4 Peaks Alpine Tour

Story by Stew Fuchs @that_porsche_guy
Photos by @that_porsche_guy and @911_kuhlture

On Friday morning, two of us left Adelaide in our Porsches. An 81 911SC coupe and an 84 3.2 Carrera Targa. Our mission today was to get to Geelong and rendezvous with John Orchard. After a couple of beers and a bit of food shopping, we headed off to St Leonard’s, where our two intrepid travellers stayed the night.

Saturday morning started out different to how I had planned it. I parked my car in the garage at our accommodation overnight, and the next morning my sunroof and windows wouldn’t close. And it was raining. After a bit of internal cursing on my part, we had no option but to get going. Did I mention that it was raining? We were due to meet up with the Geelong crew near Avalon. Cool , I’ll fix it there. Next thing, it started bucketing down. We stopped in Drysdale and removed the sunroof gearbox so we could slide the roof closed. By now, things were a little bit damp. But this is all part of the adventure, right?

So we arrived in Avalon, and after an hour or so of tooling around, the windows were finally fixed. So we hit the road again, and met up with everyone at Essendon Fields.

After a coffee and a chat, and a catch up with Mark McNamara, we headed off for Bright. On the way, we took some nice little towns, and headed on to Mt Buller. By now, the rain was pretty bad. The drive up to Buller was exciting to say the least. But the rain and fog didn’t deter us. After all, we’re seasoned drive tourists.

We arrived at the summit, and could see sweet FA. So off we went again, down the hill. Once we descended the mountain, we headed off to Bright, which was to be our base for the next few days.

Sunday morning presented us with more rain and fog. Today we planned to take in 2 peaks. Mt Hotham and Mt Buffalo.

After getting fuel, and a bit of a driver’s briefing, we headed off to Mt Hotham. We travelled out through a few small townships, and a place (of sorts) with what is quite possibly the most Australian name – Smoko.

By now, several of the cars had taken in a bit of water through various reasons. The rain was full on. The drive up to Hotham was fairly slow going due to the foul weather. More rain, more fog, rocks on the road, and more cyclists than you could poke a stick at. Yes, crazy people riding in that horrendous weather!

We arrived at the top in quite dense fog. At times on the way up, you couldn’t see 20m in front of the car. So, at the top, we took a few photos, chatted, ate some bananas, and generally froze our bits off.

So once again, off we went, down the hill. Halfway down, the weather started to get worse. Not only did we have real heavy rain and dense fog, we had lightning. Yep, we were in the middle of a storm. I’ve never driven roads like that in that kind of weather. To say it was an adrenaline rush would be an understatement. It was quite an incredible experience.

Almost back in bright, and it absolutely threw it down, to the point where we couldn’t see a thing. The downside was more water in the cars.

That’s when we adjourned for lunch.

Sunday lunch was at Ginger Bakers. The river out the back was a raging torrent of muddy water, and the rain didn’t look like letting up.

After lunch, a few of us decided to make a dash up to Mt Buffalo. Present for this run were Wighty in the Targa, Simon in the widebody Carrera, Tony and Tiaan in the 993 Turbo, John in the Boxster, and yours truly in the 911SC. Unfortunately, Paul’s car needed drying out, so he gave it a miss.

Heavy rain and fog were definitely the order of the day, but it didn’t dampen our spirit. The drive up to Buffalo is great. I did these roads 12 months ago with a group of guys after we got back from a week of intense driving in Tasmania. That time, we could at least see where we were going.

Once up the top, we just chilled out (literally, it was damn cold) in the carpark, chatting about this, that, and the other. I think we were up there for an hour. There was a bit of fog, and the odd shower, but it seemed to be clearing.

The run back down the mountain was epic. The weather was only average, and still lots of bikes, but we had a blast, and made good time. Those bike dudes are mad.

Once back in bright, we congregated at the Bright Brewery to sample some of the local beers and swap stories. By now, the rain had all but gone. Simon and I stayed to help drink what was left of the beer so they didn’t have to tip it out.

First thing in the morning, we fuelled up and had our driver’s briefing. The briefing amounts to “what shall we do today “. There’s no hard and fast schedule, except to make sure everyone has a good time.

Today, we’re heading out to Falls Creek via Tawonga and Mt Beauty. The weather was near on perfect, and the scenery was spectacular. The drive to Falls was good fun. The Tawonga Gap road it great. Switchbacks, sweeping esses, and a decent surface for the most part.

We regrouped at the bottom of the hill, took a few photos, and then headed off to Falls Creek.

The drive up to Falls is, like the other 3 peaks, something that has to be experienced. Once at the top, we took a few more photos (you can never have too many photos) and devoured a serious quantity of bananas. There was also a contingent of BMWs up there, including some nice looking M cars.

We found a nice warm comfy cafe and had some coffee, while some also took the opportunity to woof down a bit of breakfast.

After the coffee break, sadly, we said farewell to our Victorian friends who had to head back to the reality of their everyday lives. We also said goodbye to our Canberran counterpart, and, by phone, to his lovely wife who had stayed back in Bright.

So with that done, Anthony and I headed down the eastern slopes in the Targa and the SC, our destination, Omeo. Once across the reservoir, the scenery changes dramatically. I stopped to take a few photos back towards the reservoir and falls creek. After looking around at my surroundings, it kind of reminded me of the scene where Frodo and Sam are being led through the marshland.

The road surface is a bit loose for a while, then it turns into a well made road. We stopped off at Wallace’s Hut. The 1.4km round trip is an easy walk, and worth the detour.

Back on the road, the road down to the junction of the Omeo highway would have to be one of, if not the best road I have ever driven. At the bottom, we took a few minutes to go down to the river and revitalise ourselves with the icy cold water. Once again, beautiful scenery, and more photos. While we were at the river, we did quite a bit of philosophising. I don’t know how many times we said that we must be the luckiest SOBs on the face of the earth. Having the opportunity to drive the world’s best sports car, in some of the world’s best scenery. What more could you ask for.

The drive into Omeo is also a ripper. High speed sweeping curves, tight twisty bits, elevated straight sections – this road has it all.

We stopped in Omeo for lunch. The bakery opposite the art deco style pub served us what is probably the best steak sandwich I’ve ever had.

Back on the road again. We’re heading back to Mt Hotham via Dinner Plain. I thought the roads couldn’t get any better than what we just experienced. Wrong. This road is just brilliant. Think Reece Dam road in Tasmania. Talk about a high speed run. Rumour has it that we made exceptional time back to the summit. But I can neither confirm nor deny that.

By the time we got to Mt Hotham, I was so tired, I just wanted to relax with a glass of wine. But there was more. The drive down was unbelievable. And so quick. Such a contrast to the previous day when we had rain of biblical proportions.

When I got to the bottom I pulled over to wait for Anthony. As we were about to head off again, a bloke pulled up behind us and walked up to Anthony’s car and said something to him. Back at the ranch, I asked him what the guy said. His words were “I bet you enjoyed that. What better car to do something like that in”. If only I could have given him a taste of what we just experienced.

So concludes the 4 Peaks Run for 2019. Cars on the run were;

– 986 Boxster
– 993 Twin Turbo Coupe
– 911 3.2 Coupe
– 911 3.2 Targa
– 911 3.2 Widebody Coupe
– 911SC Coupe
– JCW Mini, in lieu of a 964 Coupe with an unexpected delay having some repair work finished

All up, 10 people took part, comprising 4 from Geelong, 2 from Melbourne, 2 from Canberra, and 2 from Adelaide.

Although the weather could have been better, it was still a fantastic weekend of catching up with amazing friends, spirited driving, great food and drinks, awesome scenery, and lots of laughs. We got to drive some of the country’s most exciting roads, in the world’s most famous sports car. Definitely worth the 2600kms travelled. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

In closing, owning a Porsche is much more than just owning this iconic car. It’s the lifestyle you become a part of, the fantastic people you meet, and the amazing places it takes you. I think I can speak for everyone on the trip when I say that we have all made many lifetime friendships as a result of our enthusiasm for Porsche cars.

The Final Word

If you have any spare time, fuel up your car, grab a passenger, and get out there. These cars are built with one thing in mind. Driving. So get out and drive.