Today we set off south with no real plans except to head towards Victoria.
We had a few spots marked on WikiCamps along the Hume Highway that looked suitable for an overnight stay and this time we pulled up in Yass.
We like to stop at different places each time we head up and down the freeway and we hadn’t stayed here at Joe O’Connor Park.
This is a peaceful free camp with plenty of shade and space to spread out along the river. You do need to be self contained to stay here.
Click here for more information on Joe O’Connor Park.
Heading further south we found ourselves stopped on the side of the road just near Gundagai to avoid getting caught in the middle of this epic storm!!
Once the front had gone through we continued on towards the Victorian border.
We had decided to head in the direction of the Yarra Valley to have a look around the Marysville area .
With a few places marked on WikiCamps, we turned off the Hume Highway at Euroa and headed towards Alexandra. Not overly impressed with the campground we found, we continued on to Taggerty to the next one!
Now, if you have followed our travels for a while you will know we are not really caravan park people… we have our van set up to free camp as that is what we enjoy most! We don’t like being jammed in like sardines and don’t like the standard $70+ a night most van parks charge because we have two kids!!
So, in saying all this, it might surprise you to see where we stayed for three nights during this trip… a Big 4!! Yes, you read that right, a Big 4!
Big 4 Taggerty Holiday Park in Victoria is a nice place to stay and it wasn’t overly busy so that’s probably what appealed to us the most! Although, after the first night we did get people turn up and they were put right next to us so the appeal lessened a little… however we had booked into a van park so had to expect this!
We did pay $65 per night for this slice of river frontage however that is pretty good for January School Holidays I guess…
If van parks are your thing, this one is great and the owners are friendly and welcoming, it’s in a beautiful location, the amenities are clean and new and there are plenty of activities on offer for the kids.
We didn’t spend too much time in the park itself as we were off exploring the area and only used it as a base to come back to.
At the time of this trip, many areas in NSW and VIC were under threat or had been severely impacted by the bushfires during the 2019/2020 summer season.
The areas we visited were suffering from the lack of tourists even though the threat had eased so it was nice to do our bit and leave some dollars behind in these towns.
Our first stop was Marysville and what a beautiful town to explore.
Marysville was one of the communities that was in the thick of the devastating Black Saturday fires back in 2009. The bushfire destroyed most of the town and tragically 45 lives were lost.
Today the main precinct is lush and green with the Steavenson River a main feature running through town.
When you look to the hills you see a stark reminder of fires that occurred 11 years ago. The Mountain Ash do not regenerate like other eucalypts after severe fire so the hills are left with dead standing trees. There is regrowth, however, it will be many years before the forest resemble what it once was.
This area has so much to offer and first we visited Steavenson Falls and Keppel Lookout which are both in the township.
From here we followed the Lady Talbot Trail and explored more walks, waterfalls and lookouts.
Lady Talbot Trail is a 47km driving trail through Marysville State Forest and Yarra Ranges National Park.
The trail is on a well maintained gravel road (2WD access advised in dry conditions only).
This is a very pretty drive and all walks are fairly easy and less than 2kms each.
The map below shows where we went on our day trip. The Visitor Information Centre in Marysville can give you a brochure with all of these details so be sure to call in and pick one up.
The walk to the falls is a short 700m return and has several viewing points.
Steavenson Falls is one of Victoria’s highest falls with a drop of 84 metres!
If you visit during the evening the path and falls are floodlit from dusk to 11pm.
Even though we had a bit of a gloomy day it was still a nice view from the lookout.
The lookout is only a short 50 metres from the car park.
Phantom Falls is a 1.6km return walk.
KEPPEL FALLS LOOKOUT
Keppel Falls is a 2km return walk.
TAGGERTY RIVER CASCADES
Taggerty River Cascades is only a 150m return walk.
We took a 3km diversion off Lady Talbot Trail to explore Keppel Hut.
This is a 4WD only track and access is off Lady Talbot Trail then you turn onto Upper Taggerty Road then follow Keppel Hut Track (see map above).
Keppel Hut was one of a number of huts built by the Keppel family in the area and this one was originally built in 1939.
Since then it has been destroyed and rebuilt a couple of times!! It was accidentally destroyed in 1983 and again in the 2009 Black Saturday fires!
There is a small camping area suitable for tents/swags around the hut.
Today’s day trip took us to Healesville which is 30 minutes south west of Marysville.
This small town was also caught up in the 2009 Black Saturday fires however has rebuilt and is a beautiful town to visit.
We wandered along the main street in and out of shops stocking up on essential items such as crackers for nibbles and lots of goodies from one of the local smokehouses 😉
Oh and let’s not forget FOUR PILLARS… the local gin distillery, we did our bit to leave some $$ there! We highly recommend a visit!!
After our stay at the Big 4 we were in search of a nice quiet camp for a few days. After some research Jamieson and Howqua Hills Historic Area seemed to have some nice bush camping areas to check out so from Taggerty we drove via the small township of Eildon and on to Mansfield.
Lake Eildon is one of the largest artificial lakes in Victoria and was built between 1951 and 1956. The lake holds up to six times the amount of water of Sydney Harbour.
Howqua Hills is 35km south east of Mansfield in the Victorian High Country and this is the direction we decided to head from Mansfield.
There are several campgrounds in the area all with access to the river and plenty of space. We set up camp at Sheepyard Flat Campground and enjoyed a peaceful three night stay.
Sheepyard Flat is around 50 mins from Mt Buller Village and from there you can continue on to explore Mt Stirling, Craig’s Hut and many 4WD tracks in the area.
Check out our video on Sheepyard Flat Campground!
Mount Buller was on our list of places to visit while we were in the area, however, today we decided to have a day around camp. This also included jumping in the car and checking out the other camp grounds in the area.
If you search “Howqua Hills” in WikiCamps you will find all the listings and information.
We also had a wander along Howqua Hills Hertitage Track. This track joins Sheepyard Flat Campground, where we were staying, to Frys Flat Campground with an easy 1.5km hike through the bush.
This walk follows the Howqua River and will take you past some relics from the gold mining era and there are a number of information boards that give you a glimpse into life in the past. Gold mining dominated the the valley from 1860’s through to the early 1900’s followed by years of grazing.
Once you reach Frys Flat you are able to wander through Frys Hut, one of the many High Country Hut in the area.
Frys Flat is one of the other campground in the area. Click here for more info.
Today we day tripped to Mount Buller and the surrounding areas.
From Sheepyard Flat, the campground we were staying at, Mount Buller was around an hours drive.
We arrived in Mount Buller to a very quiet and sleepy township. We thought being the Australia Day long weekend it may have been a little busier with some celebrations going on but that wasn’t the case.
Nonetheless we were here to hike to the summit of Mt Buller and that we did!
MOUNT BULLER SUMMIT WALK
The summit walk is a 6km return hike linking Mount Buller Village and the Summit. This is an easy and mostly flat hike along the southern slopes with only the last few hundred metres up to the summit that is steep.
From here we continued on towards Craig’s Hut and Mount Stirling.
This yellow highlighted section on the map below shows the route we took.
The Circuit Road Loop is accessible by 2WD but you need a 4wd to get to Craig’s Hut and Mount Stirling or there are walking trails that you can take.
➡️ From Mt Buller we followed the Corn Hill Track to Howqua Gap Hut and then followed Circuit Road to Telephone Box Junction.
➡️ From TBJ we continued along Circuit Road to the Circuit Road Picnic Area where we then took the Clear Hills 4WD Track to Craig’s Hut.
➡️ From Craig’s Hut we followed Clear Hills 4WD Track to Mount Stirling.
➡️ Howqua Gap 4WD Track then took us back to Howqua Gap Hut and back onto Circuit Road.
Craig’s Hut was originally built in 1981 for the set of the movie ‘The Man from Snowy River’.
In 2006 the hut was completely destroyed by bushfire and rebuilt again in 07/08.
4WD access to the hut only via Clear Hills Track. There is a 3km return walking track to the hut from Circuit Road Rest Area if in a 2WD.
Mount Stirling stands 1,749 metres above sea level and it is only a short walk (providing you get there via 4WD) to an incredible 360° view.
We put together a video of our day, check it out below!
Today we started the journey home. We had a touch over 900kms to do in three days so started to head north towards Lake Hume for an overnight stop.
On the way, we had a little detour through the small township of Milawa, just south of Wangaratta, and found ourselves on a tasting journey of cheese, mustard and honey!
We made our way to Lake Hume and free camped at Ludlows Reserve for the night. Check out this link for more info on this campground. There is plenty of space here and it’s only 20 minutes off the Hume Highway.
We continued north today, edging closer to home. At the time of this trip, NSW were struggling through horrendous bush fires, so all National Parks and Forest areas were closed to campers leaving us with limited options close to the highway.
However, Berrima Reserve was open and we were able to book in and stay the night there.
Berrima Reserve is located in the Southern Highlands of NSW around 130kms south of Sydney.
It is only a very small campground with four sites available so bookings are essential!
You can see more info and pics on Berrima Reserve here!
Day 10 was the boring part! Straight back up the freeway for a few hours to home …the road we’ve travelled many many times.
And that’s a wrap on another 10 day road trip!
We had a great time exploring new areas and are keen to get back to the Victorian High Country to see some more!
We didn’t book any sites prior to leaving just utilised WikiCamps along the way.
✅ 10 days
✅ $213 in camp fees (average $23.60 p/n)
✅ 5 campsites
➡️ Joe O’Connor Park (1 night) – FREE
➡️ Big 4 Taggerty (3) – $195
➡️ Sheepyard Flat Campground (3) – FREE
➡️ Lake Hume (1) – FREE
➡️ Berrima Reserve (1) – $18
New lines have been added to our map and now it’s on to planning the next trip!
If you are looking for more ideas of places to visit head over to our TRIP PLANS and browse through our previous travel itineraries.