03-Sep-2001 -- As with my previous visit to 36°S 145°E, I started out for this one via a couple of geocaches, in this case one to find and one to plant. I found the first one pretty easily, "Blast from the Past", not far from Gembrook, and then decided to head east to find a spot for my own cache, to drop in on 38°S 146°E and to get the potentially unvisited 38°S 147°E confluence. Now, according to the web site, this one has been visited, but the summary still hasn't been posted 2 months later so I thought I'd give it a go.
From the cache, I had the bright idea of going cross country. Looking at a map, I decided to cut my trip short by heading straight through the mountains instead of around them. Not my brightest idea to date. We've had a lot of rain lately, and I ended up on some very rough forest roads, really little more than 4WD tracks, a type of vehicle which I do not have. I wasted about an hour and a half winding through these (admittedly picturesque) forests, moving aside fallen trees and branches that the 4WDs before me had presumably just driven over, and almost getting bogged 3 times. I had visions of having to hike out of there for about 20km to get help, but after some perseverance, and untold wear and tear on my car, I managed to get out of the forest, to find I really wasn't much closer to
38°S 146°E, let alone 147°E, which was still a good 150km away! So I decided to bypass 146°E since it had already been done and headed straight for 147°E.
I drove through the Latrobe Valley, up the back way to Maffra, passing right by the enormous Yallourn Power station, then the little towns of Tyers, Glengarry, Toongabbie and Heyfield. I decided to take another shortcut (you'd think I'd learn) and got the car covered in mud again, but eventually drove through Maffra down the Sale Rd, to a point within about 200m of the confluence. Now, my map said the confluence was smack bang in the middle of the main road here, but after last time, I knew better, and I was right. It was actually about 200m off to the west of the main road. Now this was a bit different to 36°S 145°E, where I didn't see another soul the whole time I was there. There was a continuous stream of traffic on this road, some of whom looked at me quite strangely as I went about finding the confluence.
There are several farmhouses around the confluence site, which is definitely on one of their farms. I tried the two dwellings nearest the confluence point, and no-one was home, so I thought rather than going all the way back and wasting the trip, I'd just jump the fence, and hope they didn't mind too much. And no-one bothered me, so presumably they didn't.
The confluence point is towards the back (west) of a large paddock fronting the main Maffra-Sale Rd. There are a number of drainage channels around, full of water, and the ground was very muddy when I was there. The GPS wasn't totally consistent with where it thinks the confluence is. It initially settled on a point right next to a small culvert in the middle of the paddock. So I photographed this as the confluence point (picture #1). It is definitely within about 10m of it. The GPS then led me on a short wander around either side of this point, and where I ended up taking the GPS and directional photos is about 5m east of the culvert. Which really shows that the GPS accuracy is about 10m or so.
The landscape is typical of the valley areas of central Gippsland, at the bottom of a large drainage catchment of the Thompson and Latrobe Rivers. Flat, very rich farmland on the river floodplain. The Thomson river, which flows into the Gippsland Lakes, runs just a few kilometres away, and the final photo shows the river from a bridge on the way home, at 38°04.985'S 147°00.782' E. The river is quite full from recent rains.