Living the High Life – Oldies at Large

top of the world

Some say that you should never go back, and there are perhaps sometimes when that is a true idiom. For The Man and me though we often have returned to the places where memories have been made, those truly special places to the heart. This is the case with the High Country of Victoria. As children (it seems that way now) we enjoyed our honeymoon in decades past, in the High Country.

mnt buffalo chaletIt has always been our plan to one-day return to those places where we enjoyed wonderful glory days, and where we began our lives together. This was at Mount Buffalo Chalet in the Victorian High Country. As we were now in the area, we couldn’t resist the pull of memories. So we took ourselves up to visit the grand old lady, The Mnt Buffalo Chalet. We stayed there near a lifetime ago and today the Chalet is closed, though I believe it is for reno’s. So we still may get to stay in the lovely old rooms of the Grand Old Lady in the future.

When we were there last it belonged to the Victorian Railway and was graced with a fine old silver service in the formal dining room, a black tie affair no less. At the time, as newlyweds, we had to make a quick trip to the town at the bottom of the mountain to buy The Man a tie… he didn’t own one in those days. The chalet was full of old-world charm, which we love to reminisce about at times. Formal Smoking rooms, a Parlour for the ladies, the dark formal woods of the hallways and the charm of times now long past. Some things you just never can return to. They stay in the mind like gems from experiences long past.

National Parks owns the beautiful old lady now, and they are planning some $7 million in reno’s. Here is hoping that they keep the grand old lady for the people and don’t price themselves out of the market as others did in the recent past. After all, it simply must be a National Treasure with a wonderful history, including our honeymoon, and in its hey day it catered for the ordinary people, travellers and pensioners.

We have spent some time visiting the Alpine regions of Victorian Aus’ in these last weeks and you come to recognize a feel for the High Country. It’s a freshness even found in the summer months and the people who live here, tend to live in the valleys and towns like Bright. It was here we based ourselves for a time while we traipsed though this Alpine world enjoying the last of the Summer Season. After a covering the high country there abouts, we moved on further south towards Mnt Buller and Mnt Stirling and from there we headed once more up onto the Alpine plateau’s again.

Craigs Hut

We had a plan also this time around, and this was to visit Craig’s Hut, of ‘The Man from The Snowy River’ fame. This is an Australian icon of the cinematic world and a real delight to be able to visit the remake of the set. The hut of course has been rebuilt to represent the High Country huts of yesteryear which can still be found in the high country plateau lands. They hark back to a time when the cattle would roam the plateau’s in the summer, fattening before the High Country muster. It is the land of the beautiful brumby and of legends young and old.

Getting to Craig’s Hut, perched on the top edge of the mountain was a lot of fun. The road is good up to a point, and from there you can venture on-foot, even camp-out in some delightful spots. But for the 4×4 driver (with some considerable experience) there is the delight of travelling further right up to the hut, and then beyond onto some really stunning and challenging tracks.

craigs hut trkWe unhooked the van at Mirimbah, and the assistant at the check-through gates armed us with some great maps and info, bless her little pink booties. From there we took off for our adventure, equipped with a picnic, the souped up cruiser and The Man with a want to put her through her paces on some great tracks. We headed up onto the Mount Stirling Road an then onto the Circuit Road, which is a touch rougher. From there we took the short 4×4 track onto Craigs Hut. It was a lovely run, and the challenge of the 4×4 track up to the hut picnic ground was worthy of the term ‘challenge’.

blackberry pickThe Man and I had the place to ourselves for a few hours and after exploring, we set up our picnic and enjoyed the sweet berries of the season growing near by. We had already raided the blackberry stands on the way along the track and had a bucket full, enough for a pie and another lot for the freezer to enjoy later.

blackberry pieWe were eventually joined by a troop on tour. They were 4×4 extreme adventurers who were all kited up with 5 vehicles and 2 high clearance camp-trailers, who also had braved the challenging track. I have often wondered what the tourers feel about heading out on an extreme adventure, only to find Grandma and Grandpa set up on a picnic somewhere in the never lands of their extreme adventure. We travel everywhere with our kayak on the roof, dusty swag strapped high and our cup of tea and picnic, complete with tablecloth at hand, and we do get some odd smiles. You just never know what all the ‘oldies at large’ are gunna get up-to these days. Gone are the days of the Oldies sitting on the front porch drinking cups of tea, for the moment anyways.

Craigs hut trackWhen we headed home though, that was when the real fun began. The Man decided on the Clear Hills Track to the Summit of Mount Stirling and then down into Howqua Gap to re-join the road to Mnt Buller via the Corn Hill Road. A large part of this track is closed for 6 months of the year due to the winter and wet, and it was a great challenge. We had a hoot of a time and a few agh-haa moments. It just goes to show that even the ‘Grey Nomads’ of our world are up to a few challenging runs. At one point I had to get out of the car and check that The Man wasn’t driving us over the cliff… such was the steep descent.

And an ‘Old Dog’ doesn’t need to learn new tricks… he more often than not knows them anyway and just needs to decide if it’s for him.

Travel well

To discover more of Jan’s travels, visit the page Oldies at Large. Or you can buy the e-book ‘Discovering Australia & Her Lore’ for the price of a cuppa’. Its a easy read compilation of their past journeys that you can take with you on your own travels or curl up in the chair and enjoy the ride at your leisure.

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