Travis and Michelle visit Mt Terrible (1 Viewer)

Mar 23, 2009
Following my first post here on IH8MUD and trip report from our Australian Outback Trip, i just wonted to share with ya'll our newest little adventure; only a day trip but lots of fun none the less:

Like all best laid plans hashed out at the last second, Michelle and I were off for a little day trip with no maps and a GPS full of Waypoints that would be helpful to us, should we be heading out to, oh…….. INNAMINCKA!

Bloody hell! It wasn’t the best start to the morning. We had set the alarm clock for 7am and hoped to be on the road by 8am – not early by any means, but it is Sunday!

Having prepared only with the aid of some maps on the internet and a few well placed Waypoints on the GPS, we were set for a great day in the bush.
However, when I finished loading the waypoints onto the GPS, the battery died. The fresh batteries were out in the garage and I wasn’t going out there until we were getting in the car to go (House locked, alarm on and computer long switched off!). So, while waiting for the engine to warm up, I put a couple of new batteries into the GPS only to find my newly created waypoints were nowhere to be found and the entire set created for our Strzelecki trip still safe and sound and of absolutely no use to us today! Sh!t happens…

Out of the garage and around a few corners we were soon enveloped by heavy fog but little to no traffic, which is always nice, specially when driving a car that takes 2 whole minutes to reach 60km/h from a standing start (haha!).

Not one to be put off by the lack of maps or Waypoints guiding the way, I was confident in making it at least half way to my proposed goal for the day. This is the summit of Mt Terrible.

Living about half way between Phillip Island (MOTOGP) and Reefton Spur is a good thing when you enjoy the twisties on 2 wheels, and for today knowing the back roads to Reefton would come in handy given the lack of maps.

For kicks I thought id do a little ‘timed’ run of the Spur – an idea that bought much ridicule from Michelle. "You’ll still squeal" I promptly replied!

Like an eagle stalking its prey I watched the second hand on my Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified Timepiece (ok… my watch!) and on the 12 marker we were off and racing haha.

16.5 minutes, with 2 photo stops isn’t exactly sporting (Be kind, the girl is 31years young) But she was able to make Michelle squeal once or twice!

Approaching Cumberland Junction the Spur was extremely damp and fog was always around the next corner. Michelle had not yet seen the area after the recent fires so it was sobering to remember the fires that had gone through the area. ("Black Saturday" bushfire 2009)

Pushing on we were heading into mostly unexplored territory for the both of us. With the tyres still at blacktop pressures, and running 2WD I was surprised how smooth the Warburton - Woods Point Road was (Most have been the recent drive down the Old Strzelecki that’s given me a new perspective smooth and rough), it was however, very damp and loose in some places.

Not really knowing what to expect, or how far we would actually go, I finally decided to pull over at ‘Montys Hut’ to air down the tyres and turn on the GPS because I just love looking at the black and white 1” X 2” screen and trying to actually plan a route off!

Back on the road we were now travelling on 28PSI pillows of luxury when out of the blue, the Blacktop reappeared in front of us and the fog disappeared. What the hell, this was not what I was expecting and where’s my SNOW!!! We were now at Fehring Clearing… Nice enough spot for a quick photo.

Thankfully the Blacktop stopped just as quickly as it had reappeared and we were back in the dirt and there was even a little bit of blue in the sky. However outside of the warm old girl it was bloody freezing. I couldn’t believe there was no snow around, though it was obvious there had been a good covering recently.

Next up was The Oaks, another nice enough spot for a lunch break. There is a largish rock with a plaque on it beside the road and a few tracks heading off into the forest. We didn’t stop long enough to read the whole plaque, though it did seem rather interesting (ok I didn’t read it all, i'm sure Michelle did while I was taking another photo!) It was at this point I was starting to ponder heading into the forest, and the track conditions.

While stopped I also took the chance to scan through the map on our GPS and although I couldn’t remember the track names (there’s bloody hundreds in this area!) I was able to remember distinct shapes/paths and directions of the tracks I wanted to take into Mt Terrible. With a little squinting, I was finally able to recognise a few tracks on the GPS, and I quickly placed a few waypoints on them because I knew if I lost them I'd never find them again… Once again, planning a trip / route on an old GPS with a TINY black and white screen is not recommended at all and something I generally avoid at all costs.

Reaching Mt Terrible was still far from a given. We had yet leave the safety and security of the Warburton- Woods Point road, let alone come across tracks to Mount Matlock, and with the heavy fog it could easily be missed.

FYI - FROM "MELBOURNE" Mt Terrible is located roughly in the center of this trip, located just below and a little to the east of Lake Eildon. To access Mt Terrible you could come from either 'above' (Mansfield) or 'below' (Reefton etc). All in all, the "LOOP" is approx 500km in distance. Their are other options, like cutting across under Lake Eildon and coming down the Maroondah Hwy as opposed to the Melba when coming from Mansfield, timewise id say its much of a muchness!

I guess you could say its about 2ish hours drive from Melbourne to either end to start the 4x4ing. Not bad at all if you ask me!

Pushing on, we rounded one corner in particular that looked well bloody spectacular! Was a fantastic place for a ‘pit stop’ and a couple of photos. The whole area has been HEAVILY worked over during the last fire season and the evidence is there for all to see.

Some people might enjoy looking at a giant communications tower but I was simply awe struck by my surroundings here. I guess the combination of the light conditions together with the fog throughout the area made for a magical atmosphere, and believe me, the photos do not do the scale of the work here any justice. We all know how much flatter steep hills can often look in photos!

A few minutes later, we arrived out at the “Gap Getaway” property. Both Michelle and I were very pleased to round the corner and see the sign, then greatly disappointed to see the access gate closed across the road in.

Now I was in trouble… or in the bad books, shall we say. When asked the night before if lunch needed to be packed, for some reason I thought it would be a good thing to say “NO”. I guess in reality I didn’t plan to actually make it to Mt Terrible, because it is a long way from home. I didn’t have the maps that I wanted and most importantly, Michelle didn’t want to be gone all day!

Not to worry!!! I thought to myself, we’ll just head up to the fire tower at Mount Matlock if the track is solid, then turn around and head home for a late lunch in Healesville.

Thankfully we were close to the track leading up Mount Matlock, and in less then 10minutes we were parked atop the mountain, albeit a little hungry. The view was nice, ok, maybe not the view but the surroundings. Once again the fog and winds through the trees made for a nice eerie setting.

Being a man, not too worried about going without food for a day (I have plenty in storage! & you might know where this is going...) I thought it would be good to push on a little further, as I'd been able to locate where I thought Ryan's Hut was, and the tracks were in good condition. A little wet in places, but sporting fresh rubber I was more than confident to continue.

As a whole, the area is quite steep but there was nothing overly rough that we encountered. That’s not to say the place isn’t dangerous. Personally I find big steep tracks and wet conditions a far greater risk then one with 6-foot deep bog holes and or ruts etc…

I guess i'm just saying don’t think it looks ‘easy’ based on my photos of the tracks, being a couple that do most things solo (one vehicle) you can bet i'm holding the steering wheel when things are tough, not the camera.

After descending Mount Matlock, the place really opens up and the vast network of tracks start to show themselves.

Part way along Corn Hill Road we came across this loan campsite, the feature point being the 3-legged plastic chair complete with a substitute tree stump to make up the forth.

A little further on, we passed the first turn off to Frenchmans Gap Track. We were teased with the remainder of some snow fall on “Corn Hill”.

Next up was the Ryan Spur Track. Soon we’d be at the hut and enjoying lunch... if we’d bought it along.

The hut itself is pretty messy; Michelle refused to enter it, and I must say the most interesting feature of this hut is the graffiti, more specifically the mention of the greatest series of 4x4 vehicle to grace this earth! Haha. I bet the individual who wrote that is a great bloke!.

I might as well mention the chair out the front, as I thought it was quite impressive also. After a few token photos we were on our way. PERFECT opportunity for the 4x4 mag to come out! Sadly without food or any real drinks it was a short read this time.

At this point I decided that if I knew what was good for me, I'd better get Michelle some food,and fast! Looking again at my GPS, I'd managed to find a track that would take us back out to the ‘main road’, now the Mansfield - Woods Point Rd. Moonlight Spur Track was the name (previously Knockwood Track), but upon arrival at the start it was gated and signposted as a seasonal track. The gates were open and the track had plenty of recent tyre marks but I just didn’t want to take the risk, even though I was already risking my life with Michelle missing her lunch!

I stopped briefly at one of the higher points for another quick photo before arriving at Moonlight Spur Track.

The time was now 1.30pm, and the direction to take was obvious; we’d come this far, we might as well continue on to Mt Terrible!

Again, we stopped briefly for a few photos on what appears to be left of the old helipad on the Mount Terrible Track, which by the way is a bloody great drive. The ridge line section between the helipad and Donald Track is just beautiful. Once again, the weather conditions just added to the overall magic drive. To the left, it was a COMPLETE white out due to the fog. In places you could see the fog just reaching out part-way across the track with a really ghostly presence.

Finally just before 2.30pm we arrived at the summit of Mt Terrible. Let's just say Michelle wasn’t in the mood for many photos!

As we were about to leave, we ran into a couple of trail bike riders who had just come up through Jamison, we had a quick little chat and checked out the Hut together (while Michelle waited in the car) and I snapped a couple of photos for them then quickly discussed the track out to Jamieson so I could give Michelle an accurate ETA on the nearest food (!) lol.

We had one track to go, Polletti Track then we’d be at Jamieson Pub, and eating some fabulous food with a relaxing drink. You know how it is, have to add a little enthusiasm sometimes to lift the misses' spirits because you know as well as I do, she could die having to wait 3-4 hours past lunchtime for food!

Just shy of an hour later, we arrived in Jamieson. Unfortunately for Michelle, the servo is located nearer then the Pub in our direction of travel.

The owner of the Servo is a bloody good bloke who just happens to have a couple of old unrestored FJ45’s out the back, and was rather keen to have a good old yarn about my 45 while I pumped up the tyres and filled up with fuel. Hahaha

To top it all off, we were in Jamieson at 4.30pm on a Sunday arvo, and the pub wasn’t cooking any food yet!

So we had a couple of drinks before seating out for Mansfield, where there was no doubt that we could finally get a bite to eat.

While we were in Jamieson, I quite liked the look and vibe of the place. Despite the lack of promised food, Michelle and I both felt as though we could spend a bit of time there relaxing (Although id say the glass of wine on a completely empty stomach might have helped cheer Michelle up and allow her to forget about food for just that little bit longer)

I have a good idea what the place would be like during 'peak' times, thus the reason i've never ventured much this way before, but being the only outsiders in town suited me just fine.

Arriving in Mansfield was surreal, back to the rat-race, that’s for sure. Sunday night during the ski season… need I say more? But as I said to the great bloke at the Jamieson servo when he warned me of the traffic, "they wont bother me, I'll be that slow bastard doing 85km/h, annoying the ski bunnies trying to get home in a hurry...hahaha.

Regardless of the crowds, I still liked the pub at Mansfield and we had few more drinks and absolutely stuffed our guts before heading homeward.

So there you have it, I hope you enjoyed the read.

It was a fantastic day trip and just what Michelle needed to pickup her spirits after the depression that sets in when one returns home and back to work after a good holiday (re: our Strzelecki Trip 3 weeks ago)

I dare say we will be exploring quite a bit more of this area in the near future. I hear it might snow again this week! Firstly though I will be investing in a few maps for this new found area not very far from home.

















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