Mt Terrible & Surrounds 4wd Adventure Tour II 14-15 August 2017

Due to our previous tour’s popularity, we ran our Mt Terrible & Surrounds 4wd Snow Adventure Tour a final time for this year’s snow season.

This tour on the 14-15 August comprised of 6 vehicles – 2 Toyota Landcruiser’s and a Prado, Mitsubishi Pajero, Nissan Navara and a Landrover Discovery – 1 lucky participant was the winner of our free giveaway! After the blizzard of the previous weekend that saw up to a metre of snow on the major alpine resorts, we left Jamieson with clear blue skies and much anticipation of what laid ahead.

Whilst on Mt Terrible Track the Mitsubishi Pajero experienced a mechanical failure whilst ascending a steep rocky section. Upon reaching the vehicle it was found to have a broken inner constant velocity (CV) joint on the front driveshaft which as a result made the front differential ineffective and turned it into a 2wd. Due to this the Pajero was unable to get any traction and had to be recovered from the steep slope it was on. Utilising Big Red (HCAT lead vehicle) it was winched to a reasonably flat section and then snatch recovered to the top of the hill. Footage of the snatch recovery can be viewed HERE

We were able to remove the driveshaft from the vehicle so there was no more loud grinding noises and it could be driven as a 2wd vehicle. It was agreed by the owner and all in attendance to continue on and attempt to get the vehicle to Woods Point for the night.

Upon reaching the Mt Terrible Hut we were all surprised to see that all the snow had melted away – all that was left was a mound at the rear of the hut. On the plus side we had clear uninterrupted views of the snow-capped peaks of Mt Buller, Mt Stirling, Mt Cobbler and Mt Skene which was absolutely sensational! After leaving the hut we began to see remnants of snow on the shaded sections of track and mountain slopes which was great to see!

The drive into Big River went well until we began our climb to Frenchman’s Gap. Due to the steep and rocky terrain of Camp Track the Pajero could only manage to get approximately three quarters of the way up before it lost traction and could no longer make forward progress. A complicated winching operation began utilising Big Red and multiple extension straps to get the Pajero to even ground. Big Red was then turned around on the steep slope and reversed into position to snatch recover it the rest of the way to Frenchman’s Gap. At the top it was noticed that the Pajero had a collapsed wheel bearing and could no longer be driven safely. The HCAT team was split up so a solution could be reached to recover the vehicle and the remainder of the tour continued on to Woods Point. RACV Total Care was contacted but would not come off the main road. Numerous phone calls were made to ‘local’ towing companies but unfortunately no one was prepared to come out in the dark. The decision was made to hide the vehicle off the track and re-engage a towing company in the morning.

After arriving in Woods Point we had a sensational counter meal at the Commercial Hotel before we headed to our accommodation at The Richmond Retreat for the night. The Richmond Retreat is owned and operated by Brian & Heather Prothero who also own The Gap Getaway. The Richmond Retreat is a fantastic place to use as a base for any High Country Adventure with heated cabins, comfortable beds and hot showers! We spent the night around the toasty fire with a few quiet drinks reliving our eventful day.

The following morning after a hearty cooked breakfast phone calls were made and Marysville Towing were engaged to recover the Pajero from Frenchman’s Gap. The HCAT team was again split up so the vehicle could be recovered and the tour could continue on for the remainder of the tour. Upon reaching Mt Selma there was unfortunately very little snow around due to the warmer weather the day prior and the overnight rain – this can happen often in the High Country – the snow can disappear just as quickly as it arrives! What we did experience was lots and lots of mud! Most of that mud had been caused by irresponsible people driving off the track deliberately spinning wheels which was extremely disappointing to see! This type of anti-social behaviour in the bush is becoming far too common!

The final leg of our tour was along Donnelly’s Creek Track which is a picturesque drive in the history rich area of Aberfeldy with few rocky sections and half a dozen river crossings! We called into the former Toombon mine site which has many old relics around including a water tube boiler, chimney and 2 large concrete slabs that would have had a steam engine and battery stamper on them when the mine was in full swing in the late 1800’s. There is also a large mine shaft that in its heyday yielded 50,844 oz of gold from 61,888 tons of earth which is incredible given the equipment that would have been used! The shaft has been capped with mesh for public safety. Our tour then concluded at the Thompson Dam wall.

A massive thank you to the 8 people that came on this tour. We had a few challenges along the way and through each one we worked together and achieved the best outcome. You were all a great bunch of people and we look forward to an opportunity of travelling with you again!

Anthony & the HCAT Team
High Country Adventure Tours

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