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How to get to there, and why you need to see them
The High Country is a place that needs no introduction to 4WDers. There is a myriad of tracks available, combining all kinds of terrains, challenges and difficulty. And with enough views and campsites to satisfy a lifetime of touring, you can always find something new. We headed up into the hills with the Isuzu I-Venture Club, and found six greats spots you might (and might not) have heard of.
If you have ever picked up a 4WD magazine (it’s safe to say you have), you would have seen images of Blue Rag. Let us tell you, it is even more a phenomenal experience in real life. A narrow track that crests some of the highest parts of the High Country, you’ll arrive at the Blue Rag trig point. The track is steep in parts, and scrabbly in others, but is in generally pretty good condition.
You’re at 1,750 metres above sea level, completely surrounded by stark mountains and valleys, which slowly disappear into countless hues of blue. It’s a view you could literally stare at for hours. We turn around from here and head back into town, but if you have the time, follow the Blue Rag Range Track further along, over more hills and spurs. It’s some of the best 4WDing you can do.
Everyone knows about that other hut, but for a really authentic High Country hut experience, you should really check out Tomahawk Hut. It’s a fair dinkum hut, handsomely built from huge logs, capped with corrugated iron. The earliest date I have read about this hut is 1927, being built by a fella named Arthur Dale for the local forestry commission. Kind of like granddad’s axe, this hut has had a few rebuilds and refurbs over the years in a bid to maintain this great little slice of history.
There’s a lot of grassroots clubs and associations that spend a lot of their own time, toil and money to get places like Tomahawk Hut up to scratch, and maintaining them through the vicious High Country seasons. Perhaps the most important is the Victorian High Country Huts Association, who do a lot of untold (and unthanked) work to keep these places open and looking good.
Along the Bindaree track, there is a short walk up through some lush and green forest, which was still thick with growth during a very dry period. At the end of the 10 minute walk, you’re greeted by Bindaree Falls, which was softly flowing even at the end of a long, hot summer. Come at the start of the season, and you’ll likely see something flowing hard. The Bindaree track is located not far east of the Mt Buller, and is a good connection to areas further south: Bluff Hut, Lovicks Hut and Picture Point. This area is another one high up in altitude, besting 1700 metres at times. There are some fairly challenging tracks as well, including King Billy and Zeka Spur. This is the true beauty of the High Country for a 4WDer: so many options, and all of them so rewarding.
Up high on the Bluff Track, this original cattleman’s hut is an absolute pearler. It’s just near ‘The Bluff’, which gives you incredible views of the surrounding hills and mountains. It’s a rare gift, with thick trees and foliage often impeding any possible vistas. Getting to this spot by myself, I was able to simply sit and enjoy the view in silence. Along with having some good camping spots, Bluff Hut is at a bit of a crossroads. Towards the east is Wonnangatta Valley via some of the more iconic tracks of the High Country. More huts and Mount Buller is towards the north, whilst a labyrinth of tracks to the south are waiting to be explored.
16 Mile Jeep Track
While it’s not as challenging as other tracks in this neck of the woods, the 16 Mile Jeep track is still one track you should keep on your list. In places it’s a very steep climb, and like many other steep tracks, would become quite diabolical in the wet. For us, it was bone-dry, so aside from a couple of tricky sections for line-picking, it’s all good travels. Despite the name, it’s around five kilometres, and was populated with Isuzus on our journey. Linking up Bindaree and Bluff huts, those steep sections of the track do offer some great views in spots, making it a really worthwhile journey.
Despite the fact it’s a prop for a movie, this location is still one of the most sought-after in the High Country. It’s got some serious kudos from it’s history with the 1982 film The Man from Snowy River, but I think the real appeal is the picturesque perfection of this spot.
You’d have to be a bit thick to build and live in a hut so open to wind and the elements, but then you wouldn’t have such an incredible view out of the window. It’s a beautiful hut in a beautiful location. And before you know it, the camera is constantly clicking as you’re searching around for an angle. Of course, for the best possible experience, camp nearby and take full advantage of the golden hours, as well as sunrise and sunset.
We travelled with the Isuzu I-Venture Club, a manufacturer-based training and tour group open to Isuzu Owners. For more information on this, check out: www.iventureclub.com.au