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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.
See, I WAS up with the sun!
Sorry pals, you’ll have to hit on someone else for carrots now.
Need a coffee to kickstart the system.
Cyclist warming up on rollers before the race start.
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.
Three VW Beetles! They’re icons.
Lovely old Tullarook Pub
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.
BIG mistake, we’re on the Motorway!
Site of the statues, Ballarat
Another Ned, Ballarat
Gold digger, Ballarat
No longer a “Greasy Spoon”, now a very healthy eaterie.
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.
Mural in Hall’s Gap town centre
In rural Victoria? Why not?
It’s the restaurant which has the tableaux.
Brilliant panel in front of the toilet block.
Wallabies on the town centre lawns.
This could have been the Delands in 1956. Historical photo, Hall’s Gap.
Emus at the campground.
You should know there would be some birds too.
Unknown Mansfiled Caravan Park
Emu -Caravan Park HC
Galahs -Caravan Park HC
Possibly a Pardalote – Caravan Park HC
Unknown -Caravan Park HC
Sulphur-crested cockatoos – Caravan Park HC
Pied Currawong – Caravan Park HC
Kookaburra – unfortunately with a fried chip. Caravan Park HC
Wattlebird – Caravan Park HC
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.
Just one of the new blocks being constructed.
Older style chalet, with style.
The Abom, we spent plenty of time in there with “the kids”.
The switchbacks on the road up.
Chairlift beside a familiar run.
Chairs waiting for the season to change.
We expected to get soaked …. we didn’t.
Another of the ski runs.
View to the undeveloped hills beyond.
At last, one of these birds has posed for me!
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.
Time to check the number of bars.
Beautiful clear river with lovely flat stones.
There was time to build an Inukchuk
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.
Sawmill Settlement home.
Sawmill Settlement home.
Sawmill Settlement home.
Sawmill Settlement home or Time Share apartment?
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.
Spring board holes made by tree fellers in an ancient tree stump.
Resilient fern growing on a moss covered rock.
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.
The Avenue of Memorial Stones, each one represents an area of war.
Building being constructed on the site. Visitors will be able to lean on this bar, I think.
Beautiful Mountain Ash wood sued in the construction.
Other interesting things we’ve seen today.
Glossy Ibis – campground visitor
Alpine Rice Flower
Alpine Rice Flower mutant?
Not sure about how this works.
You can’t see many houses in this area but it appears at least 28 residences are on Buttercup Road.
One mailbox that stands out from the rest.
On the road to Mt Buller
Nearing Mt Buller
In need of some TLC, Mt Buller
Snowflake, Mt Buller
Emergence by Deborah Redwood. Mt Buller
The central plaza, Mt Buller. Tribute to the cattlemen
The Rainbow Serpent, Information centre, Mansfield
The Cattleman, Information Centre, Mansfield
Information Centre, Mansfield
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.
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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Stockhorses at a waterhole.
Wallabies watching us
Still smiling faces.
Lowering the tyre pressures at Sheepyard Flats
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.
Frys Hut? I’d say Homestead.
Very clever union of poles and corrugated iron.
Inside one of the rooms.
Hessian and tar used to line the inside of roof.
Fred Fry designed and built this Flying Fox himself.
Apparently the horse knew just when to reverse out of the water.
Fred’s sluices in the river.
Fred’s beautiful home setting.
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.
One of the hazards -fallen trees
Not simple 2WD around here.
The higgeldy piggledy section
Sharp rocks on the road had to be removed here.
So? Who says horns have to be symmetrical?
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”.
Excavating the cliff face to compensate for erosion on the opposite side.
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.
Rebuilt Bluff Hut
Original dunny survived but has been improved.
Old stockyards. The blue twine is where riders doing the trails tie up their horses.
yeah! I have 2 bars!
Coming back down we stopped a few times to photograph interesting things we’d see on the way up.
In the background is “The Bluff” where the climbers were going today.
Native flowers or weeds?
Native flowers or weeds?
Beautiful Tree Ferns
Bet this Scot came in without a visa.
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.