This was a first for me and definitely one of my Bucket List items crossed off.
I was going down as a guest of my old 4wd club as one of their founding members past away and his wish was to have his ashes scattered at Craig’s Hut on Remembrance Day – he was a Merchant Seaman during WW2.
A few days before heading down, I had the 200 in for a lot of engine work. It desperately needed the intake manifold cleaned – she was up to 290 000km and was blowing smoke like only a choked up diesel can. While it was in the doctor’s office, I also got them to throw on a new exhaust, a catch-can and got it tuned.
Its now making 260 killer wasps and 880nm (100kw and 200nm increase) it goes like a rocket and doesn’t look like an old steam train when you put the boot in. The fuel economy is a few litres better too.
Driving all the way from Brisbane to Mansfield, with an overnight stop in Nowra to pick up my best mate and his five-year-old son in their 4.2 GU, we had a few stops on the way with lunch at Holbrook – including the mandatory walk over the “O Boat” HMAS OTWAY.
We got to Mansfield and set up to wait for the other members of the club to arrive. The plan was to spend Friday and Saturday in Mansfield, then leave early on Sunday morning to head for Craig’s Hut. After spending the morning at Craig’s Hut -we got it lucky with the weather, the views went for miles – and doing the scattering of the ashes as well as a Remembrance Day service, we headed to our first camp at Pikes Flat.
Parks Victoria and the volunteer groups do an incredible job maintaining the campsites. All of the ones we stayed at had clean drop toilets, huts and plenty of fire wood for the fire rings that were scattered about.
On Monday morning we packed up and headed off through the switchbacks and up to the peaks and then down into the valleys on our way to morning tea at Bluff Hut which was really well maintained.
We spent the night at Howitt Hut – there were plenty of flies around – and headed off once again. This time we stopped at Black Snake Creek for 2 days. We spent the second day there as a few people wanted/needed the day off to rest? Colin and I – as well as a few of the others – had a bit of an eye roll moment at that.
We had come to the High Country to drive, not to be stuck in camp for two days…
Day 7 and Colin and I decided to head off on our own – the majority of the group were spending another week in the High Country, however Colin had to head back to work and we wanted to do some exploring, so we said “see ya later” to the group and we headed up Billy Goats Bluff…
What a track!
I know most of you have seen the GoPro footage that I put up on our FaceBook page, but I have to tell you, the camera doesn’t tell you just how steep this track actually is. Just after we started up the weather closed in and it started to drizzle.
Not enough to make
the track dangerous, but it sure as hell focused your concentration. Colin had the read locker on in the GU and for once I left the traction control alone and let it do its thing.
Normally I turn it off.
It was a surreal experience driving through the clouds. It also kinda sucked as I really wish I could have gotten some photos of the view.
After we did Billy Goats, which took us just over half an hour, we turned our cars towards Dargo and lunch in the pub. Ask for a half serve, the schnitzels are MASSVIVE and I only ate half. After lunch we headed off to Jindabyne – via the back way and 90% dirt – where we finally stopped driving at about 9pm when we got to Colin’s holiday house and crashed the night.
In the seven days that I spent in the High Country, I got to visit some awesome places like Craig’s Hut, Pikes Flat Hut, Bluff Hut, Lovicks Hut, Howitt Hut, Guy’s Hut and Horseyard Hut.
The other brilliant part was travelling along tracks like Bluff track, King Bill track, McDonald Gap track, Black range track, Castleburn track, Junction Spur track and best of all the Billy Goat Bluff track.
Some stats of the trip Nowra to Mansfield through the above tracks to Dargo to Omeo to Suggan Buggan to Jindabyne to Nowra and a total of 1571kms and ascended a total of over 27,000 vertical meters and no recoveries required.
Add on another 2000km for me to get there and back home to Brisbane and roughly $1000 spent on fuel.
Will I be going back?