FROM A SUMMIT TO THE VICTORIAN HIGH COUNTRY…COME with us to FIND some more MAGIC!

The Mighty Murray…

High in the Australian Alps, about 40-kilometres south of Mount Kosciuszko, 3 springs in alpine grassland form a small stream that flows west and then northwards through the Alpine and Kosciuszko National Parks.

It’s here on the Upper Murray that Australia’s greatest river is born – the Murray River… the world’s third longest navigable river after the Amazon and Nile!

Forming the border between NSW and Victoria it twists and turns on its 2508 kilometre westward journey joining with the Mitta Mitta, Ovens, Goulburn, Campaspe, Loddon, Murrumbidgee and the Darling Rivers along the way – eventually flowing into the Southern Ocean at Goolwa in South Australia.

Getting from the Snowy Mountains to Albury-Wodonga…

For us, to get to Albury-Wodonga where we planned to turn south, we could take one of two routes.

The main route is from Corryong via the Murray Valley Highway. This highway traverses a total of 663-kilometres and travels through Wodonga on its westward journey beyond the towns of Rutherglen, Yarrawonga, Cobram, Strathmerton, Nathalia, Echuca, Cohuna, Kerang, Swan Hill and Robinvale.

The other is the ‘Murray Valley Road’, which travels from Towong on the NSW/ Victorian border, traversing a Murray River backroad that showcases 155-kilometres of magnificent scenery eventually linking with the Murray Valley Highway at Wodonga.

The Murray River Road…

Situated between 2 of Australia’s most iconic landscapes – the Murray River (known as the Indi River by the local Aboriginal people) and the Snowy Mountains, the ‘Murray River Road’, also known as the ‘Great River Road’ meanders beside the upper arm of the Mighty Murray.

Having travelled this road several times we know just how beautiful the surrounding river lands are in this part of the world… and it’s little wonder the Upper Murray is one of the many places we are hooked on!

It’s an adventurer’s playground of quaint little towns, historic bridges, spectacular lookouts, national parks, free river camping, fishing spots, rugged 4WD tracks, walking tracks and crystal-clear mountain streams – just waiting to be explored… so come with us on a journey that will take us through tranquil villages nestled along its banks, grab a glimpse into the rich heritage of the area, and breath in the spectacular views of these river valleys!

The Upper Murray region…

The Upper Murray towns of Corryong, Towong, Tintaldra, and Walwa are set in the beautiful High-Country where this mighty river meanders through wide valleys of farmland with a stunning backdrop of the Snowy Mountains and Kosciuszko National Park dominating the landscape!

There are 2- main towns in this region -Corryong, and Tallangatta with several small towns in between… but Corryong is undoubtedly the jewelled centrepiece of this magnificent region.

Corryong…

Corryong is where history buffs and visitors alike are touched with a reminder of the outback culture of this region.

Named after a Kuriong pastoral run taken up in 1839 by a pastoralist from NSW it is thought the name was derived from the local Jaitmatang Aboriginal word ‘cooyong’ meaning ‘bandicoot’… however, there are other versions of its origins, which include ‘a possum skin garment’ and ‘red ochre body paint’.

It is a town that promotes itself as the true home of Jack Riley otherwise known as ‘The Man from Snowy River’ – and bush heritage is well and truly alive and kicking here with the locals showcasing their link to Banjo Paterson’s famous poem with a life-sized bronze statue gracing the pavement outside the Visitor Information Centre…

… an annual ‘Man from Snowy River Bush Festival’ held each April, and the ‘Man from Snowy River Museum’.

The famous Corryong legend of ‘The Man from Snowy River’ originated in 1890 when 3 of our most notable Aussies came together at Tom Groggin Station in the Snowy Mountains… Jack Riley who managed 20,000 acres at Tom Groggin and lived there from 1884 until his death in 1914; Elyne Mitchell, an Olympic skier, an Australia Day recipient and the author of ‘The Silver Brumby’ book series; and our very own Australian poet, B J ‘Banjo’ Paterson.

The story goes that Banjo was escorted by well-known graziers Peter, Walter and Elyne Mitchell (from nearby Towong Hill Station) up Kosciuszko way and passing through Tom Groggin Station, the party stayed the night with Jack Riley at his station hut. Here Jack recounted the tale of his memorable ride down the slopes and through rugged country chasing horses…

‘And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam,

He followed like a bloodhound on their track,

Till they halted, cowed and beaten then he turned their heads for home,

And alone and unassisted brought them back,

But his hardy mountain pony, he could scarcely raise a trot,

He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur’

… and so, the legend of the ‘Man from Snowy River’ was born!

The town cemetery is now Jack Riley’s resting place.

Wandering around the streets of Corryong we couldn’t help but be reminded of the commitment of the local community to carry on the traditions and stories of early settlement right through to the post-war years.  

Set amongst beautiful, majestic trees in a back street the ‘The Man from Snowy River Museum’ displays the watch and saddlebags of Jack Riley, along with lots of local history comprising a pair of wooden snow skis dating back to the 1870s, a pram on skis owned by Olympic skiers Thomas and Elyne Mitchell, war memorabilia, and historic buildings including an old lock-up and a slab timber hut.

One significant item that particularly impressed me was a rug knitted by Jim Simpson while he was a prisoner of war during World War II. Depicting a map of Australia this is one of Australia’s most precious items of war memorabilia and is housed in a purpose-built cabinet.

Beside the RSL Memorial we also found a bronze statue of an Egyptian Terrier that told a captivating story of ‘Horrie the Wog Dog’.

Befriended in 1941 by Private Jim Moody, a soldier serving in the 2/1st Machine Gun Battalion of the Second Australian Imperial in the Middle East, Horrie’s job as an air sentry was to alert troops to approaching enemy aircraft.

Because of his extraordinary hearing, he could anticipate bombing raids even before the soldiers could hear the aircraft… and so Horrie became the unofficial mascot of the unit, eventually being promoted to the rank of corporal!

He followed the battalion throughout the Middle East to Greece and Crete, eventually being smuggled back into Australia (escaping Australian Quarantine Officials) to live out the rest of his life with Jim near Corryong!

Leaving the impressive tree-lined streets of Corryong, we headed toward the Victorian/NSW border where next on our map, and just 10-kilometres along the Murray Valley Highway, the small village of Towong (pronounced Toe Wong) has a history all its own.  

Here we made our camp at Towong Flat Campground on the NSW side of the Murray, on a wide and grassy bend of the river beside an old wooden bridge.

Towong…

… is home to the oldest grandstand in Victoria and a Turf Club (established in 1871) that played a part in the movie of Pharlap.

This hamlet comes to life each year in March for ‘The Towong Cup’ race meeting, also known as the ‘Flemington of the Bush’… needless to say, between ‘Flemington of the Bush’ in Towong and ‘The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival’ in Corryong, the Upper Murray is a hive of activity during the Autumn months.

Come with us as we explore the Murray River Road…

The sky was looking very overcast when we packed up camp the next morning and headed back into Victoria to begin the next part of our journey!

Halfway between Towong and Tintaldra, we stopped at Farran’s Lookout to soak up the spectacular views across the lush river flats of the Murray Valley… then only a few kilometres down the road, we came to the small, historic village of Tintaldra, the oldest town in this Upper Murray district.

Tintaldra…

Life in this historic town began in 1837 with squatters searching for feed and water for their cattle.

Pre-federation it was an important crossing point and even had a customs house… but there’s not much left today only the old Tintaldra Store (established in 1864) offering tea rooms filled with local history and memorabilia, an old wood-fired bakery behind the store that operated from 1910-45 and is only open to the public for viewing… and a lovely old pub, the Tintaldra Hotel built in 1870 – but it was closed and for sale when we passed through! 

There is, however, a lovely shady rest area beside the beautiful old bridge that crosses the Murray into NSW.

At the entrance to the rest area, just opposite the hotel, there’s a plaque dedicated to Christian and Elizabeth Vogel and the Vogel family, the early pioneers of the area…

… and below in the fast-flowing river, a large metal Murray Cod statue graces the waters!

The Murray River Road route has some great landscaped wayside stops all with interpretive signage, seating, shelters, and a collection of 5-large scale artwork pieces. As well as the Murray Cod they include a flying eagle at Mount Alfred, a Bogong Moth at Newmans Lookout, a Murray Cray at Bringenbrong (on the NSW side of the river), and the fifth, a rainbow trout, back up the road at Khancoban.

5-kilometres on we pulled off the road again – this time to check out Clarke Lagoon Reserve. Camping is well catered for in this region with more than 60 caravan parks and free camping sites located throughout the Tallangatta, Upper Murray area and into NSW… and this picturesque free campground situated on the banks of the Murray was one very popular spot!

Just past the turnoff to Clarke Lagoon Reserve, we were delayed while a tree was removed from the road… but it wasn’t long before we were on our way again!

Our next stop was Jim Newman’s Lookout where we were privy to breathtaking views of the river flats, the Murray winding slowly through the valley, and the surrounding mountains. This is home to a large, rusted, metal, Bogong Moth sculpture that dominates the skyline… and made for a beautiful photo as the sunlight filtered through the cutouts of its wings.

An interpretive panel explained that this region is where Aboriginal people once gathered to feast on the large Bogong Moths which, are a symbol of summer in Victoria.

Adjacent to the Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park between Tintaldra and Walwa, Neil’s Bend Murray River Reserve offered large, secluded riverside campsites too. Tiered gravel flats led down to a large river bend and river access points made it the ideal base for those wanting to enjoy river activities or launch a boat. 

Upper Murray camping is completely different to camping below the Hume Dam where the Murrays water is wider, muddier and has a lot more clay. Here the water is fresh and crystal clear, the riverbeds are lined with sand and pebbles – and in some places, rocky outcrops, and rapids!

Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park itself has a variety of bushwalking tracks offering beautiful waterfalls and spectacular views along the way, and Cudgewa Bluff Falls is one of the areas best-kept secrets with Pine Mountain, 11/2 times the size of Uluru affording breathtaking views from the summit.

Around 23-kilometres from Tintaldra, the quaint little hamlet of Walwa is the second largest of the four-country towns in this region with a history dating to the 1860s.

Walwa…

Named after the Walwa pastoral run in1839, its name is thought to have derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘a place of waters’. It originally began its life when prospectors arrived in search of tin ore in the early 1800s, but it was agriculture that formed the initial permanent settlement. 

Today this small town is home to a medical centre, a chemist, a general store, and the Walwa Hotel that serves great meals.

Not to forget the avid fisherpersons in the area, they tell us Murray Cod prefer a good mature cheese or poultry to nibble on… so cheese and chicken are high on the list of takeaway here too – just ask for their bait!

Just over the bridge at Jingellic, if you want to experience another good ol’ Aussie country pub, then the Bridge Hotel (established in 1925) is the place to visit!

Jingellic…

Many hotels and country pubs in Australia offer free or low-cost camping on or near their property. This is not only a cheap way to camp around Australia but if you show your support for their generosity and buy a drink or a counter meal, it helps these small country towns survive… and with the free, grassy, well-maintained camping area at Jingellic Reserve tucked nicely between the mighty Murray and the ‘Bridge Hotel’ this iconic riverside pub is a popular drawcard for many visitors. They allow the use of their toilets – and showers for a small fee of $4 for 4-minutes (tokens can be purchased at the bar) – and serve great counter meals!

Be mindful though, the campsites here are very popular and it’s a first in first served basis – but don’t despair… the nearby picturesque Jingellic Showgrounds provide shady campsites under historic plane trees. Here there are powered and un-powered sites, access to toilets and showers, and across the road the local friendly general store stocking groceries, fishing gear, bait, gas, coffee and take away food.

For those who don’t like the crowds, or need a little more sun for their solar panels, head back across the river into Victoria. Behind the Walwa golf course is another hidden treasure that offers more privacy than the Jingellic Reserve.

The small peaceful town of Jungellic is nestled on the NSW side of the Murray River and is home to around 60 residents.

It was first settled in the late 1830s by cattle grazers under government lease and like many of these Upper Murray towns and villages, was given its name from an early squatter’s run with the name Jingellic (gin-gell-ick) said to have been derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘bald hill’ or ‘slate country’.

As early as the 1870s Jingellic was the site of a small commercial punt providing dry passage over the Murray River between the colonies of Victoria and NSW. The punt was replaced by the original Jingellic Bridge in 1892 of which, the remnants of steel or iron trestles can still be seen standing in the river just near the camping reserve. The current bridge was built just downstream in 1959.

The next stretch of the Murray River Road followed the water closely and signage continually warned drivers to be on the lookout for stray livestock.

With dry conditions prevailing and water levels low cattle could be seen grazing on the dry grassed floodplains… but it wasn’t long before we came across some cattle on the move that had made their way to where the grass looked greener on the verges!

Gadds Bend Reserve just down the road is only a short distance from Walwa and Jingelic, and another large, open, grassy campground on a beautiful, scenic section of the Murray. This Reserve is part of the National Park and is accessed along an unmarked unsealed road. 

After leaving Gadds Bend Reserve the ranges climbed on both sides of the river and as we wound our way around the bends we often caught a glimpse of the true course of the Murray River making it the perfect vista for a photo. Dead gums once submerged now stood eerily like tall sentinels with their hollowed trunks and bare branches.

Patches of blue skies soon gave way to menacingly dark clouds as we continued on and it wasn’t long before large drops began to splatter on the windscreen. The full downpour had yet to develop and I had a feeling that we might have to contend with foul weather once we got to our next camp which, was not ideal!

There are so many opportunities to just stop, sit and take in the views along this route and atop a nearby high point at Mount Alfred’s Gap Lookout we pulled in for a much-needed cuppa.

The weather was moody but utterly beautiful at the same time and did not deter from the stunning river and valley views and picturesque farming land.

Here the shiny metal sculpture of a giant Wedge Tail Eagle adorns the landscape, the largest of Australia’s raptors that love this region and can sometimes be seen soaring high above on the thermals!

Further on, our favourite camp on this road is Burrowye Reserve where we camped with our friends Neil and Mon earlier in the year. This is another popular spot with campers and offers a large riverside area suitable for all types of setup.

Simple camping guidelines you must adhere to…

Like all the free camping along this river, there are no facilities so if you want to give free camping a try, there are a handful of simple guidelines you must adhere to!

First and foremost is ‘the etiquette rule’ regarding toilets… and the reality is there are plenty of us out there travelling around Australia who are not fully self-contained – so when pulling up in any free camps there is always the unspoken rule… of what to do for a loo!

It’s simple! If you must use the ‘bush loo’ do so in a hidden area well away from other campers and at least 100-metres away from waterways – but DO NOT contaminate our precious waterways. Dig a hole at least 15cm in-depth, do the deed (if there’s no fire ban put a match to the paper)… then cover it in!

Next, is that of what to do with your rubbish… how much do you hate pulling into a great campsite, getting out of your car, and then finding rubbish left there?

What you bring to your campsite, you need to take home with you.  Believe me, isn’t fun having a big bag of smelly garbage in the back of your vehicle, but it is a necessary part of camping until you can find a bin to dispose of it properly!

Campfires! One of my pet hates is glass and tin cans left in campfires – they DO NOT burn! Campfires are a wonderful part of camping. We love our ‘bush TV’… but whilst they are wonderful to have, it’s very important that you fully extinguish your campfire before you leave the campsite.. and leave it with nothing but ash in it!

 Sadly, many free camping sites are closing down all over Australia because of the mess left behind by inconsiderate campers… and sadly those campers probably won’t read this story!

If you are reading this blog and you are one of these campers ask yourself why you are there in the first place – probably because you love the outdoors and you love camping!

The Murray River offers some of the best and most beautiful free camps we have visited in Australia. We all love and enjoy these free camps and if we want them to stay open then we ALL need to follow a few simple rules and ‘LEAVE NO TRACE’ … and we’ll ALL be happy campers!

Continuing, we came to Thologolong… and another roadside monument! This time celebrating the district as the birthplace of the Murray Grey.

Closely following the river, we turned right just short of the turnoff to the township of Granya and travelled a short distance to check out the heritage-listed cable ferry.

‘The Spirit of Wymah’ was built in 1946 to cross the river from Granya to Wymah in NSW. This passenger carrying ferry can take 3 cars and is one of only 2 surviving ferries that cross the Murray River, the other being the ‘Speewa Ferry’ at Swan Hill.

Once a coach change station all that remains of Wymah today is the school that closed in 1983 and reopened as Wymah Museum in 2013.

Just down the road, the twin towns of Albury (NSW) and Wodonga (Vic) have been the gateway between Melbourne and Sydney since 1860, with the Murray River splitting the towns in two. 

On a previous trip, we continued through this bustling city as we followed the magnificent Murray on its journey into South Australia… but this time our Murray River journey concluded just 40-kilometres east where we turned onto Granya Road.

Albury/Wodonga

When explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell passed through this area in 1824 it was here that the Murray River was originally named the ‘Hume River’ and later renamed by Captain Charles Sturt in 1830.

The famous ‘Hovell Tree’ that Hovel carved his initials in still stands on the banks of the Murray and the Hume Highway, one of Australia’s busiest national transport corridors that travels from Melbourne to Sydney, now bears the name Hume Highway after Hamilton Hume.

Albury/Wodonga is a lovely little city with so much to see and do – so make sure you drop in and take a stroll or a ride around the network of paths connecting the two cities. These paved walkways bordering wetlands and the magnificent Murray are perfect for either walking and riding.

If you love engineering and architecture, then you also need to check out the Hume Dam just 20-kilometres from Albury itself.

This reservoir holds around 6-times as much water as Sydney Harbour and stands as an icon of early 20th-century Australian engineering skills. The construction of this massive project commenced in 1919 and on completion in 1936, was rated second only to the world’s largest dam.

Sometimes called Lake Hume this dam is a significant recreation location for the locals lending itself to many water activities. It is also a significant tourist attraction with the dam wall a tourist magnet of its own. A stroll across the top provides an amazing view of a large expansive of water, many old dead tree hollows that provide nesting hollows for the local birdlife… and behind the wall, the tamed Murray. 

back on track!

Turning left off the Murray River Road we waved the Mighty Murray River farewell as we headed for the picturesque town of Granya.

Granya…

This little town, established in 1860 during the gold rush days, was once abuzz with the excitement of the discovery of tin, copper, silver, gold, and other precious minerals along its waterways.

Today, it’s a small town with only a few places of interest – the old Granya Hotel, built in 1928, the Pioneer Museum housed in the old primary school and some rather unusual post boxes located where we pulled over to check out the information boards and make some calls…

… but unfortunately, Granya is in a mobile phone black hole – and the only place where we had mobile service was way out in the bush, halfway to the Mt Granya summit.

After exploring some side roads in the township and its surroundings, our path followed a steep, windy cutting through the Mt Granya State Forest.

Mount Granya State Forest is a dominant feature in the Upper Murray landscape with its steep, forested slopes rising dramatically above Lake Hume and the surrounding valleys.

On the southern side of the state forest, we came to Murray Valley Highway and from there, our route took us through the township of Tallangatta – the town that was moved!

Tallangatta…

We drove into the new town then drove out and made our way to the old town.

When work first began on the construction of the Hume Dam at the junction of the Murray and Mitta Rivers in 1919 the idea was to preserve water supplies for irrigation, conservation, and regulation downstream. It was completed in 1936… then in 1956 with the expansion of Lake Hume, and to make way for Dartmouth Dam, the people of old Tallangatta were relocated – over 100 homes and 3-4 business’ … and the old township flooded!  

Today, the only sign that the original town ever existed is when the water levels down – then the foundations of the old buildings and some street outlines are still visible from the lookout!

Soon we were driving through the Kiewa Valley where we were flanked on both sides by more mountains.  We travelled through Osborne Flat and Allan’s Flat then came Yackandandah and Beechworth.

Yackandandah…

I love Yackandandah. It’s a beautiful little town situated between Wodonga and Beechworth… and has the best caravan park.

The Yack Holiday Park is a great rustic, country caravan park with lots of well-grassed campsites surrounded by lovely shady trees. Nestled between bubbling brooks and lined with shady trees it has basic but well-maintained amenities, a lovely camp kitchen complete with an open fire adding to the overall relaxing feel of the park… and Jeanine and Gavin are friendly and welcoming hosts.

Yack as is known to the locals, started its life as a gold mining town and today the main part of the town has been classified by the National Trust featuring many well-preserved buildings which, date back to the mid to late 1800s.

The Aboriginal word for the Yackandandah area is Dhudhuroa which to the Dhudhuroa people means ‘one boulder on top of another at the junction of two creeks. These granite boulders are located at the intersection of the Yackandandah and Commissioners Creeks.

After an hour or so exploring the gold rush streets and the eccentric, soulful shops of Yack we were on our way again.

Beechworth…

If you’ve been following my blogs, you’ll know I love to share the history of the places we visit and wandering the main street of the gold rush town of Beechworth is like stepping back in time.

Back in the 1850s and ’60s, this whole region was seemingly awash with gold, making Beechworth at one time the most important town in Victoria. Over the years Beechworth has played host to Robert O’Hara Burke (of Burke and Wills fame), and Ned Kelly, who spent a few days in the local lock-up… but we also associate it with its yummy honey! Rich in heritage and family history Beechworth Honey is one of Australia’s best-loved iconic brands.

After braving the cold and rain preparing lunch at Lake Sambell, we left Beechworth and followed the road through Everton, Milawa, Oxley and Moyhu and into the King Valley.

The King Valley is a really beautiful area with lots of vineyards and like most of the fertile country in this part of Victoria, it was once used to grow tobacco. Today it is known as ‘Little Italy’ as it is where motivated Italian migrant families established wineries that continue to develop through the generations.

The picturesque country around Oxley and Everton is home to a rich assortment of farm shops and wineries while tiny Milawa is well known on the gourmet map for its mustard factory, cheese shop and the Browns Brothers winery.

By and by the dark clouds gave way to a few blue patches in the sky and it promised to be a dry night!

Down the road, we set up camp at Edi Cutting (pronounced E-die) on the banks of the crystal-clear waters of the King River! This great free bush camp stretches out for approximately 2-kilometres alongside the edge of the river and there are several fire pits and two pit toilets – one at each end of the camp.

We had arranged to meet friends at Sheepyard Flats just outside Mansfield to finish our off-road adventure into the Victorian High Country – an adventure we started at the beginning of the year but had to postpone because of bushfires so leaving the next morning with the sky looking ominously grey once again, we headed toward Manfield via Whitford and Tolmie.

No sooner had we arrived at Whitford and we were stopped and turned around as the road through to Mansfield was closed because of the ‘High Country Targa’ event.  

Targa is a tarmac-based car-racing event held annually and runs over 3-days taking in the vistas of the High-Country regions of the Eildon, King Valley and Mansfield districts as it traverses mountain passes and challenging hill climbs finishing in the panoramic Mount Buller village. We were familiar with Targa because it’s an event held in Tassie each year!

Retracing our tracks from Whitford to Moyhu we set our GPS for Swanpool in the Greta Valley now travelling through lush farmland… so lush it was hard to believe this area was in the grips of drought.

As we turned onto the Midland Highway the rain began to fall quite heavily… and we knew we would be in for a cold, damp camp that night.

By the time we arrived in Mansfield the rain had set in, but it didn’t deter the TARGA festivities for the finishing leg of the race.

Finally, after finding a parking spot, stocking up on groceries and filling up with fuel we made our way out of town just before the roads were closed for the celebrations.

Our next destination was Sheepyard Flat, a beautiful free camp set in a secluded valley on the Howqua River very close to Mt Buller.

Leaving Mansfield we followed the road towards Mount Buller turning right from the highway onto the gravel Howqua Track at Merrijig. After17-kilometres of winding, wet dirt track we finally crossed the Howqua River arriving at the Sheepyard Flat camping area.

Situated in the Howqua Hills Historic Area this once busy gold mining area is about an hours drive from Mansfield.

It’s a beautiful spot with several grassy flats to camp beside the river including Blackbird, Fry’s, Sheepyard North and South, Davon’s, Noonan’s, Pickerings and Tunnel Bend Flat – all with long-drop loos, firepits and lots of trees to provide cover!

It got its name from the original settlers who used to keep their sheep on the flat… but there was no sign of any sheep here today – just lots of campers!

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Have you ever camped in the rain? And I don’t mean a sun shower. I mean rain, that doesn’t ease up. Well, it can certainly put a dampener on things!

By the time we arrived, it was blowing a gale and the rain and fog had set in! To make our dilemma worse, the campground was full of campers, horse floats, and motorcycles making it hard to find an open area to set up camp.

The good thing about Sheepyard Flats is although it is one of the most popular free camps in Victoria we still managed to find a spot far enough away from others in an open grassed area… and with no other option but to wait out the rain and hope that there would be a break in the weather we set up our campsite and huddled in our rooftop tent for the rest of the day and night – decked out in all the warm clothes we could find!

Fortunately for us, we’d packed our raincoats and some warm clothing just to get us through any miserable weather… and thank heavens for ‘our rainy day box’ of games, puzzles, books, ‘odds and bobs’, and plastic bags (to keep phones and other electronic equipment dry). It certainly saved our sanity!

One thing I have learned on our many trips around Australia is that mother nature works on her own agenda… and whether you’re in the north of the country or in the south, the weather can never be underestimated in ‘The Land Downunder’! It will certainly rain on you at some point… so make sure you throw in a few winter woollies and rain jackets for those cold, wet wintery days. I find it’s always better to be overprepared than underprepared when camping!

As the rain eased in the early morning hours all was quiet except for a couple of growling possums… then at daybreak, the birds were out and about chirping as the morning dawned grey and damp – but thankfully dry!

Slowly campers crawled from their tents and campers… and when we spotted a small group packing up their gear and moving on, we made a quick dash with Harry Hilux and our chairs close to their still burning firepit. They also happily donated their surplus firewood which, saved the second round of sodden feet!

There is nothing cosier than sitting by a campfire on a cold day and when Caz and Graham arrived they found us sitting around the flames fending off the chill of the day, sipping a nice warm cuppa, and perfecting our camp cooking skills!

There was never a dull moment at Sheepyard Flats come rain or shine… and we always managed to have fun and raise a smile even if the weather wasn’t at its best during our time there.

Only one afternoon was completely lost to the rain and even then we made the most of things by playing games, foraging for wet wood or taking walks!

There’s plenty of things to see here no matter which way you roam and the 2-kilometre trek to historic Fry’s Hut built in the early 1940s by master bushman Fred Fry is a lovely bush amble following the creek.
Fred’s led an interesting life in and around the Howqua country which, was later turned into a novel called ‘The Far Country’.

These wide-open spaces are beckoning for you to sit back under a shady tree, pull on your hiking boots and explore the natural beauty of which we Aussie’s are so proud.

WE’RE HEADING FOR THE HILLS… so pack your car and grab your bags and we’ll see you in the Victorian High Country!

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