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Published: April 5th 2013
Wheelers Hut (At Last)
There are more than one way to skin a cat, we tried the hardest route first, then went for the easier option.
3 April 2013.
The long weekend with our fellow 4wd clubbers slipped slowly away, after our failed attempt at getting to Wheelers Hut, we had a couple of options open to us and that was to stay at Tom Groggin or drive into Wheelers Hut from the other direction. Most of us were in agreement that some relaxation was in order, some had been working long hours of late and the need was there to kick back and enjoy the free time.
The camp fire was lit for most of the weekend, we all sat around it, played scrabble, rummikub etc. Talked to our hearts content, ate loads of chocolate, hot cross buns and anything else nice that we had all packed to bring away with us. Which meant that we felt the need for some valuable exercise, Clem had planned a lovely walk for us on the Sunday morning, but the path marked on the map turned out to be not a path at all, but we managed a nice walk around Tom Groggin and found a lovely spot on the Murray River
Graham and Wendy, kindly pose for a picture outside there amazing truck.
to eat our sandwiches before heading back to camp where we found Andy sitting by the camp fire as he had been designated, camp fire watchman.
That evening it was time for some Frisbee throwing and between us we had 3 frisbee’s, so of course just to make things challenging we used all 3, it turned out to be quite energetic and brutal, I broke a nail but Marta managed to get a smack on the lips, so we all gave up in sympathy after that and decided that a cold glass of wine would ease the swelling on Marta’s lip.
The nights were cold and our new hot water bottles were very welcome, they kept us very warm and toasty all night, but when the sun came up in the morning we were shrouded in the mountain mist so it took a while for the days to get warm.
No matter, the first person up always saw to the camp fire and slowly everyone would re-join the group with a hot cup of tea in their hands.
Monday morning meant that Marta, Scott, Clem and Lesley were
A1972 International Harvester, D1100, still in its original paintwork, what a beauty, fitted with I think a Chevrolet 351 V8, It sounded magic.
all heading back to Canberra, Andy and I however have some extra time so we are making the most of it and staying out with Gypsy a little longer.
By lunchtime everyone was packed and ready to go, we said our goodbyes and said we would catch up when we got home, we waved them off and once again we were on our own. There was only one thing for it and that was to make a cup of tea and stoke the fire.
The afternoon mainly passed without incident, we had a hot shower and watched the local fauna grazing on the now mainly empty grassland. Yes, the kangaroo’s can start reclaiming there beautiful spot again as most of the Easter holiday campers were heading back to civilisation.
I heard a bit of a fracas, one kangaroo was getting feisty with another, he was growling (for want of a better word), it looked as if it was a male trying to shoo away another male. We watched very closely for a while and the scene changed dramatically, the male was clearly making amorous advances toward a female, no wonder he
was getting angry with the other male.
This kangaroo kept following the female, he would stand to one side of her, bop her around the head a bit with his paws and scratch the ground in front of her and then he would wait. After a short while the female would bound off and the male would follow and do the same again.
The one thing we noticed about the female was that she had a deformed paw, we had all seen this one on our previous days walk, she could have been born with it or perhaps she sustained an injury at some point. One thing was for certain, she managed very well with it and looked like a normal healthy kangaroo.
We have no idea if the male was successful in his conquest or not, but they shot off into the bush and reappeared later, he still seemed to be trying his best to woo her and did so into the following day.
Tuesday was packing up day or us, we wanted to head toward Wheelers Hut, so after a cold and lazy start to the
"Caroline wearing her ACT 4 wheel drive club sweatshirt, those mornings were cool
morning, we packed up and headed out at around 10am toward Khancoban.
En route we found a power station, so we pulled in and had a wander around the visitors centre. This is one of a few power stations as part of the Snowy Hydro Scheme, it was interesting and as I had been lucky enough to wander around the visitors centre in Cooma a few weeks back, it was nice to get a bit more of the bigger picture. It is a massive scheme and I would really have hated to be the Project Manager on it.
We moved on to Khancoban town centre where we found a small café for a cup of decent coffee and to have some lunch. We sat for a while and updated the blog caught up on emails etc. bought a loaf of bread (the grocery store did not have that many provisions) topped up the diesel tanks and headed toward Corryong for our turn off on the Benambra road.
By 3pm we had arrived at a small place called Nariel, there is a small free campsite there called Stacey’s Bridge right on the
This is it, and you were expecting What ???
edge of Wheelers Creek, although we had not done many kilometres, it was about that time of the afternoon where travellers alike should be thinking about their overnight stop, it would not have been too far to Wheelers Creek hut, but we did have tracks to negotiate so erring on the side of caution decided that we should stop here.
A few campers were already in situ, we had a wander around to search for some firewood, there was very little and the desire to have a cup of tea was stronger.
We walked past a caravan and met a nice couple called Bev and Bob, they are on a 6 month journey from Brisbane to Western Australia and have to make a detour via Melbourne, they invited us to join them by their fire for as long as it was burning, there was a small pile of wood and a kettle sat on the fire heating water.
After we ate a simple dinner (chicken and sweet corn with a tin of Campbell’s Condensed Soup and some rice), we joined Bob and Bev by the fire, it was agreed that when
the fire burnt out it would be time for bed, so we sat and chatted, talked about the stars and our journeys and eventually only a few glowing embers remained signalling that it was time to retire.
Bob had Andy spellbound, as he (Bob) had been in the Australian air force for many years and was a F4 Phantom Pilot and had also flown the F111, Canberra Bomber and Sabre Fighter, to do with aircraft and you get Andy’s attention.
It was now cold and dark, but nowhere near as cold as it had been at Tom Groggin so we did not use the hot water bottles and just retired to the lovely and cosy Gypsy where another good nights sleep awaited us.
The following morning was cold and damp, we did not surface until 8am, the sun was not yet over the trees so it was very shady, I put the kettle on and we set about packing up (not much to pack up). By 9am the truck was warming, the sun had started to appear and we were ready to go, but Andy could not find his sunglasses.
We hunted high and low for them but they were not to be found, put it this way we don’t have that many places to look, if they weren’t in the truck and they weren’t ‘n Gypsy, we checked the ground around where we camped and eventually gave up. Andy is always losing his sunglasses and thus continually having to replace them, but at the moment we are nowhere near any decent shops so it would be a while.
Heading south on the Benambra road, we were looking for our turn off, but on the way we developed a funny sound on the truck. We stopped to investigate, it appeared to be a stone caught in something, we moved on and it was fine but then it happened again. Eventually and thankfully it disappeared, I have to admit Andy didn’t seem overly concerned he just put the truck in reverse nd the noise went away, he did think it was a stone.
We took the Wheelers Hut logging road and made our way down and up in through the mountains until we eventually found what we were looking for, at last we
Caroline said she would sleep in her, in the swag, it would be cosy and warm with the pot bellied stove for warnth
made it, our overnight stop Wheelers Hut, where we found just two campers.
One small family were using the hut to camp in, they looked well set up and another couple who looked like they were packing up. We wandered around the site to find a decent spot, we got talking to Wendy and Graham who were indeed packing up, they drive a 1972 International Harvester D1100 (see the photos), they had camped here with family over Easter and now it was time for them to head home.
This 1972 vehicle had been purchased by Graham in 1996 with only 32,000 Miles on the clock and it had been tucked away in a barn for many years and not been driven, it was in absolutely fantastic condition and when they pulled off it sounded awesome.
Andy and I decided that they had a good spot so being quite mercenary we waited for them to pack up so that we could take over the fire pit that was still burning. Of course we got talking in the meantime and they were telling us about their family Easter out here, it sounded as
The Pot Bellied Stove
if they all had a great time, especially with the Easter bunny sorting out an Easter Egg hunt for the children.
We watched them leave, picking up the track where we left it and on for their 4 hour journey home, we moved in and set about making ourselves comfortable. The other family using the hut also packed up and left that morning.
After lunch we decided it was shower time again, and being that we are here on our own, there was no need to put the annexe tent up, it was time to do the nuddy run, except that the wind is blowing a little on the cool side and although the water was lovely and hot, it was not so pleasant when the wind blew, probably the quickest shower I have had for a while!
We have purchased this new portable shower unit called an Aqua Cube, is gas powered and give you instantaneous hot water on demand, which is awesome, all you need to do is draw bucket of clean river water and hey presto off you go, there is no use using precious drinking water to
Mating Habits of a Kangaroo
We watched this male kangaroo and his intended female partner for a while, interesting to watch how he tries to woo her, but she certainly gave him the run around, or should I say "hop" around!
shower in, though we carry 120 litres, we can not afford to waste it.
When we were out bush, usually we would have to come in at least once a week, to get a decent shower, but the Aqua cube has changed the dynamic of our camping, the only need to seek out civilisation is if we run out of food or the urge for a café coffee gets to great
Scott and Marta have purchased this coffee gizmo, it looks like a bicycle pump with a glass bowl on it that delivers express coffee under pressure , this thing was not cheap but if you add up all the Café coffee’s we have it probably works out really inexpensive..
A lazy afternoon followed, sitting in the sunshine, it was warm for a short while but as it is autumn the sun is not getting very high in the sky so the warmth is short lived.
That said I am going to put a pair of jeans and a fleece on to keep warm.
We took a walk up to wheelers hut and had a
look inside, it quite historical and had a little potbellied stove inside, I think we should have a club run to the Hut at some stage.
Andy put up a wind break and we sat around the fire for the rest of the evening.
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