Mt Beauty/ Mansfield

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December 1st 2019
Published: December 1st 2019
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Day 1 (23/11/2019)

Departed Cranbourne at 8.35am. After tediously making our way through traffic, we finally got onto the Hume Highway. Taking our time & with a good tail wind, we stopped at Avenel Roadhouse at 11.10am for a cuppa & toilet stop.

Back on the road at 11.35am, traffic became more prolific for a Saturday. The BP at Glenrowan North loomed, so decided to top up with fuel as no way of knowing how much fuel would be where we were going.

Negotiating roadworks on the way to Myrtleford, we took the turnoff & arrived at the Dederang Hotel at 3.20pm & parked in our spot at the rear of the hotel. Took our time setting up the van as we would be running on battery.

Popped into the hotel for a drink & booked a table for dinner. Returned at 6pm & ordered a Rump Steak & a Seafood Basket. All meals are served with chips, but you could help yourself to salads & vegetables.

The meals were enormous & I was wondering how we were going to eat it all. It appears the driving all day made us hungry & we managed to get through our meals, but only just!!!

Looking out the window we could see the bushfires in the National Park, one new one around Eskdale, the other between Mitta Mitta & Glen Wills.

After letting our dinner settle, we hopped into bed & slept really well, not hearing a thing until morning.

Day 2 (24/11/2019)

Woke well rested to see a blanket of smoke haze & decided to go for a morning walk. The flies were so bad they virtually picked us up & carried us away! It was a warm morning, but wanted to get some exercise into the legs.

Returned to the van & decided to have lunch at the hotel. This time Deb ordered a half size Rump Steak, while I had a full size Chicken Schnitzel. Both absolutely delightful & they disappeared without any trouble!

Put the feet up in the afternoon & had an early light dinner of cheese & crackers.


Eskdale Fire
3 (25/11/2019)

No rush to leave as we only had a short 36km drive to Mt Beauty, leaving mid morning. Had a cuppa & some delicious home made slices at the Dederang General Store. Took our time as we looked at yet more fires near Coral Bank. This time there were 5 of them & just like the others were started by lightning. These fires were on close watch & luckily the winds were relatively calm.

Arrived in Mt Beauty & parked up in a parking bay. Walked a short distance to do a bit of shopping. Drove to our stay at The Park at Mt Beauty, taking our time setting up the van knowing that rain was forecast for tomorrow.

Had a lovely BBQ dinner & a few drinks, enjoying the Kiewa River flowing by. As the sun started to head downwards, went a short distance to the Mt Beauty Pondage to see if the fish were cooperative. Missed my only chance with an all too briefly hooked 10” Rainbow Trout.

Returned to the van for a hot cup of tea, shower & bed.


Dederang Smoke Haze

Day 4 (26/11/2019)

Woke at 6am to strong winds, followed by the sound of raindrops on the roof. Closed the roof hatches & the annexe windows to stop any rain getting in.

An earlier than normal breakfast, followed by a short drive into Mt Beauty to get some vegetables for our roast dinner later. With heavier rain & thunderstorms on the way, returned to the Mt Beauty Pondage & made amends by catching the same Rainbow Trout I missed yesterday, or it was his twin brother!

Shortly after the thunder & lightning started, along with heavier rain. Returned to the van, cleaned up & then we went for a drive to Bright. Had lunch at the Beechworth Bakery there & did some shopping, picking up some food supplies as well as replacing lost fishing lures!

Returned back to the caravan to do the roast leg of lamb in the Weber & the smell is fantastic! Pelting down with rain & hail as it cooks. Temperature at 3.30pm is 4.7C.

Dinner was wonderful. Meat was a delightful flavour & a good feed of vegetables with it was well worth the wait.

Went to Mt Beauty Pondage & extracted another 10” Rainbow Trout which means one less meal to buy! Returned to the van for a nice hot cuppa to warm up.

Day 5 (27/11/2019)

Nice day for a drive. Went North first along the Kiewa River & back roads taking a bit of scenery, keeping well away from the bushfire areas. Headed up Mountain Creek Road which leads up to a free camping area on a small creek.

Returned the way we came & drove uphill to Falls Creek. The temperature plummeted the higher we climbed, dropping from 24C in Mt Beauty to 1C at the top of Falls Creek. Less snow than when we were last here 3 years ago, but we are also a month later. Still small patches of snow on most of the peaks.

The lovely Rocky Valley & Pretty Valley Reservoirs were both full. The wind chill on the top of Mt McKay was well into the minuses, even on a clear sunny day so close to Summer. But you dont feel the cold when you have such glorious views to look at.

Made our way back down the windy, steep descent, avoiding the “lycra bandits” that hog the road.

Dinner was Rainbow Trout & asian bbq pork, followed by ice cream. A couple of hours later was a hot shower followed by bed.

Day 6 (28/11/2019)

Warm day today. Woke up to the news there had been 2 early morning earthquakes of 2.4 & 2,7 on the Richter Scale. Never felt either of them! Bushfires still burning within the area with the helicopter circling around as they were doing some other burnoffs & backburning to control the spreads while there were no winds.

Spent the afternoon wading the Kiewa River. One Rainbow Trout & one Brown Trout kept while around 7 others were released. Absolutely exhausted afterwards & will sleep well tonight. Had honey soy stir fry & rice for dinner, absolutely delicious!

Day 7 (29/11/2019)

Drove along the North Kiewa River & lost count of all the bushfires still burning. Smoke haze in the area was really bad. CFA vehicles were everywhere on the backroads & tracks working tirelessly. Water trucks were filling from the river & travelling back & forth.

Fished several sections of the river, wading around 8-10km mwhich is extremely tiring. Caught & released numerous Brown & Rainbow Trout. River was running quite fast due to an overnight water release from the Mt Beauty Pondage. Winds were increasing at about 3.30PM which will hamper the firefighting efforts.

Steak & chip rings was the menu for dinner, followed by packing away the annexe & hitching up since rain is forecast for 5AM.

Into bed for a good nights sleep for the trip to Mansfield tomorrow.

Kilometres travelled whilst in Mt Beauty was 404.

Day 8 (30/11/2019)

Awoke at 7AM to rain falling. Was able to connect chains & cables during a break in the rain, whilst completing the balance of packing.

Departed Mt Beauty at 9.05AM. Drove all the way through to Mansfield in a relatively easy drive except for lycra bandits racing on the Happy Valley Road & buffeting head winds close to Wangaratta until the turn off for Mansfield near Benalla. From there it was smooth sailing & we arrived ahead of schedule at 12.10PM.

Went to the Visitor Information Centre, followed by the great local butcher & IGA supermarket to stock up on supplies.

Drove into the High Country Holiday Park early & set up the van, then sat down for happy hour. After a late afternoon cuppa, walked to the Mansfield Golf Club for dinner. Returned for a hot shower & bed. Distance travelled for the day was 209km.

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