Our first Cruise for 2017 closely mirrored the one that I posted a few weeks ago, but with some variations as we sought a few new places to camp and tracks to explore. On this Cruise we had five travellers, four of our old crew and a new member from 4WD Trip, from whence we hope to introduce new travellers to our Cruises and counter the diminishing numbers that we’ve experienced over the last few years. We met at Tyers and then travelled on to Bairnsdale for a fuel stop, and then headed north towards Buchan. We were warned that there was a Cattleman’s event happening at Buchan that weekend and to expect a lot of traffic, but the road turned out to be very quiet. Just before Buchan, we took the Timbarra Road to head north and then shortly after turned into Sunny Point Track which was the beginning of our Cruise.
In Apr 2013, we decided to venture out to the far east of Victoria once again, to the Vic-NSW border, starting at Morwell and heading out to Bairnsdale, then Bruthen, and north-east to Suggan Buggan. For some reason we went from Morwell to Sale along the Princes Highway that day, contrary to our normal backroads route, and found the journey from Traralgon to Sale absolutely abominable due to roadworks along almost the entire 50km of the Princess Highway. As both Traralgon and Sale keep expanding along the highway, the traffic is increasingly reminding me of parts of Melbourne, where the freeways offer anything but freely flowing traffic. We knew not to try that route again on future Cruises.
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.
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.
One of the greatest things about living in Victoria is that we still have access to some of the most wondrous country and scenery in Australia, places that reflect the long history of our first settlers and the arduous task that lay before them as they proceeded to explore and develop this state. While the difficulties and deprivations of the explorers and settlers of the outback shouldn’t be dismissed by any means, the effort required by the people doing the same in Victoria can barely be imagined by today’s populace. It’s only when you venture into the High Country using modern transportation, do you realise that these early settlers were made of very stern stuff indeed.