Mt Wellington – a 4wd adventure for all standards of drivers
After the drama of the day before on the Butcher Country Track and a very pleasant overnight stop at Bryce’s Gorge car park, we set out for some less challenging 4wd driving in the High Country Victoria. Vic Widman of Great Divide Tours was in the lead and the aim this day was to take in the great scenery from some of the best viewing points with driving of an easier standard than the day before.
There is no point stopping at Bryce’s Gorge car park if you don’t take the walk across the valley to Guy’s Hut. This is one of many of the huts of the High Country built for summer cattle grazing and is the handy work of Alex Guy. The Guy family acquired Wonnangatta Station and the Snowy Plains freehold in 1934.
The half hour walk along a clear path across the valley is not difficult. Not far from the hut the thin trickle of Piemans Creek meanders through the valley. This has to be crossed but stepping stones are available.
For those with more time, there is a much longer walk of about 3 hours to Bryce’s Gorge where you can see Conglomerate Falls plunging into the valley below, amazing views of the gorge and escarpment, and Pieman Falls where the sun creates a rainbow in the waterfall’s spray.
This walk was too long to fit the trip schedule, and a much more accessible view of the mountains and valleys in between is obtained from Dimmocks Lookout. The turnoff is just a few kilometres further along the Howitt Road. Dimmocks Lookout offers one of the finest views of the High Country.
Our next destination was Mt Wellington so it was on to Arbuckle Junction and a left turn onto Moroka Road. Approximately 18 kms along here is a turnoff on the right that leads to Mt Wellington.
The track is easy at first and then crosses the Moroka River. A short distance further on, the Mt Wellington Track turns off to the right and commences a long and steady climb to the top of the mountain. After a series of switchbacks the track is soon above the treeline and the peak of Mt Wellington, stark and treeless, can be seen ahead.
As the group turned onto the Mt Wellington Track, my thoughts went back to the first time we came this way. It was our first taste of the High Country by 4wd and we had our 3 sons on board. Our limited off road experiences – in sand and around Murrundindi – hadn’t prepared us for the majesty of the scenery, the adventurous nature of the track nor the sense of achievement felt at the end of that weekend.
Mt Wellington, on that trip, was bathed in afternoon sunshine and not too windy. We have been there many times since then and have found it:
- Cloaked in thick cloud, so there was no view
- Blowing a gale – you needed something to hang onto
- Bright sunshine, no wind at all – perfect conditions.
Mt Wellington, at 1634 metres high, offers 360o panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges, valleys and distant plains on a good day. On this day we were above the clouds and had an excellent view of clouds covering the valleys below. This was just another experience here to add to our memories. Whatever the weather conditions, the trip to the top is always worth the effort and you never know what you will find there.
The track does continue right over the top of Mt Wellington and down the other side across the snow plain. This part of the track has been significantly improved since our first visit many years ago and the boggy sections through the snow plain have been avoided. The final steep descent into Millers Hut has also been realigned with conservation mounds inserted to protect the track from erosion. The hut sits in a clearing amongst huge eucalypts where the convoy pulled over for some lunch.
Miller’s Hut was built by Henry Miller in 1916 and is the oldest remaining hut in the region. A couple of years ago a fire destroyed the chimney but this has since been repaired with corrugated iron.
Horseyard Flat campsite
From Mt Wellington it was back to Moroka Road. Vic now lead the group to Horseyard Flat, where there is plenty of room for camping and a toilet. Apart from the odd rain shower, this was a very pleasant spot.
Mt Wellington and Millers Hut are both shown in our video (available on DVD) High Country Victoria and this adventure and many others can be seen in our new DVD Vistas to Valleys – High Country Adventures.