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.
It’s somewhat ironic that my last High Country post was about a trip that was ostensibly to the same area as this one, at the beginning anyway, as our trip leader for this Cruise wanted another look at Mt Pinnibar, so we headed east from Bruthen and then north to Buchan and ever upwards. Not far out of Gelantipy, we came across what is fairly common in country Victoria, cattle across the road, but this time it was a herd being driven from one pasture to the next along the road. It was an interesting start to the Cruise before we headed off the blacktop onto the dirt roads and more remote areas where typical rural views abound.
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.
Another Australia Day long-weekend came about and so once again we decided to head to the far east of Victoria, well aware that the High Country could be busy but, as I’ve mentioned in previous stories, there’s a greater chance of things being quiet the further you go from Melbourne. This is another one of those trips where a few memory gaps occur; however, it’s not as bad as one of the others. We started off from Benambra and headed for the Davies Plains, then Mt Pinnibar, before turning westwards and ending up south of Dargo in the Mitchell River National Park. I remember sweltering during those days but, fortunately, welcoming shade was available whenever we pulled up to camp and we managed a good fire for when the sun went down and it became cold.