Mt Buller, Howqua Hills and cattlemen’s huts
Date and time: 9:00am Saturday 6th February to 4:00pm Sunday 7th February
Description: This year because of COVID restrictions on shared ski lodge accommodation, the weekend will be a bush camping basecamp. This is an ideal trip for members that want to experience great 4WDriving, mountain views and high country history. Highlights include visits to Fry’s hut, Craig’s hut and stunning views from Mount Stirling, plus some challenging 4WD tracks.
We will setup a basecamp in the Sheepyard Flat area which is approximately 31/2 hours from Melbourne and 40 Km (1 hr) from Mansfield. The campground has creek water only (bring your own drinking water) and bush toilets. The route on Saturday will return to the basecamp at Sheepyard Flat, but the Sunday route will NOT and will include many medium/hard 4WD tracks, therefore making it is unsuitable for any type of towing.
Day 1. Starting at Sheepyard Flat, we explore Fry’s Hut before driving through the Howqua Hills via Mitchells Track to the Mitchells Homestead site area. A short return along Mitchells track provides good views before we drop down to the Running Creek camping area. From there we return to the Sheepyard Flat via Three Chain Track. The distance on day 1 is approximately 80 km of mainly low range driving.
Day 2. From our overnight camp, we will pack up (we will not be returning today) and follow Brock’s Road and the 16 Mile Jeep Track to Pikes Flat and onto Bindaree Falls. If time permits, there is a short 400m walk to the falls. The outlook down the valley from behind the waterfall can be quite pretty. Our lunch stop is at Craig’s Hut, an iconic high country location, then via the Clear Hills Track and Mt Stirling to finish the day at the Mt Buller Village. Again if time permits there is a short 200, walk to the summit of Mt Stirling and/or the Mt Buller summit for some spectacular views of the route we have travelled during the day. From here it is a half hour drive back to Mansfield. The distance on day 2 is approximately 130 km with 80 km of mainly low range driving.
Weather: Alpine environment, potentially cold and wet. We have had wet weather and snow in the past, so please bring clothing, footwear and camping gear suitable for the conditions and keep an eye on the weather forecast for the Alpine area.
Equipment: Well-maintained vehicle with low range (or equivalent, good clearance (200mm recommended as a minimum), good off-road tyres (All Terrain, 60 profile recommended as a minimum), recovery points, standard recovery gear including dampener, rated snatch strap and shackles, shovel and UHF radio (or one borrowed from the club).
No camper trailers, pets or firearms
Additional Equipment required: Camping gear (no trailers!), food and water for the weekend. Clothing for wet and cold conditions. Morning tea will be in the bush each day – byo thermos, etc.
Trip Standard: Medium/Hard with some rocky tracks and river crossings. This trip will be suited to confident 4WDrivers with some previous experience. Possibly hard if wet and slippery.
Fuel: Full tank ex Mansfield (the BP servo closes at 9:00 pm Friday night, but there is a 24 hr Caltex card only servo near the second roundabout driving through town from Melbourne). Approx. distance 250 Km, including 160 Km of mainly low range driving over 2 days. There is no fuel along this route, so you will need to carry enough for the entire distance of mainly low range driving.
Distance: Mansfield is approximately 200 km from Melbourne. The trip distance from there is approximately 250 km of which 160 Km is mainly low range driving.
Duration: 2 days
Convoy limit: 10 vehicles
Meeting arrangements: There will be a driver briefing at 8:00 am Saturday morning at the Sheepyard Flat camping area. If you plan to arrive on Saturday morning, please leave sufficient time to attend the driver briefing and be prepared to leave by 9:00am. We will aim to finish in Mansfield by 4:30 pm Sunday.
Sheepyard flat directions (Google maps shows Howqua track to Sheepyard Flat)
- From Mansfield, take the Mt Buller Road for 20 Km to Merrijig.
- 2 Km past Merrijig, turn right onto Howqua track (the turnoff is well signposted).
- Follow Howqua Track (a well graded 2WD gravel road) for 19 Km (approx.) down into the valley to a bridge over the Howqua River. Ignore any minor roads branching off Howqua Track.
- I will try to find a camp site for our group just past the bridge on the left of the road (look for RRCV signage). I will have channel 15 open, so you can call on the UHF is you cannot find us. If there are no campsites available at Sheepyard, I will try Davon’s Flat (500m further along the road), then Pickerings Flat (750m further along the road). All of these campsites are shown in google maps. I would advise if you are not familiar with the area, that you look these up in Google Maps beforehand, since there is no phone reception in the area.
Trip Leaders: Graeme Carter Ph 0400 195 932 or email firstname.lastname@example.org