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.
Also for some reason that I can’t recollect, just before Seldom Seen, we turned westwards onto Seldom Seen Road, then Wombargo Track and Limestone Road, which took us back onto the Snowy River Road further north. I’m at a complete loss as to why we did this diversion, but maybe it was because we’d been on the blacktop long enough and needed some relief. I can’t even remember whether there was anything noteworthy about the diversion and I definitely don’t have any photographs to show what was there, though I have a vague recollection of following a farmer’s fence line. From there it was quite a scenic drive to Suggan Buggan along a narrow, windy, road overlooking magnificent views across the valleys and ranges and on arrival, we stopped for a short break at the bridge.
From Suggan Buggan we travelled northwards for a short distance and then turned off at Ingeegoodbee Track, which more or less parallels the NSW border. We stopped off at the helipad for a group shot and to admire the views and, somewhere in the distance behind the vehicles amongst the peaks, was Mt Kosciuszko and Thredbo Village. From the helipad we continued on to see if we could find McFarlanes Flat Hut, which was marked on the map, but this time not making the mistake that we made on an earlier Cruise. After much searching, it appears that the hut no longer exists and I think that’s why the hut is shown in white and not black, like known existing huts. Anyway, we found an excellent campsite in the area and decided that we’d settle here for the night, given the rather long drive we’d had so far.
But before night fell, we went for a walk to see if there was anything else to see in the area, which is where we came across a wide open field backed by a small range. This area may have well been grazing land in the past, especially given what looked like man-made dams on the plain. It was while we were pondering the history of the area that one of our group spotted some Brumbies in the distance. The Brumbies had clearly come down from the range to feed and drink on the plain and naturally were skittish when they spotted us. By being very slow and methodical, I managed to get quite close and get some group photographs before the herd moved to what it deemed safer ground. It was the first time that we’d seen so many Brumbies in one group and what will eventually happen to the growing numbers of Brumbies is anyone’s guess.
The next morning we continued along McFarlane Track and on to Cobberas Track and then Limestone Road. From Limestone Road we turned into Limestone Creek Track and followed it down to the Murray River where we went to have another look at the highest point on the Murray River to which you can drive, The Poplars. From there we followed McCarthy’s Track to Davies Plain Track, pulling up for the night at the far end of Davies Plain, just above Buckwong Creek. I’m not entirely certain, but I seem to remember that Davies Plain was once again fairly full of campers, even though it wasn’t a public holiday. Though this isn’t unusual, as Davies Plains is a pretty nice camping area and, as I’ve noted previously, is far more easily accessible for many from NSW than it is for those in Victoria.
The next morning we continued along Davies Plain Track down to Tom Groggin and Dogmans Hut, which again I think was occupied. From Dogmans Hut we travelled along Tom Groggin Track until we reached Anderson Road, which we then took to Mt Gibbo. On a good day, the views from Mt Gibbo are always spectacular, so it’s worth having a stop, even if you’ve been here many times before. And from Mt Gibbo we took the Pinnibar Track down to Buenba Road. Pinnibar Track always seems to vary, from quite tame to sometimes quite rough, which may be due to the elevation and effects of Winter snow run-off. Once on Buenba Road, it was an easy drive to our last campsite for the Cruise, at Buenba Flat. There’s not really much to say about Buenba Flat, or our last night, other than it’s a reasonable campsite.
From ‘Site Unknown’ we decided to take Greggs Track and have a look at the Wolfram Mine at Mount Murphy Historic Area (PDF), unfortunately there’s really not much remaining, apart from some rusty mining bits and pieces and a small dam. From there we followed Greggs Track to Misery Trail and eventually Benambra. From Benambra it was down to Bruthen and then once more the Princes Highway back to the various home bases.