From Lake Cobbler my intention was to head over the range to the intriguingly named Lake Tali Karng in a very remote part of the Victorian Alps about 40km south from Lake Cobbler as the currawong flies. However to get there required about 5 hours of normal driving on mostly sealed roads, then 3 hours on a rough 4×4 track to get to Millers Hut followed by a 3 hour walk down to the lake itself.
My plan was to drive to Dargo at the start of the 4WD track, spend the night there at a caravan park so I could leave the caravan there and head up the track and do the lake walk and another walk to a gorge and camp the night near Millers Hut. However, an unexpected “no caravans” sign at the start of the Dargo High Plains road foiled this plan. Instead, I stayed the night in Dinner Plain. It is primarily a ski resort village at about 1600m altitude and was the best alternative I could find as it had a formal free camping area that seemed secure enough to leave Keddie on its own for a night.
On the negative side this added 2 hours of driving to each of the next two days, but on the plus side, I got to enjoy a really good lamb wellington at the Dinner Plain Pub and to experience some exciting fierce weather as a cold front came through followed by a really cold morning. Although the banner of our blog says we are seeking warm weather, I did enjoy the novelty.
The 4WD drive up to Millers Hut was quite intense in a few places with slopes approaching 30 degrees and it took about 3 hours to do 40km. My map marks it as medium grade, so I’m glad I did not choose the slightly shorter “difficult” option. It’s hard to show steep grades in photos, but some of the photos below show some of the steeper parts. At one point the track goes over the top of Mt Wellington (the Victorian one – not the Tasmanian one).
Although I planned to do a 12km walk to Moroka Gorge on the way to Millers Hut, the extra 2 hours driving and harder than expected driving made me think that it would be better to do just the 6km walk to the 1st Moroka Waterfall. This turned out to be a very pleasant walk with many birds along the way (including 2 new species).
The falls themselves were quite impressive, and it had a nice big pool below the falls – ideal for a swim if the weather was warm. However, as it was only about 8 degrees (due to the post front Antarctic vortex) and not much warmer in the water, I settled for just a very quick swim over to the waterfall.
Fittingly there was a swallow dipping and swooping around the pool below the Moroka Falls. It was hard to photograph, but I eventually got the somewhat blurred shot below – try to spot the bird on the lower right.
The camp at Miller’s hut was in the trees, so no views, but as the temperature started to plummet and it got a bit windy, it was good to be sheltered. So it was dinner and bed soon after the photo below.
On the downside, being in the trees and in a valley meant it takes a while to warm up. However, this did not seem to worry this cute little flame robin that came bob-bob-bobbing along while I had breakfast
As it was going to be a long day, I could not wait for the sun to get high enough to warn up the camp, so I packed up and set off soon after it got light
It was a 700m decent to the Lake. Although it was on a formed path, there were a lot of fallen trees higher up so it was fairly slow going. However on arriving at the bottom the scene was amazing – a crystal clear, deep natural lake now warmed by the sunshine. It was actually relatively warm, probably about 20 degrees: great for a couple of long swims.
It is believed that the lake was formed when a landslide naturally dammed the valley. Oddly there is no outlet channel – the water just seeps underground and comes out elsewhere. As a result, the water level fluctuates depending on how fast it is flowing in, leading to the barren banks seen above.
It wasn’t only me that thought the lake was warm enough for a swim. I also spotted this tiger snake going for its a morning dip.
On the walk back up to Millers Hut, it had warmed up quite a bit so there were plenty of birds out. I saw a juvenile cuckoo and host again. This time I was able to identify both – a fan-tailed cuckoo and tiny white browed scrubwen, although the photo is spoiled by the leaves in front.
Although Miller’s hut was built over 100 years ago, it still has the original timer slabs. While these old stockman’s huts are quite photogenic outside, from the inside photo below – you can see why it’s probably preferable to sleep in a tent.
Then it was time for the Landcruiser to again show what it was built to do, with time for a short stop for a cup of afternoon tea on top of Mt Wellington with some great views. I could just make out the ocean to the south and could see Mt Feathertop in the distance to the east – my target for tomorrow. S