Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

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Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby nihil » Fri 09 Oct, 2020 1:31 pm

Hi Bushwalkers

I want to do a through-hike from Baw Baw to Falls Creek. In April 2012 I did Walhalla to Hotham In 20 days. This time I want to start at Mushroom Rocks And go to Falls Creek.

I’m sure a lot has changed between then and now. And I would like advice on going in this season. I’d also like to ask about transport to Baw Baw and then from Falls Creek. Worse comes to worst I can just drive and park my car in the Baw Baw area but I’d prefer to leave it for my girlfriend to use while I’m gone.

I understand there were some bushfires in the Barry Mountains area — are the water tanks there functional?

Any advice would be golden, thank you all!
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 09 Oct, 2020 2:28 pm

See
https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/get-into-n ... cted-parks
for a list of park closures. It's not just the tanks that need to there. They need to be free of of ash. I do not know where this information is available.

As far as I'm aware the only way to get to Mount Erica car park from Gippsland is by road in a private car or taxi from Moe. It's about 65 kilometres and would cost perhaps $150, which may cost less than the hassle of leaving the car there. You may be able to hitch hike from Falls Creek to Mount Beauty, where there's a taxi to Bright, bus to Wangaratta, and trains to Melbourne. Another option is the Omeo-Bright bus, stopping at Hotham and Harrietville connecting with the Wangaratta bus. To do this you could make the second last day Twins-Federation Hut, then roll down to Harrietville. There's a route on the ridges from Fainters to Mount Beauty, adds another day.

Melbourne to Mount Beauty
https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/route/1912/m ... ia-bright/
Omeo to Bright
https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/route/1991/o ... m-heights/
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby nihil » Fri 09 Oct, 2020 4:06 pm

Thank you Lophophaps!

That's good advice about just driving to the start of the trail. Of course I need to go collect the car but I could potentially just ride my bike up from a township to collect it to save on money.

That's great advice with Harrietville. I've never walked past Hotham so that will add a new section to the walk. It looks like a stunning area.

I think what I might do is just load up a full 4 or even 6 litre Dromlite to get me through that area in case the water is all gone/bad.
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby Baeng72 » Fri 09 Oct, 2020 4:08 pm

There's public transport to Noojee, which is about as close as it gets to Baw Baw plateau. But that's 50ks short.
Probably Taxi from Moe or Traralgon is the go.

You could park your car at Mt Erica car-park, follow AAWT northwards, when you get to Hotham, hike down to Cobungra via Dinner plain, then follow the McMillan track back to where it intersects with AAWT, then back to car. Easy! :wink:
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby dashandsaph » Fri 09 Oct, 2020 4:22 pm

Hi, just spoke to Parks in Bright, they said as far as they are aware, the 3 tanks in the Barries are intact but the water may not taste very good because of ash. Hopefully that will have settled to the bottom of the tank by now. It has been a relatively dry winter (up until the last day or so) so the tanks might be low. Also, the trees at risk of falling have been checked and dropped where needed and there is some track clearing work coming up in a month or so, which may make it an easier path.
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 09 Oct, 2020 5:15 pm

Noojee has a population of 157, and I cannot see a taxi service based there. You may be able to find a Noojee local who could drive you to the start. At 100 kilometres round trip offer $70, close to the ATO rate. The tank taps are at the bottom, and could easily be blocked. PV needs to drain the tanks on the big pipe (may be 50 mm), use a tanker to flush out the debris, then fill the tank. By now all the ash on the trees will be long gone.

The Barries are 2-3 days and I cannot see carrying water for all that time as being pleasant. The last possible water is Catherine Pass some way down the road, and Viking Saddle, also a bit of a walk. After that there may be water in creeks way down from the ridges, and on the north side of The Twins on the road. After that the next water is on Feathertop or at Derrick Hut, or a side-trip to the Hotham Heights visitor centre. These are long dry stages.
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby dashandsaph » Fri 09 Oct, 2020 6:31 pm

I would be grateful for any recent info on the drinkability of the water from the tanks on the Barries.
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby nihil » Fri 09 Oct, 2020 8:09 pm

Yeah it will be uncomfortable to carry that much water, but I have an Aarn pack so I can just put 3 litres in each front pocket and everything else in the back.

I have a visceral appreciation for the length of the 'Dry Barries'. When I went through in 2012, the creek at Viking was dead. After an hour and a half working out the chimney, I had only 600mm left in my bottle. I then got off trail in the gulley coming down off Viking and slept in a tent at what felt like a 45 degree angle, looking at 300mm of water in my bottle and studying maps into the evening. In the morning I found the trail relatively easily, but when I got to Barry Saddle the tank was filled with what I found out later is just mozzie larvae, so I skipped that (silly), but then the subsequent at Selwyn track camp site tank was empty! I was licking the dew drops off trees before I got to Mt Selwyn.

Lophophaps wrote:Noojee has a population of 157, and I cannot see a taxi service based there. You may be able to find a Noojee local who could drive you to the start. At 100 kilometres round trip offer $70, close to the ATO rate. The tank taps are at the bottom, and could easily be blocked. PV needs to drain the tanks on the big pipe (may be 50 mm), use a tanker to flush out the debris, then fill the tank. By now all the ash on the trees will be long gone.

The Barries are 2-3 days and I cannot see carrying water for all that time as being pleasant. The last possible water is Catherine Pass some way down the road, and Viking Saddle, also a bit of a walk. After that there may be water in creeks way down from the ridges, and on the north side of The Twins on the road. After that the next water is on Feathertop or at Derrick Hut, or a side-trip to the Hotham Heights visitor centre. These are long dry stages.
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby Lophophaps » Sat 10 Oct, 2020 10:34 am

In my view, 6 litres will not be enough to get you from Catherine Saddle to The Twins, Feathertop, Hotham or Derrick Hut. You need to determine if the tanks are there and if the water is okay. if not, think about reliable water from creeks. The Chapman distances are cited or the nearest distance when the water is off the AAWT
176 Catherine Saddle - maybe an hour return down the road to a creek, should be running.

182 Viking Saddle - unknown time, flatter than Catherine Pass but probably small flow.

205 South Selwyn - Canyon Road, looks reliable, may as well keep going on the road to the AAWT, good campsites on the road on the SE side of the road-AAWT junction.

209 Selwyn Creek Road south of the AAWT - not reliable.

210 Saddle - go SE, unknown reliability.

223 The Twins, on the road. - If the tank west of The Twins is dead then either go over The Twins or on the road to the water on the NE slope of The Twins. You could camp east of The Twins at 224 and walk back a kilometre to where the creek may be running.
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby nihil » Sat 10 Oct, 2020 11:20 am

Hi Lophophaps,

Thank you so much for the detailed information.

I have to admit I am counting on creeks towards the end of the Barries region, which I found running last time. I expect the 6 litres will get me to Canyon road where I filled up last time, and if needed I will go down to collect water from Buffalo River East. Does that sound reasonable?
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby Lophophaps » Sat 10 Oct, 2020 12:47 pm

Nihil, I have not been to most of these places, as the times I went through the tanks were working. Canyon Road is perhaps the most reliable. Catherine Saddle 176 to Canyon Road 205 is 40 kilometres, two days with The Razor-Viking in the middle. I'd wait for more views from other experienced people before forming an opinion. Also, can you please advise when you intend to do the trip? There's quite a difference walking in early summer and autumn. I do not know about the Buffalo River East. At what point on the AAWT do you leave for this?
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby nihil » Sat 10 Oct, 2020 4:24 pm

Here's the spot, on the Memory-Map app and in the Chapman track notes:

https://imgur.com/a/aENERgX

In general I can go down to Buffalo river which runs parallel to the AAWT through this section.

Timing is November at this stage.
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby Lophophaps » Sat 10 Oct, 2020 5:00 pm

The link came up as a black screen. Maybe if you advise of the point on the AAWT where you leave, name and Chapman distance.

There is not much time to research the walk, arrange transport and put in food drops. Some access tracks are closed until the Thursday before Cup Day, 29 October, and some may not be open until later. Depending on how you end the walk, it's about 200 kilometres, and for that you could have one food drop. Mac Springs is one possibility, but a lot of groups go there. it's about two hours from the car park to the hut. Another option is to drive to Lake Cobbler, 12 kilometres on a mainly flat road if there's a gate, or drive or ride a bicycle to Speculation. I do not know where the gates are.

See
https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/-/media/pr ... 8421B3BF0D
for the Speculation region and
https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/get-into-n ... d-closures
for the entire list. The purple seems to show that access to Speculation via Mansfield and the Circuit Road is allowed after 29 October. If so, this is better than Howitt as there are less people camping there and you don't have to carry a food drop over the Crosscut. The downside is that you need another day of food at the start. As the start is mainly flat over the Baw Baw Plateau, the extra start weight should not matter much.

In November I expect the creeks to be running fairly well. A cloth filter should get the worst of the ash out of the tanks.
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby nihil » Sat 10 Oct, 2020 8:26 pm

Give the link a moment, it looks black while it's loading.

I worked out on google maps that I'll have a 1 hour bike ride in from the gate on the Jamieson Licola road (gate is at the Mt Sunday intersection), to Rumpf Saddle which is where I did the food drop for my 2012 Walhalla-Hotham walk. I am considering leaving one at Stronarch's Camp also, so I can ease into things, and also because my dad lives near there so it's convenient.

For transport I've got some local transport options lined up now, and I will walk to Harrietville to end the walk and take public transport from there. I'm thinking of leaving another food drop on the Alpine road near Hotham with some town clothes for when I'm on public transport.

Thank you again for the detailed info and advice Lophophaps!
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 11 Oct, 2020 10:07 am

Ah, slow loader, thanks.

It does not get dark until about 7:30 pm so you may be able to do the first day with a day pack. Leave all the gear at Stronachs, perhaps the day before you start. Like all food drops, place it well away from the campsite, say 50 metres down the road on the other side of the road, well hidden and waterproofed. Take a picture and make notes. However, small animals are quite friendly and you may be burgled.

Rumpf Saddle is a popular food drop site. If leaving a food drop on the Hotham Road, you could walk or ride a bicycle to The Twins campsite, 4 kilometres. There's a creek on the road NE of The Twins, and this should be assessed. You could also put in a water drop at Diamantina Hut, again going a little distance from the hut.

I've camped at Tobias Gap to make the last day very short and easier to catch the bus. You may be able to flag down the bus on the Hotham Road. I've been dropped at a number of points away from regular stops, most helpful.

The Bright bus stop is quite close to the toilet block, and there's time for a wash. Of course only dirty people wash.

This is from an AAWT article I wrote, numbers are Chapman distances
49 One walker said that the "Thomson River diversion was terrible (not that I am familiar with what it used to be, but it had to be better than it is now). This was the worst part of the walk by far, for me." A logical route is on the Upper Thomson Road and Basalt Hill Track. This comes out nearly opposite the track to Mount Easton, and avoids a boring walk on the Thomson Jordan Divide Road.

82 There's a hut with a tank on Short Spur. When this hut was built it was intended that half would be kept open access to all parties. The hut and especially the tank could be mentioned in track notes.
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby north-north-west » Sun 11 Oct, 2020 11:51 am

Lophophaps wrote:49 One walker said that the "Thomson River diversion was terrible (not that I am familiar with what it used to be, but it had to be better than it is now). This was the worst part of the walk by far, for me." A logical route is on the Upper Thomson Road and Basalt Hill Track. This comes out nearly opposite the track to Mount Easton, and avoids a boring walk on the Thomson Jordan Divide Road.


I've done both, twice (daywalk loops, once clockwise, once widdershins). Agree that Basalt Hill Track is a better walk, especially if you're going down. It also seems to get fewer 4WDers in season.
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby nihil » Sun 11 Oct, 2020 2:05 pm

That's awesome advice re day-walking from Erica car park. My pack is waterproof and pretty smell proof too, but I could stow it in a tough bag at Stronarch's area.

Again, terrific advice about riding in along the Twins to check out the creek status, I will do this for that area's drop.

Tobias gap sounds ideal. I'll probably be sick of high-altitude camp sites by then! And an easy morning is probably what the doctor orders before making one's way back to society.

Personally the lowest point was the overgrowth from Barry Saddle (I wonder if that's still there) to East Buffalo Rd or thereabouts (can't recall exactly now), but I do remember bending my hiking pole around the Trig Point Track area (thankfully it was alu and I could bend it back). I might give Thomson Rd/Basalt Hill Track a try instead.

Do you have a link to the article you cited, Lophophaps?
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 11 Oct, 2020 2:49 pm

The state of the tank at The Twins will give you an idea of how the other tanks are faring - if they have not been burnt. There's reliable water a little above Tobias Gap, and if the weather really bombs out you may be able to reach the car park on the main road, which I think has a picnic shelter.

There was a 4WD track going west and then north from Barry Saddle, now probably gone. I could not find it in 2015 and the track has been closed since 2009 or earlier. In The Barries the problem with going down to water is that it's a often long way. Ask if it's worth spending two hours or more return dropping 3-400 metres when for the same effort you could be 3-6 kilometres further along the walk. It may be better to take more water at the start. In November there should be some water NE of Viking Saddle, and it's reasonably flat going down the gully.

The last posts on this
viewtopic.php?f=64&t=21927&view=unread#unread
have details about The Barries.
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Re: Baw Baw to Falls creek — Advice on water and transport

Postby nihil » Sun 11 Oct, 2020 3:02 pm

Lophophaps wrote:The state of the tank at The Twins will give you an idea of how the other tanks are faring - if they have not been burnt. There's reliable water a little above Tobias Gap, and if the weather really bombs out you may be able to reach the car park on the main road, which I think has a picnic shelter.

There was a 4WD track going west and then north from Barry Saddle, now probably gone. I could not find it in 2015 and the track has been closed since 2009 or earlier. In The Barries the problem with going down to water is that it's a often long way. Ask if it's worth spending two hours or more return dropping 3-400 metres when for the same effort you could be 3-6 kilometres further along the walk. It may be better to take more water at the start. In November there should be some water NE of Viking Saddle, and it's reasonably flat going down the gully.

The last posts on this
viewtopic.php?f=64&t=21927&view=unread#unread
have details about The Barries.


Yes, it's rained a fair bit lately too. I made the mistake of not going far enough down from Viking Saddle to look for water, but this time I will really persist until I get to it. I notice in the Chapman notes that there's a second 'W' marker on the Buffalo River, that might be how far one needs to go for reliable water here. Back then I was a bit bush-bash adverse but I'm more experienced now and understand the necessity of it. I think I will do a water drop at Diamantina Hut also, just to be on the thorough side.

I look forward to being able to provide updates on the state of the walk and lots of pictures!
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