24-Nov-2001 -- I decided I would like to make this expedition an official trip for the Catholic Walking Club of Victoria, of which I am a member. However only one other member was available on the day planned.
The closest road to this confluence is the one which travels south from the small town of Porepunkah along the valley of the Buckland River. This is a very picturesque drive with spectacular views of Mt. Buffalo to the west. About 13 kilometres of bitumen and 30 kilometres of unsealed gravel in fairly good condition. The valley is quite narrow at the southern end, and the surrounding mountain ridges steep and heavily wooded. Parts of the land are designated State Forest, and near the confluence were signs indicating the Alpine National Park. There are free-range cattle grazing under licence along the river, and care is necessary as they don't always think cars should have right of way!
The road running closest to the confluence, called the Mt Murray Track, is subject to seasonal winter closure to avoid damage by 4WD vehicles, and a solidly padlocked gate was in place till 30 November, forcing us to walk an extra 3 kilometres or so. Along the valley floor the track was gently undulating and close to the river at all times. Lots of birds and evidence of other native wildlife, although none were sighted on this day. There were three streams to cross on foot, one being the Buckland River itself, but in no case was the water more than shin deep. However, for comfort, we removed our boots to keep dry feet. The water here is clear, fast running and wonderful to drink.
The confluence was just over 1 kilometre east, and about 240 metres climb from the nearest track, on the side of a ridge which eventually climbs to 1500 metres. After a gentle start, the angle increased sharply, and progress became quite slow. The surface was mainly loose gravel and tree litter, and the vegetation was eucalypt forest, with a good amount of wattle and thick, often prickly scrub, with many fallen trees to impede passage. We reached the confluence area at 1410 and then the main difficulty was moving over the steep terrain and positioning the GPS in a way that it didn't slide down the slope while it was showing the magic numbers for the camera! When this mission was accomplished, we took photos of the views, which consisted of glimpses of the surrounding mountains, and the river valley we had left not long before. And of course we took pictures of ourselves displaying the walking club badge.
The route back to the car was the reciprocal of our approach, and was equally tricky and slow due to the angle of the hillside, the looseness of the soil and the dense foliage. We both ended up with many small scratches on our legs due to the prickly nature of the local flora. We were glad to see the 4WD road at last and head back to our riverside camp.