracks from dirtbikes. We saw a snake asleep on the track and decided not to disturb it, we turned around and went back down to the car.
 

aids84

Active Member
We drove back out up the King Spur track and head north to Mt Hotham and then onto the Dinner Plain Track

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We went to check out the top of Mayford Spur track, and saw more evidence that people have been using it for bikes and 4wd's

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We then head to Omeo to put some fuel in the Triton. Then it was north through Benambra to find a spot to camp along the Gibbo river. Stopped at a great little spot called Ah Syes where we had the place to ourselves. Had a refreshing swim in the river and settled in for a night around the campfire.

The next morning we continued north up to Wheelers Creek logging road where we went down to Cattlemans Creek road and then up Shady Creek upper track to the top of Mt Pinnibar

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From there it was back down to Tom Groggin to finish off the loop we had started 6 days beforehand. We found the place to be quite busy so chose a spot away from the main river area. Still was only a short walk down to the river for a swim then we had a few drinks and watched the emus and kangaroos.

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aids84

Active Member
Our last day of the trip was Sunday. Seeing that we had spent the week in the car and only doing a bit of walking, we decided to drive up to Charlottes Pass to do the Main Range loop, including a detour down to the Blue Lake. One of the most scenic walks in Australia in a landscape that is pretty limited to only a few areas in the country.

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aids84

Active Member
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We finished the walk around 1pm and head down to Jindabyne for a pub lunch. After that it was a 4 hour drive back home to Mittagong. Spent the day today unpacking the car and pulling off the rooftop tent and boxes. The Triton performed faultlessly again this trip and the only thing I had to do was replace a bashplate bolt that had rattled loose. Have come away with heaps of ideas for next year.
 

aids84

Active Member
What a fabulous report with terrific camera work, thanks for taking the time to post.

Col.

PS, It's a pity more don't appreciate such postings.


Thanks mate, I figured it's a good way to document the trip for myself so I can look back on it and remember things later on. Plus it might be able to give someone who may not be quite familiarised with the high country some ideas to put a trip together.
 

MrPoopypants

Well-Known Member
Really enjoyed this. Thanks for the post. Showed it to SWKWBFM as what I think is the ideal itinery for a trip down that way. Great photos, too.
Cheers PP
 

smitty_r51

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the trip report... Was just looking for an easy hike to get us back in the swing... Blue lake looks a good option.
Thanks
 

aids84

Active Member
Really enjoyed this. Thanks for the post. Showed it to SWKWBFM as what I think is the ideal itinery for a trip down that way. Great photos, too.
Cheers PP

Thanks mate. There were a couple of big days in there, but you could add an extra night in somewhere to make it pretty cruisey.
 
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