Licola to Dargo via Wonnangatta and Talbotville
Keith and Monica - Trip Leaders
Richard and Maria
Paul and Tineke
Phil and Gill
Colin and Heather
Sunday, 21 February 2016 - Muttonwood on the Wellington River
The convoy of 10 vehicles all met at Licola and then travelled approx 17 kms to Campsite 8 Muttonwood on the Wellington River.
Monday, 22 February 2016 - to Howitt High Plains
After a pre trip briefing which gave us everything that one needs to enjoy the trip but failed to mention what tracks we were going on (this was remedied quickly by Keith) the confusion started when I was told that I was TC only till lunch time at which stage I needed to move to position 2 but would need to write trip notes for the day. Anyway we started well and reduced our tyre pressures as we hit the dirt road and proceeded to climb up to Bennison Lookout for a brief stop to view the ranges and then moving on to Tamboritha Saddle and on to Dingo Hill Track then joining the Caledonia River Track passing the Caledonia Link Track before stopping for lunch as my time as TC had expired.
Descending Dingo Hill Track
After lunch we continued on but not before Keith managed to drive his vehicle into a bog hole from which he needed to be winched out thanks to Uwe. The track started to climb and we ended on the Howitt Road turning left and stopping at Howitt Plains Hut before reaching the Howitt Plains Car Park which was our camp for the night. (Uwe)
"The road collapsed" was Keith's story
Winching Operations Begin
Tuesday, 24 February 2016 - to Wonnangatta Station Campsite
After packing up the tents we hit Zeka Spur Track and followed it into the Wonnangatta Valley. There were wonderful views, many wild flowers and blue berries shining in the sun. We took lots of photos and arrived at Wonnangatta Station where we camped beside the Wonnangatta River. We did not light fires for the evening as it was a day of total fire ban so a cold dinner for all. Approx 30 kms. (Richard and Maria)
During the afternoon some rested, some went swimming and exploring the homestead ruins and cemetery while others went on a circuit including Herne Spur and Wombat Range Track with Colin and Heather. (Monica and Keith)
Wednesday, 25 February 2016 - to Talbotville Campsite
The previous evening there were a few drops of rain on the tents as we hit the sack. A loud distant roar of wind could be heard coming from the mountains but we were spared any damage.
Let's go this way.
At 8.45 a.m. the convoy crossed Conglomerate Creek on the Wonnangatta Track. Then we turned left onto the Humffray River Track. At the sixth river crossing there was a ground clearance issue which was overcome by shifting a few logs. Morning tea was at the Humffray River Shelter. A few branches had to be removed possibly due to the hot windy weather of the last two days. We took a right hand turn up Water Spur Track which was quite a steep climb of 850 metres to Sarah Spur Track. Along here we had mobile phone reception. Lunch was at Mt Sarah Hut and then there was an even steeper descent of 1100 metres to the Wongungarra River. There were beautiful views in the distance from the ridges.
Over the edge of Mt Sarah
We turned right on to Brewery Creek Road, which is 2-wheel drive and then into Talbotville where a luscious green camping area awaited us next to the Crooked River. Approx 61 kms (Tineke and Paul)
Green pastures and camping at Talbotville
Thursday, 26 February 2016 - Exploring around Talbotville
Richard and Maria and Keith and Monica had to return to Melbourne so Colin and Heather continued exploring tracks around Talbotville with the remainder of the convoy. The day started with a shower. However, by the time the convoy left the campsite the sun was shining and the day warming up. We set out along the Crooked River Track with its 24 river crossings! The river was not very deep at any of the crossings but some of the entry and exit points had been stabilized with large river rocks. At Bulltown, we stopped in a small clearing that had been the site of the town. There were signs of mining here. The final river crossing was steeper and more rocky than the others and slowed us down slightly.
Make your own track
Morning tea was at Stonewall. From here we proceeded up the steep Bulltown Spur Track onto Collingwood Spur Track, then on to lunch on the river bank near the old site of the Pioneer Racecourse. (Geoff) After lunch we climbed the very rocky and steep Randalls Track which provided a little more excitement than some of us wanted. We then took Hibernia Track and after a couple of kms on the bitumen we followed McMillan Road to Grant cemetery, then explored the old town site before heading back to camp. (Heather)
Climbing Randall's Track
Friday, 26 February 2016 - to Dargo and Home
The day dawned clear and sunny. We were roused from our slumbers by the hum of blowflies, the cackling of kookaburras and the warbling of magpies, and in some cases, more immediate calls of nature. With our numbers diminished (Uwe, Tony and Geoff decided to head directly for home) the four remaining intrepid vehicles, ably led by Colin and Heather, headed for Dargo via the more challenging scenic route. Steep rough climbs and descents, river crossings and dust were once again the order of the day, but it was a spectacular drive. The route took in the Crooked River, Pioneer Racecourse, Station, Cynthia Range (probably the highlight), Crooked River (again) and Shortcut Tracks and finally the Dargo Road into Dargo for lunch. We then checked out a couple of possible camping options for our November Gathering. Then it was every man for him or herself as we all headed for home or elsewhere.
Our final crossing of the Wonnongatta River
My thanks to Keith and Monica, Col and Heather and all the other participants for a great week in the High Country. (Graham)