Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Dargo High Plains Road - Day 36

The bitumen soon turned to unsealed road as we left Dargo behind, and we climbed higher and higher. The road was 1152m at Grant Junction. A wallaby crossed in front of us, and Darryl spotted a lyrebird scared off the road. Later he saw a rabbit and I saw a red-breasted robin just before he flitted off. At Mt Ewan we were 1378m high. 

The map showed a couple of interesting features, such as the "Little Woman's Grave" (someone has put flowers there) and just further up the site of "Gows Hotel". 

Nothing left but broken glass & pottery and rusty nails

 The road was being done up and we passed trucks, a compactor and a grader. This made the road very rough with huge rocks in the centre as the grader had only done one pass. The High Plains were really interesting with the vegetation changing, but sad to see all the huge dead trees, (possibly never recovered from fires years ago). We stopped at a picnic area near Mt Blue Rag, which we couldn't see but were entranced by the distant Mt Hotham (one of the highest mountains in Victoria), with little patches of snow visible across the valley. 

Distant patches of snow on the mountains

The road met the sealed Great Alpine Road at Mount Saint Bernard, and right there we were able to climb Mt Smythe, the remains of a volcanic plug, which afforded fabulous views of the Alpine National Park. We also went a short way on the Alps Walking Track, where we chatted to two walkers who were on day 34 of a 45 day trek. 

Mt Smythe

Lucky we were just short enough to make the trip on this road

Further along the road were a couple of lookouts, but then we came on the parking area which allowed us to walk up to the summit of Mt Hotham 1868m. 

A reminder that in Winter this area is covered in snow

So...which council worker keeps losing the key?

The ski lift stands silent in Summer

Our rig, and tot he left a little snow

Fire Tower at the peak of Mt Hotham

Mt Hotham Ski Resort

Our destination was Victoria Falls Historic Area Camping site, the first was full of tents, so we found a nice spot further down the road, right next to the Victoria River, and were greeted by a large blue-tongue lizard, which I had to shift out of harm's way. After setting up camp, we checked out the area, which is the site of Victoria's first hydro-electric power station, and an old mine. Beside us, is the remains of a small earthen dam, (to assist with the hdryo, which had collapsed, and further up the road the site of a water-race.Our "Happy-hour" and post dinner entertainment was, what we presume to be, up to 30cm Trout in the nearby bend of the river jumping out to catch hovering insects.Darryl went for a bit of a night walk along the road.

I was fascinated by the shimmering tussocky grasses up high

I thought I took some video of the fish jumping, but can't find it - if I do I will put it up later

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