We’re back within the High Nation and this adventure has it all – robust and scenic 4WDing plus tenting that may literally blow your thoughts!
DIFFICULTY: Very Troublesome
MODS NEEDED: High quality mud or all-terrain tyres, sat telephone, water, suspension, bulbar, restoration package, traction aids and winch
ADVENTURE RATING: 4/5
CAMPING RATING: 5/5
FAMILY RATING: 2/5
There’s little question about it, this yr my most memorable journey has been right down to the Victorian Excessive Country. I’ve been to some unimaginable spots together with the Cape, Fraser, Lorella Springs and still, I fee the trip I’ve simply carried out in the Excessive Country as the most effective journey I’ve achieved this yr. What’s not to love concerning the High Nation? The tracks are nothing in need of superb, the tenting is spectacular and the scenery is second to none.
You may be studying this and assume that I’ve sucked up a bit too many diesel fumes through the years, “of course the High Country is spectacular, we all knew that”. Nicely I’m a bit behind the eight-ball relating to the Excessive Nation and to be trustworthy, I’ve by no means explored this space, until now. I reckon, like loads of 4WDers I’ve all the time been hell-bent on heading north to the tropics. Before I acquired to expertise the Excessive Nation, I was underneath the impression that for those who needed remote locations and proper untouched wilderness, you’d have a greater probability of discovering them up north. Because it seems I’ve been very incorrect, the High Nation is a large area that has a number of the most distant and untouched wilderness that you simply’re going to seek out on this nice country of ours. I fell in love a lot with the High Country that I made a decision to remain an extra few days in the High Country, by myself so I might explore this lovely place a bit extra. Solo camping is a tremendous experience and one thing that I’m joyful I did after the conclusion of this journey. I might write a story simply on these three days, however as you understand being solo in the bush for a couple of days recharges your batteries. I walked a bunch of hills on the lookout for deer (with no luck) and simply exploring a few of the lesser travelled elements off the crushed monitor. Having no other human contact for a number of days and taking the time to actually take in my surroundings was among the best experiences I’ve ever had within the bush. In reality, I’ve already deliberate my subsequent trip down that approach to do exactly that once more. I can’t wait!
We spent two weeks exploring the tracks and in true 4WD Action type we coated a good quantity of ground in that point, shifting camp every night time and the loopy half was that we might have literally counted the number of other 4WDs we saw on the tracks on one hand. Many elements of the Excessive Country are extremely distant and untouched. You solely have to travel up one of the thousand steep tracks to get a sensational view across dozens of uninhabited valleys and mountains to get an appreciation of just how huge and remote this place is. Our journey began in a motel automotive park in Mansfield as we had all the 4WDs coated in mud and filling them with supplies for an additional week out within the bush. Justin and myself had elements and instruments unfold throughout the bottom as we changed a CV in his Patrol, whereas the other fellas have been cleansing out automobiles and topping up our food and beer provides. We had simply completed a monitor that was purported to take us a day, and ended up taking us 4 days. We had huge ambitions to drive several tracks that may take us proper down into the Avon Wilderness Space, but we weren’t holding our breath as a result of if the final journey was something to go by, we will plan as a lot as we like however had no concept what curve-balls the High Nation may throw at us for this second leg of the journey. One of the belongings you shortly study concerning the Excessive Country is which you can’t simply take a look at a map and work out how lengthy it’s going to take to drive to a vacation spot. The kilometres are small, by Aussie standards in between many places however it’s very exhausting to know just how sluggish a few of these tracks are. You can see that the tracks are very steep and winding, not to point out coated in mud with the odd river crossing thrown in and it may possibly take plenty of time to solely cover a number of kilometres, and I’m only speaking about the primary tracks, not the onerous ones. The last robust monitor we did took us four days to journey round 60km, and a type of days was a full day of winching where we solely coated 1.6km. We might literally see our previous camp from where we ended up after a full day of driving! That’s insane in anybody’s books, however that’s the High Nation and one of many explanation why we love this place a lot.
So, we had a tough objective to make it right down to the Avon Wilderness Space and some tracks that have been advised to us by Alan and Michael from Piranha Offroad. Now before I digress too much from this adventure, I feel it’s timely that I thanked Alan and Michael, as they deliberate loads of this journey for us and guided us to some very superb places. These guys just don’t stay and breathe the 4WD way of life, they are also specialists in this type of terrain and know the world very properly. Without the experience of those prime blokes, we wouldn’t have had the same introduction into the High Country.
Once you’re planning a trip right down to the High Nation for the primary time, and I do know you’re already excited about a visit down right here now that you simply’ve seen our current DVDs, ensure you give your self sufficient time. Like I was saying before about sluggish going, because of the troublesome terrain, you don’t seem to cover many kilometres even after huge stints behind the wheel. Work on a mean velocity of round 30km/ hour for all the primary tracks and also you’ll be about right. The High Country is a large place and even should you had a two-week vacation down right here, you’d still only simply scrape the surface. Relating to car preparation, there are two issues that I wouldn’t depart residence with out. Firstly, a winch is a must and secondly, an excellent chainsaw. You’ll be able to virtually guess your final dollar that you simply’ll be using the chainsaw as timber over the tracks are extremely widespread, especially in the event you enterprise off the primary thoroughfares. Aside from that, although, any reliably 4WD may have no dramas in the Excessive Country until you’re there to hunt out the toughest tracks. And if it’s robust tracks that you simply’re after, you then’ll haven’t any issues discovering some stuff that may absolutely check you, your 4WD and the dimensions of your kahunas.
There’s only ever been a couple of occasions that I’ve truly been whiteknuckled and correct scared behind the wheel of the Soiled 30 and the Excessive Nation is a type of. Having pushed arduous tracks all around the country, I can say that a few of the steepest terrain you’ll ever find yourself driving is right here within the High Nation. The bit that scares the heck out of me is just how long and steep a few of these hill climbs are. The fact that I was towing a camper trailer up these hills additionally adds to the challenge as loads of the load is transferred to your rear tyres and you are feeling yourself scrabbling for traction. For those who get it improper and unfastened traction and begin to slide backwards, there’s no telling where you’d find yourself, nevertheless it wouldn’t be pretty!
A few of these climbs are straight up the steepest aspect of a mountain and you end up driving 800m straight up and all you’ll be able to see is blue sky and the tops of timber the entire method up. My saving grace for many of these hills is that you simply don’t usually see what you’re in for till you’re committed and half means up. Otherwise, I in all probability would have chickened out of a few of those hills once I was towing the camper. I haven’t seen the footage simply but from this trip, however it’s very exhausting to gauge from video footage of simply how steep these hill climbs are. We discovered that dropping tyre pressures right down to around 22psi and crawling up these hills in 1st gear low range was one of the simplest ways to deal with this steep nation. Going downhill was just as daunting and the identical methods have been applied. Within the actually steep downhill elements we had to feather our brakes so we wouldn’t lock up and slide and tried to rely on engine braking to take us down slowly.
Like I’ve talked about earlier than the camping alternatives we discovered within the Excessive Nation have been nothing in need of superb. Though we had deliberate to camp a number of websites which might be all listed on the GPS, we found a number of the greatest ones by sheer fluke as we have been not on time and just determined to camp as we started to run out of light. Some of these no identify campsites would have been massively in style websites had they been in different states, however as a result of they’re within the Excessive Nation and there are just so many nice campsites, they don’t also have a correct identify. One that stands out for me as one of the better campsites was round 20km south of Licola as we popped out of the thick bush into open grassy spaces on the aspect of a mountain overlooking the Macalister River. Spectacular camping and it doesn’t even get a lot publicity since you are so spoiled for selection down there. The other factor to remember about our trip right down to the High Nation is the time of yr that we travelled. This journey occurred at the finish of August into early September and as you realize, when most of the famous or iconic elements of the High Nation is closed. That in fact didn’t even act as a dampener on our trip as there’s simply a lot of this area is open and accessible. To assume I was so impressed with what I saw of the High Country and didn’t even expertise the extra well-known tracks and landmarks like Billy Goats and Blue Rag, just exhibits you ways superb this place is. So, should you’ve been tossing up whether you’ll go to the Excessive Nation or not, I’ll save you the deliberation and inform you to lock it in on your subsequent journey. In case you can’t already inform, I’ve a new-found love and appreciation for this part of our country and can be back a heck of much more in my very own time. Because like I discussed before, I reckon I’ve solely simply scraped the surface of the High Nation and I’m busting to do much more exploring.