Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

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Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

Postby north-north-west » Fri 26 Aug, 2011 7:04 pm

My boss made a big mistake the weekend before last - he didn't check how much work there was pending and so let me have the weekend off. I paid for it with a 62 hour week and a lot of missing skin - not to mention a little stiffness - but it was still worthwhile.
Had all sorts of options, but decided to go for something I've wanted to do for ages, just to finish off the set: into Tali Karng via the now re-opened Mt Margaret track. It's 20km each way and steep with it, but I still figure it should be a fairly easy weekend's return walk. And just imagine - spending a night at Tali under a full moon, with snow-covered peaks above. Beautiful. In theory, anyway . . .

Spent the Friday night camped under the trees by the creek at the start of the track. It's a pleasant little spot, well set back from the road, nice and peaceful, with some lovely hills nearby; the country mostly recovered from the fires.
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A good start . . .

Up at first light, dressed, packed the last few things, added water, took a few photos while waiting for Ferdy (the GPS) to log in, and off. The track starts very clearly and wanders down to a very nice little creek, where it promptly disappears. I wasn't keen on climbing up the creek for the requisite distance until the track starts climbing, so tried first one hillside and then the other, looking for a clear track. Stumbled across plenty of faint old pads, all of which were rapidly being overgrown, but nothing obvious - even when Ferdy insisted I was right on the track. Down here, the rock is a deep, rich red, with the hillsides pretty open over the rough gravelly ground. Except for a couple of flat sections near the creek it's easy going.
b007105c.jpg
Near the final creek crossing.


After crisscrossing the creek a bit, I finally met up with the spur the where the climb becomes serious and scampered up the side to join a faint but nonetheless easily followable pad up, up and still further up. Once the track gets near the face of the spur - the steepest bit - it becomes quite obvious, well cut into the hillside, and begins to zig zag. The views from here, back down into the Wellington River valley and over the surrounding ridges, are glorious. It would be well worth climbing up this far as a daywalk just for the view. It's all rocky clifflines and steep green slopes, with the odd smudge of low cloud adding a tasteful highlight.

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Looking back

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NNE from the ridge

b007136c.jpg
Last of the morning fog
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Re: Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

Postby north-north-west » Fri 26 Aug, 2011 8:01 pm

Once the final corner is turned the track evens out a bit and becomes a little fainter again, but it's still easy open ground, wandering through low scrubby trees. The are snatches of view in all directions except straight up to Margaret, but they're all between trees - both dead and green - so getting a decent photo of it is almost impossible. A little further on a knoll is reached, with a jumble of red boulders over the top, and then an easy drop down a short way and the climb resumes. but shortly after, the rock changes and so does the scrub; the soil is obviously friendlier here and the growth gets thicker and higher and the pad becomes fainter and fainter until, at the top of the next knoll, it once again disappears.
Ignoring Ferdy I just keep climbing in more or less the same direction, taking the easiest line up through the scrub and around the many fallen trees. Finally, well before I expect it, I pop out onto the 4WD track.
Then there's an easy stroll for a few hundred metres, passing the sign marking the start of the official descent route, and on to the turnoff by Margaret's shoulder. I had been debating climbing Margaret, but figure that's better left to another day as it would turn this trip into a real epic - it's going to be hard enough to reach Tali in one day as it is. From here, the walking track follows an old 4WD track, undulating steeply down through thick regrowth. The track turns aside before the top of the first knoll, and I keep going straight on, looking for a spot to get a photo or two of the ridge to the north and east - from Hump to Tamboritha - but it's a waste of time as every possible vantage point is blocked by trees. After getting back onto the track I dub this spot 'Sucked In Knob' (the comma is optional), it's cost me over half an hour of daylight for no reward except maddening glimpses of bits and pieces of ridgeline.

Still, it's easy walking soon as the track, despite getting steeper, opens out as it drops back into more gravelly ground and the regrowth lessens. And soon there are better views available, too, even if one has to wander off the track to make the most of them.

b007148c.jpg
Wellington Plateau


It seems to take a long time to get down that spur - probably just because I keep stopping to soak in the sights and take photos - but finally I turn a corner and below the last bit of slope there's a creek crossing. A river, actually, for this is the first branch of the Dolodrook, a nice easy little hop over and the boots stay dry. Neat. Then a short stretch of overgrown track, a wander past a confusing number of turnoffs, and into a lovely open camping area. Well, it would be lovely if the 4WDers didn't find it essential to collect old bins from the mines and pile them sky-high with their empty bottles. And then smash the ones that don't fit so ten metres or more around the main fireplace is paved with glass shards. :roll:
A sensible walker would probably stop here, but, well . . . over a rise and down again and oh ohhh . . . the Dolodrook is running high and fast. A little judicious testing with the trekking pole shows a chest high (at least) drop at the ford so i start to clamber back upstream to see if there's an easier crossing.
After a few more checks, I finally see a big tree fallen across the river, lying well clear of the flow, and scrabble through half the blackberries in Victoria to reach it. All the drybags in the pack have been carefully closed, and I inch over nervously. lJust a metre or so short of the bank there's another smaller trunk jammed up against my bridge, with it's end blocking my way. The only way on is over, so I throw some weight against it, shake it, push it, blah blah blah. It won't budge, so I figure it's safe enough to trust. Climb on, shift the feet down and around a bit, start to reach out to step back on the bigger tree, and the damn thing twists and slips under me, dropping me into the water. It's only waist deep here, so I can quickly squelch onto the narrow bit of flat ground beside the bank, and then spend five minutes trying to climb up 2 metres of sheer eroded dirt. Every time I think I'm up a foot slips or my handhold breaks away. Finally, I dig a couple of toeholds in the dirt and get myself up and back into the blackberry. Fortunately it's only a small patch, with the track just beyond, and soon I'm walking again, still breathing heavily, soaking wet from top to toe, boots squelching, hair dripping, scratches bleeding, the big patch of bare flesh inside my left elbow screaming, brain feverishly wondering whether those drybags did their thing . . .

It's another stiff climb up from here, and by the time I get to the top of Brandy Pinch I'm mostly dry. Then I check the gear (camera is OK and that's the main thing, right?) and it's an easy almost flat section until the last long steep drop down to the Wellington River track. And there are still stunning views all round.

b007153c.jpg
And again, from further along


It's after 3pm when I reach the junction, and I'm seriously wondering if going on is a good idea, but despite the previous survey work the old campground at the end of the MVO track hasn't been rehabilitated, so I keep on - and it's not that far, anyway. It's hard to recognise this area, not so much from the fires, but the flood damage is extreme. I once spent a half hour on a stinking hot day sitting in the shade by the creek just past the plaque on Lanigan's, watching blood red and electric blue dragonflies and damselflies flitting over the burbling water; the tall trees are mostly gone, the creek has cut itself a new path and runs higher and harder now. Over that creek, a bit of a hop and scramble across the rocks and gullies, and onto the new stretch of track. They've done a good job with this, I thought (for a while), well cut and well marked, good easy walking. I thought. Until it turned a corner it didn't use to and headed up the infant (but quite precocious) Wellington River.
Not beside, mind you; you can't really walk up the river bank here, too many rocks and fallen trees and blackberries and sheer banks and thick scrub. UP the RIVER. That's where the markers point and it's the only way to go, unless you want to tackle the aforementioned fallen trees, thick scrub and blackberry. Which, given the height and force of the flow at that point, was the only viable option apart from turning around. But this idiotic bit of re-routing got my dander up and I was now determined to get to *&%$#! Tali Karng that day, come Hell or (please excuse the pun) high water. It only took an extra 15 minutes to bypass that stretch. Then it's a fairly straightforward scramble up another sidecreek before rejoining the old route and climbing up to the saddle and down to the lakeside.
It was getting dark by this time - not torchlight dark, but be careful where you put your feet dark. So I nearly trod in the lake just ten metres at the most past the Fuel Stove Only sign the other side of the saddle. The Lake was WAAAY past it's usual high banks. The camping areas were under at least 5 metres of water. You couldn't even get out of the scrub to get a clear look at the main body of the lake. And as for pitching a tent . . . well, luckily I'd brought the Scarp to give it a field test, and there's a patch of ground on the track, right beside that sign, that is just big enough for a one man tent.
I like that Scarp, by the way. It pitches quick and easy, even when you're doing it for the very first time and by torchlight on rocky ground. In ten minutes I had my camp set up and was cooking dinner while inflating the NeoAir and being grateful I'd forgotten to pack the tripod. Forget about any fancy romantic pictures of a moonlit lake.
Still, I slept well, despite the blackberry scratches and that elbow. And all the gear was dry despite the dunking, so a big cheer for Mr Aarn and his packs.

A cool clear night and the dawn brought a little wispy cloud that soon burnt off. The lake had dropped 6 inches overnight, which gives an idea of the amount of water going down the Wellington.
Packed the tent, scrambled around a bit to try to get some shots of the lake (apologies for the quality) and headed off.

b007158c.jpg
The newer, bigger Tali Karng, at first light

b007171c.jpg
Ditto


On the way back, I knew when to leave the track - as soon as it turned at headed across that sidecreek, I left it and kept going more or less straight, staying up on the ridge above the river until I could scramble down and join the track below the wet section. Not the easiest but it sure beat trying to follow the official route. (Ferdy couldn't log in until this point, either - too many tall trees around blocking the signal.) Then retrace my steps over the unrecognisable creek and the boring muddy undulations back to the junction and the climb up and over Brandy Pinch.

b007183c.jpg
Margaret from Brandy Pinch
Last edited by north-north-west on Fri 26 Aug, 2011 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

Postby north-north-west » Fri 26 Aug, 2011 8:20 pm

The river was a little lower and I managed to find a spot where it was only hip deep so, rather than braving the blackberries again, a nice cool wade did the trick, followed by a break in the sun, emptying water out of the boots and enjoying the sunshine.
b007184c.jpg
Dolodrook River crossing


From there it was mainly the previous day in reverse, except for missing the spot where the track turns below the final climb up Margaret , and having to contour the very steep loose hillside until I hit the track again. And then trying to follow the official route down from the 4WD track, only to find that the track does the same thing at this end as it does by the road: disappear within a couple of hundred metres. Which meant a mad scramble across a gully choked with Dianella, scrub and massive fallen trees, until I hit the ridge I'd climbed up, and could just follow it back down.

b007192c.jpg
Ronald (I think) from the front of Legbreak Knoll

From there, it's mostly just the previous day in reverse, with a brief stop by that unrecognisable creek and a hip deep wade of the Dolodrook (which was lower but still not it's usual placid self) . . .

b007196c.jpg
Evening in the Wellington River Valley


Reached the creek at the base of the climb about 5pm, crossed it and followed the most obvious pad contouring the opposite hillside, keeping a steady course on the compass, until it dropped down to the creek right next to the car.

A most satisfying weekend, despite the issues. Spring was well underway; not just the high water from the thaw, but things were blooming everywhere. Wattles, grevilleas, even the orchids had started.
b007202c.jpg
Caladenia somethingorotherii


But I am thoroughly cheezed off with ParksVic - or, more properly, the new Government as I'm fairly sure this is a result of their interference. That track was closed for five years, and the only work that has been done is the erection of two signs on the 4WD track, the placement of four track markers (all within 100 metres of the 4WD track), and a little desultory chainsaw work on the Margaret-Chromite Mines section (and that was not recent; at a guess I'd say three years ago at least).
So, for anyone wanting to do this walk - forget about the 'track' bit on the sign. It' effectively a scrub-bash until you're on the 4WD track. The nav's easy enough in good conditions, but could be a bit awkward if you were coming down in fog. And be prepared for the crossings and the re-routed section of Lanigan's.

ps: Sorry about the length. I don't seem to be able to not waffle on these things.
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Re: Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

Postby Bronski » Mon 12 Sep, 2011 8:11 pm

Great report, thanks for sharing! I had been thinking of doing the track, so this has been very enlightening!
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Re: Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

Postby north-north-west » Thu 15 Sep, 2011 9:14 pm

For the record, if you're going when the water levels are a bit more normal, it's probably easier to stick with the creek bed until you reach the spur where the climb starts. Mostly the lower part of the creek flows underground or is just a trickle, so it should be easy going. The only difficult bit is making sure you leave the creek at the right point.

As soon as I get a chance I'm going to check out the ridge south of the creek. I think that would get up to the 4WD track quicker, and it's probably no scrubbier than the official route.
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Re: Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

Postby Northy351 » Mon 07 Nov, 2011 9:43 am

north-north-west wrote:For the record, if you're going when the water levels are a bit more normal, it's probably easier to stick with the creek bed until you reach the spur where the climb starts. Mostly the lower part of the creek flows underground or is just a trickle, so it should be easy going. The only difficult bit is making sure you leave the creek at the right point.

As soon as I get a chance I'm going to check out the ridge south of the creek. I think that would get up to the 4WD track quicker, and it's probably no scrubbier than the official route.


Hi north-north-west ,Beatutiful write up and fantastic photographs on your advantage and thank you for sharing this information.
Been trying to find information via google and yahoo search engines and came across this forums and thread posting .

I had planned to do the walk to Lake Tali Karng via Licola township North end at Wellington River Bridge Car Park
and now reading your post this may have to be postponed for another day seeing you did it hard. I''m not as young as i used to be :D :lol:

 
What month(s) of the year are the creek(s) , river(s) and Lake Tali Karng lowest ? Probably a ambiguous question considering the weather patterns we have been having lately on my behalf as we all know the sky's could open up with a deluge of water and being such a mountains' area all the creeks and river system is one huge water catchment and raging water flow with in minutes.

I would like to do the walk when the weather is the warmer as I would prefer to stay the
night and track back the next day.


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Re: Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

Postby north-north-west » Thu 10 Nov, 2011 7:02 pm

Autumn or late summer would usually be best, as far as the water levels go. February, March, April. Just keep an eye on the amount of rain the area's received over the previous few days. My problem was that there had been heavy rain co-inciding with the end of the thaw; the river levels I experienced are not normal. On the drive back out I noticed the Wellington River wasn't far short of breaking its banks down near Licola.
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Re: Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

Postby Northy351 » Mon 13 Feb, 2012 2:01 pm

Hi north-north-west thank you for that info , will be heading out that way on the 3rd March 12, just hope the weather is nice :-) Fingers crossed.

Anyone else heading out to Lake Tali Karng ?


7 day weather forecast - Licola VIC 3858 http://www.weatherzone.com.au/vic/w-and ... and/licola

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Re: Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

Postby Northy351 » Mon 27 Feb, 2012 7:37 am

LOL :lol: :lol: :lol: low and behold , the heavens have opened up just as i thought things would span out on my first major trip to Lake Tali Karng in the Alpine National Park of Victoria Australia.

The whole central section of Victoria is covered in rain louds spanning in all four direction. Still going ahead with the hike this coming Saturday regardless of the weather forecast. :shock: :shock: :shock:

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Re: Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

Postby Northy351 » Mon 27 Feb, 2012 8:18 am

Quick question ???

Have Parks Victoria done any maintenance work on the tracks from varies directions to Lake Tali Karng in the last 6 months ?

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Tali Karng ( Licola Radar, Satellite and Synoptic Charts)

Postby Northy351 » Thu 01 Mar, 2012 9:04 am

Hello , dammmmmmmm rain go away , LOL , seems i will have to postpone this trip as all the rain we are having the river crossings will be impossible negate thirteen time and I'm not to keep to even attempt the river crossings.

Licola Radar, Satellite and Synoptic Charts - http://www.willyweather.com.au/vic/east ... icola.html
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Re: Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

Postby dplanet » Wed 21 Mar, 2012 6:21 am

Had planned a walk near Tali; but changed mind due to forecast. We went West instead of East and did a 3 day Desert Discovery Walk in Little Desert National Park. It is my friend's first visit to the park and the fourth (plus?) for me. Two photographs are attached.
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Mallee Camp, Little Desert National Park
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Little Desert at dusk (photo by Dzung Nguyen)
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Re: Mt Margaret to Tali Karng

Postby north-north-west » Thu 23 May, 2013 7:38 pm

Just a little update. I think someone at VicParks has read my trip report. Either that or they're admitting that they haven't the funding to maintain this route as a track. The new sign at the starting point:
c01439.JPG
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