Howitt Plains

We returned to one of our favourite parts of Victoria’s high country with two fellow walkers. The Howitt high plains are reached via Licola, a long way from home. Along the way we pulled into Mansfield to refuel and it was pointed out that one of the trailer wheels was running on the rim – as the driver I had noticed nothing. We managed to change it and get a new tyre and were back on our way over Mt Skene, a road not well used. After meeting the others at Licola we headed up to camp. Trevor had to stop for an overheating engine but he had a map and knew where we were camping (we thought). A couple of hours later Iris headed out to see why he hadn’t arrived and discovered he had headed down to the Moroka River thinking that was where we were camping and had then retreated to Arbuckle Junction when we weren’t there. The camp on Holmes Plain is in a lovely setting but has no facilities.

Bryces Gorge was on the agenda for the first day. We had to stop to admire the wildflower display before heading down to Guy’s Hut, a genuine bush-crafted hut. From there it was across the hill to the top end of Bryces Gorge where Conglomerate Creek tumbled down the mossy cliff face. I scrambled down to the bottom for a different view. We then followed the path around the gorge edge before admiring the much smaller flow of Pieman’s Falls.

Waking to a sunny morning we had high hopes of a fine day at Mt Howitt. We stopped off at Howitt Hut to witness the work of refurbishment taking place. All the vertical poles had been replaced and the walls needed to be put back up. It was a lovely, undulating walk to Vallejo Gantner Hut through a garden of flowers, snowgrass and snow gums. We had to make use of the new toilet with its amazing view and check out the hut. As we climbed the ridge the views became more expansive as the Viking, Razor and Crosscut Saw appeared. The flowers carpeted the ground and I took so many photos the others disappeared into the distance. We made the peak of Howitt as clouds built up and rain squalls approached so we quickly admired the views and retreated. The clouds closed in and the rain started ten minutes before we reached the hut. We had lunch and waited for the weather to break – it would ease and then start up again. We eventually headed off and walked back in the rain.

We drove to Horseyard Flat and walked to the first fall on Moroka River where the river plunges over a wide ledge creating a beautiful pool. It was too good to pass up so I went for a swim in the refreshing water. We dropped into Moroka Hut on the way back, a rustic hut in a nice riverside setting.

We were back to three walkers and had a gentle stroll the next day along the road to visit the nearby Kelly and McMichael huts. We had time to explore the plains and the minibeasts as well as make use of our own mini spa pool. The plains created a good back drop for the sunset.

We had one more day so moved down to the different surroundings of the Wellington river. Red Bluff provided us with a swimming hole but lukewarm water. I spent the day chasing dragonflies.

 

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