The High Country – Nov 2012

Our Cruise this weekend became a short, one-night, venture and started at the Moe BP service station, with just two happy travellers. This Cruise was going to be a simple overnight trip to reconnoitre some tracks around the Walhalla area, so we weren’t working to any set plan. However, we did want to check out a hut that we’d never been to before, was marked on one paper map only and which appeared to be somewhat unknown. I’ve written about this hut previously, but this Cruise was the first time that we’d been there and it took a bit of hunting to find, being well off the track and the entry (or entries) very poorly defined at the time.

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

The first part of our Cruise took us to the Thomson Dam and then to Trigg Track, which was still closed, so we followed North East Track to Army Track, had a look around Lloyds and Store Point huts and then proceeded up Middle Star Track. Lloyds Hut was much as I vaguely remembered it from years ago, but it must have been pretty salubrious when it was first cobbled together. The fact that it had hot running water available must make it very popular and that it offers a reasonably nice outdoor area just adds to the comforts. Little wonder that this hut is always sought after and generally taken unless you get in very early. If you look carefully at the first and second photographs, you’ll see a pipe running off to the right of the hut, which goes to what is effectively a wood fired choofa.

Lloyds Hut – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Lloyds Hut – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Lloyds Hut – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Lloyds Hut – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Lloyds Hut – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Lloyds Hut – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Lloyds Hut – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Lloyds Hut – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Store Point hut on the other hand has been in a very poor state of repair for many years and, on our visit, it was seeing some major rebuilding. The transformation was just the beginning of what came later, but even so, the changes were quite dramatic. We couldn’t figure out what the metal framework was going to be, but later discovered that it was a new-fangled, metal, long drop, as I wrote about in another story. While both huts and the area are OK, It’s not really a place where I’d want to camp, especially during summer and long weekends. The traffic that goes through here would drive me nuts, especially the endless clamour of trail bikes.

Store Point Hut – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Store Point Hut – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Store Point Hut – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Store Point Hut – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Store Point Hut Toilet – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

Store Point Hut Toilet – Donnelly Creek, Gippsland Victoria

From Store Point Hut we went back to Middle Star Track (though my paper map calls it Willoughby Spur Track) to Toomstar Track, (I’d love to know where these names originated) finally emerging onto Mt Useful Spur Road (just above McEvoys Track) or South Road as it’s named on another map. We followed Mt Useful Spur Road/South Road until we reached S16 Track where we started to look for this elusive, unnamed (at the time) hut. The hut was marked as not being far along the track, but if any entrances existed, they were nigh on impossible to spot. Taking a chance on what looked like a very old and unused path (which it was), my fellow traveller went for a look and within a few moments called out that this was it.

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Looking from the track, there was absolutely no indication that anything existed here and I think that has always been the intent, but once you come in, the site opens up into a very large clearing. While the hut looks absolutely ramshackle from the outside, being constructed from remnants of just about any manner of building material, inside it’s quite inviting and cosy. Jacksons Hut has given us welcoming shelter on many an occasion and so appearances can be deceiving. As I’ve mentioned before, the surrounds are the only disappointing thing about the hut, as it’s simply littered with all manner of rubbish that previous users should have taken out, rather than just leaving behind. This is one thing that I will never understand about those who come to the High Country, why treat it like a rubbish tip? I’m certain that those that do so will be the first to wail and moan on 4WD forums when things are removed or locked up.

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Jacksons Hut – Gippsland Victoria

The next day we continued down S16 Track to Mt Selma Track, McGuire Track and then Spud Spur Track onto the Walhalla Road. From there we followed Walhalla Road until we reached Dream Creek Track, which took us to One Speck Track and eventually onto Binns Road to Walhalla. We were planning to do more, but I’d developed a rather unpleasant exhaust noise somewhere around the turbo and thought it better to call it a day. It was somewhat annoying, as it was before midday and we could have done a fair bit more driving and exploring before calling it a day.

River Crossing - Aberfeldy River Victoria (source: Grahame)

River Crossing – Aberfeldy River Victoria (source: Grahame)

River Crossing - Aberfeldy River Victoria (source: Grahame)

River Crossing – Aberfeldy River Victoria (source: Grahame)

Anyway, we rolled into Walhalla, had a brief stop to make some adjustments to the Jeep’s soft top, as this trip was also a test of the Jeep’s soft top performance and sealing. From Walhalla we took our separate ways back to the freeway and home. Once back home, I dived into the engine bay to figure out what was causing the noise. As it turned out, what had happened is that the nuts securing the dump pipe to the turbo had come loose and the gap was what caused a pretty awful noise. It took all of five minutes to fix (once the heat shield was removed) and was something that I could have done in the bush had I been able to see what was amiss. But sometimes it’s just better off going home, rather than attempting bush mechanics when it’s not essential.