The High Country – Jan 2011

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.

Haunted Stream Track - Tambo Crossing Victoria

Haunted Stream Track – Tambo Crossing Victoria

Once on the Haunted Stream Track. our first port of call was Victoria Mine to see how things had changed since our earlier visit in 2005. Part of this trip was almost a revisit of that 2005 Cruise, especially the first half. Anyway, the Victoria Mine site area had changed considerably in those intervening years and we had some initial difficulty finding the entrance. Eventually we did find the entrance and this time, being better prepared, we ventured further into the mine. Things certainly had changed, as the entrance was a lot narrower and parts of the mine had collapsed, so we didn’t hang around overly long. After the mine visit, we travelled further up the Haunted Stream Track and finally set up camp at Dawson City after a fairly long day.

Victoria Mine - Haunted Stream Track Victoria

Victoria Mine – Haunted Stream Track Victoria

Victoria Mine - Haunted Stream Track Victoria

Victoria Mine – Haunted Stream Track Victoria

Victoria Mine - Haunted Stream Track Victoria

Victoria Mine – Haunted Stream Track Victoria

Dawson City Camp - Haunted Stream Track Victoria

Dawson City Camp – Haunted Stream Track Victoria

Dawson City Camp - Haunted Stream Track Victoria

Dawson City Camp – Haunted Stream Track Victoria

The following day we headed north up Boomerang Spur Track to Baldhead Road, with a beautiful, sunny, day ahead. The views from the high points are always enticing enough to make us stop for a few moments to look and take photos. Along the way we came once again upon Mt Delusion Hut, where we always tend to stop and see how it’s standing up. Every time that we’ve come to Mt Delusion Hut, it keeps looking worse for wear and has now, post our visit, been barricaded for whatever reason. It’s not really going to keep anyone out and is even less likely to prevent deterioration and, as I’ve mentioned previously, this is one of those huts that is simply hanging on to dear life.

High Country Views - Baldhead Road Victoria

High Country Views – Baldhead Road Victoria

High Country Views - Baldhead Road Victoria

High Country Views – Baldhead Road Victoria

Mt Delusion Hut - Baldhead Road Victoria

Mt Delusion Hut – Baldhead Road Victoria

Mt Delusion Hut - Baldhead Road Victoria

Mt Delusion Hut – Baldhead Road Victoria

Mt Delusion Hut - Baldhead Road Victoria

Mt Delusion Hut – Baldhead Road Victoria

From Mt Delusion Hut we travelled further north and then swung around to Birregun Road, though I’m not sure whether we just took some tracks there or visited the Cassilis Historical Area, taking the longer main road. Whatever we did, we ended up going down Messmate Spur Track to Camm’s Top Place for that night’s camp. Messmate Spur Track was steep but fairly tame until we almost reached the bottom, where it became very rough, with a very sharp drop-off over a loose and rocky ledge. Camm’s Top Place had changed quite a bit from when we stayed there in 2005, such that we didn’t recognise it at first, but it still offered a good campsite with fresh water nearby.

Messmate Spur Track - Gippsland Victoria

Messmate Spur Track – Gippsland Victoria

Camm's Top Place - Wentworth River Victoria (source: Grahame)

Camm’s Top Place – Wentworth River Victoria (source: Grahame)

From Camm’s Top Place we took Murdering Spur to Birregun Road, where we turned north and then took Stock Route Track which brought us down to the Dargo River. After crossing the Dargo River, we followed the Upper Dargo Road to Harrisons Cut, which is part of Victoria’s gold mining history and from there we climbed up to the Dargo High Plains Road via Matheson Track and then wound our way to Talbotville. From Talbotville we headed up Brewery Creek Road, then turned off at Bald Top Track, which took us to the narrow crossing at the Wongungarra River and then headed up Sarah Spur Track to wend our way to the Wonnangatta Valley where we camped for the night.

Harrisons Cut - Dargo River Victoria

Harrisons Cut – Dargo River Victoria

High Country Views - Gippsland Victoria

High Country Views – Gippsland Victoria

For whatever reason, I didn’t take any photos of our camp at Wonnangatta, or anything in-between for that matter, nor did anyone else. Anyway, the next day we came up Zeka Spur Track and were pondering whether to to go into the Macalister River area for the night; however, given the time of day, we decided that it would take far too long to get there and decided to head down Tamboritha Road and look for campsites along the Wellington River. There were a fair number of campers along the Wellington River and we were beginning to think that we’d be out of luck, but then found a spot right next to the river with the nearest other camper some distance away. It turned out to be a very hot afternoon and we ended up just sitting in the river until well near sunset, while some of the locals kept a close watch on our antics.

Cooling Off - Wellington River Victoria (source: Grahame)

Cooling Off – Wellington River Victoria (source: Grahame)

Cooling Off - Wellington River Victoria (source: Grahame)

Cooling Off – Wellington River Victoria (source: Grahame)

Cooling Off - Wellington River Victoria (source: Grahame)

Cooling Off – Wellington River Victoria (source: Grahame)

Mountain Dragon Lizard - Wellington River Victoria

Mountain Dragon Lizard – Wellington River Victoria

The trip ended up being nice and dry and it was great that we were able to enjoy the refreshing river at the end of the trip. Without even considering it, the trip also followed much of our 2005 Cruise, yet was completely different from that one. So while we retrace our steps from time to time, it’s never the same and that’s what makes the Cruises so enjoyable, you never really know what to expect. Even slight differences in weather can make a dramatic difference to the experience, and isn’t that what you want?