Our Mar 2013 Cruise took us on a long circuit from Morwell to near the Nunniong Plains, Bruthen and then back home. It was a four day Cruise with five travellers and one other that we met for a day along the way. We started from Dargo and headed off to some tracks that we hadn’t looked at for some time. The intent was to stay off any main roads as much as possible this weekend, but the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. And so it was that at the very start of our Cruise we encountered unexpected obstacles and had to detour to more staid tracks to make headway that first day.
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.
Summer is the ideal time to visit the High Country, as the tracks are far more manageable, the weather is obviously much better (usually, but not always, as we found out on this trip) and there’s a chance to cool off in some of the rivers after a long day of dusty driving. On this cruise, our plan was to undertake the Haunted Stream Track, which starts just after Tambo Crossing on the Alpine Way, and then progress to the Dargo High Plains, view some of the scenery and eventually work our way back down to Stratford, way down south on the Princes Highway. The Haunted Stream Track begins at an innocuous farm house near Tambo Crossing and travels through mixed farmland before entering the valley through which Haunted Stream flows.
When venturing into the High Country, appropriate preparation, knowledge and experience is essential. As I posted earlier about Maps and GPS, knowing where you’re going and how to make alternate plans if the original goes asunder is vital. However, there are other things that are also vital when venturing into the High Country, regardless of the time of year, and that’s having some important and basic equipment with you pretty much all the time. This equipment constitutes not just a reliable and capable vehicle, but also tools, recovery aids, safety gear, first aid gear, personal equipment and supplies that will allow you to survive in the worst of conditions. You often don’t need a lot, but if you leave out even a seemingly minor item, it could be the difference between pleasure and pain on a High Country trip. The thing is, conditions in the High Country can change dramatically in a matter of hours, from warm and dry to freezing cold and wet without any notice, any time of the year.