Ride name: Toombon Haunted Huts
Date: 26 – 27 Feb 2022
Duration: 2 days/ overnighter
General ride distance: 450 km
Grade: 4 (Steep sections, multiple river crossings)
General area: Bunyip, Toombon, VIC
General weather: Excellent

“We old cowboys went riding out one beautiful Saturday. Aberfeldy’s arrival we rested along our way.
When all at once, the scout, a mighty uphill he saw. Plowin’ through the rocky rut, and up to the slippery draw.
Yippie-yi-o, Yippie-yi-yay, Ghost riders in the sky. ‘Cause they’ve got to ride forever…”

Changed the words slightly, but the song kept repeating itself in my mind the whole trip. Ghost riders looking at haunted huts in Victoria Toombon High Country area. A trip also dubbed mini-Outback, most likely the camping or the fuel range required. Gembrook was chosen as the Saturday morning meeting location. This is where we hurriedly drank the last barista coffee and treated ourselves to morning pastries. Not to see such luxuries until Monday. The usual club briefing got underway just before blasting off on our steeds of steel.

To settle in, the 1st leg brought us to the Seven Acre Rock lookout car park. So far easy, smooth gravel roads. Had to stand way back to take a group photo. 

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Now we can speed things up a tad. The beauty and silence of Bunyip Forest were disrupted with the loud rumble of a multitude of mufflers. 

“When all at once a mighty herd of red-eyed cows he saw. Plowin’ through the ragged skies and up the cloudy draw.
Yippie-yi-o, Yippie-yi-yay, Ghost riders in the sky…”

Luckily, I phoned ahead to Neerim Junction. Warning them of a herd that is coming for final fuel top-up. This would be our last chance to get fuel for the next 340km or thereabouts. Crikey, these are the times one wishes for an adventure bike with a large fuel capacity and the range to enjoy it. Dual Sport motorcycles suck at fuel capacity. Main tank full, auxiliary 1 full, auxiliary 2 full. Total all up 30L. Bugger, all the things that stayed behind for me to manage this load. 

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From here we had a short stint on the blacktop, but shortly after turning east at Neerim South, we were back on well-graded gravel, taking Latrobe River Rd and finally Hawthorne Creek Rd. Larger sized blue rock around the sometimes tight corners made for a “whoo-hoo” moment from time to time. Almost glad to see blacktop again for the last stretch before lunch to Mt Baw Baw Alpine Village. Believe me, I’ve travelled that stretch plenty of times. Those twisties never disappoint. Almost dreaming the thumper is a Motard.

Baw-Baw was a hive of activity. Jam-packed with MTB cyclists for gnarly downhill competition. Due to this, we were given special consideration and treatment. A boardroom, I have you know, for the likes of Madcat. Now, this is adventure riding . 

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After lunch, it was time for The Toombon Haunted Huts group to peel off and the “daywalkers” returned for a lazy afternoon ride back home. No time for a siesta if you Toombon Haunted Huts group. Are we Mexi-can’s or Mexi-can’ts? Let’s kick things into another gear. Spooky route alternative day one on the menu, thank you.  

“A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through the sky. For he saw the riders coming hard and he heard their mournful cry.
Yippie-yi-o, Yippie-yi-yay. Ghost riders in the sky…”      

Lunch did have an effect. Relaxing and chillin’ like Fresh Prince and suddenly there was trouble in the neighbourhood. A slippery, steepish uphill presented itself with no warning. I was quarter way up and in completely the wrong gear before I realized this is getting steeper and there seems to be no end to this red-eyed cow. Maybe it was the MT21’s ploughing deep, or the thumppocalypse that saved my bacon with Robbo shooting prayers that nothing goes wrong “as his hot breath I could feel”. Close on my heels we made it to the top. All were not this lucky. More of that from Robbo productions.

After that bit of an adrenalin rush things kinda seemed tame getting into Walhalla and going north to Aberfeldy. 

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Cullen’s Flat was a true treat on this trip. 100 acres of private grassland next to the Aberfeldy river to camp on. We all scattered in our own directions. Colin right on the riverbank. Each got busy with their own dinner and afterwards, we enjoyed a warm spot around the fire. When it finally started to drizzle, we could at least get in under the roof and further contemplate poison manufacturing and distribution. Another keen interest for the Madcats.  

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Day 2 got underway with some “boerie” (circle sausage) cooked on the BBQ. 


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After a short struggle to find our way on the High-Country Road network we were well and truly on our way to find ghosts in the huts built yesteryear and used by true grit transporters or cattle drovers.

“Cause they’ve got to ride forever on that range up in the sky. On horses snorting fire as they ride on, hear their cry.
Yippie-yi-o, Yippie-yi-yay. Ghost riders in the sky…” 

Between Jorgenson hut and Junction hut our skill was tested with a broad river crossing. For the first time in my life I saw a KTM 690 almost turning into a submarine. Scout first says the rule book or “send it”. She’ll be right! 

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Leaving Junction hut, you backtrack to Goonan’s hut. This means back across the river again. No dramas. All made it. We safely managed 9 river crossings that day. 

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On this particular beaut day there was lots of traffic on Donnelly’s Creek Rd. Slow going to the final most authentic and spooky hut. Lloyd’s hut is a true gem in the VIC High Country.

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The ghosts, spooks, call them what you want kept haunting us. Shortly after leaving the last haunted hut a luggage strap came loose on one of the bikes. As if an invisible pillion got hold of it. The hair raising in my neck just thinking of it. Not long after that Colin’s GPS got on the fritz. Sent him speeding off in all the wrong directions chasing apparitions. 

After waiting for our lost rider for what seemed an eternity it became time to make a choice. Search, find and rescue the lost rider or get a cold one at Noojee pub. We pushed on to Noojee. Alas, there was no need to raise a glass for a misled compadre. He soon found his way back to the group.

“As the riders loped on by him, he heard one call his name: ‘If you wanna save your soul from hell a-riding on our range. Then, cowboy, change your ways today. Or with us you will ride trying to catch the devil’s herd across these endless skies’.
Yippie-yi-o, Yippie-yi-yay. Ghost riders in the sky…” 

Noojee was a welcome sight. Amber nectar all round please? Overjoyed, we reached our final hut…sorry pub, before heading home. We managed to experience Toombon Haunted Huts.     

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the last one



Text: Martin Vorster