Reconnaissance Trip 17th November 2002
Nathan, Dana: Landcruiser
Mark, Michelle, Liam: Patrol
As part of the planning for the 4WD Trip for Nathan's Party, Nathan, Dana, Michelle and myself drove out day one of the trip to make sure the timing would work out OK, and that the tracks would not be too difficult.
As we were coming from different directions, we arranged to meet at Cumberland Junction, at the top of Reefton Spur. We continued down Big River Road to Stockman's Reward, and then turned up Vans Road, and the wet and rutty Gum Top Trail. This track climbed into drier forest and joined up with Rough Hill Road, which travelled up and over Rough Hill. We continued onto Bull Range, and down to our lunch stop on the Taponga River.
From the shallow river crossing we turned right into Second Creek Track and we then followed Dray Track down to the Jamieson-Eildon Road and onto Big River Road. We followed this towards Enoch Point, before turning up Danes Spur Track, which had some loose rocks and slightly steep sections. This brought us to Newman's Track which took us up to Mt Terrible. This was the first time Michelle & I had been to Mt Terrible, and the view was fantastic.
From Mt Terrible we headed on down along Mt Terrible Track, and then along Knockwood Track. All tracks were easy 4WDing though scenic bushland. The track came out across Gaffneys Creek at Knockwood where we crossed the Mansfield - Woodspoint Road and went along Army Track and Lazarini Spur. We had to use the chainsaw to clear a fallen tree from the track near the proposed campsite, which was completely empty.
Nathan was happy with the proposed route, the timing of the stops and the likely arrival at the campsite so it was all agreed for next weekend and we made our way home. On the home trip, Nathan ran over a snake, which by the time I was able to stop was under the front of the car. I reversed back, but we were unable to see it anywhere. A full inspection of the engine and undercar at Knockwood gave us a reasonable degree of comfort that it didn't slither up into the engine bay, but must have disappeared off into the bush somewhere.
Bucks Weekend 23rd & 24th November 2002
The day of the Bucks Night came along quickly, and we met at Nathan's Parents ready to make our way. Once all had arrived, and a huge array of gear was loaded onto each truck we were off through Wandin, Warburton and up the Reefton Spur to Cumberland Junction where the route followed was the same as the previous weekend track test.
There was a recovery required at the start of Gum Top Trail, where the track was wet and rutted, but we all made it without incident to the lunch stop at Toponga River.
From the river crossing, we continued along the same planned tracks up to Mt Terrible, enjoying the scenery, the company and the at times hilarious radio banter. Again the view from Mt Terrible was fantastic, and the weather was superb.
My Patrol for some reason found the climb to Mt Terrible on this trip and bit arduous, and was quite overheated. Not quite sure why this happened, and I haven't had a problem previously or since with overheating.
We were soon on our way again, where Darren tried the old road down from the peak, along with Nathan who met up with the rest of us on Knockwood Track. We made good time to the campsite, where we all started setting up tents, and enjoyed a bit of fishing and a swim before settling down around the campfire for some good yarns, a disgusted look through the pornos Clint brought, and dinner.
After dinner, a few of us went out on a night 4WD trip, across the Goulburn and up Holy Land Track which was quite steep and fun in the dark and along Snake Edwards Road to a side track which led to a helipad. This was absolutely magnificent being on the top of the peak, with not a light in sight just looking up at the perfectly clear night at the stars. A few satellites were also seen, as well as the odd shooting star.
We cooked up an absolutely huge mess of bacon and eggs, packed up camp and continued on with day 2. I'd plotted out a possible route for the second day, but time had not allowed us to test out the tracks or how long they would take. We headed out the same way we had the night before up to Snake Edwards Road. This really was a road, and didn't give us any real opportunities to enjoy 4WDing. We eventually came out on the Heyfield Jamieson Road, which we followed across the top of Mt Skene. We came to a side track, which led us through an enchanted forest of snow gums where the track soon started to descend quite steeply and through a number of very sharp and edge of your seat switchbacks took us down to Rumpff Saddle. This was the Barkley River Jeep Track and I loved it, even though it was a bit on the scratchy side towards the bottom. We all caught our breath for a while then drove along the Alpine Walking Track past the Gorge and up to Mt Sunday. This track was generally a very good track, with some good steep ascents and descents, but the travelling was a lot slower than anticipated and had a few quite scratchy sections. We came out of a particularly scratchy bit of track onto the Mount Sunday Road, which was a very good quality road which enabled us to pick up a bit of speed, tough the spoon drains where quite severe and caught me by surprise.
We came to a side track near Wrens Flat, which on the map indicated that it went down to Brissces Hut. We drove down to check it out. The track down appeared unused for quite some time, and was overgrown with grasses towards the end, There was a tight switchback with some deep ruts halfway along too, which caused me some grief on the way back out requiring some winching to get through.
Though the hut was in ruins, there was a small walking track through the scrub which brought us out to a magic gorge on the Jamieson River, which we all sat down and enjoyed after recovering from the Mt Sunday leg of our trip.
The original plan had been to travel up Mitchell's Road past the Homestead site and Slate Mine and then down into Mansfield. The Mt Sunday leg had added much to our time, so we drove out from Wrens Flat back to the Heyfield Jamieson Road, and a very long haul into Granny's Flat via the steeper access track.
From Granny's Flat, we crossed the Jamieson River, and found ourselves on a great 4WD track that wasn't on any of the maps we had. This had some good little steep sections of road, and would be very challenging after rain.
Looking for the quickest way home at this point we made our way through a farmers gate and into Jamieson and then Mansfield for dinner and then the long stretch back home.
This is a satellite image of how much of Victoria we covered on this weekend...
And here is a close up view