Friday, 6 February 2015

Victorian High Country - Licola

We left our fabulous camp on the Howqua River at Noonans Flat near Mansfield & headed down towards Jaimeson. At Jaimeson we took the Heyfield Jaimeson Rd down towards Licola. This dirt track is a fantastic drive & really should be on every 4WDers list of tracks to do in Australia. It was typical High Country style of steep & windy but you get to see some amazing country. You climb all the way to the top of Mt Skene which is 1570m above sea level. On our trip it was foggy with light rain when we hit the top & freezing cold, but this just added to the magic of the place.

 As we made our way down the other side we started to see cow shit on the road & it wasn't long before we came across small herds of Angus cattle grazing on the sides of the road. Mustering must be a nightmare although they were all really quiet, but finding them would be the hard part. 

Mustering must be interesting! 

We enjoyed the scenery on the way down getting glimpses of rivers & creeks on the way through until we reached Licola.

It's lots of ferns & cycads as you come down Mt Skene

But when you get near Licola it's cleared farming country

 Licola is a tiny town that is owned by the Victorian Lions Club & it has a camp set up there along with a tiny general store. The town sits right on the Wellington River & is very picturesque. It is the only privately owned town in Victoria & is not hooked up to mains electricity. As it was freezing & lunch time, we headed to the general store for something to eat, they only had Mrs Macs pies & sausage rolls but they tasted mighty fine as we were freezing. They have some fantastic photos on the walls of huge trout caught from the river & broken 4WDs, wrecked on the High Country tracks & drowned in the river. 

Just out of town on the Tamboritha Rd there are heaps of fantastic campsites run by Victoria Parks right on the Wellington River. Again fantastic free camps with toilets. There are about 10-15 different camping areas but we ended up in the one called Paradolote. They had recent rain so the sites were a little muddy, but we found one that had a nice grassy area to put the trailer tent on. It also had a bonus huge firewood pile, so the firewood fairies were being nice to us. By the time we set up it was getting to about 3pm, so after setting up we just enjoyed the scenery, heaps of birds & the quiet. No one else was around & we didn't see another soul for the whole next day as well. 

That night we slept so close to the river, we could hear it running & gurgling all night, not much better than that. The next day we decided to have a quiet day with no driving. As we had heaps of firewood we went on a bit of a cooking frenzy & made scones & fruit bread (recipes coming soon). We also did our clothes washing. That afternnoon as we were sitting around the fire we saw a movement in the bush & to our delight it was a Lyrebird. So beautiful, although I didn't get any photos as he went away to quick, we also think there was a wombat hole under camp, no sign of him though. That night we slept so well, it was so peaceful. 

River at camp above & below

Wombat hole???

Scone sneak peek

The next day we packed up & headed down towards Heyfield. Another gorgeous spot & the road ran along the Macalister River so it was very scenic. 

We then headed down towards Rosedale. We were looking for a place to camp nearby as we were getting Ruby serviced with her 80 000km service in Tararlgon the next day. There was one good camp right in town but it was right on the side of the freeway to Melbourne so we decided against it. There was another one just out of town called Harriers Swamp in the Holey Plains State Park, but it wasn't very nice. We decided to bite the bullet & just go to a caravan park in Tararlgon. Ruby had to be at Toyota at 7.30am in the morning so it would make life easier & we had a really cheap months camping anyway. 

We checked into the Village Caravan Park as it was the cheapest at $32 a night. It was okay, mostly new facilities, but the sites were very close together, not the quiet of the bush that's for sure. A long long shower was had & then we went into town to Rays Outdoors to buy some new camp chairs. Yes my Roman canvas chair finally gave out, & Mats Oztrail Titan had died after only a few months (chair wrecker again!!!!), this time we ended up with flash Jetpilot ones, so we will see how they go. 

The next day was dropping Ruby at Toyota & then hanging around the shops all day. Lucky Tararlgon is pretty big. So after a delicious breakfast at a cafe I went & got my hair done. After hours of pampering I was finally done & found Mat with his nose stuck in a book after he had already checked out all the shops. By the time we got to pick Ruby up we had definitely had enough of being in town. All went well with the service but as a major major service we left Toyota down $1150, ouch!  So far we have done about 40 000km for the trip. 
Ruby all clean & ready to go again

Back to camp & we did as much packing as we could & filled up all the water tanks & drums. Feeling lazy we ordered a pizza for dinner (what a luxury) & went to bed. All in all a pretty painless trip to town to get Ruby serviced before we headed back into the High Country, this time near Dargo.  

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