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The "High Country" of Victoria


Bob
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I guess by now, you ol' timers know that this bloke just needs to go "bush" every so often.

A mate asked me a couple of months back if I'd like to go with him and some of the other blokes I did the Simpson Desert trek last June.

Is the Pope a Catholic?

We drove from Adelaide on the Thursday before Easter and camped overnight under the stars just east of a place called Ararat, on the way from Adelaide to Melbourne.

Next day saw all of us, six 4WDs, driving thro the suburbs of Melbourne and coming out the north east side on our way to Victoria's High Country, as Aussies affectionately know this part of Australia.

It's one of the most rugged parts of Australia and was settled by a unique bunch of early settlers back in the mid 1800s. . . independent, tough and reliable.

Today, this part of Victoria can still only be accessed by 4WDs on rough roads.

The scenery is, arguably, some of the most beautiful in Australia. We went before the snows block roads and valleys off for months at a time.

Here are some of the piccies I took. . . . hope you enjoy

letting the tyres down before tackling the tough stuff. Guess who the old bloke is???

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This is the Wanangatta valley, remote and only accessible by 4WD, it was only just recently bought by the Victorian gov't in 1988 and incorporated into the nearby national park. Up until that time, the original family that settled this part of Vic back in the 1860s were still running cattle here

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Crossing the Wanangatta River

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The track you see in the distance is Billy Goat's Gruff Track. It starts at 290m above sea level and rises to over 1 400m in just 7 kms

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Some of the remote valleys that you won't get to see ordinarily except by rough tracks in

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Whenever I go off with these hooligans, it seems at some stage they can't resist chucking stones at an object . . . a beer can, fence post, etc. This was forked tree down the slope and it wobbled every time they hit it. Lotsa laughs!

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The rains hit us for the next few days and at first we had to put our tarps up. We cooked and slept under it

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More later . . . if you all behave yourselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Looking nice Bob - it just makes me want to buy another 4x4 so much sooner!!

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Man it must be hard to be Bob... :whome:

Thanks for the pics. It looks so wild and untravelled! :ilikeit:

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Bob!

You've probably done more for Tourism Victoria than any government department!!

Looks like you had an awesome trip - I am very jealous!

Tracy

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Bob, you look exactly the way I pictured you! More pictures please. I'm trying to convince my brother to join us in Aus but he loves the outdoors, hunting, fishing etc so much and he's not quite convinced that Aus has the same to offer.

Please post some more pic's!

Mel

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Hi Bob

What a nice trip. It's beautiful.

We're always good :D so you can post the rest now!

Sonja

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Bob GREAT pics thank you!! Not gonna show my Des these he'll wanna join you!! He's been yearning for some decent 4x4 tracks.

When we went to Chester and them over Easter we took the "scenic" route and traveled about 90k's thru a lovely valley up and down the mountains to the other side, from about Armidale to Bellbrook. The cars looked like 4x4's with a nice coat of dust but the men were still not "satisfied" not a big enough adrenaline rush!!

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Man it must be hard to be Bob... :)

Yeah . . . it's a tough call being up in the mountains away from all civilisation, sitting around a campfire of a nightime with a whole bunch of blokes all stoked up after a day full of adventure, having a few beers while cracking jokes . . . . but . . . some poor soul's gotta do it!

Poor bugga me.

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Anyhow . . . back to the saga.

The rains hit us . . . and then some . . . on the fourth day out.

Up in the Victorian High Country you just can't pick the weather. Fine in the morning, snowing in the evening.

I bought myself a good swag before I went away. My old swag of 20 years has been pensioned off cos, Bobby had his eye on it (now his!)

I slept on the outside of the four of us and, being the drongo (silly person) that I am, the rain cascaded every so often off the end of the tarp . . . right onto my swag. Needless to say, it took a good day later to dry the 7cm foam mattress inside the swag out.

I learnt new tricks though, on this trip.

I'd never been a "High Country" bloke before, usually heading for the Outback or desert where it's dry, but I discovered the importance of a great tarp for shelter and shade on this trip.

You can live under a nice big tarp for a number of days, before choofing off to somewhere new once you get itchy feet.

We came across an old mountain cattleman's shelter and had a "sticky beak" inside

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inside . . . crude, rough but shelter from the cold and rains

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Tracks got quite boggy after the rains

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Halfway thro our trip, we headed out of the mountains to refuel for another few more days and got a pie and iced coffee from the General Store at a place in the hills of Victoria called Dargo.

This old pub is a typical Australian pub, steeped in Australian folklore. There were pictures inside of local names and poems written about the High Country

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Camp, once we pulled up for the day. On one of two occasions, we got to our destination just on dark and had to grope around a bit, but this occasion we had no such problem

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Another valley

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This was a steep climb for all the 4WDs first thing in the morn. We were heading for Mt. Bluerag (1721m) from our camp by a creek the night before.

One of the blokes took an old 1989 Mitsubishi 4WD along with a pretty "tired" motor.

As he got closer . . and closer . . to the top, we were all saying "I think I can . . I think I can . . I think I can . . "

He made it

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The top. How many times in Life do you look DOWN on a rainbow?

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The track down was a one way track, about 5 kms down to a great stretch of water.

I must have spent a good half hour contemplating Life while in the dark at this spot near to where we camped for the night

It was brilliant. Stars overhead twinkling away. Noises of possums in the trees.

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Now . . who says Aussies aren't dumb? These two drongos went for a dip in the creek. It was like ice melt-water. In the 10 days out, I only bathed 3 times in the mountain streams, sitting in them and lying back to wash all the soap off me. I can tell ya . . it wasn't a hot shower!

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What it's all about . . . Blokes being blokes

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A "Potjie" (have I got it right?)

In Australia, this thing is a life saver . . a camp oven.

They're made with a lip around the top of the lid to stop the coals spilling off the edge

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These things happen whenever you go thro thick bush. It pays to bring an axe

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The top again, next day, looking to the north at the first snows on the mountains for the year

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All good things must come to an end.

Our last camp, in a State Forest in the Pyrenees hills far to the west of Melbourne on the way back to Adelaide

It seemed almost civilised after the wilderness we'd enountered for the past week

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. . . and one last little track, first thing in the morning, just to remind us why we'd brought 4WDs along, beofre we hit the bitumen.

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Mmmm, it must have been tough, but thanks for sharing your ordeal with us! :)

Gee, I like your potjie! So what do you cook inside?

Sonja

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Thank you for sharing so much with us Bob :):huh: I know what we'll be doing in the school holidays when the kids are older!! ;):wacko:

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Hi Bob

I love your posts. I love your photo's the one with the rainbow, fantastic never seen that before.

Thanks

Sheila2Oz

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Gee, I like your potjie! So what do you cook inside?

You can just about knock up anything you like. I think the troops, this time, had stuck a roast in it but you can put "damper" (flour and water mixed with yeast) to make bread for the camp. I've knocked up damper before now, had no yeast so just poured in a "stubbie" (375ml small bottle) of beer (for the yeast) Tasted great!

I like a few vegetables and roast meat if I cook in one, but my meals are pretty basic stuff. I'm no great cook.

It seems a real art, which I don't have, to just get it right.

Too many hot coals and you burn everything inside, not enough and it's just uncooked!

I ought to learn off a few South Africans that have done it beforehand?

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Thank you for sharing so much with us Bob :lol: :lol: I know what we'll be doing in the school holidays when the kids are older!! :holy::whome:

I have deliberately stuck these photos up to let you guys get to understand a little bit more about parts of Australia.

I'd only ever been to the Outback and desert before in my life, and this trip to the High Country of Victoria was a first for me.

All you've really got to do, when the kids are school age, is to buy a tent and stove and just head for the bush for a really cheap time away. It's what my three kids did just about each school holidays.

We camped beside rivers, out in the bush, Outback, desert, beaches . . you name it.

Each of them is quite at home sleeping out under the stars. They all had their own swags and slept snug in that each night.

You guys have sooo much to discover in this BIG country. Whatever you really want to see, it's here waiting for you to find it.

Australia . . . . Enjoy it!

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Thanks Bob for some great pics. Looks like you all had a great time. Looking forward to camping out with our mob!

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WOW!! I'm jealous, can't wait to bea ble to travel in Aus & see some of these wonderful places you show us on your walkabouts.

Thanks for sharing Bob!

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You can just about knock up anything you like. I think the troops, this time, had stuck a roast in it but you can put "damper" (flour and water mixed with yeast) to make bread for the camp. I've knocked up damper before now, had no yeast so just poured in a "stubbie" (375ml small bottle) of beer (for the yeast) Tasted great!

I like a few vegetables and roast meat if I cook in one, but my meals are pretty basic stuff. I'm no great cook.

It seems a real art, which I don't have, to just get it right.

Too many hot coals and you burn everything inside, not enough and it's just uncooked!

I ought to learn off a few South Africans that have done it beforehand?

I'm no great cook either. My hubby is the expert with the potjie. When we go camping, apart from the meat, we literally live off braaibroodjies (don't know the English!), poetoepap (Help, anybody! Is there an English word for this?) and the rest get covered in foil and put among the hot coals (potatoes, onions, sweet potato, etc.). The kids also love to make stokbrood (dough on a stick over the fire) and then eat it with honey or condensed milk.

Now I'm hungry ... and in the mood for camping!

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Dear Bob

Thank you soooo much for sharing your trip and photos with us. My DH is asleep, but tomorrow I will show him these pics. He bought an 1989 Toyota Land Cruiser, with Petrol and Gas. Easter weekend, we went up to Jurien Bay (280km North of Perth) and did some "Free" camping and 4x4 driving. We loved it and felt so free and almost like the only people in the world. We spent the whole of easter in the "wilderness".

Regards

Frenchy

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Ginnie, my wife, has asked me for about a week now, to join her next week on her brother's launch.

He brother, Graham, has a 50 ft launch that he's just sailing at the moment down the west coast of South Australia and will pull in at the various harbours and ports on the way and anchor off islands, etc.

Next week, we take off on Thursday to join them for a week. This will involve me putting my roof top tent onto the roof of my Nissan Patrol and just lazily driving north, stopping to sightsee and camp overnight wherever the fancy takes us. I am thinking of staying overnight in a spot up in the Flinders Ranges called "Warren Gorge". We can meander down south again afterwards, to Port Lincoln, to join Graham and his wife for some fishing and snorkelling that week, leaving the following Wednesday.

I'll post some piccies up on the website of the trip up thro the Clare Valley with all its wineries, the southern Flinders Ranges and the sea off South Australia.

This ought to give you guys a good insight on what holiday life is like in Australia . . . . at least when you're old and grey, like me!

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Uuuggghhh

What a life you have!!!! Well, at least we're going camping ourselves in the Kruger Park towards the end of the month!

Enjoy and we're looking forward to your pics.

Sonja

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