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Thread: High Country and Beyond 2018 - Omeo

  1. #1
    Busy planning trips and mods... Red GU's Avatar
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    High Country and Beyond 2018 - Omeo

    We held our annual High Country and Beyond event recently. There were numerous trips led over the course of the event (Sat 10th - Sat 17th March) and I wasn't part of them all but was involved with a few so will give a quick run down on those.

    The event is run by the Wangaratta 4wd Club which is affiliated with 4WD Victoria. It is a not for profit event and the fees charged cover the caravan park costs, the meals provided, insurance, etc. The first year we ran it from the Buckland Valley which was a great venue but was logistically quite difficult. 2017 and 2018 we based the event in Omeo and utilised the caravan park which meant no issues with black and grey water disposal, no issues with fuelling of vehicles and phone signal was available for those who needed to stay in touch over the course of the event.

    As far as maps, etc go various brands of maps are better than others in varying locations of the high country. I find Spatial Vision and Rooftop to be the best, Hema are good for the well known tracks but very inaccurate in some of the less travelled areas. My policy is that I start with whatever map OziExplorer decides to show me at the start of a trip and when I come across an intersection that isn't represented accurately I just flick through the various maps until I find one that is good for the area.

    Anyway, enough of the background info... Notes and pics time!

    This is an overview of the territory we covered on my trips. Some went further south and others further east, other than BlueRag mine we mainly to the north of Omeo.
    HC+B 2018 Dave Trips by Dave, on Flickr

    Saturday 10th. Along with the assistance of another guy, Rob I conducted an "Intro to 4WDing in the High Country" training session where we covered the different terrains and driving techniques for each, hill stops / starts (keystarts), driving through the brakes, etc. In the afternoon everyone went for a drive to Glen Wills to see the Ruston 12H engine which has been restored from a rusty vandalised bit of "junk" to a fully operational engine. I had to stay at camp to do prep work for the evening but I've seen it before. It is a beautiful thing! 2 cylinders, maybe 350mm dia each. You tube link of it running.

    Sunday 11th. Took some participants for a drive to Blue Rag. The highway between Mt Hotham and Omeo was closed for a fair portion of the day due to a cycling event so we went the "back" way. Turning off the Cassillis road we made our way along Upper Livingstone and Birregun roads to Dogs Grave. We then followed Birregun Rd until our turnoff onto Stockroute Spur Track which is a reasonably steep track with a couple of areas of washouts which everyone descended safely.
    Blue Rag Trip 20180311_01 by Dave, on Flickr

    After morning tea at Collins Flat campground we drove around to Harrisons Cutting for a look at the beautiful creek and small waterfall.
    Blue Rag Trip 20180311_05 by Dave, on Flickr

    We then had to get to the Dargo High Plains Rd so we ascended Matheson Track. In the dry it is relatively easy most of the way although fairly steep. Near the top the track had a few interesting spots that we had to negotiate over but challenges like that are what makes life interesting.
    Blue Rag Trip 20180311_08 by Dave, on Flickr

    Just near Gow's Hotel we turned off and headed to Whiskey Bottle campsite where we stopped for lunch. The tracks were easy going although quite dusty. The views were great and the ripe blackberries proved to be a huge temptation at one of the creek crossings so we all stopped and picked a heap. We picked enough to have blackberries for morning tea every day for the rest of the event! Next stop for us all to re-group was the "Red Rattler", an old train carriage at a track intersection south of Blue Rag. It was a chance to re-group before we commenced the slower tracks that would lead us to Blue Rag.
    Blue Rag Trip 20180311_10 by Dave, on Flickr

    Blue Rag as always was a great drive. The track is starting to develop a bit of character after being turned into a multi lane 2wd highway a couple of years ago for fire break / fighting purposes but is still nothing of it's former glory. The popularity of the track however remains high simply because of the views and with the perfect weather we had the views were fantastic.
    Blue Rag Trip 20180311_13 by Dave, on Flickr

    Blue Rag Trip 20180311_14 by Dave, on Flickr

    Blue Rag Trip 20180311_18 by Dave, on Flickr


    There was smoke on the horizon which blotted out Mt Buller and views further to the south west but we had good long range visibility everywhere else.

    Blue Rag Trip 20180311_22 by Dave, on Flickr

    After reaching the Blue Rag Trig point and the obligatory photos we headed back to the Dargo High Plains road, aired up our tyres once we reached the Great Alpine Road and made our way back to Omeo via "The General" at Mt Hotham for a refreshment.

    It was a big day, a bit under 12 hours all up but we covered some great tracks and had a fun day.


    I'll be back with our Monday Poplars / Limestone trip soon...


    Dave
    Last edited by Red GU; 22-03-18 at 07:49 PM.
    Dave and Fiona

  2. #2
    Junior Member Traveller's Avatar
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    I was in the Wang club many years ago, good to hear it's still going well.
    Harrisons cut is very interesting, and the spur heading out was a ripper when I last did it. Sounds like you had a great time and beautiful views.

  3. #3
    Busy planning trips and mods... Red GU's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
    I was in the Wang club many years ago, good to hear it's still going well.
    Harrisons cut is very interesting, and the spur heading out was a ripper when I last did it. Sounds like you had a great time and beautiful views.
    Hi, the club is going very well. We have our 35th birthday this year. I've been president for the past two years. You should catch up for a visit sometime, there are quite a few founding members of the club still active so bound to be some familiar faces!


    Dave
    Dave and Fiona

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    Junior Member jacnden's Avatar
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    Great report
    So where abouts is collins flat and the falls at Harrison's cutting?
    Ime guessing it's where stockroute spur cross's the dargo river?
    Looks that good I might have to get out there

  5. #5
    Busy planning trips and mods... Red GU's Avatar
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    Monday 12th I was tail end for a trip which took in a couple of iconic locations in the high country. We headed north to Benambra where we drove across the dry Lake Omeo before heading to the site of James Pendergast’s homestead at Mt Leinster where a couple of chimneys remain. The Pendergasts were one of the main early settlers of the area. One of the chimneys is so big that I could not reach across the inside of it with both arms outstretched.

    Poplars and Limestone Trip 20180312_50 by
    Dave, on Flickr


    From there we headed north along Beloka Rd before airing down and turning off to Connleys Hut where we stopped for lunch. From there we ascended the eastern end of Buckwong Tk and turned up the southern end of Davies High Plains Track (the northern end is still closed two years after some storms went through there) to Charlies Creek Plain campground. It is a nice open area with a tiny little creek and signs of lots of brumbies.
    After a stop for a chat we then made our way along and down McCarthy’s Track to The Poplars.

    Poplars and Limestone Trip 20180312_51 by Dave, on Flickr


    The Poplars is the closest you can now get a vehicle to the source of the Murray River. At this point the Murray is about 5m across and only 200 – 300mm deep. Given how dry it is in the area it was surprising that one portion of the track included a stretch of waterlogged mud hole. After confirming the depth everyone made it through with no dramas.

    Poplars and Limestone Trip 20180312_56 by Dave, on Flickr


    Now it was time to start heading south and back to Omeo. Limestone Creek Tk was the chosen route and I’ve driven it quite a few times. It is quite challenging to some as there are two steep climbs. The first is a warm up for the second which has a lot of wombat holes near the top and picking a slightly incorrect line will see most people get crossed up, lose traction and come to a halt which happened to some. Knowing that the top makes for good photo opportunities I headed up first and called each vehicle up. Dust was an issue, I nearly choked after each vehicle reached the top.

    Poplars and Limestone Trip 20180312_72 by
    Dave, on Flickr

    Poplars and Limestone Trip 20180312_79 by
    Dave, on Flickr

    Poplars and Limestone Trip 20180312_86 by
    Dave, on Flickr

    After that we made our way along to the southern end of the track sighting a few brumbies along the way. We turned onto Limestone Rd and followed well formed up roads all the way back to Omeo.


    Next installment will be our Tuesday trip to Quart Pot Flat Hut...


    Dave
    Dave and Fiona

  6. #6
    Busy planning trips and mods... Red GU's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacnden View Post
    Great report
    So where abouts is collins flat and the falls at Harrison's cutting?
    Ime guessing it's where stockroute spur cross's the dargo river?
    Looks that good I might have to get out there
    Collins Flat Campground is exactly where you said, at the junction of Upper Dargo Rd and Stockroute Spur Tk. If you follow the Upper Dargo Rd to the end which is a few Km north of the campground you get to Harrisons Cutting. 2WD cars can easily get along Upper Dargo Rd as far as the campground so it can get a bit crowded in there at the more popular times such as long weekends. You need more clearance to get to Harrisons but there is no space to camp there, just a turnaround.


    Dave
    Dave and Fiona

  7. #7
    Junior Member Traveller's Avatar
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    I should make the effort one day, don't get up that way too often though. I was good mates with Craig Cheetham, he'd still be around I'd guess. 35 years eh, I was in it about 1986/7 I think.
    Jok

  8. #8
    Busy planning trips and mods... Red GU's Avatar
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    Craig is definitely still around. He is a great guy, very knowledgeable and great to have on a trip.


    Dave
    Dave and Fiona

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    Forum Enthusiast robmacca's Avatar
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    You guys very fortunate to have all those areas in your backyard... Hopefully we get to experience it in a couple weeks time too
    ==================
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  10. #10
    Busy planning trips and mods... Red GU's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robmacca View Post
    You guys very fortunate to have all those areas in your backyard... Hopefully we get to experience it in a couple weeks time too
    Couldn't wish for a better back yard!


    Dave
    Dave and Fiona

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