This was one of those Cruises that started off with very pleasant weather but, as the days wore on, things became worse and worse. This was a four day trip that would take us from Bairnsdale to Mansfield on an often zigzag route as we went in search of places we hadn’t visited previously or for some time. I can’t remember whether that was our original pan, but that’s how it ended up. All told, the Cruise took us from Bairnsdale to Pioneer Racecourse near Talbotville and then eventually to the Buffalo River, so it was quite a long journey and a very varied one at that.
My memory fails me somewhat as to where we started this Melbourne Cup Weekend Cruise, but I’m fairly certain that it was Licola and that we headed out towards Glencairn and the Barkly River on our first day. This time of year it’s always going to be somewhat wet and, with a collection of eight vehicles, it was important that we could find large enough camping sites for each night. There are a lot of gaps as to where we went on this Cruise, and trying to piece things together was not an easy task and is likely fraught with many errors. Anyway, there is a sort of start and finish to this story, and some bits in between.
This cruise began at Heyfield and worked its way north to Dargo, Talbotville, Wonnangatta Station, Lake Cobbler and then Mansfield, in a sort of roundabout way. It was one of those cruises where we wanted to mix tracks that were familiar to us, with those that weren’t, hoping to find something new and interesting along the way. We certainly hadn’t been to Lake Cobbler before and we’d heard varying stories about the lake, so it was a good excuse for an eventual destination. I’m not sure why there was such a gap between 2005 and 2006, as I can’t recollect the bushfires being as severe in 2005, but we certainly hadn’t done anything for a year.
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.