Australian Interlude

It seemed appropriate that we head downunder for Christmas and having completed all family commitments a visit to the Bogong High Plains was a necessity.

My brother had indicated his willingness to accompany us on this trip, which was the first time in many years that my brother and I had spent so much time together. My brother is an avid walker and amateur radio enthusiast so we had a lot to chat about, including gear, amateur radio and families.

 

Setting off from Mt Beauty we travelled via Falls Creek to the parking area near Wallaces Hut and set up camp for the night. Wallaces Hut is a popular hut and being adjacent to the Australian Alpine Walking track ensures that many hikers camp in its vicinity. This was my first visit to the area since the 2003 fires and I was amazed by the colour (or lack of it) of the forests in the evening sunshine.


The following morning we began the climb along Heathy Spur, the trip was never intended to be strenuous so we set a leisurely pace appreciating the scenery, the clear air whilst fending off the flies. The clear blue skies provided some warmth, and with an accompanying light breeze walking conditions were almost perfect.

Rocky Valley Reservoir

Our campsite for the first night was Edmondson Hut a place I have visited many times, the hut was built in 1953 and has withstood the ravages of snow and fire. The hut is nestled within a small snow gum forest much of which had avoided the last fires and there are many idyllic campsites nearby.

Edmondson Hut between the snow gums

We had borrowed an SL2 for this trip and it provided ample space for 2 and with the bug inner ensured the flies stayed outside. Once the shelter was erected we settled in for a relaxing afternoon in the shade of the snow gums, life cannot get much better.

Camp Edmondson Hut

A leisurely start the following morning saw us commence the climb to the top of Mt Nelse, where my brother set up his radio mast to communicate with other radio buffs, as part of the Summits On The Air (SOTA) award scheme. The 5 metre long carbon fibre mast collapses to an easily transportable package and the transmitter is smaller than a nalgene bottle.


Nalgene and Transmitter

Whilst we relaxed in the sunshine sheltered from the wind, my brother listened to and responded to messages (in morse code). 

Waiting for a sign

Leaving the summit we returned to the track to Ropers Hut, I spent time admiring the vastness and beauty of an area very dear to my heart.

Surveying the scene

After a lunch stop which was interrupted by some ants (I had forgotten that ants like dry warm weather) we descended in the warm afternoon sunshine to Ropers Hut. Sadly the original hut was destroyed in the 2003 fires but has since been replaced.

New Ropers Hut

After collecting water I went for a wander along Duane Spur, a popular trail to Victoria’s highest mountain, Mt Bogong, for now though I was happy to admire the forest and the flowers. One of the marker posts provided memories of my many trips up and down Duane Spur, the Alpine Walking track sign, appeared to be on of the originals and I wondered if I had seen this same marker on my last trip through here, some 20 years ago.

Original Alpine Track marker

I returned to camp and sat relaxing, later 2 families arrived and we watched as they set up their tents. Later one of the ladies in the group visited the bush toilet only to return saying that there was a snake living under the toilet floor. That statement did not seem to deter anyone but keeping your feet moving on the wooden floor ensured some sanity.

Whilst we were cooking dinner two ladies arrived and proceeded to set up a Tarptent Rainbow, noticing further that they were using GoLite packs it seemed an ideal opportunity to chat, as they were similarly interested in the Moment DW.

Ultimately we retired for the night, during which the wind gained strength and by morning with a cold wind blowing we decided to cook inside the hut, only to find several others doing the same.

We again began to chat with the two ladies (Lynn and Jayne)  and before long we found out that they had been interviewed by Bob at BPL UK  in 2010, it is a small world. As an aside whilst looking for the podcast on the BPL UK website I realised there was such a wealth of information on the podcasts that many required listening to more than once.

After breakfast we packed and begun the climb up to the windswept plains, the sun was shining but the wind was cold.

Cold and windy

Stopping near the Batty’s Hut junction, we were soon met by two National Park Rangers in four wheel drive heading to Ropers, we commented on the toilet (it was full) and the snake, they indicated that the toilet would soon be pumped out, I wondered about the prospects for the snake.

Retracing our steps we passed over the top of Mount Nelse and descended to Johnstons Hut, where the setting up tent ritual followed by the not doing much ritual repeated itself. A group of day walkers arrived and conversation soon turned to Danish police dramas shown on Australian TV, a long discussion on the quality of the shows and the dullness of the Danish weather as portrayed on the shows was had. Ultimately we were left to the serenity of the plains.

We were up just before sunrise the next morning and were rewarded with excellent views of the cloud inversion in Big River Vallley.

Inversion Big River

The changing light and tones made for a fitting spectacle for our final day in the high country and will provide memories that I will cherish until I return another day.

Early Morning Big River

Returning via Heathy Spur, I lingered near a small pool before descending to the car and back to civilisation.

Pond Heathy Spur

It had been a very relaxing and enjoyable trip, and with a total distance of 32 km for the four days it was never strenuous but provided enough scenery and memories to encourage us to return to what for me is one of the places where I have always felt at home, no matter what the season.

 

This entry was posted in Australia, Bogong HP, M.Zuiko 12 mm f2, M.Zuiko 17 mm f1.8, Olympus EPL 5. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Australian Interlude

  1. Looks just wild and vast. Must have been great catching up and bagging a fine walk. We wont ask about snakes and spiders 🙂

  2. A wonderful change of pace.

  3. Thanks Sam, it was great to be able to appreciate the scenery and relax.

  4. Thanks Martin, certainly vast, and wild, but beautiful. As for snakes and spiders, did not see any, but was always looking out for them, especially the one living under the flow in the toilet.

  5. Always fantastic to see TR's that dispel my stereotypes of the Australian countryside.

    The weather looks photoshopped. I've only seen grey for months! 🙂

  6. Thanks Joe, there is some beautiful alpine country in OZ and the Australian Alpine Walking Track is worth a look if you want a long walk. If it had been photoshopped there would have been Kangaroos grazing and Koalas in no existent trees 😉

  7. Lovely photo's and what sounds like a relaxing trip through some of the worlds most beautiful countryside. I'm more than a little jealous!

    As Louise (my long suffering wife) is Australian we are obliged to return every so often to visit family too. Not exactly a hardship and I doubt there's many other blokes that actually look forward to visiting the mother in law…

    Not our previous trip but the one before it Louise and I took her dad's old Landy (even older than mine) for a bit of a road trip and spent a very memorable week based in nearby Bright. Reading this makes me want to go back on our next visit.

  8. Photos from your region could certainly stand to have the weather Photoshopped, Joe. Someday I'll go walking in far Northern Europe but I'll certainly be bringing a vitamin D supplement along with me.

  9. Thanks BigBannanfeet, with a Landy the world (or at least the high country) is you oyster. I can strongly recommend a week on the High Plains, whether it be walking or car camping. Also consider the Cobberas and surrounds, beautiful country.

  10. Last year when we were over we spent a few days exploring Fraser island (with the Landy again). We're considering a road trip around Perth/Darwin next time as neither of us have seen that side of the country.

  11. Fraser island is beautiful Perth/Darwin sounds like a great trip, though it could take a while.

  12. Looks a great walk Roger, I am glad to see you didn't have time to watch any cricket …

    It is a small world, I remember the interview with those ladies on BPL. They said it was difficult to source lightweight gear down under as I remember.

  13. I think at the time of the interview lightweight gear was problematic in Oz, but much less so now and in some cases cheaper than the UK even with no VAT and cheap shipping. I rather be out hiking than watching cricket or any other sport for that matter.

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