Event Co-ordinators: J-P and Trish
This year the Gathering was held in the Buckland River valley. We set up camp at Ah Young’s Camping Ground, a lovely setting on well grassed sites not too far from the river.
Most people arrived on the Sunday and had ample room in which to set up, close to a fire ring if they so wished.
Monday, 16th November
BUFFALO RIVER STATE FOREST
Trip Leaders: Keith and Monica
Five vehicles departed at 8.30 am and headed south. We then turned on to Scotchmans Creek Track and commenced our ascent up a good but steep track to 1350 meters elevation. The views of the mountain valleys beyond were excellent. We continued along the ridge on Buffalo Range and Schultz Tracks before descending to the Buffalo River for lunch. We crossed the Buffalo River and were on our way up again on Mt Buggery Track to check out the views from the lookout known as Bill’s Window where “our Bill” had his photo taken. We then made our way down around the south side of Mt Buffalo and back to camp. 110 kms
Bill and Everal at Bill's Window
BLUE RAG RANGE
Trip Leaders: Colin and Heather
Monday morning dawned bright and clear and 4 vehicles set out from our camp in the Buckland Valley heading south. Our first stop was Mount Murray where a locked gate prevented us from reaching the summit. The views were great even if we couldn’t make it right to the top. From there we headed east along Twins Jeep Track, then down the Dargo High Plains Road until we reached Blue Rag Ridge Track. After some ups and downs we arrived at Blue Rag trig station (1718m) and enjoyed 360 degree views of the surrounding mountain ranges.
Group at Mt Blue Rag Trig point
After lunch we made the descent to the Wongungarra River dropping 1150 metres in around 9 kilometres. Having seen the river we made the return climb. It took some searching but we finally located Sugarloaf Track which proved quite challenging before we wound our way back to the Buckland valley via Paddy’s Hill Track. We returned to camp around 5.30 p.m. after a very enjoyable day and with some 150 kms on the speedo.
Tuesday, 17th November
Trip Leaders: Richard and Maria
Five vehicles left camp for a trip to Lake Cobbler – an artificial lake nestled high in the mountains. We first used Scotchman’s Creek Track and headed up to Buffalo Range Track and then on to Camp Creek Track. This track went up and up with wonderful views then… almost at the top of the range, we had no 4WD, our hub retaining bolts snapped on the passenger side so we stopped for morning tea to “assess the situation.”
Then with only the front wheels driving we continued up. Uwe came to the rescue and towed us up the last steep section and we were right. Down, down we went until we needed Uwe again to get us up after the creek crossing, then we all continued on Abbeyard Track and as we passed the track to Lake Cobbler we could see a closed gate and didn’t even stop to investigate but continued on down that track to Lake Buffalo which was a most beautiful spot for lunch. Then we all went for cake and coffee at Myrtleford. We found a mechanic there who would fix us the next day and Daryl went back to camp and came all the way back to Myrtleford to pick us up and so ended our trip through the mountains and we didn’t reach Lake Cobbler at all. Thank you for all the help from our fellow trip members.
Track going up the next hill
MT POREPUNKA TO TAWONGA GAP
Trip leaders: J-P and Trish
Six vehicles departed camp at 8.30 headed for Porepunkah. The first highlight of day were the views from the top of Mt Porepunkah down the Ovens valley with Mt Buffalo as a backdrop. From there we made our way to Tawonga Gap along mainly ridge top tracks. Lunch was taken at Sullivan’s Lookout with good views of the Kiewa valley and Mt Bogong, before wandering back along several tracks to finish the day at Bright. A round trip of approximately 100 km.
Ovens Valley from Mt Porepunkah
Wednesday, 18th November
The day was marked as a free day, some of the group went up to Mt Buffalo for the morning, while others spent the day getting ready for the evening FEAST, gathering firewood, setting up tables and relaxing in the shade.
The Master chef and his Assistant
Bill and Everal did a magnificent job of cooking roast meats, potatoes and all the trimmings - so much food that we left the chicken drumsticks for the next night. Dessert was also over-catered and was enough for the next night as well.
At the table
Thursday, 19th November
BUCKLAND VALLEY STATE FOREST
Trip leaders: Keith and Monica
Five vehicles headed south from Bright on Wet Gully Track. Soon tyre pressures were reduced and hubs locked in. It was like a ridge top tour with fantastic views of the mountains on our left and right. This continued as we travelled on Albion Track and then headed north on Demon Ridge Track before ending up in the pine forest and then back to camp. We did approx. 107 kms.
Demon Ridge Track
Trip leader: Uwe
This trip had was rated as extreme double black and as such only had participants that felt that they were well qualified, experienced and well equipped to partake in this trip.
Our first stop after approx. 70km of hard black top driving was for morning tea at the Milawa bakery where we had to test ourselves against a variety of sponges and slices as well as excellent coffee and a quick browse at the Olive centre.
After this rest and recovery session we proceeded to the Milawa Cheesery for our next high adventure of tasting and buying a selection of tasty cheeses and other goodies before heading to the Brown Bros. and Sam Miranda wineries for the real hard part of the trip of tasting several good wines some of which of course had to come home for the cellar.
This was then followed by a return to the bakery for further sampling of wares for lunch before our arduous return journey to camp but not before stopping at the Boynton winery for one last sampling session.
After a most enjoyable week, with the sun shining and agreeable temperatures, most of the group went home on the Friday, some having left a day early and others going on for further travels.
Thank you to all the trip leaders for providing the reports.