Question Mt Cobbler Plateau Circuit - 2WD Access?

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by Thomas WHiteside, Mar 5, 2018.

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  1. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Hard Yards

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    Some friends and I are heading up to Mt Cobbler this weekend.

    Plan is to drive to the junction of Speculation Road and King Basin Road then walk up Speculation Road.

    Will we get either a 2WD or a Subaru Outback this far from TBJ?
     
  2. stansi

    stansi One of Us
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  3. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us

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    The last few hundred metres into the lake may be a problem for a low clearance vehicle but other than that Stansi is spot on. Speculation road will be OK for most of the way down but there may be some problems closer to the bottom again for low clearance vehicles. It may mean parking and walking a bit further. I suspect it will be busy on that section over the coming weekend with bigger 4wd vehicles. Options of Museli spur could avoid sharing the road. Not sure how much water will be around on the plateau but my suspicion is very little.
     
  4. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    It is a long and slow drive from Melbourne to Mansfield to Whitfield and onto Lake Cobbler. In this sunny dry weather we are having this March 2018 , you can get a 2 WD along the Circuit road at Mt. Stirling and down the Speculation road to the junction of King Basin road quite easily. Allow 4 hours from Melb. to that said point of embarkation on foot.
    There are places to park there too. From there walk up Muesli spur( Not the So called Staircase on the Speculation Road) and turn left when you hit the dirt road at the top ( Speculation Rd.). From there keep going along the dirt road to Lake Cobbler. Lake Cobbler is pretty but the serenity is often ruptured by the Whitfield chainsaw orchestra, The Mansfield 4 WD quartet , The Pajero beer choir and the Merrijig dirt bike ensemble. If these kinds of musical acts have little appeal to you then stock up on water near the Lake and camp at the Mt. Cobbler track junction cairn. It is foot access only but a dry camp with good tent sites away from the noise.
    I went out along this way in May 2017 and can recommend a visit to the Mt. Cobbler summit. Do make the effort to scramble across the saddle and crab crawl up to the real trig. point summit. On a clear day the views are astounding.
    In order to return to your 2 WD car you can follow the foot track from the Mt. Cobbler Summit cairn track junction marker back towards the intersection where " The Staircase" meets the Lake Cobbler track. Some clown has swapped the road sign at this junction so that it points the wrong way,so ignore what it says and use a map and compass if in doubt.
    You will pass the walk in campsite used by Timbertop school pupils and pop out onto the Lake Cobbler track.
    You can walk down the Staircase/ Speculation road. It is longer but requires less abseiling so to speak than tackling the descent via Muesli spur. Either way going up and down a 4 WD track on foot both ways is not too flash so use Muesli spur on the way up. It was clear and a tad steep in places when I was there in Nov. 2017. It was a bit wet and slippery back then so that is why I elected to walk down the Spec. road.
    I can post some photos of the area if the OP would like to see them.
     
    #4 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Mar 6, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  5. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Hard Yards

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    Awesome.

    Thanks for the advice Mr. Tee!
     
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  6. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Hard Yards

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    Why do you recommend the muesli track over the straircase?
     
  7. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Going up The Swiss breakfast cereal spur walking track is more direct, It cuts kilometres off the ascent to the Cobbler Plateau and it has better scenery and views and it is a well trodden bushwalking path not a rocky 4 WD track. Parks Vic. have a sign post at the bottom and at the top marking the Muesli spur track.
    Once you get to the top of the toughest & steepest bit you can sit and have a rest, a snack , drink some water and say "Oh Man , that was tough!" and know the hardest part is over .
    Why would you want to go bushwalking almost entirely on 4 WD tracks?
    Go down the Staircase on The Spec. road but don't walk it both ways. Have some variety in the way you torture your knees.
    If you can all pile into a Subaru AWD at TBJ then that would be better. Parts of the Circuit Road are rubbish ,rougher than the Spec. road is down to King River.
    Once you leave the Mt. Stirling resort boundaries the Circuit road deteriorates noticeably. On the way home drive the rest of the anti clockwise loop around Mt. Stirling. There are some ripper views of Mt. Cobbler and Mt. Buggery from the Circuit road. The Razorback hut is worth investigating, esp. for white season XC ski trip ideas.
     
  8. Seth

    Seth Old n' Crusty
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    Stirling circuit road is completely fine in 2WD. @Rush @Claude Cat and myself did the loop on road bikes a few years ago.

    Wouldn’t recommend it but we got round on skinny tyres.
     
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  9. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Hard Yards

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    Is circuit road in better nick going clockwise from TBJ?

    The stirling road map suggests it is.
     
  10. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The Circuit road isn't that bad. I went up there in November 2017 after a heavy white season.
    It would have been possibly graded and allowed to dry out by now. I drive a RAV 4 , an old one which is more like a jeep.
    I drove my old wee little Toyota Corolla around the circuit road in 2015. It was OK , just a bit bumpy.
    Anti clockwise is shorter in terms of TBJ to the Speculation rd. junction .
    Since the days are becoming shorter why not just get the driving out of the way as soon as possible and start slogging it up Muesli spur on foot ?.Driving the full Circuit road loop over the course of the trip, both inbound and outward bound adds variety and new vistas to the trip.
     
  11. neilmny

    neilmny Hard Yards

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    "Anti clockwise is shorter in terms of TBJ to the Speculation rd. junction ." - Saves a huge 3km ;)
    Just drove it Monday full circuit in a VS Commodore Wagon. TBJ to Spec rd. anti clockwise is slightly "smoother"
    but has some higher lumps of reef sticking out that you have to dodge in a car as low slung as the VS.
     
  12. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    After a heavy low level snow fall I wonder if anyone has ski toured the whole circuit road....?. You could snow camp on the circuit road and make a couple of days out of it.
     
  13. neilmny

    neilmny Hard Yards

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    Some of it might be a bit low for enough snow to ski tour on even after a heavy dump Mr Tee.

    You could always do this.................

     
  14. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Hard Yards

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  15. neilmny

    neilmny Hard Yards

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    Yeh, the buggers can ski :thumbs:
     
  16. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Those two in that video are skilled at skiing. I would have to live at Mt.Stirling in winter for a month to be able to fang it around the trails like that.
     
  17. stansi

    stansi One of Us
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    I can assure You, it will take more than a month of skiing on skinny skis to reach that level of competence.
    I've been trying for forty years, and still not there yet.
     
  18. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local
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    You'll get some way up Speculation Rd from the river before it turns rocky as in loose grapefruit and larger size rocks.
    There used to be rock steps but they've been flattened.
    And yes, Abbeyard side access to Cobbler lake is much easier.
     
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  19. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Stansi is right about the expert skiers on that video and the Spec. road surface heading uphill from King River towards the Cobbler plateau. You can get a Subaru AWD as far as the Little Cobbler track junction with Spec . road if you plan to walk up the Spec. road but I still vote for Muesli spur.
     
    #19 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Mar 9, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  20. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Hard Yards

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    Got back from the trip last night. We went anti-clockwise and got the Subaru Outback up to the junction of King Basin Rd and Speculation no worries. Could easily get a 2WD to that point as well.

    Went up Muesli Spur - there's actually two tracks at the very start, annoyingly we followed the right hand one instead of the left hand one initially (the group was actually split 2-3 on this question - I was in the minority) - which was a mistake - so had to bush bash back over to the main track when this one sorta petered out.

    Muesli Spur is a great climb, very steep in some sections but also fun. We especially loved boomerang knoll.

    We got to the lake pretty easily and found the place crawling with 4WDers. We decided we liked the lake enough to camp there though, so we just found a slightly more isolated campsite slightly further south from Lake Cobbler Hut (what a crappy hut!). We had a nice swim too - water was just warm enough to make it bearable.

    Luckily the 4WDers there were all fairly quietly and all seemed to turn in before we did (we sat up drinking whisky around the fire).

    We checked out the waterfall the next morning, again was slightly hard to find the right track - but we found it after a false start. Very cool spot. Very dramatic, slightly scary.

    Then we made good time getting up to the Mt Cobbler - Spec Rd cairn. We dropped packs and headed up to the summit of Cobbler, then scrambled up to the true summit (there were quite a few other walkers around but none of them seemed game enough to actually scramble up to the top - silly because its much easier than it looks at first).

    Finally, we headed back round the plateau then down Spec Rd to our car. This part of the walk was pretty long and tedious and was more to be endured than enjoyed.

    Overall, very glad we went up Muesli and then down Speculation Rd - rather than the opposite! Going up Spec road would be so tedious, while going down Muesli would be a fairly daunting task.

    I'll put up some photos soon.
     
  21. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    It is good to know you followed my tips and had a fabulous trip :).
     
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  22. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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    Now you know the area...

    Next time round consider doing the circuit from King Hut to Mount Spec via Mt Koonika & then down /along the Spec road / Muesli spur.

    It’s an awesome walk, and the bush-bash on the initial part of the spur onto Koonika isn’t too bad as long as you’re prepared for it (though not for the faint-hearted)

    Take a GPS -tracks between King hut & Koonika can be unclear, but still very doable.

    Here’s Andrew Bishop’s blog (some good photos) of doing it in reverse( Coming down Mt Koonika)

    http://trailsandtracks.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/3-craggy-peaks-mts-cobbler-speculation.html
     
  23. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Timbertop school hike leaders told me in person in Nov. 2017 that they NEVER go down King Spur, They are always taking the pupils up the spur. They keep a log book at the trail head near the Spec. road and King Basin Rd. intersection. If you do this hike ( I have yet to try it) then do it later in green season so that multiple groups have bush bashed their way through the scrubby starting section.
     
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