Wonnangatta Valley River Crossing.
Wonnangatta Valley, Victoria High Country
We've been into the Wonnangatta Valley - 'the hidden valley of the Alps' - a few times in the last 12 months and I can't believe we haven't written about it before in these pages.
This valley tucked up in the heart of Victoria's fabulous High Country can be accessed a couple of ways, the most popular way from the west, north of Licola, via the Zeka Spur Track - it's a long drive down into the valley. The easiest way though is south from Myrtleford, via the East Buffalo River Road, East Riley Road and the Wonnangatta Track into the heart of the valley. The most challenging route is from the south from Eaglevale (west of the small mountain township of Dargo) across the Wombat Spur Track and/or the steep Herne Spur Track into the depths of the valley. Whichever way you go you'll have a few challenges - even more so if it is raining or the tracks are wet.
Track junction with the Zeka Spur Track.
Once in the valley there are a multitude of camp sites along the river which are nothing short of idyllic. Fishing and deer hunting are popular through this region, while the valley makes up part of the National Horse Trail. You'll often see groups of riders through here or camped somewhere and it is a fabulous way to experience the High Country.
Camp site in the Wonnangatta Valley.
There's a lot of history here as well. Established in the 1860s as a cattle property, the main homestead was burnt down accidentally in 1957, but you can still see the foundations and an old hut nearby. Just north of the old homestead site (easily spotted due to the big old elm trees that crowd the site) is the historic cemetery, which is always worth a look. The valley was included in the Alpine NP in 1988. A controversial 3-year cattle trial in the Wonnangatta to prove 'grazing reduces blazing' was stopped after the first year in 2015.
The 'Wonnangatta Murders' occurred sometime in late 1917-early 1918 when James Barclay, the station manager, was found murdered. Suspicion fell on the cook, John Bamford, who was later found murdered as well. The mystery of who murdered who, and when, remains unsolved to this day, although there are plenty of theories.
The routes into the valley are subject to seasonal closure - for details on tracks closures see: http://www.fwdvictoria.org.au. For camping info in the Alpine NP including the Wonnangatta, visit: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au.
For more info check out the Hema Maps guidebook, Victoria - The High Country, Atlas & Guide.
There are numerous river/creek crossings.
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