VHC for Qlder at Christmas

Coiled

New Member
Hoping I can get some advice.

We are heading down to VHC arriving a couple of days after Boxing Day and plan to base ourselves at Talbotville for about 7 days. Can people please suggest day trips (can be short as we don't need to be in the car all day after the 1600km each way to get there or long because it is worth it and doable in a day) we can do from here to see the important / iconic sites and also experience some of the rugged trails. Ideally recommending which tracks to use get to and from rather than simply go to Blue Rag. Really appreciate any suggestions.

Many thanks
Michael
 

Outrage

4x4 Earth Contributer
Crooked River Loop - Short loop for approx. 3 hours (extend if doing the walks and Collingwood Spur): Start on the Crooked River Tk (section north of Talbotville), becomes Bulltown Spur (steep section), intersects McMillian Rd, can go back to camp from here or for a longer duration, continue across and onto Collingwood Spur, this joins onto the Crooked River Tk south of Talbotville and back to camp. Track have a number of creek crossings (24), crossings will be shallow that time of year, some entries/exits will need to be careful with wheel placement, steep sections will be ok in the dry. To add some sight seeing, there are some mining relics you can walk into from the northern part of the Crooked River Tk.

Day trip to Wonnangatta Station - Try to leave early/by 9. This will take all day but is worthwhile. South form Talbotville on the Crooked River Tk, right onto Pioneer Racecourse Tk, left onto Station Tk (steep section), right onto Cynthia Range Tk, right onto Wombat Range Tk, left onto Herne Spur Tk (V. Steep - you'll be going downhill, avoid if wet but ok in dry), becomes Wonnangatta Tk, 6 river crossings, follow the Wonnangatta Tk to the station. Assuming no hold ups, it will be lunch time while you look around. Return along the Wonnangatta Tk, left onto Humffray Tk, right onto Wombat Range Tk (steep sections), left onto Cynthia Range Tk, if running late, go back to camp via Station Tk, otherwise continue along Cynthia Range for some good ridgeline driving/views, left onto Cynthia Spur and left onto the Crooked River Tk back to camp. As a warning, Wombat Range is a bit narrow, so keep an eye out for spots you can pull over for when you come across oncoming traffic.

Day trip to The Pinnacles (Billy Goat Bluff) -
South onto Crooked River Tk, follow this all the way to Wonnangatta Rd, turn right and across the Kingswell Bridge, follow the main rd and turn left onto Billy Goat Bluff Tk (long climb, has been rough sections in the past, but gets graded fairly regularly), at the end of the track keep going left till The Pinnacles Lookout (good views if not in the clouds). Return back down Billy Goat Bluff Tk, turn left onto Wonnangatta Road, follow till Eaglevale campground, there's a suspension bridge you can walk along here that crosses the river. Once done get back in the cars and cross the river and go up Eaglevale Tk, right Cynthia Range Tk and either back to camp via Station Tk or along the whole Cynthia range.

Day Trip to Blue Rag Range - (note. an easier but longer alternative to South Basalt Knob Tk is Brewery Creek Tk, nothing exciting with Brewery, plain windy and flat tk, but easy) North onto Crooked River Tk, left onto South Basalt Knob (steep, one section is quite loose), continue onto Basalt Knob Tk, railway carriage at the end, left onto Basalt Knob north Tk, left onto Blue Rag Range (great views). Return via same route.

If going into Dargo, south onto Crooked River Tk, left onto Randalls Tk (steep) and make your way down Grady Ck Rd via Link Rd gets you the closest to town without being on the mains roads for most of the journey.

Another short loop to do is south onto Crooked River, left up Conway Tk (steep) and left down Randalls Tk (Steep) and back to camp.

Unfortunately most of the 'iconic' sites are a day trip to get there and back, although Talbotville is ideally in the middle of the three main ones, plus a nice campground with a number of other tracks and sites if not wanting to venture so far.
 

jacnden

Well-Known Member
Crooked River Loop - Short loop for approx. 3 hours (extend if doing the walks and Collingwood Spur): Start on the Crooked River Tk (section north of Talbotville), becomes Bulltown Spur (steep section), intersects McMillian Rd, can go back to camp from here or for a longer duration, continue across and onto Collingwood Spur, this joins onto the Crooked River Tk south of Talbotville and back to camp. Track have a number of creek crossings (24), crossings will be shallow that time of year, some entries/exits will need to be careful with wheel placement, steep sections will be ok in the dry. To add some sight seeing, there are some mining relics you can walk into from the northern part of the Crooked River Tk.

Day trip to Wonnangatta Station - Try to leave early/by 9. This will take all day but is worthwhile. South form Talbotville on the Crooked River Tk, right onto Pioneer Racecourse Tk, left onto Station Tk (steep section), right onto Cynthia Range Tk, right onto Wombat Range Tk, left onto Herne Spur Tk (V. Steep - you'll be going downhill, avoid if wet but ok in dry), becomes Wonnangatta Tk, 6 river crossings, follow the Wonnangatta Tk to the station. Assuming no hold ups, it will be lunch time while you look around. Return along the Wonnangatta Tk, left onto Humffray Tk, right onto Wombat Range Tk (steep sections), left onto Cynthia Range Tk, if running late, go back to camp via Station Tk, otherwise continue along Cynthia Range for some good ridgeline driving/views, left onto Cynthia Spur and left onto the Crooked River Tk back to camp. As a warning, Wombat Range is a bit narrow, so keep an eye out for spots you can pull over for when you come across oncoming traffic.

Day trip to The Pinnacles (Billy Goat Bluff) -
South onto Crooked River Tk, follow this all the way to Wonnangatta Rd, turn right and across the Kingswell Bridge, follow the main rd and turn left onto Billy Goat Bluff Tk (long climb, has been rough sections in the past, but gets graded fairly regularly), at the end of the track keep going left till The Pinnacles Lookout (good views if not in the clouds). Return back down Billy Goat Bluff Tk, turn left onto Wonnangatta Road, follow till Eaglevale campground, there's a suspension bridge you can walk along here that crosses the river. Once done get back in the cars and cross the river and go up Eaglevale Tk, right Cynthia Range Tk and either back to camp via Station Tk or along the whole Cynthia range.

Day Trip to Blue Rag Range - (note. an easier but longer alternative to South Basalt Knob Tk is Brewery Creek Tk, nothing exciting with Brewery, plain windy and flat tk, but easy) North onto Crooked River Tk, left onto South Basalt Knob (steep, one section is quite loose), continue onto Basalt Knob Tk, railway carriage at the end, left onto Basalt Knob north Tk, left onto Blue Rag Range (great views). Return via same route.

If going into Dargo, south onto Crooked River Tk, left onto Randalls Tk (steep) and make your way down Grady Ck Rd via Link Rd gets you the closest to town without being on the mains roads for most of the journey.

Another short loop to do is south onto Crooked River, left up Conway Tk (steep) and left down Randalls Tk (Steep) and back to camp.

Unfortunately most of the 'iconic' sites are a day trip to get there and back, although Talbotville is ideally in the middle of the three main ones, plus a nice campground with a number of other tracks and sites if not wanting to venture so far.
This is really good advice for you Michael . Get some good maps of the area and you will see how it all ties in
 

Outrage

4x4 Earth Contributer
Best 4wd map for the area is Rooftop's: Dargo - Wonnangatta. Around the $10 mark (paper map).
 

Coiled

New Member
Outrage, Thanks for taking the time to type that out! Truly appreciated!! Thanks also for jacnden advice.
I have the Hema 4wd & Explorer maps and was planning to do a short term subscription to the explorer pro version. I will suss out rooftops though.

Ps. I should have said originally that we aren't shy of getting out of the 4wds to walk to sights and we don't mind the drive if worthwhile or a bit of fun from a 4wding perspective. With the campers left in Talbotville we will be well and truly self sufficient from a recovery stand point if necessary.
 
to add to Outrages post when at Eaglevale after you walk the suspension bridge go back to Wonnongata Rd, do a right then another right into Happy Valley, this is private property, drive down to the first house, go past and then do a right turn down to an old hut called Dungeys Hut. Some interesting history on the hut rebuild and the original owner. $5 donation into a honesty box. Well worth the detour.
 

Coiled

New Member
to add to Outrages post when at Eaglevale after you walk the suspension bridge go back to Wonnongata Rd, do a right then another right into Happy Valley, this is private property, drive down to the first house, go past and then do a right turn down to an old hut called Dungeys Hut. Some interesting history on the hut rebuild and the original owner. $5 donation into a honesty box. Well worth the detour.
Thanks for the extra tip Rosco!
 

Coiled

New Member
Just wanted to say a huge thank you to Outrage! Your detailed suggestions above came in very useful and were true to form. We got to do all of your suggested trails except for Billy Goat incl Eaglevale as we had to leave early due to my wife's health (27weeks preg). Our friends were with us in the completely stock (bullbar & LR tank) Isuzu MUX. Quite an impressive vehicle driving all the above tracks without issue even with some being a little damp. We should have some youtube vids loaded soon to provide some reference for anyone else thinking of doing these trails. Links to come.

I can't wait to get back down to the VHC again, it is definitely worth the 1600km each way!! The Victorians amongst us are so fortunate to have this on their doorstep. It is not just the countryside either, it is the freedom (places to camp, access to tracks that aren't groomed for Rav4s, ability to use chainsaws and generators sensibly, have a fire etc), the lack of vehicle & camping fees to name just a few. My only concern after this trip is the amount of litter that was left about by seemingly quite a few camps. I filled the equivalent of two shopping bags from one group who camped near us for 2-3 nights. It was clean when we arrived as we almost set up there so it was all them. We also came across what looked like vehicle unloads of green cans mid trail which we saw several off. Maybe this was isolated and not an issue but otherwise feel it is worth raising for awareness sake as I would hate to see VHC closures or increased regulation in the future. Only solution I can think is for people in groups such as this to make an effort to take an extra bag of someone else's rubbish out with them when visiting.
 

Outrage

4x4 Earth Contributer
Unfortunately there are a number of people that don't care about the 'take it in, take it out' rules, Christmas and Easter tends to get more of these types out, might get 20 groups through a camp ground and leave it clean, then another comes along and makes it a sty.

Good to hear it was a great trip and the track advice worked :cool:.
 

Schaps

New Member
I have to second Coileds thanks to Outrage being the friend in the MUX. We only drove 1000km each way from SA but VHC worth every km.

Favorite tracks would have to be Randalls for the steepness and Gradys as it appears lesser traveled and was overgrown. I went in pretty nervous about only having the stock tyres on the MUX and then the couple of days of rain didn't help but it ate up the tracks. Slow and steady, and the occasional bit of momentum did the trick :).

Here are some youtubes of our adventures. If the link doesn't work search for schaps79.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyHNW3wFGm2GkAipDsMSrxPL6KbuPzFsO

Chris.
 
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