A Lazy Loop around the Victorian High (Dry) Country

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by bull600, May 19, 2018.

  1. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    532
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    A Lazy Loop around the Victorian High (Dry) Country

    With April upon us once more it was time for our annual extended bike ride. Last year our trip to the Victorian High Country (RR here ) was cut short due to poor weather and some back issues, so we decided to re-visit the area again on this year’s trip.

    For those who haven’t followed our exploits before Russell and I are a couple of average riders on DR650’s. We like to generally take our time, get away from the mainstream routes and enjoy the camping experience. As part of this trip report I’ll try and give you a pretty detailed rundown of our route (with links to associated maps/gps logs) and of course, plenty of photos.

    I hope you enjoy the ride :thumbup

    Prep and Travel

    I’ve been fortunate enough to travel around and through most of Australia and the Victorian High Country rates as one of my favourite destinations. Lots of great tracks (with varying degrees of difficulty), fantastic views, interesting wildlife and loads of bush camps away from the crowds and often on picturesque rivers… what more could you ask for!

    As we’re not spring chickens and carry all of our camping stuff on our bikes, choosing a sensible route that ticks all the boxes takes a bit of organisation. Of course trip planning is half the fun, so late last year I started the ball rolling by pulling out the most relevant maps I had on hand for what we had in mind

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    In the end the 2000+ km route I planned looked like this:

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    This gave us a good variety of locations and terrain and included a number of loops within the main circuit. The idea was that depending on time/weather/motivation we could delete sections without compromising the general loop in and out of Melbourne.

    As it turned out we had perfect weather and no issues, so we were able to complete all of the sections we had planned.

    Once the route was organised - next came sorting the bike and gear. The only thing the trusty DR’s needed was some new rubber for the front (Pirelli M21) and rear (Dunlop 606). Ohh.. and as a treat I l so gave the chain its annual clean and lube :wink::wink:

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    We have found that trailering the bikes to Melbourne from Adelaide is the most efficient way to start the High Country trips so once loaded

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    we set off well before sunrise on the 761km trek to Melbourne

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    The early start had us rolling into our first stop at Bordertown at 8:30am right on 3 hours since we had left home. After filling up with fuel we parked outside our favourite bakery and gave the bikes and trailer a check over.

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    It was then that we noticed that the trailer jockey wheel had slipped down and been bouncing along the road :dirtdog:dirtdog That was the end of that wheel!

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    Oh well, nothing a chocolate eclair won’t fix :lol3:lol3

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    With a nice new double lane highway stretching further west from Melbourne than last year we made excellent progress and beat the peak hour traffic into and across the city. The bikes were then loaded up ready for departure in the morning.

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    Day 1

    Once the peak hour traffic had slowly a little we set off from Melbourne

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    Our plan for the day was to head east through the Dandenong ranges towards Wahalla. We jumped off the main road as much as possible and wound our way past the rail line that carries the famous Puffing Billy Steam Train

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    It wasn’t long before we found ourselves entering Bunyip State Park

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    This place has a great variety of tracks and is very bike and 4x4 friendly

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    It has a couple of good campsites, including Nash Creek, where we stayed for a rather soggy night on a previous trip (see here)

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    We followed Black Snake Creek Rd across the park and then picked up Bunyip River and Labertouche Roads that lead us away from the forest and out past the powerlines that stretch to the Latrobe Valley in the east.

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    The countryside shows flashes of farmland

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    But Quartz Creek Rd took us back through some forest

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    With its associated hazards

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    We crossed the Latrobe River

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    Where we found that wankers doing burnouts isn’t confined to more populated areas :loco:loco

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    We continued weaving our way east following Kings Rd

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    Until we reached our first creek crossing of note which was a ford on the Tanjil River East Branch on Burns Rd. A quick check of the depth

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    And we were easily across

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    It was then on to Good Hope Creek Track

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    Before hitting Morgan’s Creek Track

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    where the fallen logs were getting bigger :(

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    We then crossed the Tyres River on Morgan’s Mill Rd

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    Where we took a double take from the bridge at some guy standing in the middle of the river

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    A closer inspection revealed some sort of electronic gizmo used to monitor the water in some way

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    As lunchtime approached we popped out of the maze of road/tracks and headed into the small settlement of Erica

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    Where we stopped for a snack at the general store and bought a packet of frozen veggies to go with the steaks we had stashed in our esky.

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    Right across the road was the “1914 Café and Bar” with an interesting attraction on the pole out the back

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    A Yammie MX400 (1975?)

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    The old train station has been converted to a house

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    Which looked a little more stable than some others down the road

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    The area is worth a good look around with more time

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    But we pressed on, crossing the Thompson River and then jumping up onto Old Coach Rd just near the railways station on the edge of Wahalla

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    Wahalla itself is a quaint little tourist town (permanent population of around 20!) that has a number of restored buildings that date back to its gold mining roots

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    The Old Coach Rd meets the Thompson River after around 12km at the site of Bruntons Bridge

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    The old bridge originally opened in 1888 and was revamped back in 2009 to allow pedestrian

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    (and DR650) traffic

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    After checking out the area a little, we then a decision to make… keep heading east or call it quits for the day and suss out a camp by the river? We chose the latter and scouted around to find a nice bit of isolated riverbank where we could set up for the night. It didn’t take long to find a great spot and set up camp.

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    With Victorian school holidays recently completed the place was, however, devoid of any wood so we went for a quick spin on the bikes to see what we could find. Not far out of camp back up off the road we found the jackpot.

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    Pity the pigs who had been there had left the place in such a state

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    Unfortunately, this would be a reoccurring theme over the next 10 days and made our blood boil :devildog

    With plenty of wood

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    and all our jobs done it was then time for the obligatory beer (or two) by the river

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    Before we got the steak and veg organised

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    And downed the last of our beers by the fire

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    Link to Map of Day 1
    #1
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  2. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    532
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Day 2

    The second morning started with a heavy fog over the river valley

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    We packed up camp and headed over the bridge

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    Just downstream a little from the bridge the track crosses the river but it can get pretty deep for a bike

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    Once on the other side it wasn’t far before we hit the Cowwarr – Wahalla Rd that took us through the Boola Boola State Forest

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    Our next stop was Heyfield where we topped up on fuel (after driving twice around town to find the servo)

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    And got a few fresh supplies to add to the esky

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    It was then past Newry

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    Before we headed north to try and cross the Avon River. During my research I’d found that Back Wombat Rd and O’Keefe Rd let up to the river but getting an idea about “Wombat Crossing” was more difficult. When we finally reached the river we found that water levels were so low that the crossing was almost dry!

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    Just one big puddle to cross

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    It would be interesting to see the crossing when the river was in full flow. Once over the river O’Keefe Rd swings out of the Avon - Mt Hedrick Scenic Reserve and into state forest. It was here that we spied a nice little spot to take a break (that would make a good camp)

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    It was nice area amongst the trees and free of camping rubbish (for a change). It seems you just need to speak their language..

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    It was here we spotted a little visitor

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    There are not many crossing of Valencia Creek (which runs north/south at this point) so we headed up along the smaller Morgan Boundary Track

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    There were a number of steeper sections along this track that must have roused Russ’ digestive system because he soon stopped and had the dacks off in preparation for a call of nature :lol2:lol2

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    As we approached Valencia Creek we found some nice camp sites

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    But it was a little early so we pressed on

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    We then crossed the creek at Moroka Rd

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    I wanted to check a possible future camp at Paddy Lee’s Crossing that I’d read about so we ducked north for a kilometre

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    The crossing was very shallow

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    and possible camps weren’t great so we spun around and headed back down Moroka Rd as it followed the creek on its right

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    We then branched off onto One Tree Hill Track and Duffy Rd before the track disappeared off what the GPS indicated. We followed the main way forward until we hit McKinnon Pt Track where we stopped for some lunch

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    Once underway we picked up Trio Gully road that looped it’s way onto one of my favourites – Freestone Creek Rd. First stop was to show Russ the “Blue Pool”. A deep waterhole on the creek. There is a small picnic area nearby

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    But as we had found so far around the whole area everything was terribly dry and the pool was much lower than usual.

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    Back on Freestone Creek Rd we crossed the smaller Gladstone Creek

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    The normal view as you travel this road is one of a gleaming creek glistening in the valley below, but this year it was only a series of puddles

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    There are some great camps along this road and we soon pulled into our favourite - Johnston’s Flat

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    Camp was soon set up

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    Luckily, there was just enough water in the creek for a wash :clap:clap

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    And a fire was soon up and running to warm up after a chilly dip

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    Before we cooked up our dinner (chicken) for the night

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    Link to Map of Day 2
    #2
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  3. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Day 3

    Our aim on Day 3 was to head up to Dargo via a loop that followed the Wonnangatta, Wongungarra and Crooked Rivers, before heading over to a great campsite on Nicholson River that I had been to before.

    The previous night I’d been woken by the distinctive ‘coughing’ of a deer nearby and Russell had said he’d heard some commotion by the table. When he went to have some breakfast it seems a nocturnal intruder had taken a liking to his muesli :rofl:rofl

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    After packing up camp we followed Freestone Creek Rd once more

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    The low water levels were even more obvious as the track hugged the watercourse

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    Every wondered if you’ll be ok under those high gum branches above your tent?

    Here’s an example of why you need to be careful :eekers:eekers

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    That’s a good couple of tons of wood - freshly dropped from a great height just up the road at one of the other campsites near the river!

    From camp it was 16km to the junction of Freestone Creek and (the bitumen) Dargo roads

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    This is a great ride with lots of sweeping turns and long straights.

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    It crosses the Wonangatta River at Waterford Bridge

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    Before reaching Dargo we hooked off the main road and turned left on to Short Cut Rd

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    Which took us to the intersection of Wonangatta Rd. Here we turned and headed north past rolling (dry) farmland

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    The Wonangatta River could be seen way down on our left as we continued.

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    At Kingwill Bridge we turned off onto the Talbotville Rd

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    Where the river ran close to the road

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    Now, the road and river names can get a little confusing in this area. Parts of Wonangatta Rd are known on some maps as Crooked River Rd and Talbotville Rd turns into Crooked River Track. The main Mitchell River flows into the Wonangatta River which then branches to the Wongungarra and then Crooked Rivers. Anyway.. the first of several crosses of the river where soon upon us

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    The flow was low and generally the fords were easy but some were a little deeper than others and required a bit of a check

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    To make sure the shallowest line was chosen

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    Others had slightly slippery entry/exits

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    But there were few issues with the crossings themselves

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    Considering how dry it had been everywhere and by the look of the surface, this track could get pretty slippery and boggy during wetter times

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    There were a couple of gates

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    And then a wide final crossing of the river

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    Not far from this ford, the Cynthia Range Track heads off to the left and leads into the famous Wonangatta Valley via either Wombat Range or Herne Spur Tracks. However, we continued on past some idyllic little farms

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    Before we arrived at Talbotville

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    This area was once a thriving town during the 1860’s gold rush and had a bakery, blacksmith, brewery, butcher, chemist, doctor, library, newsagency, post office, racecourse, and three licensed hotels! There is little left now but a cemetery and a wide open (popular) camping area near the river.

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    It was getting warm so it was time for a break have a snack and remove some jacket liners

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    All under the watchful eye of many inquisitive little wrens

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    McMillans Rd climbs steeply up from the valley passing the Grant Historic area, before coming out on the Dargo High Plains Rd

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    This is a steep, fast sweeping road

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    That passes some iconic high country dwellings

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    Before arriving at the township of Dargo

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    Dargo has become a popular launching spot for many High Country travellers and the pub was doing a roaring trade. We stopped to fuel up at the well-stocked general store

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    And once the crowd had died down popped into the pub

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    For a couple of famous lunchtime Schnitzels

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    With a rather large guts full of food it took some motivation to saddle up again and head south to the Lower Dargo Rd turnoff (interestingly, labelled as a no through road..)

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    It follows the Dargo River

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    Before it narrows and crosses the river. It was here we met our first locked gate

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    Things didn’t seem right so after a more careful check of the map I realised I’d missed the main track, which was straight ahead after the river crossing. Known as the Dargo – Tabberabbera Rd it rose out of the valley and up and down along a ridge line

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    Before it peaked in an open area at the top of a hill

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    Next to some communication aerials

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    After some slow steep riding we were overheating so took the opportunity to strip off and cool down as we overlooked the Mitchel River below

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    Once over the top of the hill the track continues on but heads off what the map shows (the track on the map is there but not accessible due to a locked gate). The bypass heads down into the (dry) valley through a gate

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    and the normally swampy area at the bottom was bone dry before the track hooked back up with the main road once more. A little further on the Wentworth River is crossed as you enter the Mitchell River National Park.

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    The track here is the Bullumwaal – Tabberabbera Rd and it continues on to meet the larger Bullumwaal – Mt Baldhead Rd just north of the abandoned mining town of Bullumwaal.

    This road runs high above the Nicholson River Valley and there are a number of tracks that come of it and run along spur lines down to Nicholson River Track below. The least steep of these is the first one, Yahoo Rd and that’s the one we took

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    This track has a good surface and it runs almost 10km down the spur line before arriving at the bottom where it meets the Nicholson River Track. Here in this remote valley there is a dwelling with a number of tracks running off. It seems it’s a private mining lease

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    Where at least “Choofa” used to hang out

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    From there we headed another 6km upstream to a great campsite just a stone’s throw from the river complete with our own private sandbar

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    With a fire soon going it’s as good as the high country gets!

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    There was no need for dinner after the gorging when had at lunch, so it was just a quick dip on our little bend of the river to clean up and then settle down by the fire for the night

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    Link to Map of Day 3
    #3
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  4. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    532
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Day 4

    As the new day began we reluctantly packed up our camping spot

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    And headed off in the morning sun along the Nicholson River Track

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    It crosses the river several times but they were all very shallow

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    The last time I’d travelled this track (in a 4x4) we had to turn around as the track was blocked by a massive gum fall. We back tracked and decided to head towards the other end at Deptford only to find another big tree down along the way. In the end the only option out was back up Yahoo Rd!

    This time the track was clear but previous 4x4’s had made a mess during wetter times on the flats near the track’s northern end

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    The final point of interest we intended to check was Marthavale Hut, that lay near the end of the track on a bend of the river. It looked like this the last time I’d been through in December 2014 (notice the green grass!)

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    However, this was what we found when we got there

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    The hut was totally gone, apparently the result of a fire left burning in the fireplace :baldy:baldy. You have to wonder about the intelligence of some people :nah:nah. All that remained was a new chair cut out of the gumtree that previously stood next to the hut. A good place to ponder how stupid people can be :fpalm

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    One of the local resident nearby didn’t seem too impressed either..

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    With a sense of annoyance we continued on and hooked up with Marthavale Rd

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    This led us back to the Bullumwaal – Mt Baldhead Rd and then on to Angora Range Rd. This logging road was in good condition (and we saw no trucks) and passed through some forest areas

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    As well as logged sections

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    But it isn’t the most interesting road so we were glad when we popped out on the Great Alpine Rd after around 40km.

    Here we stopped for a break in the shade

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    As luck would have it a couple of vintage cars pulled into the area so we strolled over for a chat

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    It was great to see the work that had gone into the restoration, especially with the Plymouth

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    But what was even better were the homemade chocolate brownies that were soon on offer to us! After indulging their hospitality our new friends headed off (keen I think to keep a few brownies) and we pointed the bikes north towards Ensay. This section of the Great Alpine Rd is a wonderful ride (as are most parts) as it winds its way alongside the Tambo River. At Ensay the road crosses the river

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    but just before the bridge we turned left on to the Doctors Flat– Ensay Rd. This smaller bitumen road follows the southern side of the river

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    Before popping out 16km later onto the Great Alpine Rd again, just south of Swifts Creek. At one point along this road a small track can be found that leads to a ford that crosses the river. I’d been to this site a few times over the years (in a 4x4) and knew of some great campsites on the other side. The trouble for a bike was the crossing could be deep and swift. Here is it back in Dec 2014



    With such low water levels around I was confident we could get across this year on the bikes and I could show Russ the area. When we got to the crossing I was astounded

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    Firstly, at how low the water level was and secondly how there were big hidden rocks that could have caused a disaster if sight unseen when trying to cross on bikes in higher water. We easily poked our way over

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    and picked up the track that continued in both directions on the other side

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    The track that heads south terminates near where another crossing used to be (before it was taken over by blackberries) and has been a great camp in the past. I’ve dubbed this place ‘Wedding Ring Camp’ because this was the spot where my mate Pat saw his wedding ring slip off and disappear into the flowing depths back in 2014 while he was having a wash. At the exact spot there was no sign of it unfortunately :dunno:dunno

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    This place is a wombat haven with burrows all around

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    After poking around the area for a while we crossed the ford again and then continued towards Swifts Creek, where of course the fist stop was the bakery

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    Nothing better than a pie and slice of banana cake to compliment the earlier brownies:rofl:rofl

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    As we munched on our bakery products we contemplated the plan for the rest of the day. We decided to pick up some supplies for the night and then head off on a loop up to the Bentley Plain before returning to camp by the Tambo River in the area we had just checked out. This meant heading back 7km to the turn off to Swifts Creek East Rd and then past a gate and on to Jacob Meadows Rd

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    This took us out over some open country

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    Towards the mountains in the distance

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    The good gravel road slowly deteriorated to a track across some dry scrubby paddocks

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    Before we stopped to open a gate that signalled we had reached the State Park and met Windy Ridge Rd

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    This was a great run

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    Windy Ridge Rd joins up to the larger Nunninong Rd where we turned east. The temperature had dropped by around 10 degrees as we had climbed, and it was another 7km after the turnoff before we turned into a little park at the site of the Washington Winch.

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    Here are the intact remains of the high lead/skyline logging system that operated in the early 1960’s. Powered by a huge steam logging engine and winch (imported into Australia in the 1920’s)

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    The system relied on riggers climbing 60mt up the trunks of the trees with spurs and a climbing belt to rig cables etc

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    As well as the engine and winch the cables and blocks are still in place

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    After taking in our history fix we kept moving and 6km further along the road came to the Moscow Villa Hut.

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    Built in the 1940’s by Bill Ah Chow, this is one of the nicest huts in the high country and has an interesting history (see here )

    Inside, it’s clean and cosy

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    After a look around and signing the visitor book we headed off down the track a little to the Bentley Plains Reserve. Here there is a large open area (in normal times it’s grassy) with a shelter

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    and a small hut know as the Bentley Hilton. (It too had been damaged by an internal fire)

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    It’s a pretty cool area that would be great to visit in winter.

    We came down from the high plain via Bentley’s Plain Rd that merged into Little River Rd. At Ensay North my gps route pointed me down Spring Gully Rd but a 'No Through Rd' sign had me wondering:hmmmmm:hmmmmm

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    We weaved our way past a few farms and gates and then came to a long steep hill covered in powdery gravel. I slipped around a little on the way up but reached the top ok. Soon after I heard in my helmet speakers, in a very controlled almost pilot like fashion Russ declare - “I’m down”. I did a U turn and found him near the crest gunning his way up.

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    It seems he’s lost a bit of traction and slid off slightly into a side ditch and had pretty well stepped off the bike. All was good and we were soon at the end of the 'No Through Rd' as it re-joined Jacob Meadows Rd near where we started our loop. From there it was a short run back to our Tambo River ford where we then chose a campsite north of the ford in a flat area just above the river

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    It was still quite early so we spent some time airing out our tent flies and sleeping bags in the afternoon sun (and possibly downing a few beers)

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    It also gave me a good chance to charge batteries from various items, including some new toys we had bought to try on this trip

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    These little BT-S2 Bluetooth intercoms turned out to be real winners. They enabled easy communication between us when not travelling too fast (especially handy when wanting to take photos) and played music via the phone’s Bluetooth. I even took a couple of calls :thumb All for $100 a pair! (got them here ).

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    The camp area had a lot of dry grass (which was normally lush)

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    So we decided to cook dinner first up by camp

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    And then head down to a section of dry riverbed to have a fire

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    And watch AFL Friday Night Footy streamed on our phones

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    Which in the end saw an unlikely win by our hometown favourites the Adelaide Crows over the Sydney Swans!

    Link to Map of Day 4
    #4
  5. Happy Snapper

    Happy Snapper GOMOB.

    Joined:
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    Outstanding... so much detail in here. Cannot wait for the rest!
    #5
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  6. SaAdvRider99

    SaAdvRider99 Been here awhile

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    Adelaide Hills South Australia
    Great write up. Thanks for sharing and taking the time to do the report.
    #6
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  7. BergDonk

    BergDonk Old Enough to Know Better

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    Great RR so far, thanks :thumb :lurk
    #7
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  8. TerryK

    TerryK Ulysses

    Joined:
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    Great report Greg, even better as we were over in late March, went to the winch, followed the crooked river, went to the dogs grave, Moscow villa etc. We stayed at Dargo river inn, if you followed the little road that runs along side the river inn you go over a bridge, continue straight up the hill & along the top of the ridge. Great ride & report

    Cheers Terry
    #8
  9. SidecarLeigh

    SidecarLeigh Adventurer

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    ,Excellent report and photos, looking forward to more. Thanks
    #9
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  10. Valleyam

    Valleyam South Australian Tiger resistance group

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    514
    Location:
    Angaston, Barossa Valley, South Australia.
    Excellent report, getting better each time i read one of your reports. Shame to see all the rubbish left by idiots at camp sites. You have obviously done a lot of homework on planning this trip. Good to see no back problems this time.
    #10
    bull600, Noely and TerryK like this.
  11. KIZ

    KIZ Marty

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    830
    Location:
    Gawler South Australia
    Thanks for the ride report, I've not been on that Lower Dargo Rd. Have always been on the Berrigan Rd to Omeo and out past the winch. Good one.
    #11
  12. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    532
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    I've now added Map Links for each of the days so far..

    Cheers :thumb
    #12
    BergDonk likes this.
  13. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    532
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Day 5

    With the fantastic weather holding up we loaded up and broke camp quite early on another sunny morning.

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    We crossed over the Tambo River ford again for the last time

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    Before popping out on the Ensay – Doctor’s Flat Rd

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    It was then just a short sprint up the road to Swift Creek. Rather than taking the main drag north to Omeo our route took us on to the Cassillis Rd

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    Which was another great secondary bitumen road that ran through the old mining areas

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    I’ve never seen a sign like this on a bend :confused

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    For the sight impaired perhaps? Then again it seems others were watching

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    As we got closer to Omeo the road rose into the low cloud in the distance

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    Omeo is great little town nestled amongst the hills

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    After 4 days on the road we were running low on supplies so stopped at the supermarket to restock. The trick is to get it all to fit somewhere :hmmmmm

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    Now, Omeo has a fantastic little butcher which normally supplies us with some of the juiciest Scotch Fillets around but being a Saturday, it was closed :baldy:baldy. In the end we sourced some meat from the supermarket that was supplied by the butcher - but more of that later..

    Once we had loaded everything on board our plan was to stick to the bitumen for a while and head north on the Omeo Highway. We’d never been through this section of road and it was great riding through the twisties – the road set high above first the Mitta Mitta, and then Big River.

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    About 30km from Omeo we passed the Blue Duck Inn at Anglers Rest

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    It’s right next to the crossing of the Cobungra River

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    This area is popular for trout fishing and there’s nice little camp area just over the bridge

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    But it’s a bit close to the road and popular for our liking but good for a big group

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    We continued on for another 25km on the blacktop, which now followed above Big River

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    Before coming to the turn off that would signal the start of our loop back south.

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    The route we had chosen was along Knocker Track, a well maintained dirt logging road

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    That passed through some nice forest

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    Before steeply dropping down to the Omeo Valley Road

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    Heading south we crossed over the Mitta Mitta River adjacent to the old Hinnomunjie Bridge. Finally a river with some flow!

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    Soon after we reached the turn off to Paris Boundary Lane.

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    This is an iconic road that runs west/east, joining the Omeo Valley and Benambra Roads

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    We peeled off the Benambra Rd soon after and headed up Limestone, Beloka, Beloka Range Rd and then finally Buenba Gap Track. This was one our favourite tracks of the trip

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    A great, flowing smooth surface through the forest

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    At one stage we came across a herd of wild brumbies that soon disappeared into the bush (too quick for a photo!). We stopped for a lunch break

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    The track lasted about 25km before it re-joined Buenba Rd. We followed this for a while

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    Before turning onto Wheeler’s Creek Rd that led past Wheeler’s Creek Hut. There are some quite nice campsites nearby but there were others there so we pressed on

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    We had a bush campsite on the Dart River in mind for the night (where we stayed at last year) but after seeing a track just before a crossing of Wheeler Creek we nudged down it soon found O’Hagens – what a gem!

    (Finally, some green grass:clap:clap)

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    Just a few metres from the campsite was a bend of Wheeler Creek. These isolated little campsites right next to a river are what we love most about the high country.

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    And what better way to take in the serenity..

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    After lounging by the river for a while it was time to set up camp. Now, having a poor visual perception of what’s flat I always have an internal debate about what constitutes the best spot for the tent and end up trying various spots (no, I’m not sleeping..)

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    Eventually it all gets done

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    There was even a new table that we could spread out our crap

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    However, as we had found at numerous camps along the way the scourge of those who have no concept of what is an acceptable way to toilet themselves continued. A short walk from the camp, right near the river, we found this

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    They had even organised a little seat to make it more comfortable as they added to the deplorable mess

    John McEnore best sums it up



    as the light started to fade we organised a fire

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    And then Russ began cooking up a storm with the meat we had bought in Omeo

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    They might just look like Rissoles but it was what Russ did with them that made the difference :lol3:lol3



    they must have been crushed topside :rofl:rofl

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    The end to another great day in the high country

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    Link to Map of Day 5
    #13
    jmcg, Critic, TerryK and 3 others like this.
  14. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    532
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Day 6

    With our trip cut short last year today would be a chance to head north and do a loop that included visiting Corryong and the upper Murray River. As our intended route for tomorrow headed off to the west close Wheelers Creek Rd, we decided that if all went to plan we’d return and camp again at O’Hagan’s tonight.

    It was about 7km back out to the main Benambra – Corryong Road

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    This is a wide chunky, gravel road. Great in allowing an all weather surface but not so great when navigating the skatey bends on a bike :uhoh:uhoh

    It wasn’t long before the gravel turned to tar as we entered the Nariel Valley

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    Care was needed as we headed north as farmers were using the road verges to graze their stock

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    There was a hint of green in the valley

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    It was a beautiful morning ride and we stopped to soak it in at our turn off to Nariel Gap Rd

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    We had decided to head in the back way to Corryong on the dirt road that took us through Nariel Gap

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    Its nice country through here

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    Before long we had arrived at Corryong and our first task was to support the community run bakery :lol3:lol3

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    An initiative to try and improve local employment we were certainly on board :thumb

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    A quick wander around town and the spirit of the place is quite evident. It’s where Jack Riley, the man thought by many to be the inspiration for Bango Patterson’s famous “Man from Snowy River” was laid. There’s a modern tourist information centre with accompanying sculpture dedicated to the man.

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    Corryong is also the place where the annual ‘Man from Snowy River’ bush festival runs in early April. It attracts more than 20,000 people – not bad for a town that normally has a population of around 1,200!

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    After fueling up we headed off towards the upper reaches of the Murray River. Our first view of the river came at Farran’s Lookout

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    Where an expansive view of the river and the distant Snowy Mountains could be seen

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    I’d heard that a great view of the surrounding area could be gained from Embery’s Lookout up high near the summit of Mt Mittamatite. To get there we turned off on to Ranch Rd that firstly traversed open farmland before heading up through the Mitta Mitta Regional Park

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    We parked the bikes as close to the lookout as we could

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    Before hiking the last few metres to the top to enjoy the vista

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    It’s certainly worth the 16km trip in (with a bow in reverence :lol3)

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    After our photos were done we headed back down from the summit and enjoyed the views from the road before we dropped down into the valley

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    Once back on the main road we crossed the Murray River (and hence the border) just out of Tintaldra

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    There are two roads that run along adjacent to the upper reaches of the Murray. The main bitumen (Muarry River Rd) runs on the southern or Victorian side while our choice, River Rd (which is dirt), runs on the northern or NSW side.

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    This is an iconic bit of road that clings close to the river along the way.

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    It’s a haven for grazing cattle

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    But this shot taken from a similar spot back in April 2014 shows the difference the lack of rain has made

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    The great thing about this road is there are several areas by the river (squeezed between private lands) that are accessible to the public for recreation. Every time I’ve been along here it’s been too early to camp and today was no different, but I’ll be back

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    It’s a great spot for fishing too

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    It was 30km from the start of River Rd to Jingellic yet before we knew it we were passing the iconic Bridge Hotel.

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    It was then over the river and onto the bitumen Murray River Rd that provided some nice Twisties

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    Soon it was time to peel off and head away from the river but we stopped at the top of the last ridge for a final view

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    Once off the bitumen we took the Burrowye - Koetong Rd

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    That pops out on the Murray Valley Hwy just near the Koetong Pub (another iconic spot) that’s still for sale..

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    We had noticed the smokey haze while up at the lookouts and there were prescribed burn offs all around.

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    Once back in Corryong we fueled up again beside a nicely restored Kwacka 1300

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    And then stopped for a few supplies in the main street. Opposite the supermarket we parked outside Bacash’s Emporium – the type of place that is now relic in our modern culture

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    It was then back through the Nariel Valley

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    To set up camp once again at O’Hagen’s and devour our recently purchased sausages :lol3:lol3

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    Link to Map of Day 6

    to be continued..
    #14
    Mile's Dream, Karl G., Critic and 6 others like this.
  15. jtb

    jtb Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,416
    Location:
    Hawkesbury NSW Australia
    Another Bull600 ride report I want to go and replicate!

    Great pics and story Greg. Each report is better than the last and now with added routes!!!:clap:clap:clap

    Hanging for the rest of it :dutch:lurk
    #15
    bull600 likes this.
  16. TerryK

    TerryK Ulysses

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,975
    Location:
    adelaide South Australia
    Don't know how you do it Greg, we spent a week over there & I can't remember half the places we went to never mind take all the photos & write a ride report of such quality. Good job !!!!

    Terry
    #16
    bull600 likes this.
  17. Hodgo

    Hodgo TWIN Cylinder ADV

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,715
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Excellent RR guys. Planning a very similar Trip. Reading up on the high country.
    #17
  18. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    532
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Thanks John! I should be able to crank out the rest by tomorrow..

    Cheers :thumb
    #18
  19. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    532
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Thanks Terry.. (ps I'll be keeping an eye out for you up Lovell's bakery at Birdwood :D)

    Cheer :thumb
    #19
    TerryK likes this.
  20. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    532
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Day 7

    As the sun rose on another sunny day we packed up our camp at O’Hagen’s

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    We snuck down the little path carved out of the bush by the campsite

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    For a final wash of the hands and rinse of the face in the cool clear water before we left.

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    Although the water temperature was 11C the night before we had taken dip in a 2 metre deep pool on the bend which had quite literally ‘taken our breath away’. Any deer within a 5km radius would have run for the hills with all the screaming :lol3:lol3

    With the sun on our backs we once again headed up and out on Wheeler’s Creek Rd

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    Once on the Benambra – Corryong Rd it was only 7km north to the turn off on to Gibb Range Rd

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    It’s only a few kilometres in from the turn off to a small campsite next to the Dart River we had used last year when my bike had refused to start

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    It seems there is a thing for people to wanting to use their chainsaws to make seats from logs and tree stumps :hmmmmm:hmmmmm

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    Mmmm… I think I’ll stick to my $10 Kmart chair :thumb

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    The Gibb Range Rd skirts the edge of the Wabba Wilderness Park for around 30kms before it meets Cravensville Rd. There is some nice forest through here

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    As you weave your way south there are relics of the logging past

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    Areas of forest and that lead to more open farmland

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    With their associated gates

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    We took first Tallangatta Creek Rd and then Callaghans’s Creek Track that led us onto the Mt Benambra Rd.

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    Our goal was to visit the Mt Benambra Fire Lookout onto of the 1,148mt summit. The road is quite rocky just north of the turn off that leads to the terminal summit track. Last year when we visited here the top of the tower wasn’t even visible due to the poor weather

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    But this year we had perfect weather

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    The climb up to the viewing platform leads to expansive views of the ranges

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    And Lake Dartmouth to the south

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    You can find an online 3600 view here

    It’s 16km from the summit down to the Dartmouth Rd which then follows the Mitta Mitta River before joining the Omeo Hwy. We jumped off the highway and onto Scrubby Creek Rd that turns into Trappers Gap Rd.

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    The SEC tracks under the powerlines were was visible at spots along the way

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    Trappers Gap Rd led us onto Mountain Creek Rd that eventually turns to blacktop at the Mountain Creek Campground

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    It’s a chilly part of the world in winter. Wood anyone?

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    it was only then a short run to the Kiewa Hwy where we turned towards Mt Beauty. Off to the east Victoria’s highest mountain, Mt Bogong, was visible.

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    After grabbing some fuel (more weird seats :confused)

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    It was time to load up with some carbs and this place looked the goods

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    We weren’t disappointed

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    As we sat around and downed our burgers we discussed some different options for the night. It was now mid afternoon and our overall plan was to give Blue Rag a crack and then move on to a camp in the Buckland Valley. However, a bit of a time and motion study determined that we would be cutting things a little fine time wise. With no shower since we’d left we decided to have a slack afternoon and then look for a bed in a caravan park for the night over in Bright or Harrietville. With that decided we saddled up and headed off down the windy Tawonga Rd

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    There are a couple of nice lookouts along this section

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    Where we stopped for a look

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    But the area was very hazy due to more prescribed burn offs

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    We even stopped at Lawler Spring for a drink - but it was dry!

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    Soon we entered the autumn leaves that are the gateway to Bright

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    Having stayed here during the big wet we had encountered last year we knew where the info board was located so headed straight there for some caravan park numbers

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    Try as we might we found the parks were once again booked solid, with no cabins available. So, just had we had done last year, we tried the Adina Lodge that was located right by the sign. Success, we nabbed the last room! We unloaded the bikes

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    and settled into some laziness for an hour or two

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    Before spreading our stuff out in our lodging for the night

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    Although it wasn’t cheap we used a fair swag of water cleansing 7 days of riding down the shower. With the budget blown we started whittling down some of our non perishable food for dinner and settled in to watch the footy.

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    Link to Map of Day 7
    #20
    Mile's Dream and Suncoaster like this.