While my last High Country Cruise report had a few gaps, at least this one was duly recorded and mapped. We started the Cruise from Licola and headed off to the Macalister River via Glencairn and Black Soil Gully Track, which is the usual way most travellers opt to take. Being April, the rivers are all usually well down at this time of year and with the tracks being quite dry, there was little likelihood of any issues. This was only a three day trip, so we stayed fairly close to Melbourne, especially as we were planning on staying off-road as much as possible, so that meant not travelling great distances each day and it looked like it was going to be quite a pleasant trip, especially weather wise.
Another Australia Day weekend in the mountains came about, with our group starting off from Tambo Crossing to once again drive the Haunted Stream Track. We weren’t quite certain what this weekend’s weather would deliver, as there were mixed messages about what to expect; however, as always, that never deterred us from venturing out into the mountains. Once again our plan was to start in the east and work our way back west to end up closer to Melbourne. I don’t think we had really set any hard and fast plans for the weekend, but simply chose a starting point and would work things out as we progressed. As I’ve mentioned before, planning too far ahead is always followed by inevitable change.
My memory fails me somewhat as to where we started this Melbourne Cup Weekend Cruise, but I’m fairly certain that it was Licola and that we headed out towards Glencairn and the Barkly River on our first day. This time of year it’s always going to be somewhat wet and, with a collection of eight vehicles, it was important that we could find large enough camping sites for each night. There are a lot of gaps as to where we went on this Cruise, and trying to piece things together was not an easy task and is likely fraught with many errors. Anyway, there is a sort of start and finish to this story, and some bits in between.
The first Cruise for 2010 saw us head out to the Thomson Reservoir, north of Rawson, where the trip more or less started officially. It was a four day trip and the weather this weekend wasn’t looking all that great when we arrived at the reservoir; however, in this neck of the woods, you can never tell what sort of weather you’ll be getting from one day to the next. Forecasts for Melbourne usually bear no resemblance to what the High Country will get and so it was, as the weekend turned out to be quite a hot and enjoyable event.
For this Cruise, we decided to undertake the mighty Deddick Trail in the Snowy River National Park that starts north of Orbost and ends at McKillops Bridge on the Snowy River (depending on which way you travel). It’s been on our ‘to do’ list for some time and this year we decided that it had to be done. The Deddick Trail has long been noted as a somewhat difficult and especially long trail that requires a number of days to complete. For that reason we decided to start at the southern end, as we left Melbourne early, giving us plenty of time to negotiate the track and, should time get tight, the return trip via the Gelantipy Road would be a lot faster.
Australia Day in 2009 saw us travelling from Mansfield to Mt Stirling, Lake Cobbler, into the Wonnangatta, back up to the Howitt High Plains and then to the Macalister River. It was a fine-weather weekend, rising to one of fairly extreme temperatures during the last days when along the Macalister River. The trip covered quite a bit of the High Country, with various twists and turns as we explored the northern part of the national park. We were expecting hordes out this weekend but, surprisingly as it sometimes happens, that turned out not to be the case. This was especially unusual considering how close to ‘civilisation’ we were most of the trip.
Our April 2008 Cruise took us north-east to the Nunniong Plains, then to Benambra, the Mitta Mitta, Omeo and south to Marthavale, finally ending at Bairnsdale. All of our Cruises, for most travellers, technically start from various locations in Melbourne and finish once again in Melbourne. However, our start points are usually considered where we get the feeling that we’ve left the humdrum of civilisation and our finish point is pretty much where the feeling returns that civilisation is staring us in the face once again.
January 2008 saw us doing a rather distant Cruise to the far east of Victoria, starting at Omeo, going to the Murray River, then back again to Omeo and onwards to Cobungra and finally to Dargo. Being an Australia Day Weekend, we expected plenty of traffic but, surprisingly, it wasn’t anywhere near as busy as anticipated. We were one traveller short, who couldn’t make it until the next morning, so we potted about the area, looking for anything interesting and then eventually found ourselves a campsite on the Gibbo River, where we could be located fairly easily the next morning.
The June 2007 Cruise saw us on another Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend trip and it’s been an entire year between trips because of the 2006-2007 bushfires. Generally we don’t care that much for Cruises on long weekends, as it often means World + Dog will be doing the same, but when we venture to the far eastern side of Victoria, it tends to be less popular compared to those areas closer to Melbourne and therefore quieter. This trip we headed east to Bairnsdale and then to Bruthen, from where we turned north towards Ensay and about halfway between Ensay and Tambo Crossing, we turned east once again and then via a fairly circuitous route headed towards Bentley Plain.
Our June 2006 Cruise took us from Mansfield, down to Jamieson and then east along the Jamieson-Licola Road to Wren’s Flat, with the intent of passing through Mt Sunday and then down to Licola, but along the way we took a wrong turn and ended up heading north. In some ways, that was possibly a blessing in disguise, as the weather was turning foul, wet and cold, and the Mt Sunday Track that we were looking for would have been atrocious that weekend, as we found out on a subsequent, more benign, trip. As it was, the start was looking fairly ordinary from the outset.