Vic High Country

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesMansfield
FinishHarrietville
DifficultyDifficulty 3.5/5
Suitable For4WD 
Distance306.16 km
Minimum Days3
Average Speed30.17 km/hr
Travel Time10 hrs 8 mins
Page Updated: 29 Jan 2018
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Description

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 complex.

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.

How to Use this Trek Note

If you'd like to download this Trek there are two options:
  • purchase our app ExplorOz Traveller. This will allow you to download all the ExplorOz Trek Notes to your GPS enabled smartphone/tablet/iPad or laptop and enable active route guidance along the route we provide as per the Directions. The app also allows you to edit/customise the route. In the app you will get all the words, images and POIs for each Trek exactly as on the website (excludes Wildflowers). For more info see the ExplorOz Traveller webpage.

  • Alternatively, if you already have another mapping software program (or an HN7 device) you can try downloading the data files we provide via the Download Trek button at the top of this page (or purchase EOTreks Route Files). Be aware that this doesn't include maps or text just the route line.

TIP

To purchase our maps for offline use, you will need to purchase an EOTopo map licence (available either in App Version, or Raster Version).

Environment

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.

Flora
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.

Fauna
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.

History

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.
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Preparation

MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.

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

Fuel Symbol
DieselULPLPG
4cyl 43 litres4cyl 50 litres4cyl 61 litres
6cyl 47 litres6cyl 55 litres6cyl 54 litres
8cyl 47 litres8cyl 51 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Track Closures apply June – October. Parks Victoria can confirm track status open/closed.

Closest Climatic Station

Mount Buller
Distance from Trek Mid Point 22.69km SW
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C17.317.114.19.96.33.21.42.14.88.412.414.4
Mean Min. °C8.88.96.63.61.1-1.2-2.7-2.4-0.81.24.86.0
Mean Rain mm72.778.679.5103.8131.0147.1163.5150.4149.4142.8127.595.5
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

The following locations have various services And supplies:Dargo Pub

Map

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What to See

Cattlemen’s huts, high altitude flora, spectacular views, historic sites & cemeteries, old mines and mining equipment and a few geocaches.

Showing 15 Places

Where to Stay

Showing 11 Places

Directions

Mansfield to Merrijig
Driving: 17.83 km
Heading: 110°
Avg Speed: 81.46 km/hr
EST Time: 13:07
Merrijig to Red Hill
Driving: 8.96 km
Heading: 149°
Avg Speed: 45.67 km/hr
EST Time: 11:46
Red Hill to Chimney Ruin
Driving: 7.89 km
Heading: 145°
Avg Speed: 43.03 km/hr
EST Time: 11:00
Chimney Ruin to Sheepyard Flat Camp Area
Driving: 0.59 km
Heading: 60°
Avg Speed: 35.1 km/hr
EST Time: 01:00
Sheepyard Flat Camp Area to Pickerings Hut
Driving: 1.67 km
Heading: 61°
Avg Speed: 46.06 km/hr
EST Time: 02:10
Pickerings Hut to Tunnel Bend Flat
Driving: 1.67 km
Heading: 95°
Avg Speed: 31.05 km/hr
EST Time: 03:13
Tunnel Bend Flat to Gardiners (4 Mile) Hut
Driving: 0.45 km
Heading: 152°
Avg Speed: 35.28 km/hr
EST Time: 00:45
Gardiners (4 Mile) Hut to Six Mile Hut
Driving: 3.81 km
Heading: 95°
Avg Speed: 28.98 km/hr
EST Time: 07:53
Six Mile Hut to Eight Mile Gap
Driving: 10.17 km
Heading: 139°
Avg Speed: 32.03 km/hr
EST Time: 19:03
Eight Mile Gap to Refrigerator Gap
Driving: 4.34 km
Heading: 71°
Avg Speed: 29.96 km/hr
EST Time: 08:41
Refrigerator Gap to Bluff Hut
Driving: 6.8 km
Heading: 79°
Avg Speed: 20.17 km/hr
EST Time: 20:13
Bluff Hut to Mount Lovicks
Driving: 3.15 km
Heading: 74°
Avg Speed: 16.14 km/hr
EST Time: 11:42
Mount Lovicks to Lovick's Hut
Driving: 2.94 km
Heading: 81°
Avg Speed: 15.54 km/hr
EST Time: 11:21
Lovick's Hut to Picture Point
Driving: 1.08 km
Heading: 12°
Avg Speed: 14.04 km/hr
EST Time: 04:36
Picture Point to Scenic Lookout
Driving: 1.08 km
Heading: 79°
Avg Speed: 13.9 km/hr
EST Time: 04:39
Scenic Lookout to Bluff Tk & King Billy Tk & Brocks Rd
Driving: 3 km
Heading: 150°
Avg Speed: 15.27 km/hr
EST Time: 11:47
Bluff Tk & King Billy Tk & Brocks Rd to Peters Ck, King Billy Track
Driving: 6.5 km
Heading: 93°
Avg Speed: 13.04 km/hr
EST Time: 29:54
Peters Ck, King Billy Track to King Billy Tk (Collapsed Log Bridge)
Driving: 1.39 km
Heading: 30°
Avg Speed: 12.33 km/hr
EST Time: 06:45
King Billy Tk (Collapsed Log Bridge) to Howitt Hut
Driving: 9.47 km
Heading: 123°
Avg Speed: 30.9 km/hr
EST Time: 18:23
Howitt Hut to Zeka Spur Tk
Driving: 7.97 km
Heading: 356°
Avg Speed: 30.43 km/hr
EST Time: 15:42
Zeka Spur Tk to Half Way Camp
Driving: 6.37 km
Heading: 65°
Avg Speed: 21.4 km/hr
EST Time: 17:51
Half Way Camp to Dry River, Wonnangatta (Campsite)
Driving: 12.56 km
Heading: 97°
Avg Speed: 26.69 km/hr
EST Time: 28:14
Dry River, Wonnangatta (Campsite) to Campsites along Wonnangatta River
Driving: 3.3 km
Heading: 126°
Avg Speed: 30.24 km/hr
EST Time: 06:32
Campsites along Wonnangatta River to Duffys & HorsePaddock Camps
Driving: 0.9 km
Heading: 146°
Avg Speed: 18.09 km/hr
EST Time: 02:59
Duffys & HorsePaddock Camps to Wonnangatta Homestead Site
Driving: 0.66 km
Heading: 281°
Avg Speed: 14.8 km/hr
EST Time: 02:40
Wonnangatta Homestead Site to Wonnangatta River, Wonnangatta Tk
Driving: 8.18 km
Heading: 117°
Avg Speed: 23.27 km/hr
EST Time: 21:05
Wonnangatta River, Wonnangatta Tk to Mount Cynthia
Driving: 18.67 km
Heading: 141°
Avg Speed: 24.75 km/hr
EST Time: 45:15
Mount Cynthia to Howittville
Driving: 7.25 km
Heading: 99°
Avg Speed: 19.57 km/hr
EST Time: 22:13
Howittville to Talbotville
Driving: 5.34 km
Heading: 12°
Avg Speed: 26.1 km/hr
EST Time: 12:16
Talbotville to Good Hope Mine Boiler & Tunnel
Driving: 10.65 km
Heading: 85°
Avg Speed: 16.93 km/hr
EST Time: 37:44
Good Hope Mine Boiler & Tunnel to Grant Historic Township
Driving: 8.41 km
Heading: 115°
Avg Speed: 17.19 km/hr
EST Time: 29:21
Grant Historic Township to Jolly Sailor Mine
Driving: 3.08 km
Heading: 48°
Avg Speed: 12.65 km/hr
EST Time: 14:36
Jolly Sailor Mine to Peter The Swede
Driving: 5.31 km
Heading: 147°
Avg Speed: 19.83 km/hr
EST Time: 16:03
Peter The Swede to Cowa
Driving: 11.9 km
Heading: 139°
Avg Speed: 44.87 km/hr
EST Time: 15:54
Cowa to Dargo Pub
Driving: 3.72 km
Heading: 175°
Avg Speed: 46.44 km/hr
EST Time: 04:48
Dargo Pub to Dargo
Driving: 0.07 km
Heading: 339°
Avg Speed: 1.53 km/hr
EST Time: N/A
Dargo to Cowa
Driving: 3.69 km
Heading: 356°
Avg Speed: 54.05 km/hr
EST Time: 04:05
Cowa to Peter The Swede
Driving: 11.9 km
Heading: 319°
Avg Speed: 44.87 km/hr
EST Time: 15:54
Peter The Swede to Mount Ewen
Driving: 8.04 km
Heading: 20°
Avg Speed: 51.45 km/hr
EST Time: 09:22
Mount Ewen to Gows Hotel Site
Driving: 16.57 km
Heading: 355°
Avg Speed: 63.78 km/hr
EST Time: 15:35
Gows Hotel Site to Dargo High Plains
Driving: 11.58 km
Heading: 341°
Avg Speed: 62.46 km/hr
EST Time: 11:07
Dargo High Plains to Start of Blue Rag Track
Driving: 4.33 km
Heading: 300°
Avg Speed: 49.99 km/hr
EST Time: 05:11
Start of Blue Rag Track to Mount Blue Rag
Driving: 6.7 km
Heading: 257°
Avg Speed: 13.72 km/hr
EST Time: 29:18
Mount Blue Rag to Blue Rag Trig Point (Lookout)
Driving: 0.07 km
Heading: 171°
Avg Speed: 14.92 km/hr
EST Time: N/A
Blue Rag Trig Point (Lookout) to Mount Blue Rag
Driving: 0.07 km
Heading: 351°
Avg Speed: 14.92 km/hr
EST Time: N/A
Mount Blue Rag to Start of Blue Rag Track
Driving: 6.7 km
Heading: 77°
Avg Speed: 13.72 km/hr
EST Time: 29:18
Start of Blue Rag Track to Mount Freezeout
Driving: 6.88 km
Heading: 337°
Avg Speed: 47.83 km/hr
EST Time: 08:37
Mount Freezeout to Dargo High Plains Rd & Great Alpine Rd
Driving: 4.1 km
Heading: 337°
Avg Speed: 48.35 km/hr
EST Time: 05:05
Dargo High Plains Rd & Great Alpine Rd to Harrietville
Driving: 18.4 km
Heading: 354°
Avg Speed: 43.6 km/hr
EST Time: 25:19
Distance is GPS recorded distance based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

Wildflowers

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