On the 20-21 May 2017, High Country Adventure Tours (HCAT) led a 4wd Adventure Tour in and around the Rubicon Historical Area, Mount Torbreck and some of the Eildon National Park.
Our tour which comprised of 3 Landcruisers a Prado and a Navara began with a meet and greet at the Thornton Roadhouse and we discussed what was ahead for the weekend. From Thornton it was a short drive up the Taggerty-Thornton Rd until we turned off at Rubicon Rd. Arriving at the Rubicon Hydroelectric Power Plant we set up for the obligatory group shot and had a walk around the plant – the plant is 90 years old and still powers some of the state today (0.2%).
We leave the power station and pass the old post office which was once serviced a bustling community prior to the 1939 Black Friday Fires and head up Royston River Road to turn off onto Lebruns Rd to do a loop of the Rubicon Historical Area. This is a sensational drive, not challenging in any way but the history that surrounds it amazing. The complex network of tramways and the magnificent 15000 Siphon Bridge that was once an essential piece of infrastructure for the power station and made entirely of local Mountain Ash timber that has to seen to be believed! Unfortunately our loop of the area ended not far from the bridge as there had been a large landslip and the track was closed – we had to back track our way to the Royston River Road for our drive up to Mt Torbreck.
We got to shift into low range on a number of tracks along the way, Herbs Track, No 6 Track and Conn Gap Rd just to name a few. From Conn Gap Rd it was a steep climb up and over Barnewall Plains to our next stop – the A4-4 Avro Anson Memorial walking track that would take us up to the crash site of A4-4 that claimed the lives of 4 young RAAF men (the full story can be read in the ARTICLES section). We made the walk up in about an hour taking in the stunning countryside with birds and wildlife to be seen everywhere. It was mildly steep at the start then tapers off to some flatter sections on the way up. At the site we view the memorial cairn and plaque that immortalizes the 4 men that died – there is also an information board that tells the sombre story of what transpired on the mountain 77 years ago. We made our way back to the vehicles and headed up to our camp for the night at Barnewall Plains which is nestled amongst the Wattle and towering Mountain Ash trees surrounded by lush green grass.
After a cooked breakfast on the fire we packed up camp for part two of our adventure which was to take place in the Eildon National Park. Leaving Mt Torbreck we made our way into the National Park via Jerusalem Creek Track to the shores of Lake Eildon. From here we again engaged low range for some steep tracks up to a long abandoned mine site**. Relics at the mine site include a, rail line, a two head stamper inside a shed that contains split palings and tin chute, a puddling machine by the creek, a long metal pipe, small wheels from mining skips, and a metal lined timber hut. The framework of the hut is from local timber, with tin lining the outside of all the walls. There were many mine shafts around that required much care to be around as some didn’t seem to have a bottom! Everyone was in awe to think that over 100 years ago that the site was a hive of activity with over 100 people working the mine at any given time. After the short hike out we returned the shores of Lake Eildon and said our goodbyes.
A big thank you to the 9 people 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
**For safety reasons the mine site will remain nameless in this report as there are exposed mine shafts that could lead to serious injury or death.
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