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Victoria’s Spectacular High Country

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June 186 minute read

The High Country is either a favourite or high on the bucket list for almost every off-road traveller.

Victoria'S High Country
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This trip, my first to the High Country, was last year and fire closures meant our best-made plans were in the wind.

I was travelling with my Victorian-based friends Kris and his son Will and Rae and his son Daniel. Luckily Rae knew of some tracks in the Upper Goulbourn State Forest roughly north-west of the Yarra Ranges and Baw Baw National Parks.

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We rendezvoused in Healesville before heading toward Matlock. Kris dropped a generator off to a friend’s cabin, and for the trouble, he showed us one of his favourite campsites. Sorry, you’ll have to find this one yourself.

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We descended into the valley before the track came to a standstill. The path ahead was along the creek before it emerged a few hundred metres downstream. It was precisely the kind of High Country adventure I’d wanted!

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Victoria'S High Country
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The camping was simply stunning. On the outside bend of the creek was a spectacular steep slope. On the inside; flat camping and the stream itself was crystal clear and majestic.

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We spent our days exploring a mix of the tracks of this part of the High Country. Even in Kris’s portal axle beast one looked especially tough. I engaged both lockers at the base and followed.

Towards the top, the track was steepest, it twisted right and had a steep camber. With the recent drizzle, all four wheels spun as I drifted towards the gutter and slope below.

Heart pumping I kept my eyes on the track ahead and tried to keep the throttle steady. Thankfully I slipped up and around the bend and not into the ditch or worse below.

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There’s was plenty of steep climbs. Kris’s truck powered up everything, but the long-wheelbase meant a few three-point turns on the tight corners.

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Rae made everything look easy behind the wheel of his Hilux, picking great lines as he guided us around the area.

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We stopped through the nearby historic Woods Point before exploring more tracks surrounding this area.

Victoria'S High Country - Woods Point
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Victoria'S High Country
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It’s hard to miss the mining history here. We explored one of the old trackside mines. They were a hardy bunch in those days. Hard labour in tough terrain; I wondered if they had the energy left to enjoy the beauty of their surrounds.

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Victoria'S High Country
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This trip barely scratched the surface of the High Country, but it did give me a taste for it. I can’t wait for my next visit!

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Mike Collister has spent his life outdoors. He has represented Australia as a slalom kayaker, guided whitewater expeditions in Nepal, and taught outdoor education and wilderness medicine. He’s paddled the Kimberley’s Fitzroy River in the wet season and across the Bass Strait and is an avid photographer, overlander and camper.