Tuesday 21st March - Thursday 23rd March 2023
Leaders: Graham, with visitor Rob
Participants: David, Felicity and Mark, Geoff and Peggy, Paul and Tineke, Roger, Wayne and Ruthi
Day 0 - Monday
Most of the group arrived in Avoca to grab a bite for lunch before meeting up to drive out to Blue Pyrenees Winery for a bit of a tasting of their wares. This was a very convivial session and a great lead-in to the official trip commencement the next morning. Also, an opportunity to stock up for happy hour and dinner lubricants.
Afterwards, we all headed for Glenpatrick where base camp was set up for our two days of exploration of the Pyrenees State Forest.
Day 1 - Tuesday
Circuit loop from Glenpatrick Recreation Reserve, via Emery Track, Old Mill Track and Point Patrick Track.
Stats for the day:
- Distance Driven: 47.3 km
- Driving Time: 5h:14m
- Average Speed: 9.0kph
- Minimum Altitude: 379m
- Maximum Altitude: 772m
Rain threatened during the pre-trip meeting, however fortunately that was the extent of it, as the rest of the day remained pretty well dry...if a tad cold!
We turned left out of the reserve in which we were camped, drove through the tiny hamlet of Glenpatrick and began the climb into the hills. Graham asked the convoy to pause while he checked the condition of a steep track to the right, however after driving a little way along it he decided to abandon any thoughts of taking that one and we continued forward.
Further along the track Graham started up a steep, rough, unnamed track to the left, advising the rest of us to ascend one at a time in low range, keeping as far as possible to the left. Graham made it to the top followed by Paul and Tineke, however Roger had some difficulty getting his car to stay in 4WD so it was decided that the rest of us should proceed forward, following David along Emery Track, thus taking the long way to the top where we met the others and continued along Old Mill Track before making a steep descent to a flat area where we had morning tea.
After our break we headed upwards again along the very dusty Old Kingtree Track, crossing the path of the Pyrenees Endurance Walk along the way. Black Range and Dry Dam tracks took us further upwards before a steep descent, then another gradual climb along Glen Lofty Track took us to Main Break, which we followed for several kilometres. Lunch was eaten on the helipad near the summit of Mt Avoca. Boy was it cold up there!
After lunch we climbed even further up a particularly bumpy, steep part of track before descending another very rough patch down Point Patrick Track, which we took very cautiously, one car at a time. We finally reached the bottom of the track to find we were at a crossroads. There were gates in two directions marked ‘Private Property’, one which was locked and the other that said ‘No Through Road’. After some discussion we took the latter as no one was keen on ascending the track we had just descended and all our maps showed this as an access track. This track took us past a farmhouse and it was only a very short distance from there to the sealed Glenpatrick Road and back to the campground.
A very interesting day’s driving with some challenging tracks.
Day 2 - Wednesday
Circuit loop from Glenpatrick Recreation Reserve, via the Waterfalls Picnic Area and Governor Rock Lookout.
Stats for the day:
- Distance Driven: 63.6 km
- Driving Time: 7h:25m
- Average Speed: 8.6kph
- Minimum Altitude: 291m
- Maximum Altitude: 760m
As we each crawled out from our tents or caravans, we were greeted with a low mist over the surrounding hills, an emerging blue sky and cool and fresh air. Dew had formed overnight on our tents and vehicles. However the forecast maximum for the day was to be a warm 27 degrees. This was a welcomed change from the previous day’s somewhat cool temperature.
We were to have an extra vehicle join the trip today, as Wayne and Ruthi arrived just before 9am. However we subsequently lost a vehicle due to it not properly engaging 4wd. Therefore the convoy remained at 6 vehicles. After welcoming our new participants, we left our campsite at around 9:30am.
Plenty of kangaroos were spotted in the morning. Some just bounced away from the tracks and vehicles, while others were keen to play chicken and either stay on the track for as long as possible or jump across the track in the front of the vehicles.
Our first “fun” track of the day was Mountain Hut Track. This track climbed from the edge of the range back up towards the top. This track was then followed by a descent of Gollop Track which was a little more challenging. However after the tracks we drove the previous day, the convoy was suitably prepared and enjoyed the challenges of these tracks. A morning tea break was taken along Gollop Track.
The convoy then proceeded to the Waterfalls Picnic Area to take the short Valley Walk to the waterfall. This was an easy 10min one-way walk. As expected, the Waterfall was dry and there weren’t any signs of water even at the base of the waterfall. The walk was still worthwhile as the scenery along the Valley Walk was enjoyable.
After the walk, we proceeded along a couple of easy tracks towards Governor Rock Lookout. Along Vinoca Rd, we passed fields of lush vineyards, contrasted by adjacent dry paddocks. The Pyrenees is a renowned wine region in Victoria and also a very dry part of the state which were both clearly on display.
The views from the lookout tower stretched out to east, all the way into the distance, past the township of Avoca, to the next mountain ranges. The views were quite spectacular!
A lunch break was taken at the lookout tower carpark as there were some tables and seats. While consuming our lunch, a conversation took place about an unmarked track across from our lunch spot. The trip leader acknowledged this was to be an “explorer” 4wd trip and led the convoy up this track. The track was in good condition, with the first section appearing to be recently graded. The track wrapped around a hill, before joining back to the main track.
At this point, the convoy was now heading back towards our campsite at Glenpatrick. We drove New Nowhere Track, which was a nice valley drive and then Emery Track took us most of the way back to camp. The day trip fished around 3:30pm in the afternoon, providing an opportunity for the group to relax, socialise or take a walk.
Day 3 - Thursday
Those remaining hardy souls woke to a humid and misty morning. After a light rain shower during the night, that meant the tents were damp and determined to stay that way – though not a problem for the caravanners in the group. Anyway, we dried off enough to get our packing done and head for home. It turns out we were in luck with our timing. I can’t speak for the rest, but I know we passed through an incredibly heavy downpour as we passed through Amphitheatre towards Avoca where, just as we turned into the main street, lightning struck a tree in the central road reserve right next to the shelter where some of us had sat for lunch on Monday. Phew!
A huge thanks and awesome job by our trip leader, Graham.