For our first High Country Cruise of the year, we decided to wait out the school holiday period hoping that things would be a little quieter in the High Country and so decided to go out at the beginning of February, but things were delayed and we didn’t get out until the middle of February. But even then it’s never a given that the place won’t be full of people, as we’ve found out many a time. Given that our Nov 2017 Cruise was only attended by two travellers and we found some pretty good places on that Cruise, I thought we’d let the additional two travellers on this Cruise enjoy what we’d experienced last year, while trying out some different tracks. Hopefully we’d also be able to travel the Davies Plains Track, which was going to be closed post the opening season due to track repairs.
This Cruise started out as one where we were thinking about staying in some cabins that we’d passed on an earlier trip but, for various reasons, a number of fellow travellers had to pull out and that just left two of us once again. After a lot of pondering, we decided to go to the Far East to the Davies Plains instead and, as we were doing this Cruise the week after the Melbourne Cup long weekend, we thought it should also be fairly peaceful. However, that can never be guaranteed as you can’t predict how many foreigners are doing a border crossing to Victoria to experience the good life that is denied them in the land of the cockroaches. Those north of our borders can laugh all they want about Victoria, but it still has the best and most accessible 4WDrving and camping in Australia. As it turned out, there were plenty of others about.
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.
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.
The huts of the High Country are many and varied, and are very much a part of Australian folklore, being so integral to the story of the Australian stockman. This was highlighted in the movie The Man From Snowy River that featured a hut located in the Victorian High Country (a totally mythical hut and built purely for the film) which, after the film crew had departed, became an icon and it’s mandated removal was challenged by an determined group of people from nearby Mansfield who wanted to preserve the hut and all that it represented. They succeeded and the hut subsequently became a major tourist venue. Unfortunately, Australian bushfires had more say in the hut’s survival than the Department of Environment and the original, as well as further rebuilt huts, were totally destroyed. The latest version is somewhat more fireproof and still draws the crowds.