This Australia Day we were going to do some camping with friends, but circumstances changed for several of the wives, so three of us decided to go on a Cruise instead. Being the Australia Day long weekend, it was going to be busy, especially as we had decided to stay reasonably close to Melbourne, but I’d managed to rustle up a plan for day one and left the remainder of the weekend on a suck it and see basis. On weekends like this, too much planning usually involves changes at every turn anyway, so better to just play things by ear and see what happens. As it is, it turned out to be a much, much, better Cruise than anticipated.
The Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend in June is not only the start of the official ski season, it’s also the last weekend until November (nominally the Melbourne Cup Weekend) when you can go to the most popular locations in the Victorian High Country. This year the snow had come early and the long weekend was going to be an ideal time to get in some snow driving and bush camping before the closure of the High Country.
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.