VIC High Country – March 2021

We do get out there!
Back in March, Club Member Richo ran his annual trip up into the High Country in Victoria. He did miss out on a trip in 2020, but that was not his fault…. Club Member GoneBush provided us with a trip report which is copied here for your reading delight…

2021 High Country 4wd trip 14/03/2021 – 19/03/2021
This trip should have happened last year but for Covid. It nearly didn’t happen this year as it usually happens in February but was delayed due to Covid.

Sunday 14th March 2021:The day started wet, very wet.
Basso, Richo, Ross, Lisa and Paul met at the Yass service center and headed off around 9 – 9:30 am. The usually boring run down the Hume freeway was interrupted by Basso entertaining the others by getting a flat right rear tyre somewhere south of Gundagai. He managed to keep the 100 upright and pulled over to change the tyre. The others stopped and assisted or stood around offering sage advice. Eventually it was sorted, and everyone was on the road again. With Basso on the hunt for a replacement as the original was demised. At least the weather had started to clear by this stage, and it was dry.

Arriving in Wodonga around 2pm, where Basso had managed to find someone (Sunday Tyres) not only open, but who actually had a tyre the correct size. Basso and Ross went off to get the tyre sorted whilst Richo and Paul stopped at Bunnings for a fire pit, as the campground at Mongan’s Bridge had no fire pits and disallowed fires on the ground.

The journey to Mongan’s Bridge was uneventful aside from all stopping to watch Basso replace the undersized spare with the “new” recently acquired replacement. There was also a short stop at the Dederang General Store to top up the tanks as that was the closest fuel to Mongan’s Bridge.

After everyone got booked in and set up camp, it was decided to retire to the local pub for a meal. The Dederang Hotel has been in the same hands for 31 years, Check out the great statue at the front door.

Monday 15th March 2021:It was a clear sunny morning and the group started moving out at around 8:30 – 9am.
The group went up Bay Creek Lane, which ran beside the campground. First track of the day was unsurprisingly “Bay Creek Track” a little over 1200 meters from the campground. This track started ok then got reasonably steep very quickly. Good thing it was dry as it would be very interesting coming down it in the wet. The day was spent traversing a number of tracks through some quite picturesque bush.

Over the next 4 days a number of tracks were driven, some repeatedly as they linked to others. Tracks such as, the before mentioned Bay creek, Eskdale Spur, Bowman No1 and 2, Shortcut, Little Snowy creek, to name some.
Richo got his drone out a few times for some aerial shots. With a group shot being taken on top of Mt Emu overlooking the Kiewa valley. An easy run down from there back to camp.

Firewood had been collected along the way and the newly purchased fire pit was put to good use.

Tuesday 16th March 2021:Another bright and sunny start.
Basso elected to ride shotgun with Richo in the patrol.
Richo had picked a track called Ryder spur track that went from the Tawonga township up to Tawonga gap Rd, exiting 100m from Sullivan’s lookout. Interestingly the track ran off Hores lane. A linesman doing work in the lane was surprised by the group coming up and had to move his ute. Probably wondering where they thought they were going.

Ryder spur track was tight and a little wet in places, then started to get steep, and steeper. Richo took the lead and on the steepest section put the lockers on then went offline just a bit and dropped into the deep ruts. With lockers the patrol proceeded to climb out up the bank. Leaving itself at a very steep angle, facing a tree, with one wheel flapping in the breeze. So out came the winch to allow Richo to safely reverse down a bit, whereupon he drove the section without issue. Everyone else stayed clear of the ruts and had no trouble getting up. The group stopped at Sullivan’s lookout for a break then onto Tawonga gap track just up the road at Tawonga gap lookout. But alas the track was closed due to burn offs occurring in the area. Other options were looked at but all available tracks in the vicinity were closed. It was decided to drop into Bright and once there to work out where to go.

A stop was made to refuel at “Gum Tree Pies”, reportedly excellent but expensive (it is a tourist town after all).Eventually with a few false starts looking for accessible tracks the group went up Perpunkah Gully Rd, which comes off Great Alpine Rd not far from Bright. This road lead into pine plantations. After some time going up and down some roads, that went off the map leaving the GPS confused, and one that was closed, access was finally gained to Havilah Rd. A quick left, and a run up the road, and a right into Ortlipp Rd had the group headed back towards the area where Richo had originally intended to be. Finally ending up on Running Creek Rd, left again on the tar and a few km’s up to Mt Jack track. A little used track that wended its way through the hills where a turn was made onto Bill Hicks Track. A stop was made along this track to collect firewood. At the bottom of this track a right turn was made and shortly the track seemed to run out (or more correctly ended up in some farmers paddock). Richo found a way through onto Rogers Lane which lead back to the Kiewa Valley Highway. A short stop to air up and then back to the campground to much chopping of wood and a roaring fire.

Wednesday 17th March 2021:A continuation of the sunny weather.
Traversed some of the same tracks already done on the way to the metropolis of Eskdale to check out the butter factory. On the way, Richo had the drone out again for some vehicle shots.Arriving in Eskdale, the butter factory was closed, so a stop at the local shop for a bit and some decision making was in order.A path back to Tawong over the hills was identified and the group went off to see if the way was open. Unfortunately, the way was shut so an alternative was sought. A call on the radio from a friendly local farmer gave some insight as to which tracks would be best to get back on track, so to speak. A closed gate gave access to “Springtime track”, the start of which was somewhat steep but after a short climb flattened out to an easy fire trail. Eventually the group came out onto Mountain Creek Rd and an easy run back to the campground.

Back at the campground Richo and Paul ruined the local fishing by jumping in the Kiewa river next to the campground. Meanwhile Basso had to go home so he packed up and left around 4pm. Apparently arriving home after midnight with some “detours”.

Thursday 18th March 2021:Purportedly it was Paul’s birthday so a run into Mt Beauty was had for morning tea.
That done, there was a return to Mountain Creek Rd and back up some fire trails already covered heading towards the Omeo Highway. Following “The Hollow Way Rd” the group came out onto the Omeo Highway about 10km from MittaMitta. A few km up the Omeo Highway, and a left was made onto “Sec Track”. This followed the power lines and eventually access was gained to Scrubby Spur track, Dorchap range track, Elmo Track and onto Little Snowy Creek and others, by now the well-trodden path back to the campground.

Friday 19th March 2021:Richo, Ross, Paul and Lisa packed up and headed off to their respective destinations.
Some tracks have probably (definitely) missed being mentioned. Check with Richo regarding logs of the tracks.


More images can be found at