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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.