While most of Victoria’s off-road trails are closed from June to November, Victoria’s High Country is home to the highest year-round accessible roads in Australia.
Our top picks of Victorian high country 4WD drives give you the opportunity to experience the spectacular views of the snow-capped mountain peaks of the Victorian Alps while travelling along historic gold-mining towns, frosty national parks and alpine lakes.
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1. Great Alpine Road
Where: Winding through Victoria’s High Country, the 308 km Great Alpine Road stretches from Metung to Wangaratta.
Highlights: Impressive panoramic views of:
- Falls Creek
- Mount Feathertop
- Mount Hotham
- Mount Bogong (Victoria’s highest mountain)
- Begin your journey in Metung, a quaint waterside village nestled upon Australia’s largest inland lake system, the Gippsland Lakes.
Heading north past Bairnsdale, make sure you stop at:
- Buchan (for idyllic views over Tambo River or a warming Ale at Bullant Brewery)
- Buchan Caves (for its unique limestone formations)The small historic mining town of Ensay (well-known for its delicious local produce and wine)
Arriving in the historic gold-mining town of Omeo, prepare yourself for incredible mountain views – a glimpse from Kosciusko Lookout is a must!
Travelling west from Omeo, you will continue your ascent through the Great Alpine National Park before arriving in Dinner Plains – be sure to warm up in the hot pools, explore the region’s cross-country ski trails or relax at Australia’s highest brewery!
From here, continue winding through the snow-capped Alps before arriving in Mount Hotham –
Victoria’s highest alpine village, home to world-class skiing, snowboarding and cross-country trails.
Before descending to the quaint mountain-side town of Bright, stop by Danny’s Lookout for epic views of the mountain ranges.
Heading northwest from Bright towards Wangaratta, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of
Mountain Buffalo National Park as you pass through an array of small towns offering some of the best local produce and wine.
Take a detour to King Valley to sample local wine and cheese, stop by Myrtleford for the High Country’s best coffee, and don’t forget to visit the famous Beechworth Bakery.
Tip for the road: cold weather can drain your car battery. So, if you ever run into car trouble while snow driving in Victoria, HOLLER for a Marshall at 1300 627 742 for quick roadside assistance and battery replacement.
Check the Visit Victoria site for more guides on planning your winter adventure.
2. Mount Buffalo National Park
Where: Located four to five hours northeast of Melbourne via Bright.
Highlights: If you’re looking to add some cross-country or downhill skiing, winter hiking or camping (yep, you can actually camp in the Victorian Alps in winter) to your Great Alpine Road adventure, be sure to take a detour to Mount Buffalo.
You can also drive straight from Melbourne via the town of Bright. Follow the Mount Buffalo Road from
Bright for around 30 minutes before arriving at The Chalet, a world heritage registered building offering incredible mountaintop views. Mount Buffalo provides a range of winter activities for families, adventurers or ski enthusiasts.
Cresta Valley is an excellent spot for cross-country skiing. The Dingo Dell toboggan slope located in the valley offers family-friendly activities like tobogganing or cross-country skiing lessons. The George Day
Visitor Centre is a fantastic starting point to explore the mountain’s winter walking trails.
If camping in the snow sounds like your cup of tea, three camping grounds are available at Mount
Buffalo, all of which can be accessed via a short walk or ski from the town centre.
3. Lake Eildon Loop
Where: This 63 km round trip begins and ends in Mansfield, a popular base for hitting the slopes of Mount Buller. Mansfield is around two to three hours from Melbourne, so this is an excellent option if you’re looking for a day trip.
Highlights: Begin your adventure by heading south from Mansfield along Mansfield-Woods Point Road.
Be prepared for incredible views as the route skirts along the southern edge of Lake Eildon. The Lake Eildon Loop is one of Victoria’s most popular and scenic motorcyclist high country tracks, open in winter.
Stop by the historic town of Jamieson before following Eildon-Jamieson Road across the infamous Brewery Bridge.
Enjoy the views of Big River State Forest as the winding roads lead you to the township of Eildon – a great spot to stretch your legs and take some pics of the lake up close.
From here, cruise along U.T. Creek Road through the picturesque mountains, forests and pastoral lands.
Be sure to stop in at Alexandra, a historic town boasting buildings that date back to the 1850s when gold was first discovered in the region.
Get in touch with Davenport Auto Electrics in Alexandra if you need a battery replacement or roadside assistance here.
Next, you will arrive in Bonnie Doon. Made famous by the Australian film, ‘The Castle,’ this lakeside village provides fantastic views across Lake Eildon and, if you’re lucky, the snow-capped peaks of Mount
Buller. There are plenty of 4WD and off-road tracks in the area, along with camping spots, that are well worth revisiting in the warmer months!
Visit the Mansfield Mt Buller website for more details.
4. Howqua Hills Historical Area
Where: The Howqua Hills Historical Area, located 35 km southeast of Mansfield, can easily be completed in a day’s trip from Melbourne.
Highlights: Also known as Sheepyard Flat, the Howqua Hills Historical Area offers incredible views of Mount Buller.
Follow Mount Buller Road east of Mansfield before following the turn-off to Howqua Track. The road is sealed and open year-round, so check for road closures before heading off.
Winding through Mansfield State Forest and the enchanted waters of Howqua River, you will soon arrive at the Sheepyard Flat Campsite.
The roads beyond Sheepyard Flat are generally closed in winter, but for those keen to brave the cold, there is a 3 km return walk to the historic Fry’s Hut.
Be sure to return in the warmer months to check out Howqua Hill’s many 4WD tracks, motorcycle trails and camping spots!
Visit the Howqua Hills Historic Area official website to plan your journey.
5. Ned Kelly Touring Route
Where: The 650 km round trip from Melbourne spans across Victoria’s High Country via Beechworth and Mansfield, stopping at several historic towns that played a significant role in Ned Kelly’s conquests across the High Country.
Highlights: Mansfield was once the centre of Victoria’s High Country, a base for which settlers and explorers discovered gold, established agricultural townships and uncovered the region’s abundance of natural beauty. So, if you’re keen to add a little history to your High Country road trip, the Ned Kelly
Touring Route is a must!
Stop by Ned Kelly’s birth town in Beveridge, visit the Ned Kelly Museum in Benalla, take a tour of Old
Beechworth Gaol and explore Stringybark Creek, the site in which the infamous gun battle between the
Kelly Gang and police took place – all while taking in the remarkable sites of Victoria’s snow-capped high country!
Explore our top picks of winter drives in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains for more snow driving.
How To Prepare For Snow Driving In Victoria
During winter (usually between the Queen’s Birthday and Melbourne Cup long weekends), all vehicles are required to carry chains through alpine areas.
Some roads may be closed due to extreme weather conditions, so check for seasonal road closures before heading off.
If you have a Diesel car or vehicle, fuel up with Alpine Diesel or purchase a cold weather additive to avoid your diesel turning into wax or gel in temperatures lower than zero degrees.
And, of course, a good quality 4WD battery is recommended, as batteries tend to fail in extreme cold or heat. To ensure your battery is up for the challenge, visit one of our Marshall stores in Alexandra, Wangaratta or Bairnsdale for a FREE winter check on your car battery!
For more information, check out our helpful hints and tips on travelling around Australia and car battery care and maintenance guides. If you ever need roadside assistance on your way up the mountain, you can always holler for a Marshall on 1300 695 717.