AAWT Stage 10 – Omeo Hwy to Benambra-Corryong Road
On 25 April, Team Fun & Appreciation (this time consisting of Caroline, Simon, Patrice & Simon) set off at about 5am from Melbourne to meet Jon & Vanessa in Omeo to switch cars. We were to hike from Omeo Hwy to Benambra-Corryong Road, and Vanessa & Jon were to hike the opposite direction (WAY harder as they had to follow all of the instructions backwards).
Day 1: Omeo Highway to Gills Creek
After the car switch, we set out from Omeo Hwy, very excited to finally be doing our first section of AAWT. We were to hike three days, hopefully running into Vanessa & Jon along the way on the second day.
Our first day was relatively simple, despite some pretty overgrown track and many fallen trees. Simon, Patrice and Tamsin all practised their navigation skills and successfully got us through all the overgrown parts. We reached our campsite at Gills Creek, after a very steep descent, so much earlier than anticipated that we all thought we couldn’t possibly be at the right place. After triple checking the guidebook we concluded we couldn’t possibly be anywhere else, and got started on making a fire and setting up camp. Quite a relief that we were the only ones there because there was just barely enough room for our two small tents!
Day 2: Gills Creek to Taylors Crossing
After a great sleep (with only a little bit of snoring from Simon!) day 2 began with a steep climb up from Gills Creek that pretty much felt like a wall. The track was again quite overgrown but relatively easy to follow. Happily, we soon ran into Jon – but sans pack and sans Vanessa! Turned out she’d hurt her ankle and he’d left her back at the first campsite (Taylors Crossing), and was hiking out the rest of the two days in one day (in true Steamroller style), then driving around to get her from Taylors Crossing. He had time to stop for a quick photo, and then he was off again at a run.
Apart from Jon, we also ran into two rangers who knew the track very well, and an older couple doing a dayhike. These were the only people we saw over the whole three days. Our steep overgrown track shortly became a more level vehicle track, which we followed for quite some time – in fact missing a turn off to a different overgrown track. This moment of confusion eventually led us to the most perfect campsite – Kennedys Hut on the Mitta Mitta River. As well as the hut and a beautiful river, there was also a firepit (awesome) and a pit toilet (score!). A quick inspection showed us not a soul was around, and there was no toilet paper in the toilet (no biggie). Since we had planned to camp at Taylors Crossing, and it was still quite early in the day, we decided to take a look at the other campsite and then decide which was better. Taylors Crossing, while beautiful, was right on a road and definitely not as nice as Kennedys Hut, so back we trekked.
Then the first of two spooky things happened… suddenly there was toilet paper in the toilet! By this stage Patrice had started with stories of the hut being haunted, and I jumped in the river for a quick swim (freezing!!!) before we all collected some firewood. Simon stacked up the beginnings of a fire with some twigs and bark, and we all set off to collect some bigger pieces of wood from further afield.
When we got back to the firepit to start up a fire and cook our dinner, we discovered that the fire had already started itself!!! Mega spooky. We decided not to sleep in the haunted hut and set our tents up then made dinner. A big highlight here was the sampling of freeze dried icecream – Tamsin’s sister had stocked her up well for the trip! Luckily we read the instructions before pouring boiling water into the packet – and used cold water as we were supposed to. While not exactly a delicacy, it was not as horrific as we’d expected!
Day 3: Taylors Crossing to Benambra-Corryong Road
Our third day took us through many kilometres of farmland (relatively uneventful apart from a randomly abandoned bus) then beautiful bush. We were lucky enough to pass by the mid-point of the entire length of the AAWT so stopped for a moment of quiet contemplation and appreciation.
We trundled on past some lovely streams and had our final delicious lunch perched on a fallen tree trunk in a meadowy-bushy area. Not long afterwards we found ourselves at the end of the hike at Benambra-Corryong Road, and were immensely relieved to find the car! We were ready for our incredibly long drive home, featuring many a power-ballad to pass the time.
Total Ascending (TA): 1120m
Total Descending (TD): 1680m
Total Distance of AAWT completed (TKM): 28.5km
AAWT Points: ((TA+TD)/1000)*(TKM/10) = 7.98 points