HELP! Advice on route to take Melbourne - Canberra via high country

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 19:39
ThreadID: 56052 Views:3375 Replies:5 FollowUps:1
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I was originally planning on going to the NT in June - July but SWMBO has thrown in a curve ball!

Suggestion is going from where we live in WA to Melbourne and doing a High Country tour then onto Canberra and then Brisbane/fun parks/Hervey Bay and then back to WA.

I'm looking at 6 - 7 weeks away. Will be towing a pop-up van.

1/ Would you take a pop-up van into the high country that time of year...would that be dangerous? Am I mad!
2/ If it can be done...any suggested routes to take through the mountains. IE from Melbourne...where to...ending in Canberra over a period of 7 - 10 days

There's just too much to see in this country and working out where to go is the hardest decision every time.!!!
Might still go to the NT.

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Reply By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 20:55

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 20:55
Expect heavy frost, ice, snow, fog, and possible road closures especially minor roads at higher elevations. Apart from that the weather here can be glorious at that time of the year.
Enjoy your trip.

J and V
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AnswerID: 295470

Reply By: Member - David P (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 20:56

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 20:56
Hi andrew,
wrong time for snow bound high country. Lots of driving but would suggest Port Fairey then Great Ocean Road, shopping for SWHBO then Wilsons Promontory , Lakes Entrance, Bombala Cooma.....pity it will be winter and some of us hope it will be VERY wet....cheers silverback
AnswerID: 295471

Reply By: splits - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 23:11

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 23:11

Many High Country tracks are not suitable for camper vans at any time of the year let alone during the snow season. If you are determined to drive into that area at that time of the year then here is bound to be a few down below the snow line that will suit campers but you will need to get some local advice or maybe someone on this site who knows them better than I do can can advise you.

It would be a shame to drive this far and not go into the snow if you have not seen it before. While 4wd tracks might be limited there are plenty of sealed roads that are kept open and they will enable you to get right into it.

I would definately drive along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne as has already been suggested. After that a good way to get through the mountains and see plenty of snow without wasting too much time and having to back track would be to drive up the Hume Highway to Albury stopping at places of interest like the Ned Kelly display at Glenrowan on the way.

Turn right at Albury along the Murray Valley Highway to Khancoban then up towards Tumbarumba. Turn right about twenty ks before Tumba onto the Elliot Way to Cabramurra. If you are approaching that area late in the afternoon then one hundred metres down the hill past the Elliot Way turn off is a very nice camping area beside Paddy's River. Expect the area to be white with heavy frost the next morning and about minus 5 degrees.

The Elliot Way is very scenic and winds steeply down into the valley to the Tumut River where there a plenty of good camp sites. The climb up out of the valley is steep and scenic and you reach the snow line near the top just before the short detour to the right to Cabramurra.

Cabramurra is the highest town in the country and bears some resemblance to a military base because it was built by the Snowy Authority for its staff.

From Cabramurra you drive down to the old ghost town of Kiandra past the Mt Sellwin ski resort and the Three Mile Dam which is beautiful if it is not completely snowed over.

From Kiandra you drive down the Snowy Mountains Highway to Cooma and onto Canberra.

While on the Kiandra to Cooma road it is worth taking the short detour about one or two ks before Adaminaby out to Old Adaminaby where you will see the greater part of Lake Eucumbene.

If you don't want to go to Cooma then turn left a few ks past Adaminaby and take the scenic unsealed road through Shannons Flat to Canberra.

The area from the top of the hill just before Cabramurra to thirty ks or so before Adaminaby will be covered in heavy snow but the road should be open providing you don't arrive in the middle of a blizzard and the snow ploughs are waiting for it to clear before they can go out.

If for some reason you can't get through the Elliot Way then go onto Tumbarumba then on to Batlow and Tumut then up Talbingo Mountain on the Snowy Mountains Highway and into the snow that way.

You will be driving through the Kosciusko National Park and you must carry snow chains even if you don't need them. You may be able to hire them somewhere and drop them off at another point but you will have to check the tourist info centres regarding that. One word of advice though: practice putting them on before you get into the snow.

After leaving Canberra you can either drive up the Hume Highway to Sydney or a much more scenic way would be to go from Goulburn through Oberon to the Great Western Highway then down to Sydney checking out the spactacular Echo Point lookout over the Jamison Valley and the Three Sisters at Katoomba.

If you are really keen then you can walk down the eleven hundred or so stairs of the Giant Staircase beside the Three Sisters then around the track at the bottom of the cliff and up the near vertical scenic railway. I think from memory there is a cliff top walk back from there to Echo Point.

The road from Goulburn to Oberon is a good unsealed 2wd road that goes past the edge of the Abercrombie National Park where there are a few short 4wd tracks and a couple of good camping areas. It does get some snow but is open about 95% of the time.

That is about the best and shortest way that I can think of to travel from Melbourne to Canberra and see plenty of snow. There are other ways but not during winter.


AnswerID: 295506

Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (WA) - Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 01:31

Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 01:31
Thanks Brian

That's one of the most comprehensive replies I've seen in a while :-)

I'll pull out the map book and have a look at route you mentioned.

I have traveled the G.O.R. before and been around Geelong/Melbourne and all major places North up to Cooktown but never done the High Country.

After your description and the others, I might go where it's a little warmer (Darwin) and save my high country trip for when I can do Tassie as well during a better time of year (Jan-Feb) one day!

Thanks for your info again.

FollowupID: 561540

Reply By: Crackles - Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 18:17

Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 18:17
Andrew in general there are far too many seasonal track closures to tour through the High Country in winter with many of the iconic attractions innacessable.
A possible route that you could take from Melbourne is head through Gippsland to Walhalla, an old historic gold town then over Matlock to Woods Point. Several difficult tracks around here if you want a challenge. Accross to Mansfield & Whitfield then up the Rose river to Mt Cobbler. Back down the Buffalo valley to Bright. Base camp here for day trips to Buffalo, Hotham, Mt Sarah & Beechworth just remembering at time the higher peaks can have snow at times.
Cheers Craig......
AnswerID: 295630

Reply By: mythicl - Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 19:47

Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 19:47
Hi Andrew,
I lived in Mansfield about 10 years ago and have to agree that there are many tracks that 'might' be closed. Having said that there's plenty of places where you can base camp and then just take your vehicle out for day trips. Some of the roads up there aren't suitable for campers (in any weather).

As for a route - while I think the Great Ocean road is nice it's also full of slow moving traffic and isn't that nice is crappy weather. If your coming from Adelaide I would suggest heading down along the Coorong (turn south at Tailem Band), at Mt Gambier go up through Casterton to Hamilton and Dunkeld them up into Halls Gap for a few days (The Grampians Nat Park). Quite nice up there. Then across to Ararat, Maryborough, Castlemaine - this is very pretty country with lots of places to poke around and some fantasic camping spots. From there you could head down to Daylesford which is famous for it's Spa (which is a little expensive these days). A mate and I went there years ago in winter and there's nothing like soaking in a hot tub after a few days camping out bush!). Otherwise head up to Bendigo - lots to see and do including a lot of bush galleries.

Either way you can then make your way across to Seymour past Puckapunyal Army base (where you can go into if you want to check out the museam etc). From Seymour head across to Eildon and then head anti clockwise around the lake. It can be slippery but should be okay even with a camper. You can base-stay at Mansfield and check out some of the tracks including craigs hut but there might be a fee as some of the tracks at part of the ski resort so check with the local visitors centre.

I highly recommend the back road from Mansfield to Myrtleford via Whitfield - first did it on my old Yamaha 900 about 15 years ago and If a motorbike can do it you will have no problem - beauticul scenery and it comes out at the back of Mt Buffalo. There are some fantastic bush tracks south of Whitfield (there's a large reservois there - you go straight past it till you hit the dirt - it comes out at Craigs hut - allow a full day). There,s also some good camping spots not far in for an overnighter.

Anyway Icould go on and one as I love that country and have done lots of bits here and there but I think you will have done enough reading my now. :0)

PS - someone else suggested Licola - also very nice as is Dargo but you may end up driving up and back again if roads are blocked. There's also heaps of great tracks in the East of Vic south of the border.

If you want any specifics let me know. Otherwise have a bloody good trip!

AnswerID: 295656

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