Around Albury, then up to Lake Cobbler

Maddy has taken a short trip back to Sydney to work a couple of shifts to keep her job open, so I have been left alone with Keddie to do some exploring.   She is actually drafting a blog entry for Corryong, which we visited after Omeo, but the rigours of Sydney work and socialising are obviously keeping her distracted.  So this will have to come later – a bit out of order.

After, Corryong we based ourselves at Lake Hume near Albury and the morning before dropping Maddy at Albury airport to fly back to Sydney, I spent a couple of hours at the Wonga Wetlands.   The diversity of birdlife was amazing – I have not counted, but in the space of 90 minutes I probably saw over 50 species of bird.   Only one new species for my list however – a striated pardalote.   Below is a mediocre picture of one. Also a brown tree creeper (which I had seen earlier, but didn’t manage to photograph) and a shot of some wood ducks.  While we have been seeing wood ducks everywhere, I don’t seem to have taken any photos of them until now.

After Maddy left, I spent the afternoon exploring Albury and had another night at the Lake Hume caravan park.   I managed to see a couple of new bird species and a few other points of interest.

Hovell Tree
Hovell Tree. On the Murray River, marked by Hume and Hovell in 1825 on their overland exploration between Sydney and Melbourne

Although the sign below lists numerous dangers, I still took a risk, had a swim and lived to tell the tale.

The following morning I set off to Lake Cobbler in the Victorian Alps to use as a base to explore the area.    I had hoped to get there before the forecast afternoon rain as there is quite a steep track up to the lake at the end.  The rain actually started pelting down just as the track got difficult, but by taking it slow, Keddie and Yoga (the Landcruiser Prado) handled it well.    Once there it was great to just pull up, jump in the caravan, flick on the kettle and brew a cup of tea in a nice warm shelter.

Nice weather for ducks at Lake Cobber
Nice weather for Ducks – Southern Black Ducks to be exact.

While it rained very hard, fortunately it did not last long.   I was soon treated to a sighting of some white-naped honey-eaters and was able to go far a walk to the nearby Dandongadale Waterfall, which is the highest in the state of Victoria.

The next day started cold and I was treated to some eerie scenes of mist on the lake.  However it was clear and the cool temperature was ideal for my planned 8 hour walk from Mt Speculation to Mt Howitt and back along the classic alpine ridge route over the cross-cut saw.    The walk was truly spectacular with amazing views of rugged mountains, deep valleys and distant vistas.   I even managed to spot a new species of bird.    I also got a shot of a cuckoo being fed by its tiny host parent.   Unfortunately I could not identify the host, or even confidently identify the cuckoo itself, but I think it might be brush cuckoo.

Mt Spec walk start
Trail Start – what, no warning signs ?
Mt Stirling Summit Panorama
Mt Speculation Summit Panorama – The trail to Mt Howitt starts down the ridge on the right, heads over the green bump in the middle then along the knife edge to the range at the horizon about 8 km away.
Mt buller from Mt Stirling
Mt Buller ski resort, seen from Mt Speculation

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After finishing the walk at about 6:30pm, I decided it would be great to head back up to the summit of Mt Speculation, cook myself some dinner and watch the sunset.  So I got some food from the car and my sleeping bag and walked 15 minutes back up to the peak for an unforgettable sunset all snug in my bag.

Then it was back down in the fading light and plummeting temperatures, followed by a 45 minute drive in the dark back to the welcoming luxury of a hot shower and soft bed at the lakeside camp in the middle of the bush.

After sleeping in a bit, I did a much easier 4 hour return walk up Mt Cobbler today.   Again, a very rewarding walk with great views and birds, although no new species.

Mt Cobbler
Mt Cobbler summit mound
Mt cobbler summit
Mt Cobbler summit shot with Speculation, Howitt and Cross Cut Saw in the distance
Lake Cobbler from Mt Cobbler
A view of lake Cobbler down on the right from the summit

From Mt Cobbler you can look across to the Mt Buller ski fields, Mt Stirling and also just see Craig’s Hut in the distance.   This hut was built for the Man from Snowy River movie and Mt Cobbler features as the rugged backdrop in many scenes of this hut

After getting back to the lake at about 3pm, it was time for a swim (the water is surprisingly warm – probably about 19 or 20 degrees) and some relaxing.  I also took the opportunity to do some laundry and refill the water tanks from the clear stream nearby (I have been taking some decadently long hot showers these last two days – I can’t only blame the washing machine for all the water used in just 2 days out).

washing sheets at lake cobbler

Now I’m off for a quick drive to the nearby ridge where there is a mobile signal so I can upload this blog before bed.

4 thoughts on “Around Albury, then up to Lake Cobbler

  1. Hi Steve – great shots of Spotted Pardalotes – they are so hard to see. It’s also good to see that you are enjoying Lake Hume. I spent a lot of my working years with that structure, its parks and power station.

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  2. Steve, Once Maddy is back with you, and if you go back up high, and if you can get the keddy up to Falls Creek, there is some fabulous free camping on what they call the Bogong High Plains. Each site has built-in firePlaces. Through Falls Creek heading south, around the big lake, then another two km, and on the left is the first small area (room for about eight rigs) with long drop loo. Sometimes the horse-set camp there, as there is a holding yard for them to turn the horses out into at night… past that site, there at two more along the same road. The third one (on the right as you head south) is a huge grassed area with room for a hundred. There a lot of stunning walks, which are mostly in good state as they are the summer version of what are cross-country skiing routes when the snow comes. fYI, back in Falls Creek heading north, the last cafe on the left has a huge set of free showers (for the ski season). We have always had a coffee and a snack to sate our conscience, but the operators (very pleasant elderly couple) insist that the showers are without any obligation, and they even offered us towels! Keep enjoying! Graham from Terrey Hills.

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    1. Hi. Thanks for the suggestion, although we probably won’t visit the Bogong High Plains this time. They are actually the only part of the Victorian high country that we have visited before, so on this trip we will be focusing on the other areas. Anyway there are plenty of wonderful free camps around – like the one that I am at right now – it’s at Mt Freeze-out about 5km down the Dargo Road going from Mt Hotham at about 1600m. I have just had an outdoor shower (a nice hot one – courtesy of the Kedron) while the sun is setting over Mt Speculation in the distance. Steve

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