21 December 2013

Mt Cobbler Walk

Access from Melbourne:
  • Maroondah Hwy to Mansfield (last supplies stop), then Whitfield via Tolmie.
  • Melbourne-Whitfield (last fuel stop?) distance is 260km.
  • Whitfield-Lake Cobbler is 48km via Cheshunt (fuel stop?) and Bennies in dry season
  • After Bennies, the winding road is rough and steep in 2WD.  Take care
  • About 2-3 km before the lake, there is a view to the highest falls in Victoria.
  • Just before Cobbler Hut (unsuitable for sleeping) and campsites there is a ford, which looked crossable in high clearance 4WD.
  • If impassable, there were a few campsites on this side of the ford.
  • Insect repellent is a must.  Flies during the day, mozzies and midges at night.  Check for ants before stopping anywhere.
Walk registration is not applied.
The Walk:  10km, 2 days.  Can be done as a day walk.
Type:  Pack-carry, Go & Return with a side trip to one of the Dandongadale waterfalls
Grade:  Easy - Medium (apart from ascent to the highest peak of the Cobblers).
Start / Finish:  Lake Cobbler
ParkVic - Parknotes, Alpine NP, Valleys and Bluffs - Mt Cobbler & Wabonga Plateau
Maps: Vicmap 1:50 000, Howitt - Selwyn, Zone 55
Best time to walk:  In dry weather conditions. 
No water on the trail apart from the creek crossings at the start and about 15 minutes into the walk.

View of the GPS track with GE
Views of the Dandongadale Falls from Cobbler Lake Road

Day 1:  A side trip to the falls and the walk up to Cobbler Plateau to camp
We spent a bit of time exploring one of the three Dandongadale falls with a day-pack.  The start of the track to the first falls (the cascades) was immediately after crossing the ford.  It was an easy short walk to the top of the falls, which offered view of Mt Typo and Warrick in Wabonga Plateau to the north.  The rocky slab platform was pretty slippery and so take care.  More good views of the falls can be seen from the base but the going is rather scrubby and steep.  There were also some fallen trees and I was able to manage to climb over them to reach the creek and waded a bit to get close to the falls.  It was worth, the effort.  I would love exploring further, but had to turn back because Allan was waiting somewhere nearby.  Meeting up with Allan again, we retraced our steps back to the top of the falls and then back to the car for a cooked lunch and a cup of tea.

View north from the top of the cascades.

First cascade 

Second cascades
 Slipery rocky slab.  Take care

      View at the bottom of the 2nd cascades    View of the cascades through trees

After lunch, we got ready for the pack-carry walk.  Our aim was to camp near the junction of Lake Cobbler and Speculation Tracks and then to head for the Mt Cobbler summits the next day with a day pack.  There was no water at the campsite, so we had to carry all water for drinking and cooking.  Luckily, there was only a short walk up to the plateau.

Before leaving for the walk, the car was relocated so that the campsite could be used by others.  It was a little noisy when vehicles and motor bikes passing during the day, but pretty quiet at night.  All together, we saw about 15 vehicles and about 18 motor bikes.  As a rule of thumb, we took a GPS way point of the car / the start before shouldering our packs.  We crossed the ford, passed the pad to the cascading falls and the hut.  There is a sign post at the start of Mt Cobbler Walking Track just beyond the hut.  The sign showed 4km, 2hrs return and was intended for walkers with day packs.  We crossed a creek and followed the track for about 15minutes to reach the Dandongadale River / Creek where we stopped for a drink and photos. 
 Lake Cobbler Hut (unsuitable for sleeping)

Lake Cobbler

Near the start of Mt Cobbler Walking Track

Approaching Dandongadale River/Creek

Past the creek is a steep climb, which quickly levels off to a moderate slope.  It was a well-marked track with ribbons and triangles.  Near Mt Cobbler, Cobbler Lake and Speculation Tracks junction, the track reaches a plateau with good campsites all around the junction.  We chose a campsite about 150m up the Mt Cobbler track.  It was a good campsite, with a good view of Mt Cobbler peaks and the ridge, but there is no water and a lot of ants.

The Cobbler Plateau

Day 2:  Ascent of Mt Cobbler

We started early for the Mt Cobbler summits, with day packs only, so we could avoid the afternoon heat on the shadeless summits.  The track to the summit is easily followed through the scrub and when you get to the rocky part, the route is marked by cairns where the track is not obvious.

Wild flowers along the pad to the summit

Do we have to climb up there?

Mt Cobbler Peak

The summit track leads to a minor peak with good 360ยบ views of the surrounds, but the highest point is on a peak, that is separated from this minor peak by a chasm.  While this chasm looks difficult to cross, there is a path up to the summit with only one tricky spot to climb (carry a light and compact day pack), about 30m into the ascent of the summit.  After that, it is relative easy climbing.  Note the location of the difficult spot, as this is the only way down.  A handkerchief tied to a low scrub would do the job.

                                     View east from the chasm
                      The chasm & the minor peak   

The views from the summit are superb.  Allow at least an hour on the summits to take in the 360* views of Mt Koonika, Mt Speculation, Mt Buggery, The Crosscut Saw, Mt Buffalo, Mt Buller, ..         

Great Dividing Range (Barry Mountains) from The Cobbler Summit

Northern part of Mt Cobbler from the peak

NNE view of Mt Buffalo area

 Southeast view of Mt Konika, Mt Speculation, The Crosscut Saw, ..

SSW view of Mt Howitt, Mt Stirling and Mt Buller area

 West view of Mt Samaira and Strathbogies Ranges area

The return journey is to retrace our steps back to Lake Cobbler, with a refreshing drink and wash in the headwaters of the Dandongadale River.

On way back to the Cobbler Plateau