On the 18-19 November, High Country Adventure Tours (HCAT) held its very popular Craigs Hut Photography Adventure Tour. This tour comprised of 5 vehicles with 10 people in total – 2 Toyota Landcruiser’s, a Nissan Patrol, a Mitsubishi Triton and a Toyota Hilux.
After our meet and greet at BP Mansfield it was onto the Mansfield- Mt Buller Rd towards Howqua Track to head to Fry’s Hut via Sheepyard Flat. Fry’s Hut and the surrounding area is a lovely spot right on the Howqua River. Master Bushman, Fred Fry, built this hut in the late 1930s. Using split timber and his own personal style of workmanship he erected many huts in the area including Jamieson Hut, Ritchie’s Hut, Gardiners Hut and Noonan’s Hut. Fred lived a solitary existence for many years in the Howqua Hills area, prospecting and packing supplies for government agencies and fishermen. After admiring Fred’s handy work we headed up Brocks Rd for morning tea at 8 Mile Flat.
Our next destination was Bluff Hut via Bluff Track which was a great opener into our weekend of low range four wheel driving. Although rebuilt after the 06/07 Great Divide Wildfire, Bluff Hut is a true alpine bush hut nestled in the mountain side surrounded by the ghostly snow gums. A short walk from the hut there is an escarpment that gave us sensational uninterrupted views of Mt Buller and Mt Stirling.
From the Bluff we descended 16 Mile Jeep Track to the grassy river flats of Pikes Flat for our lunch stop. From there we had a stop at Bindaree Hut and then Bindaree Falls. After the recent rainfall the falls were really tumbling down the cliff face! Standing underneath them we were met with the thunderous noise of the water hitting the rocks which gave us a decent spraying!
From the falls it was up the steep and rocky Monument Track to our campsite for the main event of witnessing Craig’s Hut at both sunset and sunrise. Once at our snow gum surrounded camp site the tour group was greeted by a warming campfire and a cheese and biscuit platter all earlier prepared by the HCAT team.
The early evening was spent photographing Craig’s Hut whilst the sun was trying to break its way through the clouds. The hut didn’t quite get bathed in sunlight but it did create magnificent colours in the sky as a backdrop. Back at camp the HCAT team had the campfire roast lamb, pork and vegetables cooked and ready to be served. The night was spent around the fire surrounded by a trillion star covered sky whilst enjoying a quiet drink, some great stories and a few laughs.
Next morning it was a 5am wake up call for the sunrise up at the hut. We were to experience glimpses of brilliance as the sun slowly came up over the ranges to soak the eastern side of the hut in sunlight and again light the sky up in magnificent colours. Back at camp the HCAT team had prepared a cooked breakfast over the fire for the group to enjoy whilst swapping stories of what was witnessed up at the hut.
Once camp was packed up we set off for Lake Cobbler via the half a dozen river crossings on King Basin Rd prior to arriving at King Hut. The track from King Hut up Speculation Rd to Lake Cobbler is quite rocky and requires some careful wheel placement. A section of this track was once affectionately known as The Staircase until it was broken up by a dozer a few years ago – over time with weather and vehicle erosion it is beginning to show glimpses of what it once was!
After lunch at Lake Cobbler it was off to our final destination of the tour – Dandongadale Falls – a 255m free fall (Victoria’s longest) from the Cobbler Plateau. On this occasion all 3 falls were flowing quite spectacularly due to the recent rain fall. The water cascading 255m down the cliff face was an absolutely spectacular site! After a picturesque drive through the King Valley the tour concluded in Cheshunt.
We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone that came on this tour – you were a fantastic bunch of people that embraced every aspect of the trip and it was an absolute pleasure to experience the magic and beauty of the Victorian High Country with you!
Anthony & the HCAT Team
High Country Adventure Tours
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