On the 4th & 5th of January 2018, we held our High Country Huts 4wd Tour. This tour comprised of 5 vehicles in total – Toyota’s Landcruiser, Prado and Hilux, a Mitsubishi Triton and a Jeep Grand Cherokee which was a great mix of makes and models. One family in the group were wrapping up a 12 month lap of Australia and were concluding their trip with a tour of the High Country – clearly they were saving the best to last!
After our meet and greet at BP Mansfield it was onto the Mansfield- Mt Buller Rd via Merrijig and Sawmill Settlement for two magnificent days touring the tracks and huts of Mt Stirling! Our first stop for the weekend was Tomahawk Hut which is a great little log hut with a sloping corrugated roof – this hut is the scene of a high profile disappearance in 2011 that is till yet to be solved!
From there it was onto No 3 Track to traverse the rocky escarpment of Mt No 3– a great teaser of what was yet to come for the day. Morning Tea was had at No 3 Refuge Hut which is a rebuilt version of the original that was destroyed by the Great Divide Wildfire in 2006.
Continuing on we reach the bottom of No 3 Track and it was a quick stop at Razorback Hut which was a hive of activity with numerous horse groups set up. Lunch was had at Howqua Gap Huts before our climb up to the summit of Mt Stirling. Howqua Gap Track is a great low range 4wd track! It offers a bit of everything in ruts, rocks, washouts and the occasional steep pinch – this is a good track for anyone taking the next step from a beginner to an intermediate four wheel driver (yes Jacinta & Michaela LOL!)
We called into Bluff Spur Hut which is a short hike in off the main track. This hut isn’t visited all that much in the ‘green season’ as it is predominately used as a refuge for cross country skiers in the winter. It has a beaut truck brake drum pot belly stove in the centre of the hut which would provide much warmth during a snow storm!
After leaving Bluff Spur Hut it was one final low range climb up to Mt Stirling followed by a short hike up to the trig marker at the 1750m summit. The 360 degree views taking in mountains such as Mt Buller, The Bluff, Mt Howitt and Mt Cobbler were nothing short of breathtaking! From there we called into GGS Hut and then it was onto the last track of the day being the eastern end of Clear Hills Track which was in really rough condition. That said, it was a great opportunity for some of the lesser experienced in the group to learn about low range crawling and wheel placement which everyone did exceptionally well!
At our camp which was 250m from Craig’s Hut, the tour group was greeted by a warming campfire and a cheese and biscuit platter prepared by the HCAT team. The early evening was spent photographing the sunset drenched Craig’s Hut as well as witnessing some awesome whip cracking skills by 9 year old Fletch, this little legend will be a pro in no time! Back at camp the HCAT team had the campfire roast cooked and ready to be served. The night was spent around the fire whilst watching the ‘super moon’ rise above the camp as we enjoying a few quiet drinks, some ripper stories and quite a few laughs!
Next morning we began the day with a hearty bacon and egg breakfast all cooked over the open fire – the ONLY way to have a cooked breaky! Once camp was packed up we set off for the descent down Monument Track to Bindaree Falls. Standing underneath the falls was a refreshingly ‘cool’ experience from the rapidly rising temperature in the sun.
After the falls it was a short drive out onto the Circuit Rd for the descent down into Mirimbah for the conclusion of the tour
A big thank you to everyone that came on this tour. You were an awesome group and we had an absolute ball touring the mighty High Country with you!
Anthony & the HCAT Team
High Country Adventure Tours
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