Day 10 – 10th April

My mum’s birthday, Happy Birthday to her. After our late night we had a sleep in before I rang my mum to wish her Happy Birthday. The plan today was to go back up to the mountain and check out some more huts that we didn’t get to yesterday. But…………….. The weather has closed in, it’s wet, drizzling on and off was foggy around us earlier, certainly foggy on the mountain. We decided to do a bit of catch up around here this morning, I’ve done some house work or is that van work either way cleaned up, the washing is on and will use their dryers to dry things. Chris is looking up the Telstra site to find out why we aren’t using our bonus phone credits instead of it guzzling through our money. After lunch we will take a run up the mountain and see what it’s like, depending on the weather as now it’s gotten very wet.

We heard on the radio the other day about “Glamping” Glamour Camping, which means you have running water, hot showers, flushing toilets and in their situation a cabin or motel. So we came up with “Glamvanning” Glamour Caravanning, so if you have a hot shower, flushing toilet and a van you might be “Glamvanning” but what’s the difference between caravanning and Glamvanning you ask? For us it would be plugged into 240 power, so we can use the micro and heater whenever we want, the hose hooked to a tap so we don’t have to be stingy with tank water and lots of hot water for showers so no on and off. Now “Glamvanning” is nice occasionally especially when there might be snow on the way but in general we like to slum it and just do the good old caravanning pulled off on the side of the road at some free spot enjoying the elements of nature. They are forecasting snow over the next few days so we are going to book in another few days and do a bit more “Glamvanning” with that lovely heater.

The weather didn’t improve until late this arvo so we just stayed around the Van Park, and popped into town for a while.

Mt-Buller

Day 9 – 9th April

Wow what a day. We left the van about 9.30am as we knew we were going to be home late today so didn’t want to start too early. We packed all the food, water and lots of warm clothes we needed as we were heading up the mountains, with Craig’s Hut on the hit list.

We headed up to Mt Stirling and onto Circuit road it is all dirt but is suitable for 2 wheel drive cars; it is closed during the winter months. This does a full circuit around Mt Stirling, up and down round and round. Several huts come off this road including Craig’s Hut and Razorback Hut. It is a really good drive, lots of trees and quite lush, the road is very good, apart from the area within the Mt Stirling Resort, there were a lot of corrugations, and it is in need of a grade.

Our first stop was Razorback Hut, for people without a 4wd you have to stop on the Circuit rd and take a short walk up. For those with a 4wd drive there is a 4wd track only that takes you right up to the hut. The hut is well used with one of the huts being used as dorm type accommodation, only the mattresses where really yucky. In the main hut there are several very old dirty chairs and lounges that have been set up into a U around an open fire place. When we were there, there was a sign up saying a Horse Riding firm had the hut and stables booked for a few days next week.

Razorback-Hut

Approx 17km further up Circuit Road is Craig’s Hut. There is a day use area that has toilets and parking, with a 1.2km steep walk up to Craig’s Hut. For people in 4wd’s 1km further up there is a 4wd track right up to Craig’s Hut. We did see several people park their cars near the 4wd track and then walk up from there; this is a lot longer way up.

I was very excited to be going to Craig’s Hut, I have wanted to go there every since I knew you could. The sky was grey and overcast, but it was still awesome to be there. There is plenty of parking at the top and toilets. We had read that no real Cattleman would built a hut in the position Craig’s Hut was built, right out in the open with no protection from the elements, but we all know it was built for the movie the “Man from Snowy River”. But they are right it is right out in the open and as we walked up from the car park you were hit with a lot cooler air. It is impressive and has awesome views over the High County Ranges. It was originally built for the movie in 1981, it fell into disrepair and was re-built and open to the public in 1993. It was later burnt down in the 2006 fires but my popular demand was rebuilt. It is quite different from the original shown in the movie. I didn’t care I was just thrilled to be there.

Us-at-Craig's-Hut_0549_1

After taking some photos for a while we saw a man had set up several tripods, one with a Sony video Camera and another with a film panoramic camera. We went over and had a chat; he was very chatty and said how he had been there for several days. He was obviously a professional photographer, I asked if he had a card which he didn’t on him but gave us his name Pete Dobre, and I knew I knew that name from somewhere but couldn’t place it at the time. He was impressed with Chris’s 7D; he was a really nice man and was very free in sharing his experience and knowledge. After quite some time, I started to freeze so we left him and went back to our car for lunch. It was about then all the cars started arriving, so he also packed up and moved on for a while.

After lunch we headed further around the Circuit Rd planning to visit a few more huts and Mt Buller, and then come back to Craig’s Hut around 4pm in the hope we might get some good lighting from a sunset. About 10km’s past Craig’s Hut there is a turn to Bindaree Falls, this is also accessed by 2wd, from the car park it is only a 15 min walk up hill via steps, what joy. It was worth it though, a nice water fall, falling onto mossy rocks surrounded by ferns.

Bindaree-Falls Bingeree-Falls

After spending quite a bit of time there taking photos it was time to turn back and head to Craig’s Hut again. There were a few people camping up near the hut in a picnic area which you are not suppose to, but well away from the actual hut. It was obvious we were not going to get our sunset shots, Chris said if we wait a short time the fog was going to come in. Well we didn’t have to wait long, it was eerie watching the fog move in fast, we could hardly see the campers behind us, within a short time the hut was totally surrounded by fog and we could no longer see the hut, and it was freezing.

Foggy-Hut

We went back to the car and boiled up the billy for a hot cuppa. Pete Dobre had come back by this time, so we went over and had a chat to him. He is such a nice bloke, giving us hints and tips and encouraging us. He has travelled the world taking photos and also doing speaking engagements. He asked us if we had been to Mungo National park and then gave us a signed copy of his book on Mungo and Paddle-steamers and Riverboats of the Murray River. I then realised who he was as we have several of his other books at home, wow what an honour to have a photographer of his calibre sharing his experiences with us. He was just a down to earth normal person with no air or graces.

Snow

After talking to him for some time we left Craig’s Hut and headed down the mountain, by this time it was getting dark. The fog cleared not far down which was a very good thing as we rounded a corner and saw a big red stag with huge antlers standing in the middle of the road, I quickly grabbed the video camera and just got him as he raced into the bush.

20100409Map

We didn’t end up getting up to Mt Buller or the other huts, but that will be done another day. They have said on the news that it is going to turn cold and snow could fall in the next few days as low as 1500m, today we were 1450m so we might get to see some snow before we leave this area, cool ha very.

Day 8 – 8th April

20100408Vic

Our travels in Victoria so far.

We had a good night sleep with only a little rain. We woke to blue skies but it’s be on and off all day the weather doesn’t know what it wants’ to do. One min you are reaching for your jumper then next you are hot and taking it off.

We left our night spot and headed into Wangaratta to get gas. We then headed towards Mansfield, taking the more scenic route through King Valley, a big vine area, and through to Whitfield before crossing over the mountains to Mansfield. It was a lovely drive with lots of trees and interesting things to look at. We stopped for morning tea At Edi which is also a good spot for a night stop.

20100408VicHighCountry

When we arrived at Mansfield we went straight to the information centre picking some info on the area and 4wd tracks. There is a circuit track that takes in a couple of huts including Craig’s Hut. We picked up a really good map of the Alpine Park showing 4wd tracks for $2.

We then decided to book into a van park as we figured we will be reaching for the heater over the next few days. We have booked into Mansfield Holiday Park on the Mt Buller road for 3 nights at a much more reasonable price of $28 a night, it is still the school holiday period. Has level large grassy sites, a hole for the sullage hose and water. This is not a drive through site but the site has so much room around it we were able to just drive in. The park is on 17 acres but they certainly have not used all of that, they could easily put more sites in, it has wide open spaces and mountain views. There are plenty of toilets and showers in the clean amenities block. There is mini golf and a dam that has some birdies with some week old babies on it. There are a few permanent vans that are a bit shanty looking. A horse and cart does a loop through the park and into town.

Mansfield-Park Mansfield-Park-2

We have just come back from walking around the town, very friendly little town. In one of the tourist brochures they call some of the shops eclectic, that’s what we thought about Bright.

Horses

Brrr it is cooling down, just heard on the news a cold front is coming Sat and Mon that might cause some snow on the Alps. The jackets will be coming out.