The Perfect Weekend 4WD Trip To A Scenic Winter Wonderland
Wintertime in the country can be a world of fun! especially if you've got access to a 4WD.
This month friends and I went on a road trip South-East of Yarrawonga/Mulwala to Victorias beautiful High Country. On a fine, sunny Winters Saturday morning we headed down through Benalla onto the Midland Highway passing through Swanpool, past Lake Nillahcootie, through Mansfield and onto Mt Buller Road - High Country bound. We started our journey through the hills on Mt Sterling Road, an easy 2WD road with amazing views of the surrounding mountains - standing out among them all was Mt Buller, with its white snow caps shinning brightly on a beautiful, clear day - almost ready to kick off the snow season.
We continued around the side of Mt Sterling and on to Circuit Road which lead us to the first 4WD track (Clear Hills TK) up to Craigs Hut. As you reach the flat toward the top of Sterling where Craigs Hut is situated, it opens up to a beautiful big grass area (scattered with snow at that time of the year), perfect for setting up a picnic and camp BBQ to kick back, have a bite to eat and enjoy the views of the distant mountain ranges surrounding you - it is also pet friendly! there were plenty of dogs running around having a ball. The hut is impressive, with so much history behind it - it is one of the regions most famous landmarks as it was originally built for the movie set of the famous Aussie film 'The Man From Snowy River' making it an iconic symbol of Australian settler history. There are several information stands inside the hut educating visitors with the details of it's initial construction and the history behind it. You can access Craigs Hut via a roughly 1200m walking track starting from the Telephone Box Junction along Circuit Road, just before the turn off to the 4WD track. This ensures those without a 4WD don't miss out on the breathtaking views!
See below the panoramic views you can expect to see from the hut/Mt Sterling.
After setting up the camp cooker and having some lunch and a nice cold beer at the hut we headed back down Clear Hills TK and continued along Circuit RD until we reached Bindaree RD. There is a short cut to get here via the Momentum TK, but unfortunately it wasn't available to us on the day - if you get the chance to take this track, apparently it is a good one as it is a more challenging 4WD route.
Along Bindaree RD you come to a small bridge crossing at the base of Binderee Falls where you can pull over and take a short walk up to a lookout over the stunning waterfall - the platform allows you to get right up and close for a great view. If there's one thing I find incredibly mesmerising it's watching and listening to a fast flowing waterfall, it's so calming and tranquil! So sorry TLC, I'm going to keep chasing those waterfalls for as long as I live!
See the imagery below of beautiful Bindaree Falls.
Continuing on for another few Kilometres led us to another historic wooden hut - Binderee Hut, from here we took the 16 Mile Jeep TK (4WD TK) and explored our camping options. We drove through a river crossing at Pikes Flat camping grounds through to the other side which was far too wet for setting up camp. We retraced back to where we came from continuing along 16 Mile Jeep TK until we found another small track leading us to an amazing camping spot by the water where we were completely secluded from anyone else - which was simply amazing.
Check out our amazing nook right on a creek branching off the Howqua River where we set up camp and spent a night by the fire.
*A few tips to definitely make note of if you plan on doing this in the Winter months as we did - take tarps with you and set them above you if you're swagging it, get your fire going early as everything is super damp! and pack everything away or cover it up as it gets mighty icy come around 10-11pm through to the early mornin!
After waking up very fresh in the morning to a picturesque, frosty winter wonderland we cooked up a nice hot breaky and set off back along 16 Mile Jeep TK until we reached Bluff Link - a great FWD stint taking us out to Brocks RD (back on to an unsealed road), we followed this along taking in even more breathtaking scenery as we headed down past Sheepyard Flat and a number of fantastic, easily accessible camping grounds where people who don't have 4WD cars can camp for the night and still get amongst the mountains. From here we took the Howqua Track out of the Mountains which joins back on to MT Buller RD, leading us back the way we came, wrapping up our amazing weekend trip up through the High Country.
I strongly recommend doing a trip similar to this one at some stage throughout the Autumn/Winter months. It is truly breathtaking and such an amazing experience - the pictures certainly don't do the views justice, but hopefully they are enough to prompt you to plan your next weekend getaway through some of Victorias most iconic stretches of land. As mentioned already, there are so many great spots to take the family and get the ultimate High Country camping experience without having to enter 4WD tracks which is fantastic! Make sure you rug up and pack plenty of blankets and hot water bottles to pop in the tent or swag and you're set for the camping trip you'll never forget! in fact I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes an annual trip after enjoying this for the first time!
In total, the faithful Ford Ranger covered roughly 408 Kilometres! See the maps below of our tracks through the High Country - a round trip from start to finish.