It’s supposed to be the biggest rock monolith in the southern hemisphere but I can’t help but be a bit dubious of the claim. Parks Victoria states that Pine Mountain is 1.5 times bigger than Uluru, but it really doesn’t have the iconic status that Uluru does. Despite all of the rhetoric, Pine mountain is a fairly impressive place. In fact it reminds me a little of Mt Buffalo further to the southwest. Sure, Pine Mountain is not as high nor as spectacular but it does have some alluring points. Firstly Pine Mountain is off the beaten track and as such rarely sees visitors. It is also covered in black cypress pine woodland, an especially attractive and unusual form of vegetation. Best of all, however, is its amazing views. No other mountain in Victoria delivers such a feast for the eyes. Greg, Karen and I reached the summit ridge at just after 1pm on a hot summers day. This is one of the walks we are including into our new Daywalks Around Victoria guidebook and we needed to check out the trail and accurately GPS it. Even with the heat haze we were treated to uninterrupted views along the crest of what is the highest section of the Great Dividing Range. The mountains culminated in the dramatic western faces of Mt Kosciuszko, the highest point in Australia. Slightly south we could see the remote, almost mystical Cobberas, the birthplace of the Murray River and the start of its 2560 kilometre journey to the sea in South Australia. We sat on the summit rocks and ate lunch. I think if I come back up here I’ll try to time it for early spring. The mountains would all be covered in snow then and the views would be amazing.
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January 25, 2010
Walk 25 (Three Craggy Peaks)
On the first day, as the trail climbs King Spur, the route flattens out just prior to the final climb (through rocky bluffs) to the summit of Mt Koonika. Where the flatter terrain abruptly ends before the final climb, the best route to the top is along a faint track that sidles to the left and onto the northern slopes of King Spur. The trail climbs steeply then cuts back to intersect the spur immediately below the summit. A final push through some crags brings you to the grassy top.
January 25, 2010
Walk 16 (Mt Buller West Ridge)
The peak referred to in the introductory notes as Mt Tabletop should actually be Mt Timbertop.
Karen and I camped at Native Dog Flat over the Christmas holiday’s. Apparently Melbourne sweltered in the heat while we enjoyed perfect weather (except for some rather amazing storms during the night). We were researching a couple of walks in the area for our forthcoming Daywalks Around Victoria guidebook. The Cobberas are Victoria’s truly last wild big mountains (Mt Cobberas is over 1800m) and it doesn’t see many walkers. To beat the anticipated warmth of the day we started our walk from the carpark on Cowombat Flat Track at just after 7am. We climbed the ridge from Bulley Creek up to Moscow Peak. The ridge is fairly easy except when you get up to the 1600m mark when you have to do a lot of boulder-hopping. We crossed a saddle and climbed Middle Peak (1777m) and found ourselves in an alpine wonderland reminiscent of the Mt Anne area in Tasmania. The flowers were literally knee deep and the 2003 fires had missed many of the old twisted snowgums which are a feature of the area. We reached the top of Mt Cobberas (1835m) by midday and scrambled to the summit where we had lunch. We could see brumbies grazing on the grass plains below. Up here there are literally thousands of wild horses. Every few minutes we disturbed them grazing on the alpine grasses. We completed our circuit walk by first descending the established walking trail and then leaving it to follow a long forested ridge back to the car. We got back to Native Dog Flat in the middle of the afternoon which meant we could relax and open a bottle of white wine we had chilling in the Waeco.
The walk was almost 16km long and most of it was off trail. A bloody good outing however and one which will appeal to experienced walkers.