Bluff Southern Circuit

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Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby Drew » Tue 08 Jan, 2013 5:56 pm

I'm thinking of doing the Bluff Southern Circuit (as detailed in Glenn Van Der Knijff's "Bushwalks in the Victorian Alps") over the Australia Day long weekend, providing we don't have horrific fire danger conditions...

Just wondering if anyone has done this walk recently? If so, here are my queries:
- Any water availability issues?
- Any issues with 2WD access to the starting point?
- Is there horrendously overgrown scrub on any sections (particularly Jamieson Spur)? My girlfriend's scars are still healing from the scrub bashing on the Viking Circuit a month ago. I don't think she's keen to get new wounds just yet!

Cheers
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby Isis » Wed 09 Jan, 2013 2:43 pm

Hi Drew, I did this walk last Melbourne Cup weekend (early Nov) over three days.
Easy 2WD up to where Clear Creek Rd and Brooks Rd split so no problem there.
Good water at starting point, and at point marked in book as first campsite below Mt Clear, also at Rocky point. I wouldn't rely on water after that until Bluff Hut unless you carry a waterfilter system, water at Lovicks Hut was a dam of sorts I didn't see a tank like at Bluff Hut but that doesn't mean there is not one I just did not see it. From Bluff Hut water can be got about 2/3 along toward the Bluff from run off on the left hand side, you can see it as you walk. Once you head south off the back of the Bluff I think water was available down on the first flats (nice camp spot) but don't count on it as if there is no water at Mt Spec as posted then most likely no water at this spot either.
Jamieson Spur has no track or pads, and is very overgrown in parts, don't walk on the big fallen trees either as there very slippery when damp (trust me on that one, :oops: )
We started at the start/finish, camped at Rocky point on night 1 then walked through Bluff Hut and camped just beyond the blowhole the second night so to get a short last day not knowing what J spur was going to be like, also to avoid any crowd at Bluff Hut. Walk up over KB 1 & 2 for the best views in town.

Cheers
Shane
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby andrewp » Wed 09 Jan, 2013 5:33 pm

I am also going to the Bluff area over the long weekend. I've been told there is no water at Bluff Hut. Can anyone confirm? Also there used to be a pipe about 2km from the hut, along Bluff Link Track on the left-hand side as you head down. Anyone know if this is flowing at the moment?
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Andrew
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby Drew » Thu 10 Jan, 2013 5:53 pm

Thanks for the info Shane. Water at Clear Creek Headwater and at Bluff Hut are all I need. It hasn't rained much since Cup Weekend though, so I'll just have to hope there's still some there!

Andrew, who's told you that there's no water at Bluff Hut? I guess Parks Vic should be able to tell us that. It would seem strange for there to be no water when the hut is accessible by vehicle.

I guess we can cope with some scrub bashing down Jamieson Spur - it makes it easier when it's the home stretch!

Cheers
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby andrewp » Thu 10 Jan, 2013 9:11 pm

It was from the Mansfield DSE office. He said 'it hasn't rained here for 3 months'. I was hoping someone here might have actually been there. I have had experience when Parks just say 'you need to carry water', just to be on the safe side. Unless I hear otherwise I will be doing a water drop.
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby Drew » Fri 11 Jan, 2013 9:31 am

Oh, I see. Well I don't think my Golf will be making it to Bluff Hut for a water drop so I'll just have to hope for some rain in the next couple of weeks.
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby andrewp » Mon 14 Jan, 2013 9:16 am

Hi Drew

Had another word with the Mansfield office today. This time I was told that it was most likely that there would be water in the Bluff hut tank.

There is a fallback option. A bit over 2km down the road towards Refridgerator Gap there is a pipe outlet from a creek that is a very reliable. GR 456360 5881370.

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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby Drew » Mon 14 Jan, 2013 3:46 pm

Thanks Andrew, that's good to hear. I spoke to Parks in Mansfield the other day actually and they said they'd make a note to check the water tank when they next go by Bluff Hut, and to call them again prior to the long weekend. Looks like i won't be able to go over the long weekend anyway now, but hopefully another weekend soon.

Let us know how you go though.

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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby pete0762 » Wed 30 Jan, 2013 7:21 pm

Hi folks,

Done this walk over the Australia Day weekend and the walk is really nice, except for last 300 to 400 m elevation descent along Jamison Spur down back to the starting point. Very overgrown is and understatement and would rather say it is extremely overgrown to the extent that I would not recommend to anyone to do that, unless you have some masochistic tendencies and like ankle breaker territory (saying that as experienced mounteneer and done most of AAWT so know what overgrown can mean) - so no fun (and I do not like getting tangled up in Blackberries and stinging Nettles). Unless someone cuts a track along the lower parts will be impassible for a while until trees regrow and undergrowth dies off.

As for water, there is not much left near the camp at Mt Clear Headwaters, the creek is actually dry where it crosses the old track, but about 100m upstream is a pool of water, with some water trickling in, so still fine, but not sure how long that is going to last. Creek at Chesters Yard is still running well and enough water at Bluff Hut water tank.

cheers
Peter
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby ryantmalone » Wed 30 Jan, 2013 10:01 pm

pete0762 wrote:Hi folks,

Done this walk over the Australia Day weekend and the walk is really nice, except for last 300 to 400 m elevation descent along Jamison Spur down back to the starting point. Very overgrown is and understatement and would rather say it is extremely overgrown to the extent that I would not recommend to anyone to do that, unless you have some masochistic tendencies and like ankle breaker territory (saying that as experienced mounteneer and done most of AAWT so know what overgrown can mean) - so no fun (and I do not like getting tangled up in Blackberries and stinging Nettles). Unless someone cuts a track along the lower parts will be impassible for a while until trees regrow and undergrowth dies off.


...and I hear the Tasmanians in the background having a slight chuckle at our definition of "overgrown" and "scrub".

Seriously though, there are a few areas around that part of Victoria that have some seriously savage scrub. Never have I seen anything like the scrub in the gully between Helicopter Spur and Square Head Jinny. Utterly savage.
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby Drew » Thu 31 Jan, 2013 4:54 pm

Thanks for the advice Peter. You've made the scrub bashing sound bad enough that I think I'll stay away from that spur. I guess you could take the Refrigerator Gap Track instead. It would add a few kilometres but might be worth it.

Hopefully the rain falls heavily over the next few days to get some creeks flowing again. Not sure when I'll get a chance to head up there though.
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby andrewbish » Thu 31 Jan, 2013 6:34 pm

ryantmalone wrote:
Seriously though, there are a few areas around that part of Victoria that have some seriously savage scrub. Never have I seen anything like the scrub in the gully between Helicopter Spur and Square Head Jinny. Utterly savage.


No doubt about it - if you're heading to the lesser walked trails in Victoria at the moment you need to take along one of these babies..

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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby rocketrm2 » Wed 08 Jan, 2014 9:59 pm

Intend to do this walk starting on Australia Day (Monday)
The scrub stories are scary, therefore I plan to use Refrigerator track for the home stretch.
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby Avatar » Wed 08 Jan, 2014 11:01 pm

Last month I came down from between High Cone and Mt Clear down to Clear Creek. Coming down spur was navigationally challenging since the spur split was subtle. Really thick scrub final 200m from bottom and the 4WD track along the Creek is very overgrown and some of it seemed to have been destroyed. Several Creek crossings involved. Some blackberry. Came out on Clear Creek road at Nobs turnoff. Would be a lot nicer cleared.

Was really dry on top near Nobs. Found a small slow refilling pool of water - 1/2 cup at a dip - in a steep scrub choked gully. I carried about 7l for a dry camp even higher up. This was all gone by the time I emerged at about 4pm next day at the Creek. Its a tough region.

The track back to Refrigerator sounds like a reasonable option to me. There was a black pipe of running water on left side of track in a close bushy dark section about 30 minutes down from Bluff Hut when i was there in Nov 2012.
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby rocketrm2 » Fri 31 Jan, 2014 6:29 am

Opted to complete the walk via Refrigerator Gap at 31 C degrees what a cruel name.The road is ok, pity the waterfall was dry, some water in 2 creeks, but the problem was/is the road is 8 Kim's plus 2 to 3 km to the Clear creek starting point.
It was only a second wind and the thought of a burger in Mansfield that got me back in good time.
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby andrewbish » Mon 24 Feb, 2014 12:16 pm

I did this circuit last weekend and I just want to say that this otherwise excellent route is wrecked by the abominable condition of the bush at the lower end of Jamieson Spur. where I spent 3 interminable, frustrating and utterly aggravating hours. The guidebook - printed several years back - refers to "a few hundred metres of very thick scrub". Try "1km of diabolic scrub!" Huge fallen trees everywhere. The ferns, blackberries, scrub nettle and ground level branches acted in unison - the ferns blocking your vision while the rest did their evil work underneath. It drove me f-ing mad!

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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby C-Bomber » Wed 05 Mar, 2014 3:39 pm

Thanks for the post Andrew - prior to reading it I was still considering this walk as a possibility... Very appreciative of your graphic level of detail!
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby Dutchy » Thu 06 Mar, 2014 6:14 pm

Has anyone got a fairly current update on the water supply here, mainly at the overnight spots? Thinking of heading there this weekend....
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby Dutchy » Fri 07 Mar, 2014 4:54 am

And another quick question.... The rest of this walk seems to be ok? Is there lots of navigation needed or is the track generally ok to follow? Thanks!
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby andrewbish » Mon 10 Mar, 2014 2:56 am

Dutchy. This response may be belated but navigation is straightforward for the entire route. Water was problematic. If it's warm carry 4-5 ltrs
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby rocketrm2 » Wed 12 Mar, 2014 9:23 am

I got water from a spring at bottom of Mt Clear near the junction of the Clear Crk track and AAWT. Water at several places (Alpine ponds) along road side near Mt Lovick. Did not sample any as my supply was ok, but it looked clean. plus the Bluff supply was good.
Glad I have my Steripen as the spring water was not that clean, zapped it a drank a bout 3 liters
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby Maxp20 » Sun 20 Sep, 2015 9:33 pm

Hi all,

Any update on the condition of this circuit? I have the Glenn van der Kniff book, but it's quite out dated regarding the condition of the bush and how overgrown the bush may or may not be. Thinking of creating a long weekend and doing it in a couple of weeks.

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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby Drew » Mon 21 Sep, 2015 9:02 am

Any update on the condition of this circuit? I have the Glenn van der Kniff book, but it's quite out dated regarding the condition of the bush and how overgrown the bush may or may not be. Thinking of creating a long weekend and doing it in a couple of weeks.


Anyway, it's hard to imagine that the wretched scrub on Jamieson Spur has been cleared. I ended up doing a different circuit to avoid that spur, starting from 8 Mile Flat and just getting as far as Ritchies Hut (nice spot) on a short first afternoon, then up to Bluff Hut on the unnamed track from Ritchies. Next day over the Bluff, Rocky Ridge and down 8 Mile Spur. Nice walk. I did in in September or October I think, so no 4WDs at Bluff Hut.
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby lachlanf » Tue 30 Mar, 2021 4:43 pm

Hey, reviving this ancient thread - planning to do this long WE, guessing nothing has changed and the spur is probably still a nightmare?? We can afford 3.5 days hiking so I think we’ll just opt for the slightly longer refrigerator gap track detour.. but I saw something saying it’s closed due to fires? Doesn’t appear to be in the area shown on the maps for the 2019/2020 fires?
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Re: Bluff Southern Circuit

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 30 Mar, 2021 5:43 pm

I walked this area in summer a couple of years ago and we took the Refrigerator Gap track back to Brock's road to collect the car at the start/ Finish. It was a long road bash but better than the horror hike the Jamieson spur offers masochists and nutters.
I have yet to find that water source at the Clear Creek headwaters not flowing .
On a different trek in
the region I carried water from Clear Creek up the Nobs track and dry camped near the saddle between The Nobs and High Cone. I then had to ration my extra 3-4 Litres water meticulously until I reached the Clear Creek headwaters the following day after trekking over Mt. Clear. I was glad it was not too hot and visibility was good which aided solo AAWT navigation.
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