After the Victorian "lockdown" we were itching to get up into the mountains for a bit of open-air goodness. Not being able to camp or travel over winter can build one's anxiety to mega levels when all you dream of is the outdoors!
With life getting "busy" again in our home town of Bright Victoria, we thought a pre Xmas escape was in order.... our destination Falls Creek and the Bogong High Plains with the mountain bikes for a photography hit out.
We didn't want our overnighter to be too testing or complicated and rather max out our views for our photography passion, and easy, enjoyable camping after smashing our legs on the ascents... We also wanted to test out new bike packing gear.
We packed up our bikes with the necessities, tripods, camera, food, clothing, bike lights, donuts etc and started out on our journey.
With our camp at Pretty Valley we headed over to Trap yard gap on the eastern side of the Rocky Valley dam, riding straight up Heathy Spur from Watchbed Creek. We never got too far without one of us spotting a wildflower, echidna or spring to photograph. With a few adjustments to our packs here and there, with the heavy camera gear and a few bottom outs on the rough, rutted trails it wasn't too long before we had our first flat. After the repairs and a donut to make everything better again, it was time to explore the surrounding huts. They didn't disappoint.
With just a few hours before sunset, we reached the Mt Nelse summit and the allusive last patch of snow that we'd repeatedly spotted on the way up. After a few snow angels and bottom slides, we headed off back down the mountain.
Our descent was dreamlike (although cold).. Gorgeous long cumulous clouds were reflecting the orange, red sunset glow with filtered views of the dam through the dead snow gums, then spotting a snake near our camp.
At camp a hot soup was a luxury... but the urge for an astro shot was just too much. Photography trips never offer much sleep.....but delirium. The Dragonfly and our Boxfoot Warmlite sleeping bags were perfect for the mild conditions (5 deg).
Up at 5.30 am ready for the sunrise, and it was a good one. It wasn't too long before we were off on the bikes again after a good coffee, this time an easy ride, Wallaces Heritage Trail loop. Stunning huts, amazing views out to the Mitta Mitta from the Aqueduct trail (short detour).
There are loads of walking and mountain bike trails to discover using Pretty Valley or Cope Hut as your base and so many remote camping sites to explore. Don't hesitate, but choose your weather!
Words and photographs by Carol Binder and Malin Gungl
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Choosing a new tent is one of those moments that calls for serious research. It's a big decision, and a potentially risky one, if you get it wrong you may have to live with the consequences for a long time. I live in Tasmania and love exploring wilderness Alpine regions, especially winter camping.
So, my non-negotiables in a tent are it being waterproof, that's #1, then weight and space. Ok, looks play a part, but they are a bonus :)
I first visited Iceland in 2012 on my way to East Greenland. My time in Iceland on this first trip included driving around the Ring Road, the road that circumnavigates this incredible country. Since then I have been privileged to fly into Reykjavik’s airport, Keflavik, a further 5 times.