Tourist Drives Around The Alpine Region – From Mt Beauty

1. Three Valleys Drive
Places of interest: Mitta Mitta, Dartmouth Dam, Tallangatta on Lake Hume.
Highlights: Views of Mt. Bogong & the Alps, Alpine Ash forests, Dartmouth Dam.
Duration: All day for complete loop. ½ day for part loop.
Drivers Advisory: The road over Trapper’s Gap can become impassable after rain or high wind. If in doubt, it is advisable to check road conditions at the Visitors’ Centre.

Head north along the Kiewa Valley Highway until you reach the Bogong Hotel (on your left). Turn right into Mountain Creek Road, crossing the Kiewa River. A short distance down Mountain Creek Road, the bitumen surface gives way to gravel, & approx. 10.5kms from the Kiewa Valley Highway you will reach the start of the Alpine National Park & the Mountain Creek Picnic Area. From here, the road veers to the left & crosses Mountain Creek. There is a steady climb up Trapper’s Gap & the dry woodland changes to tall stands of Alpine Ash as you reach higher altitude (1100 metres!). Take care of surface water over the road & keep to a comfortable speed. Towards the top you will reach a fork in the road. Keep left & follow the sign to Mitta Mitta.

As you descend the ridges into the Mitta Mitta Valley, the scenery changes to farmland. When you reach the Omeo Highway at the “T” junction, you have two options. By turning right, you can visit the village of Mitta Mitta, & the left turn will take you towards Dartmouth. When turning left, take care … immediately after the turn, you must turn right to head for the Dam. If you’re lucky enough, you may see the spectacular sight of water cascading down the multi-tiered rock spillway. It is worthwhile visiting the viewing area at the power station, the top of the dam wall & the information centre.

After leaving Dartmouth, travel back to the Omeo Highway & turn right. This will take you through the picturesque Mitta Mitta Valley though the pretty village of Eskdale, until you reach Tallangatta on the upper reaches of Lake Hume. The lake is a great spot for a picnic lunch & water birds such as black swans, pelicans & gulls are commonly seen.

After leaving Tallangatta, follow the shoreline of the lake until you reach the left turn to Tangambalanga. Take this road, & at the Red Bluff “T” junction, turn right. This will take you past the Devondale factory at Tangambalanga & on to the Kiewa Valley Highway at Kiewa. Turn left here & it’s an easy cruise into Mt. Beauty over the Dederang Gap with the wonderful panorama of the Alps & the upper Kiewa Valley.

Places of interest: Yackandandah, Beechworth, Bright & Wandiligong.
Highlights: Historic buildings, museums, galleries, wine & food, gold panning, pottery
Duration: ½ day or all day (but you could really spend two days exploring this area)
Drivers Advisory: None

Head north out of Mt. Beauty on the Kiewa Valley Highway, following the signs to Wodonga. After passing through Dederang township (careful of the speed limit signs!) the road to Wodonga veers to the right. This is about 38 Kms out of Mt. Beauty. Do not take the highway to Wodonga … keep heading straight ahead past an electricity switch yard to your left. Continue on this road. The radio masts on the top of Mt. Stanley to the right of the road will indicate that you’re getting closer to Yackandandah. About 14 Kms out of Dederang you will reach an intersection. Take the right. Keep alert as you get closer. About 21 Kms out of Dederang, you will see a turn to the right towards Osborne’s Flat. The strawberry winery & the patisserie are worth visiting. 2 Kms further on, the left turn takes you to one of the country’s best potteries at Kirby’s Flat on the outskirts of Yackandandah township. This historic gold town was the birthplace of Governor General Sir Isaac Isaacs & is full of quaint shops & museums.

From Yackandandah, follow the road signs to Beechworth. Beechworth with its famous bakery, historic buildings & Ned Kelly legends is a great place to spend some time.
Beechworth Bakery will provide you the sustenance to continue towards Myrtleford. Continue along this street (Albert Rd.) you will see a signpost to the right directing you to Mt. Buffalo. This road takes you down through the Buckland Gap & when you reach the bottom keep an eye out for the Hume & Hovell memorial on your left hand side. Shortly after you will meet up with the Ovens Highway. Turn left here towards Myrtleford & Bright. Around the Gapsted area you will glimpse your first views of Mt. Buffalo to the right. As you drive along you will pass orchards, walnut & chestnut farms, tobacco plots & hop growing areas. As you reach the outskirts of Myrtleford, take a break at the Phoenix Tree(on the left) before proceeding on towards Bright. Drive through the Bright shopping area until you reach Churchill Avenue on your right. Turn here towards Wandiligong.

Wandiligong is a historic mining area & it is well worth driving around to look at the old miner’s cottages. Down by the river is a park, ideal for children.
On leaving, follow the route back along Churchill Avenue to the Ovens Highway & there, turn right. This goes towards Harrietville, keep an eye out for the left hand turn over the narrow Ovens River bridge towards Tawonga & Mt. Beauty. It’s an easy 30 min. drive from home, so stop to take in the breathtaking views of the Kiewa Valley & the Alps from the top of the Tawonga Gap. You will find a viewing platform directly facing Mt. Bogong. A little on the downhill side, you will come to Sullivan’s Lookout with wonderful views over Mt. Beauty township. A little further along is Lawler’s Spring. Located on the right hand side of the road, this gives you a taste of the sweet water typical of the areas mountain springs.

3. The Grand Circle
Places of interest: Falls Creek, Wallace’s Hut, Bogong High Plains, Dinner Plain, Mt. Hotham
Highlights: Historic cattlemen’s huts, alpine flora & fauna & views, views, views!
Duration: ½ – 1 day
Drivers Advisory: Unsealed road between Falls Creek & the Omeo Highway. Some sections of the road over the high plains may be a little rough at various times of the year, however all sections are suitable for 2 WD vehicles.

The Bogong High Plains Rd is closed during winter. No petrol is available between Bogong Village & Omeo. The Hotham to Harrietville road can be windy, & care must be taken.
Head up Bogong High Plains Rd (watching out for lyrebirds, wallabies & wombats at the side of the road)past Bogong Village, through Falls Creek, & out over Rocky Valley Dam wall into the Alpine National Park. Items of interest as you follow the road include the Langfords Gap Aqueduct, the quarry at Basalt Hill, Wallace’s Hut (a short walk from the road, & the oldest existing cattleman’s hut in Australia), Cope Hut a little further on, the Strawberry Saddle picnic area, &, on entering the tree line on the other side of the high plains, keep a look out for emus & kangaroos. Continue down to Shannonvale, turning right onto the Omeo Hwy, & follow it in to Omeo. Turn right in Omeo township & follow the signs to Mt Hotham along the Great Alpine Road, via the resort of Dinner Plain. It is worth stopping at Dinner Plain to view the interesting architecture. This is Australia’s highest freehold land. It’s then on to Hotham Heights where the view of Mt. Feathertop & the Australian Alps are breathtaking. Continue downhill to the historic township of Harrietville & through Smoko, turning right at the Germantown intersection just out of Bright. This road takes you over the Tawonga Gap with its magnificent views of Mt. Bogong & the Mt. Beauty township. Then, it’s down the hill to Mt Beauty & home.

4 . Dartmouth Dam Circuit
Places of interest: Dartmouth Dam, Mitta township & gold sluicing walk
Duration: All day
Drivers Advisory: Unsealed road for Option b) – some sections sections of the Trappers Gap Road (Mountain Creek picnic area to Mitta Mitta) may be a little rough, however the road is generally suitable for 2 WD vehicles.

This trip can be done via 2 routes:
a) North along the Kiewa Valley Hwy to Mongan’s Bridge, turn right & cross the Kiewa River, turn left & follow the road through Gundowring to the Murray Valley Hwy at Red Bluff. Turn right & travel along the foreshore of Lake Hume to Tallangatta (the town was moved to make way for Lake Hume). Turn right & head through Eskdale to Dartmouth Dam (the highest rock filled dam in Australia). Return via Mitta Mitta, Lockarts Gap, Kiewa, Kergunyah & Dederang on the Kiewa Valley Hwy, then home to Mt. Beauty (approx round trip 300km).
b) As for “Three Valley’s Drive” to Mitta Mitta, then Dartmouth.

5. Milawa Region
Further Info: Milawa Regional Guide, Brown Bros. Brochure
Highlights: Great food & wine
Duration: ½ – 1 day

From Mt. Beauty, head up & over the Tawonga Gap to Bright (great scenic viewing points along the way), then north along the Ovens Valley to Myrtleford, approx. 5km out of Myrtleford towards Wangaratta, turn onto the Milawa Oxley Road. Follow this to the Milawa township, turn left at the main intersection to Brown Brothers Winery & Epicurean Centre. Visit Milawa Mustards, Milawa Cheese Factory, Milawa Bakery & numerous other wineries. After an enjoyable day sampling food & wine, & with a sober driver, return home via Myrtleford, then turn left at Ovens, which will bring you back onto the Kiewa Valley Hwy, via the Happy Valley Gap & Kancoona. You meet the Kiewa Valley Hwy approx 27 km from Mt. Beauty. Turn right & head for home.

6. Mt Buffalo Drive
Further Info: Vic Parks guides Highlights: Spectacular rock escarpments & views, Mt. Buffalo Chalet, snowfields
Duration: All day

Over Tawonga Gap to Bright (plenty of sights, activities & walks there), then onto Porepunkah. Follow the sign to Mt. Buffalo (an entry fee applies). Visit Buffalo Chalet & walk the scenic gorge walk, Lake Catani, Dingo Dell & Tatra ski areas. Continue on to the Horn for spectacular alpine scenery. Return via the same route. Approximate distance from Mt. Beauty to the Horn is 80km.

7. Rutherglen Winery
Highlights: Historical towns & numerous wineries
Duration: All day

Follow the Kiewa Valley Hwy north to Wodonga, then turn southwest on the Hume Hwy. Turn onto the Murray Valley Hwy, then right to the township of Rutherglen. All wineries & restaurants are well sign-posted. Return via Chiltern, Beechworth, Yackandandah, Dederang & the Kiewa Valley Highway.

8. Mitta Mitta, Glen Wills, Falls Ck, Bogong Village
Highlights: Mitta Gold Sluicing Walk, Glen Wills Cemetery
Duration: All day
Drivers Advisory: Some sections of the road over the high plains may be a little rough at various times of the year, however all sections are suitable for 2 WD vehicles.

The Bogong High Plains Rd is closed during winter. No petrol is available between Mitta Mitta & Bogong Village. Travel to Mitta Mitta via Trappers Gap Road. Follow the Mitta Mitta Road to Granite Flat & Glen Wills. Turn right off the Tallangatta-Omeo Hwy at Shannnon Vale & return via the Bogong High Plains & Falls Creek. This is an excellent drive through some magnificent bushland & the historic goldmining areas of Sunnyside & Glen Wills. Allow a full day, particularly if you wish to include some short walks or a spot of fishing on the Mitta River.