Commencing in Mansfield
this trip travels out the Howqua River and up into the Alpine National Park, you will travel up over the Bluff
and across the Howitt Plain, through the Wonanngatta to Talbotville
, explore Grant and Dargo
, and the best ridge top drive in the state. On the way out via the Dargo
High Plains Rd you can take a challenging but spectacular ridge top run out the Blue Rag Range to the Blue Rag Trig Point
. The trig point at 1718m above sea level provides a 360 degree panorama of the country recently travelled and of Hotham, Feathertop and the Bogong
The trip proceeds back along the ridge and up to St Bernhard Hospice and down the Alpine Way to it’s finish in Harrietville. This could be the beginning of another trip depending on where you are headed with Mount Beauty and Bright
to explore and an abundance of wineries including some of the countries best between here and Wangaratta and Albury.
Interactive Route Map
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Things to See & Do
Cattlemen’s huts, high altitude flora, spectacular views, historic sites & cemeteries, old mines and mining equipment and a few geocaches.
Much of the trip may be spent in low ratio and fuel consumption will be higher than you may think. Some vehicles with large tanks (Patrols, Cruisers, Prado’s) fuelling in Mansfield
will make Dargo
without need to carry fuel but if any of the many side trips you may like to do are to be taken then those with small tanks (70-80 litre) should consider carrying at least 20 to 40 litres.
Lower vehicles may have clearance issues on some tracks but full size four wheel drives will be fine although all vehicles should give thought to wheel placement. This is not soft roader country.
Communications is limited to HF and Satphones for 95% of this trip. GSM coverage is only available at Bluff Hut
. For emergencies your nearest emergency medical assistance is by helicopter (weather permitting and if you have communication) so drive carefully. This area is trafficked more heavily on weekends.
Water is scarce at Bluff Hut
but Lovick’s probably has a more reliable supply. Drinkable water can usually be readily obtained from the Wonnangatta, Wonnungarra or Crooked Rivers at many of the crossing points or camps. Carry enough for your camps at the higher altitude spots. Firewood is hard to obtain in some areas and its collection is restricted – contact Parks Victoria
to clarify, but we believe it is limited to fallen timber only. There is not much of this close to camp sites. Gas stoves should be used where possible. A chainsaw and recovery gear should be carried, fallen timber frequently blocks tracks.
All food requirements before Dargo
must be carried in and rubbish carried out. No dogs are permitted in the Alpine National Park.
Fuel Supplies & Usage
|Mansfield, Dargo, Harrietville
||Diesel||4cyl 42 litres
||ULP||4cyl 48 litres
||LPG||4cyl 60 litres|
|6cyl 46 litres||6cyl 54 litres||6cyl 53 litres|
|8cyl 46 litres||8cyl 50 litres|
Camp Sites & Accommodation
During the hotter summer months, the tracks can be very dry and dusty. During the colder and wetter months of Winter, the tracks may be slippery and treacherous in some places
, especially after rain and care and patience must be taken.
There are over 1300 indigenous species including 43 eucalypts, 38 wattles and 96 orchids in this region. In Wonnangatta Valley for example, there are many exotic trees which still today produce crops in the appropriate season. The Valley provides blackberries, raspberries, apples, pears, cherries, mushrooms and chestnuts which the visiting camper can enjoy.
This wide and varied vegetation does provide habitat for a diverse range of fauna. There are both native and introduced wildlife with the majority being nocturnal. This includes: wombats, kangaroos, wallabies as well as rats, possums, echidnas, platypus, and water rats. Some of the introduced species include sambar deer, rabbit, fox and wild dog. Birds include: crimson rosellas, kookaburras, king parrots, lyrebird and emus. You may also see wedge tailed eagles soaring high above crags and swooping across the valleys. Trout can be found swimming in the rivers and streams.
This area has some fascinating historical aspects. The route will take you through some of the high country that has become part of our mountain cattle heritage
over the past 150 years. Unsolved murders and high country huts, cattle stations which were surely the most remote in North East Victoria
, gold mining and aboriginal history abound. Some sites include information signboards to tell the story, however you can enrich your trip experience by doing some pre-trip reading.