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australia:vic:mckillopsbridge

The Snowy River and McKillops Bridge

Introduction

  • 229km road tour (if you do the recommended drive circuit), full day, 4WD/AWD only but easy
  • this tour takes the scenic unsealed roads to Tulloch Ard (which adds an extra 1.5-2.5hrs to the trip to McKillops Bridge depending on which side trips you take and add extra time for any walks)
  • you are likely to see a range of Australian wildlife whilst driving - kangaroos, wallabies, goannas (often feeding on road kill), and if you are lucky, a lyrebird - avoid driving at dusk as wombats and roos are a more likely to end up as road kill

  • the descent beyond Little River Gorge into McKillops Bridge is one of Victoria's most precarious roads, unsuitable for trailers or caravans
  • there are NO shops or fuel options north of Buchan or Orbost until one gets to Delegate which is a side option into NSW!
  • check fire updates and emergency warnings BEFORE leaving and avoid the 4WD forest tracks if storms are forecast as these make make driving very difficult if the roads become wet and slippery, may cause trees to fall across the road, and may cause bushfires.
  • strongly recommend taking a radio beacon and snake bite first aid bandages if you will be doing any bushwalking as there is no phone reception in most of these areas

The driving tour from Orbost

Orbost to Basin Road

  • either of these routes take you past the longest rail trestle bridge in Victoria used 1916-1987 which is just south-west of Orbost on the Princes Hwy
  • option 1 - the Google route
    • take the Princes Hway to Nowa Nowa then up to Buchan
      • optional side trip to Buchan Caves
    • then take the Buchan-Orbost Rd and turn left onto Basin Rd (55min, 76km to this intersection)
  • option 2 - Snowy River valley and mountain route
    • start at Orbost-Buchan Rd (60min, 54km to the Basin Rd intersection)
      • option to take side route to Stringers Knob Historic Fire Tower by turning left at Monument Track and further on to Mottle Range Flora Reserve (the only known naturally occurring stand of E.maculata - spotted gum in Victoria) and from there you can either return to the Orbost-Buchan Road (94min, 71km to the Basin Rd intersection), or you can take the shorter, faster route via Buchan on the Mottle Range Rd (84min, 63km to the Basin Rd intersection via Buchan)
    • turn onto Basin Rd

Basin Road

  • Wilson's Cave is apparently near the intersection of Buchan-Orbost Rd and Basin Road
  • there are some nice rural views to the south down the Buchan River valley
  • Basin Road is an unsealed road at the start of the tourist drive which takes you to Gelantipy
  • it is an 11min, 6.3km drive to the main intersection which gives options of:
    • the side route south down a 4WD only track to head to Balley Hooley camp ground and One Tree Hill Lookout (10min, 4.6km each way excluding the short Lookout side trip)
    • the side route north-east on Old Basin Road to Basin Falls (5min, 2.6km each way)
    • take the tourist route north to Tulloch Ard via Balley Hooley Road and then Tulloch Ard Rd through a variety of forests and views and back to Gelantipy Rd (sealed) which will take 92min without stopping on 47km of winding unsealed forest road but should be easily driveable with a 2WD in dry conditions

Balley Hooley camp ground

  • this is a nice, small free camp ground where the Buchan River joins a bend of the Snowy River which makes it a nice spot for canoes and kayaks and perhaps a swim but the shores are rocky without sandy beaches and the water can be muddy

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Basin Creek Falls

  • great views and walk to falls

Ash Saddle

  • the drive takes you through a range of different forests
  • Walking track and picnic area (750m walk)

Tulloch Ard

  • lovely rural views in this section towards to ranges in the north and east
    • 3.2km return 1.5hrs, mostly easy with some steep sections and rough surfaces and steps

Gelantipy to McKillops Rd

  • this section is sealed bitumen and takes 16min to travel its 17.4km

Little River Gorge

  • then drive to Little River Falls (a 400m lookout), then to Little River Gorge (Victoria's deepest gorge - a 400m walk track leads to cliff top lookout with great views)
  • Little River Falls on McKillops Road:
    • “This is a good meeting place and a short walk takes you to a lookout with a good view of the falls. A little further on a detour on the right leads to a short walking track to the Little River Gorge lookout which is a sight to behold. Numerous tempting side tracks are passed before a left hairpin turn reveals a track on the right which descends to Little River Junction (with the Snowy River). This is an ideal place to camp for the night and as the track itself is of moderate difficulty it is a good opportunity to test man and machine.”

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McKillops Bridge

  • then negotiate the steep 16.5km to McKillops Bridge (rebuilt in 1935 and has a nice camp spot as well as others following the Deddick River)
  • great views eastwards across the ranges and Little River Gorge, then further down, overlooking the Snowy River before one passes the free camp ground and then down to McKillops Bridge where there is another free camp ground on its north-eastern part
  • this area is hotter (5degC hotter than the previous sections of the drive) and drier with a mallee-like stunted forest, so not a great option to camp on a hot summer's day (Goongerah is a much better option)

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  • Silver Mine walking track near MacKillops Bridge:
    • 15.5km loop walk but may require orienteering and skill as sections are overgrown

  • experienced 4WD convoys like to take the optional side adrenaline rush called the Deddick Trail from MacKillops Bridge southwards to Yalmy Road but sections have a double black diamond classification (very difficult in dry conditions) and the track should only be attempted by groups of experienced drivers with appropriately equipped vehicles. The track contains several water crossings and many sections that are very steep and slippery even in dry weather. The Staircase between Mt Joan and New Country Creek is particularly challenging and Parks Vic is advising travelers SHOULD ONLY travel in a NORTHERLY direction (heading from Yalmy Road towards McKillop Bridge) between the Rich Knob Track and Bowen Track intersections 1)
  • the flat north end of the track is rocks and very slow going - 2.5hrs for 10km
  • see also: https://tracks.4x4earth.com/4wd-track/deddick-trail/172 although this page is for the southerly, more challenging direction - in 2009 it required a capable vehicle with clearance, tyres deflated for traction, diff lock and winches to ascend the Staircase section as it was severely eroded, however, but in 2012 it was graded so most 4WDs could ascend it in dry weather with relative ease although it is still very steep and scary. This may have changed in 2018 as it is no longer advised to ascend it!

  • one can do the 3-4 day canoe / rapids trip from MacKillops Bridge to Balley Hooley but check river conditions, be prepared and take at least one person who knows the river

Deddick Valley

  • drive to Ambyne Suspension Bridge, then Willow picnic area, then Tubbut, Wattle Camp picnic area, Taylors Camp picnic area, Jingalalla River picnic area
  • the drive on the unsealed, winding gravel road from McKillops Bridge to Ambyne hugs the north facing steep valley overlooking the Deddick River, although there is not much obvious in the way of aesthetic photographic options, nor are there any camp grounds or wayside stops in this section
  • from Ambyne to Bonang and Tubbutt there are a few free camp sites

return to Orbost

option 1 - via Bonang Hway

  • travel south down Bonang Rd (windy, bitumen road south of LillyPilly Creek, with logging trucks) to return to Orbost
  • the tranquil Goongerah camp ground and picnic area on the Ellery Creek

option 2 - medium 4WD route via Combienar

  • this takes you eastwards on a dry weather only 4WD track which may be seasonally closed - check the websites
  • 4WD only - high clearance and experience required, Tennyson Tk is steep, rocky and slippery
  • at The Gap Scenic Reserve, take the Bendoc-Orbost Rd
    • option for the 3hr return very steep walk down to the Erinundra Old Growth rainforest gully in The Gap Scenic Reserve)
  • turn right at Gunmark Rd
  • Three Sisters Lookout
  • Tennyson campsite

option 3 - Bendoc - Delegate River valley

  • from The Gap Scenic Reserve, head north towards Bendoc, but take the left turn on Playgrounds Rd to take you to Delegate River Tunnel Picnic Area (old gold mining river diversion tunnel), then back into Bendoc

option 4 - to Bombala then to Cann River or NSW coast

  • if the weather is stormy this takes option 2 out of the equation and you may have already done option 1, so a reasonable alternative is to drive north on bitumen sealed roads to Delegate, then Bombala where one can again turn south to Cann River then the Princes Hway back to Orbost
  • from the intersection of McKillops Rd and Bonang Rd, it is 106min and 151km to Cann River via Bombala - all on bitumen with some nice views over rolling rural hills in NSW and option for food and fuel in Bombala
australia/vic/mckillopsbridge.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/26 02:22 by gary1