Trip Report Mt.Skene & Mt.Wellington and Lake Tali Karng. March 5-8 2021

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
11,105
11,416
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
You Correspondent in the field went on yet another Vic. Alps bushwalking and 4 WD trip. This time The G man got to test out his machine from Jamieson over Mt. Skene in clear weather to Licola , up The Moroka Road and most of all , a drive along Kelly's lane to visit Kelly's Hut, Holmes Plain and Mc Micheal's Hut.
In addition to that we walked from Mc Farlane saddle to Mt. Wellington , over to Miller's hut and camped at Riggal's hut site for two nights. The highlight was a day trip in perfect weather down to Lake Tali Karng and back up to our campsite .
The final day included the walk out to McFarlane saddle , a quick low range/ High Clearance 4 WD tour of Kelly Lane including two huts, two creek crossings in the rain and the campsite at Shaw creek/ 'Thomastown'.
To say the whole area over the March Long Weekend was preposterously busy was an understatement.
:-0
Photos and a day by day commentary will follow.
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
11,105
11,416
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Day 1 . Friday :Melbourne/ Jamieson/ Mt. Skene/ Licola/ MacFarlane Saddle.
A long road trip in the Ford Ranger 4 WD with the G man behind the wheel. He had had never been to these places before esp. Mt. Skene and the Alpine N.P. terrain north of Licola.
We had very clear weather for the Friday to Sunday period. On the Monday the weather turned wet but not as bad as it can be up there.
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We could see the ski slopes and buildings on Mt. Buller very well from Mt. Skene. The road over Mt. Skene was very rough but even still, we saw a couple of less suitable vehicles using the carriageway .
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
11,105
11,416
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Day 1 . Mt. Skene to Licola and onto Mc Farlane Saddle.
We saw plenty of Mc Millan's walking track red arrows on our trip. The whole route has been rehabilitated, signposted , marked and a guide book has been published for this very route which is the Wood's Point to Cobungra walking track.
It was a very cold frosty night on Friday night with ice on the tents and inside the tent walls and a clear sky.
We camped at the trail head for Wellington Plains at McFarlane saddle.
The fire was lit and dinner was cooked as the sun went down over the Vic. Alps.
Yet another entrant in the Darwin awards was trying to use a chainsaw to cut up firewood at an adjacent campsite at McFarlane saddle that evening.
It was like
watching a HOW NOT TO USE A CHAINSAW SAFELY video.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
11,105
11,416
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Day 2. McFarlane Saddle/ Wellington Plains/Moroka Gap/ Mt. Wellington/ Miller's hut/ Riggal's hut site .
15 kms + walking in good weather.

What a cold morning it was on Saturday March 6th 2021 at McFarlane saddle,
but it was clear and sunny which was very good.
The G man had never walked in this area before so he was enjoying the perfect visibility and wide open spaces.
Unfortunately the whole area has been burnt badly twice within three years in serious bushfires. Three regenerations of snow gums and sub alpine vegetation have been destroyed.
The positive thing is that the walking tracks have been cleared both by fires and by sub contractors who have gone through and removed hazardous hanging and fallen timber.
Also the route over the Spion Kopje range used to be a scrub bash . It is now , I surmise , mostly clear complete with charred snow gums and offers a different route with different views for the would be off track walker.
I do remember in the past the snow gums offered shade from the sun and some resistance to the winds that blow up there on Wellington Plains . All that is now gone but some old snow gums have survived somehow.
The vistas from the top of Mt. Wellington ( 1600 M.+ ) were spectacular.

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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
11,105
11,416
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
The foot pad from Moroka Gap up to the Mt. Wellington 4 WD track was basically not there anymore but we found the route quite easily. We dumped our packs and went to the summit .
I took many photos from the summit of Mt. Wellington. Walking on the 4 WD track was rough and rocky.
We pressed on , retrieved our packs which we had sort of hidden by the road side and went to Miller's hut for lunch.
The camp site at down at Miller's hut was busy with 4 WD people and their machines.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
11,105
11,416
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Evidently the whole area could be amazing for XC skiing and ski touring but accessing it seems to be potentially a challenge.
You would need two proper 4 WD vehicles with recovery gear , low range gears, chains for all wheels and extra high clearance i.e. Old Man Emu lift kit , gnarly tyres etc. etc.

Plus you would need to record all the ski/ walking routes on a GPS in green season . I did not bother doing that on this trip. In a total white out navigation would become interesting. I have been out there in green season when visibility was minimal at best . Being able to use a compass properly did help.


We knew the dunny and rain water tank at Nyimba camp site had been destroyed by fires and we had to pick up enough water en route from the Creek with a name that starts with a letter "N" to get us through until mid morning the following day , being Sunday , when we would be down at the Lake .
That climb back up out of the creek valley is steep!

The Nyimba camp grounds had become a circus , heaving with tents and full of fit and experienced and very unfit and inexperienced bushwalkers still arriving at dusk.

With no pit loo there would be a picnic bar slalom course topped off with bog roll sculptures everywhere.
:-0

I knew the Old Riggal's hut ruins camp site would be quieter, cleaner and have some shade and shelter from sun, frost and wind.
Another group had already set up there but it was still a better option for camping than the tent city at Nyimba camp grounds.
Interestingly Parks Vic. have installed temporary signs everywhere since most of the signs have been burnt. However they did not sign post the location of the only reliable water source at that end of the Wellington plains.
Plenty of newbies were wandering around looking for water in all the wrong places.

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Sunset on DAY TWO
was picturesque.
I did miss the crucial camera shot where the Sentinels were illuminated by the setting sun. You do have to be quick and at the right place at the right time.
We set up camp, lit a campfire, cooked and admired the stars.
That night was not as cold as Friday night .
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
11,105
11,416
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Day 3
Sunday March 7th 2021

Lake Tali Karng day trip.
.We went down Riggal's spur track and Echo Point track. I don't like Gillio's track . It is too steep so we came back the same way. We swam in the lake on arrival and before returning. We went to visit the waterfall and ate lunch there. We walked around the lake and transported water back up the hill to our campsite.
Parks Vic. have cleared the track of most fallen burnt timber.

The number of people at the lake was crazy.
:-0

We saw a big snake by the lake shore.

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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
11,105
11,416
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Day 3
The hike back up the hill to our campsite was a slog.
A 600 M. elevation gain in under 5 kms.
We had to go and fetch more drinking water from down in the creek after reaching camp. I had drunk my 3 litres of water in my camel back just going back up the hill , during the warmest part of the afternoon.
Once I had done that then taking photos of the sunset became less important than resting.
It was boil in the bag daal and boiled rice for dinner.
The evening was quite mild and humid and it began to rain during the night.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
11,105
11,416
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Day 4.
Rain , cloud and the walk out to the car.
We were up at day break and ate, did our ablutions and packed up quite quickly.
Wet weather attire was in order.
Thankfully the rain eased off and visibility was quite good on the Wellington Plains.

After changing attire and eating something back at McFarlane saddle we drove off to visit Kelly's Lane via the Howitt road at The Gorge, using the Low Range gear setting in the 4 WD.
The track was rough , had steep rocky sections
and it had two water crossings. Kelly's hut on Holmes plain and Mc Micheal's hut by Shaw's creek were fun to visit. @Ubiquitous Steve would have liked the Picnic table at Kelly's hut.
We continued to the next campsite by Shaw's creek in Kelly's Lane at "Thomastown" and then rejoined the Tamboritha road back to Licola.

( Kelly's Lane is definitely not 2 WD suitable and not much chop for the RAV 4 Tee mobile either, I chickened out of driving on this jeep track when I tried to drive on it in January 2021).

It was a long drive home via Heyfield, Traralgon and so on back to Melbourne.
The traffic on the Princes' hwy . was dreadfully congested. So many post lockdown people were returning to Lepersville after a long weekend away of mostly fine weather.
The trip was a success!!
:)
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Holme's Plain (1400 M. elevation ), near Kelly's hut, looks good for some XC skiing if you can get there in August :).

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