Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Archive for March, 2019

Hall’s Gap

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This morning I was up with the sun and others in the campsite were also stirring, mostly cyclists preparing for their race today, a Time Trial. We were packed up and in Mansfield before 8:30 when the Farmers’ Market officially opened.

Our intention was to make it to Hall’s Gap today and we left it to the cyborg to get us there. By Tullarook we were ready for a break and something to eat since we’d forgone breakfast in favour of the early start. Alex was able to get something in a nice little General Store but it was GF muesli bars for me.

 

Unfortunately we hadn’t told the cyborg we don’t like motorways so that’s where she took us as the fastest way! We were staggered by the number of new housing estates replacing agricultural land on Melbourne’s fringes. Eventually we were directed off the Hume Freeway and via the M1 to the M8 to Ballarat where Alex was looking forward to a stop at a “Greasy Spoon” we’d stopped at before. He was startled to see it had changed ownership and morphed into a healthy fast food place.

Next stop was Hall’s Gap where we didn’t get a suitable caravan site until the third Caravan Park because they were all so busy. We’re booked in for a couple of nights but might stay longer.

 

You should know there would be some birds too.

Mansfield – Mt Buller

Our plan for today was to find Tomahawk Hut so we set off out the Mt Buller Road expecting to turn off onto the Carter Track but we missed it so we changed our plans and continued on to Mt Buller. We went there at least a couple of times in the late 1980s and we were curious to see how it had changed. As soon as we arrived we were confronted by new constructions of large apartment complexes. There was a display board outside one construction site in the centre of the resort and it seemed that many of the apartments were already sold off the plan. There were still plenty of the tiny “studio” apartments available though.

By the time we’d finished looking around Buller we decided against investigating any huts so went back down the road stopping for “lunch” ie crisps and cider, at a lovely spot not far from Sawmill Settlement.

After our break we went to visit the settlement which I expected to have relics of the old sawmill and some old workers cottages but I was wrong. We didn’t see any signs of early workings or homes in fact the whole place seemed like a collection of holiday homes for the wealthy. Many were for sale.

We drove out of “The Settlement” and across the road to the start of the Carter Track which was where we found the site of the original Sawmill. There was a devastating bushfire in the region in1939, all the residents were evacuated to Mansfield but the sawmill was saved by a wind change. It wasn’t so lucky though in 1965, that time the mill was destroyed by fire.

Our next stop was at Merrijig Memorial Park. I noticed the standing stones when we passed yesterday and was curious about them. Having checked it out I think it’s one of the most personal I’ve ever seen. The “Plantation of Honour” recognises the Merrijig residents who have served in major conflicts in Australia’s history since Federation.

Other interesting things we’ve seen today.

Sculptures

Tomorrow we’re leaving here and expect to be reach Halls Gap, in The Grampians. I think this Caravan Park will be very busy over the weekend. A cycle race starts at Merrijig ending at Mt Buller. We’ve already seen an increase in the seriousness of cyclists riding the tracks around here and saw some labouring up the Mt Buller Road and one woman ‘Warming down” on rollers behind a caravan.

Mansfield -Hunting Huts

The lady in the Information Centre seemed very knowledgeable about the tracks in the Mansfield State Forest and Alpine National Park so we took her advice when we went looking for alpine huts. The first track we took was the Howqua Track that starts a few kms out of Merrijig.

Merrijig Primary School, it looks like it was built in 1379 but I’m confident it was 1839.

The track is suitable for 2WD vehicles and when we reached Sheepyard Flat there were a few offroad caravans set up there. There was also a large group of students in the area, they must be on a bushwalking campout.

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Not far from Sheepyards Flat was Frys Hut and it was a real memorial to the early settlers and a fine demonstration of Fred Fry’s workmanship. It saddens me that visitors don’t respect places like this and think it’s OK to deface them with their names written or burnt into the timbers the pioneers worked by hand.

We returned to Sheepyard Flats then turned onto Brocks Road which sounds superior but it wasn’t, there were rough patches, raised humps probably put in place to direct water and also some Higgelty Piggelty sections.

We stopped at Tunnel Bend and made the short but steep walk down. The river comes around one bend before disappearing around another further downstream. Back on the track we met a couple of men working on the road…. well one was driving an excavator the other was sitting in his ute “directing traffic”.

We took the Bluff Link Road (only open for the summer months) to Bluff Hut. Three tents were set up in what would have been a horse or cattle corral at some stage but only one person was about. He’d decided a walk to The Bluff was far too energetic so he was relaxing in a lay-back chair on the hut’s verandah.

Coming back down we stopped a few times to photograph interesting things we’d see on the way up.

 

As we made our way back along the tracks we could feel the temperature rising, it had reached a nice 24 deg. during our meanderings but by the time we were back at camp it had risen to 33 deg. The AC immediately went on in the camper and even after 7:30 it’s still working full time.