Victoria specific bushwalking discussion.
Victoria specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.
Wed 16 May, 2018 7:57 am
Having heard of McMillans Walking Track, my friend and I were keen to walk it. There is less information readily available on it than on some other tracks. I have written a set of notes about our walk for those who are interested. I hope it provides a little more useful info for those considering the walk. See https://app.box.com/s/0s9vjn7zhumerapy5lhknhkdhstd9jm9
Wed 16 May, 2018 9:33 am
Thanks for the report. Another one I've always wanted to do but never got around to.
Good to know the track is being maintained.
Wed 16 May, 2018 12:06 pm
Many thanks LLSC for this report. Plan to walk McMillans with a few others in November. The Ben Cruachan Walking Club also has some useful walk reports. They also help out with track maintenance. Reports can be found at http://bencruachanwalkingclub.com/
Wed 16 May, 2018 3:46 pm
Fantastic report thanks for the effort.
Wed 16 May, 2018 4:35 pm
Thanks for putting the time in to put this report together! With regard to navigation, did you rely solely on track markers, map and compass? Or did you find the GPS useful? Are you aware of any GPX files for the track that could be used to make navigation more straightforward?
Wed 16 May, 2018 5:24 pm
Thanks Doc for the report. Having dinner with Gordy at the Glen Wills retreat tonight and I will let him know. Emailed the link to him.
Wed 16 May, 2018 10:47 pm
Canadianeh wrote:Thanks for putting the time in to put this report together! With regard to navigation, did you rely solely on track markers, map and compass? Or did you find the GPS useful? Are you aware of any GPX files for the track that could be used to make navigation more straightforward?
Thanks for your interest. On a few occasions, I did consult the GPS. Someone told me about Mudmaps for iPhone and I love it: it has got me out of a few fixes. I use it when I realise that I have made an error and want confirmation. There were a few occasions on this track when it helped us cut our losses (including when we were on Shamrock Spur on day 1; missing the turnoff from D4 on day 7). I am not an expert navigator, so for me, it is really worthwhile.
I don't know if there is going to be an official electronic map released. I believe that the data used on a recent walk will be given to Vicmaps, so their updated maps will have the correct route in future. There is a version of the route on Open Street Map that looks pretty accurate ( https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/4034791
), as far as I can see, but I didn't use it. It does not show the current track up Crooked River but otherwise seems accurate. The track shown after Stonewall goes up the Jeff Spur Track, which would lead to Dargo High Plains Rd OK but, as I understand, was not the official McMWT prior to Crooked River Track being reopened. It used to go up the Jeff Davis Track. It probably doesn't matter much: I believe McMillan used all three tracks, at times. However, my strong preference is to to take the Crooked River Track, to avoid the long road walk along DHP Rd.
I think the notes of the BCWC trip from late last year should be released on their website pretty soon: they will be worth a look, to describe the current track.
Good luck, if you decide to walk it. The walk is interesting and the history, also.
Further edit on 18th May: the OSM track appears to be recent, showing accurately the route avoiding Mt Lookout and the path across the saddle immediately to the west of the Macalister River. The map itself does indicate the route across Gow's plain at the top of White Timber Spur and does show a track for Crooked River Mining Track and for 30 Mile Creek Mining Track. I haven't seen these details on other maps, so the OSM map is worth a look.
Last edited by LLSC
on Fri 18 May, 2018 1:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Wed 16 May, 2018 11:01 pm
Xplora wrote:Thanks Doc for the report. Having dinner with Gordy at the Glen Wills retreat tonight and I will let him know. Emailed the link to him.
Thanks, Xplora. It was great to spend a while with him again. He was very helpful again.
Pls say hi to Ms/Mrs Xplora.
Thu 17 May, 2018 5:53 am
I have left your report open for her to read. We have passed the McMillan track on many of our trips and often thought about what it would be like. Not sure if the name will change in time as the evidence against Angus McMillan is pretty damning. Gordy told us or your intentions some time ago and is keen to read your report. Hope to catch up again next time you are in the area.
Thu 17 May, 2018 9:45 pm
nice detailed report. Bravo
Sun 14 Oct, 2018 7:18 pm
Another interesting book on McMillan, putting a different side to his life is 'Thicker than Water' by Cal Flynn; Fourth Estate; 2016. ISBN 978 1 4607 5050
Sun 21 Oct, 2018 5:34 pm
Excellent account - been interested in this for a while - looks magic
Mon 29 Oct, 2018 7:10 pm
I have walked bits of the McMillan track esp. the Treasure spur section coming up from Mayford on the Dargo river. That section has been worked on and is easy to navigate. Other sections are reportedly way overgrown . :-0
Wed 14 Nov, 2018 8:37 pm
My sincere thanks to you guys for your very informative notes on the McMillian track. There is very little info about this walk, you people have filled a vacuum.
Tue 27 Nov, 2018 11:15 pm
The VMTC have some track work lined up along a section of Mc Millan's track this green season.
Sat 29 Dec, 2018 2:20 pm
Myself and five others walked McMillans in the 2nd half of November. We left Cobungra on Friday, November 16 to undertake a 14 day walk to Woods Point. We had also left two food and water drops near Arbuckle Junction and Mt Shillinglaw. The notes below are not detailed track notes but give an idea of what the track is like. Happy to field any questions about the track. We had two food/water drops which saved some big days carrying water.
The first day was a short and cruisy walk into Black Sallee campsite. The second day was more challenging involving an incredibly steep descent along an old fire trail down the Mayford Spur, across the Dargo River and an equally steep ascent up Treasure Spur to reach our campsite next to Lankey Plain Hut (1550m) on the Dargo High Plains. A rather cold night and in the morning, we met our first deer hunter (first of several encounters). We had already seen deer on the previous day.
The original McMillan’s route took walkers along the Dargo High Plains Road for 25 km or so but we avoided that by following some more recent track markers across country to meet up with the White Timber Track. This took us down to the junction of Thirty Mile and Twenty-Five Mile Creeks. Here we set up camp at a really beautiful but rather cramped site. It also afforded the first of many opportunities to cool off in the creek.
The next section of the walk follows about 10km of what eventually becomes the Crooked River and had a reputation for being unwalkable due to the amount of regrowth on the track. However, recent work by volunteers has markedly improved the track and we encountered no difficulties. We eventually reached a campsite near the old gold mining settlement of Stonewall (named after the Civil War general we presume).
The track then follows the Crooked River including over 25 river crossings as we meandered along a vehicle track. This took us to Talbotville, another old gold mining settlement of some note, and then onto the Wongungarra River for the next campsite. It was here we had our first snake encounter when someone spotted a snake swimming across the river about 20m from where people were having a swim.
Leaving the Wongungarra we had another steep ascent and descent over the Cynthia Range to reach the Wonnangatta River though there was some temporary confusion when we appeared to miss a track marker and started to head across private farmland. But we soon found the right route, crossed the Wonnangatta on a suspension bridge and headed up the river with glimpses of Snowy Bluff to another beaut campsite just below the junction of the Wonnangatta and Moroka Rivers. More swimming opportunities followed.
The next day was quite tough as we turned up the Moroka River and attempted to follow the track markers. After passing through the beautiful Moroka Glen (more deer sightings) the track took us away from the river. McMillan’s original line tended to keep high above the river and we followed some old track markers to a saddle about 500m up. Here another marker directed us to descend but the markers disappeared as did any semblance of a track. We decided to return to the river and stayed there criss-crossing it as we headed upstream. We also had our second snake encounter, this time a red-bellied black curled up in the sun which declined to move away. So we did instead! Our camp was at the foot of an old fire trail and we able to get settle in before rain arrived.
The following day was marked by a big ascent initially up Playboy Creek and then to Beth’s Saddle. After a short side trip to Beth’s Peak (1125m) we reached the start of the old D4 track to our first food drop at ‘Volkswagen’ camp just below Moroka Road. The weather began to deteriorate just in time for happy hour which rapidly became happy 10 minutes as with shivering hands we gulped down the red wine and retired to our tents. We subsequently learnt that the weather was worse than we experienced, with snow and wind at higher elevations. We were lucky to be camped on a sheltered side of the range.
Leaving Volkswagen, we ascended Mt Arbuckle (1581m) and descended through some beautiful alpine meadows to Kelly’s Hut. Ran into more deer hunters here (after hearing a shot in the distance). Our next camp was on Shaw’s Creek, a tributary of the Macalister River, and where we able to get a fire going. A chilly morning and after brief glimpses of sun the cloud and showery weather returned. This morning’s walking was also marked by our second navigation lapse of missing an obvious track marker to take a left turn onto a side track (how could six pairs of eyes miss it?) but we soon realised the error and not much time was lost. This track ascended to Mt Tamboritha (1509m). A rare sighting of a kangaroo or wallaby on the ascent. Again the wildflowers (and ground orchids) were spectacular. After the obligatory photos by the summit cairn we descended steeply along a long and narrow spur to Breakfast Creek (a tributary of the Wellington River).
After pausing by the plaque marking the 1988 reopening of the McMillan’s Track, the next day’s walking combined with the track to the Crinoline (Mt Ligar). However, we bypassed the Crinoline (leave for another day) to steeply descend along a faint footpad to the Macalister River. We lost any sign of track trackers near the river but crossed the river in the right place anyway. This was the deepest and widest of our crossings but we got across without incident. Some more ascending and descending through farmland took us to a gate marked ‘Private Property No Trespassing’. The sign is not obvious to those travelling west but will confuse people heading east and the authorities need to sort this out with the property owner. Some climbing and descending took us to Rumpff Flat (on Mt Skene Creek), an enormous camping area which we had to ourselves.
The following day took us up the notorious McMillan Spur which for steepness rivals the earlier Mayford Spur. This took us to the Jamieson-Licola Road and after a road bash and diversion past Mt Shillinglaw (1301m) – more ground orchids – we reached our second food and water drop just off the Jamieson-Licola Road, and near where McMillan’s joins the Australian Alps Walking Track. This time the weather was kinder and we had a proper happy hour.
On the home run now and our next descent took us to the Black River. This also marked our departure from the catchments of the rivers flowing to the Gippsland coast to the catchments of rivers flowing into the Murray. Sections of the track down to the Black River were in poor condition, mainly fallen timber and regrowth, though re-marking by the volunteers helped a lot. Another snake encounter, this time a tiger. The Black River campsite was too cramped for five tents so we set up a dry camp about 500m south of the river on a small saddle below a rocky knob. Not ideal but so be it. The Black River camp was also the only time we heard wild dogs (about an hour before dawn).
Leaving Black River took us over the ridge and down to Standen Creek (a tributary of the Goulburn and an old gold field settlement) and our last camp. Another snake encounter (species indeterminate) but this time the first half of the party walked past it without noticing. The track has been recently cleared and is well marked. We got in early for a wash in the creek. We also met up with the only bushwalker we encountered in 2 weeks. A solo walker aiming to complete McMillan’s in 6 days. Indeed he did and walked into Woods Point later that evening. As far as can be determined this is the fastest completion of McMillan’s. No mean feat in that sort of country. We reached Woods Point around lunch time the following day (November 30th) after another stiff climb, this time to Johnson Hill.
All in all, McMillan’s was in better shape than expected, largely due to the efforts of the maintenance teams including the bushwalking volunteers. It is still a tough walk but it passes through some magnificent country and more people should attempt it.
Sat 29 Dec, 2018 9:06 pm
Thanks for the great report David.
Tue 08 Jan, 2019 10:53 pm
Bushwalking Vic and Ben Cruachan walking club have track clearing planned for Australia Day weekend. In the region of Lazarini Spur track off the Jamieson - Licola Road. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more details.
They note that The 220km McMillans Walking Track is based on the pack horse track formed on behalf of the Government by Angus McMillan in 1864 to link the various gold fields between Woods Point and Omeo in the Gippsland high country. The track was retraced and cleared as a walking track during the 1980s. I believe that Ben Cruachan Walking Club were the volunteers who reopened it.
Wed 23 Jan, 2019 3:52 pm
Xplora wrote:I have left your report open for her to read. We have passed the McMillan track on many of our trips and often thought about what it would be like. Not sure if the name will change in time as the evidence against Angus McMillan is pretty damning. Gordy told us or your intentions some time ago and is keen to read your report. Hope to catch up again next time you are in the area.
Just reading 'Caledonia australis' by Don Watson again and came across this, given this book and the other referred to plus others after Watson's, the evidence is thorough and conclusive.
But Australians, even though good people, hate change more than anything.
Once we have an idea or come around to an idea, it's locked in for seemingly eternity.
Having to cross Macmillan's Strait again and again visiting family, raising Angus Macmillan and his known complicity in atrocities has barely raised an eyebrow for these past thirty years.
I would like to walk this track.
I wholeheartedly support a name change.
Wed 30 Jan, 2019 3:12 pm
Over the long weekend, 17 volunteers did an amazing job of clearing the overgrown and, in parts, difficult to navigate section of McMillans Track from Lazarini Spur Track to Black River. We postponed the start from Friday to Saturday due to heat and total fire ban, so Saturday was a half day. Sunday and Monday were the main days with half the group staying to finish up on Tuesday. There was a bit of chainsawing, a lot of brushcutting, hedge trimmer action, lopping and moving the cut material off the track by rake and by hand. Hard work just carrying the tools to and from Black River (see profile); great teamwork and a great result: the very overgrown sections looked like a tunnelling machine had been through. Hopefully, this will make it easier for those deciding to walk the track. Some pictures included; more to follow.
Wed 30 Jan, 2019 6:24 pm
Well done. It is tough work just carrying a fully fuelled chainsaw up a hill such as Keppel's hut track to The Lake Mountain boundary hut trail, which is not that far really.
Thu 31 Jan, 2019 10:41 am
Fantastic effort. This was one of the more overgrown sections of track back in November so many thanks to the team for clearing it.
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