Lazarini Spur Range Rover Club Trip - January 2001
Mark/Michelle/James/Liam: Nissan Patrol
Many others from the Range Rover Club, Land Rover Club, and Pajero club in various vehicles.
This was our first club trip. Technically we hadn't yet joined the club when we went on this trip.
The trip was organised by John Hasler and Jim Parker, and I was so impressed that I plan to go on many more of John's trips in the future. We had to alter the planned itinerary of this trip due to the heat and risk of bushfire, which meant that we dropped most of the planned activities for the Saturday, and moved straight onto what was planned for Sunday.
We all met at Cumberland Junction, near Marysville. This was a large convoy of trucks, with some 18 various trucks making up the trip with members from the Range Rover Club, Land Rover Owners Club and the Pajero Club. We headed towards Matlock on the Warburton Woods Point Road, and John gave us much interesting commentary over the radio on the area, with details on the construction of the Thompson Dam, flora in the area and some of the mining history. We drove down to Woods Point where we stopped for morning tea, then continued on down the Woods Point Jamieson Rd until we reached Knockwood, were we turned off the good quality gravel (though very dusty) road, and got into the 4WD terrain on Army Track. This track was a little scratchy, and was also overgrown in some sections with blackberries. We followed Army Track onto Lazarini Spur until we came to the Goulburn River, where we stopped for lunch. Seeing the Goulburn here made me regret not bringing the fishing rods. We tried a little gold panning but the kids had more luck catching tadpoles.
One by one we made our way over the river crossing, with varying levels of success on the exit. I think only one car required recovery, but many had some difficulty.
If I can get my video converted to AVI, I'll add some more multimedia to these pages.
Further on we had another crossing, the track down had some steep ledges to travel over, and another steep exit cut into the bank. One of the cars hit the embankment with its rear; a lessoned to be learnt is never assume that your wheels are straight before heading off.
We continued along Lazarini Spur Track, which took us up some steep sections as we climbed to the top of the ridge. There were some magnificent 360-degree views at a helipad on the track. This track took us through many varying forest types, woolly barked gums, smooth barked gums, and snow gums. Some parts of this track were quite intimidating as the amount of dry fuel amongst the gums was horrifying. The practise of no controlled burning is sure to lead to a repeat of the 1939 fires which destroyed much of the bush in this area.
Lazarini Spur Track eventually led us to Mt Skene, where we all stopped to enjoy the views across the high country. From there we continued down the Jamieson-Licola Road towards Jamieson and our campsite at Grannies Flat. The track we took into Grannies Flat was very steep, though some members on the trip reported going down steeper tracks that could not be climbed back out of.
Grannies Flat is a great camping ground, and I plan to go back there for a weekend some time soon. I think the boys would love to float down the Jamieson River in some old inner tubes.
This was pretty much the end of the trip due to the extreme heat and fire danger, so everybody headed off their own way in the morning. After the boys had a swim and the tent was all packed up we headed back to Melbourne via Mansfield. We explored the Running Creek camp ground on the Howqua River, but after seeing Grannies Flat, I wouldn't bother with Running Creek given the choice. We stopped for lunch at Bonnie Doon, a regular lunch spot for us now when returning from this area.
From Yea, we detoured in search of the Cheviot Railway Tunnel, which is on an abandoned railway line which follows the road virtually all the way from Mansfield. We found the tunnel taking a gamble when the road ended at a number of gates. Luckily we chose the right gate, which we presume headed through crown land, with the track taking us right through the tunnel. Once through the tunnel we continued through some beautiful dry pastureland before returning onto the Melba Highway and back home.