In our latest edition of A Guide to Travelling Local, REDARC will be looking at some of the best places Victoria has to offer. Rich with lush forests, there is no shortage of 4WDing to be had in Victoria. Though if that isn’t quite your speed, there’s plenty of camping to be had right off the blacktop.
Area Sales Manager Cameron Bleakley’s pick – Mt Disappointment State Forest
The getaway pick by our Victorian Area Sales Manager Cameron, Mt Disappointment is anything but disappointing. Only an hour from Melbourne, Mt Disappointment State Forest is great for a day trip or weekend getaway. With 40kms of easy to moderate level tracks across a range of terrains it’s perfect for a bit of fun 4WDing.
Weather conditions can range from rocky and sandy to muddy, and many of the tracks are closed seasonally over winter. If you’re looking for a campsite, they’re littered across the forest and most have picnic tables, firepits and toilets available. If you need a break from 4WDing be sure to take a trip to Strath Creek Falls, especially in the rainier months, the walking track leads to some stunning views of the falls.
For more information on Mt Disappointment State Forest visit the Visit Melbourne website.
Pictures don't do these views justice
For beginner 4x4ers – Rubicon State Forest
Surrounded by thick mountain ash forest and pockets of rainforest, Rubicon State Forest is a beautiful location to get stuck into some 4WDing. Only two hours northeast of Melbourne and famous for its timber harvesting and hydro-electric power history, there are still ruins scattered around the forest. Like many of the Victorian 4x4 tracks, these are also subject to seasonal closures but if you get the chance to check it out just before winter you might be lucky and catch a bit of roadside snow.
As far as 4x4ing goes, it’s easy driving with many people taking advantage of its proximity to the city. “It’s pretty popular, so you can really ‘go to school’ on how other 4wders tackle the tracks and if you do get yourself stuck there will be someone around to lend a hand.” Says Cameron, our Victorian Area Sales Manager. The tracks can get a little slippery after big rainfalls, or when the snow is melting in the summer so having recovery gear on hand is always a bonus.
To find out more information on Rubicon State Forest and the surrounding tracks and camping visit the Victorian Government State Forest Information sheet.
If a day in the mud is what you're after, Victoria is the place to go
For seasoned 4x4ers – Toolangi State Forest
Another one close to the city, Toolangi State Forest is great for more experienced 4x4 drivers. Slightly easier in the summer months, after a rainfall the tracks can get muddy and slippery making it only suitable for practiced drivers with high clearance and the right recovery gear including winches, snatch straps, recovery tracks and shovels.
For a real challenge, Aeroplane Track is the most difficult track in Toolangi. At 5.3km long it can be finished in 3 hours when it’s dry but takes longer when wet as some areas become impassable. Composed of mostly thick mud and clay, travelling in a convoy is recommended as vehicles have been known to get caught in deep ruts. Across the other tracks there’s a variety of terrains including steep climbs, rock steps, ruts, shale, and bog holes. Camping is permitted in the specified campsites, most of which have toilets and firepit facilities.
For a track by track by rundown of Toolangi and more information on camping and other facilities visit the Offroad Aussie Toolangi 4WD Guide.
Recovery gear and a mate to pull you out is a must when tackling muddy tracks
For a road trip – The Grampians
Slightly further away from the city, the Grampians is a mountain range national park dotted with towns. Perfect for a weekend getaway or family camping trip there’s a range of things to see and do and it’s all 2WD friendly.
With a range of hiking trails throughout the mountain range, stunning lookouts, dramatic rock formations, waterfalls, and a whole range of flora and fauna are easily accessible. The area is also rich with indigenous history including Aboriginal art and cultural sites if that’s more your speed. Don’t fret though if you do have a 4WD, there are tracks available to give it a bit of a workout.
For more information on all the Grampians has to offer see this Guide to the Grampians.
A thousand shades of green, does it get any better?
Shaun Whale’s pick – Victorian High Country
"At only a few hours from Melbourne, the Victorian High country is one of the best off-road and camping destinations in Australia. If you stick to the main tracks and fire trails, the High Country is very achievable by stock 4WDers, the only consideration you really need to have is that many of these tracks are steep and a vehicle with low range is required and that it can become very slippery after rain.
No trip to the High Country is complete without visiting Craig’s Hut and driving the Blue Rag Track. In my opinion, this is the single most scenic track in Australia and needs to be on the bucket list of every 4WDer. There is some great camping just north of Dargo along the creek which is very good. But if you’re into bush camping, there are so many different campsites scattered throughout the High Country. Though it always pays to check in advance if you’re travelling over winter as many of the tracks and campsites close seasonally due to snowfalls."
To find more information check out the Hema Maps website or see Shaun tackle the Victorian High Country with 4WD 24/7.
Even the experts get stuck
We hope we’ve inspired you to have some fun and get exploring in your own backyard. If you're looking to venture out a little further see the previous, South Australian edition of our A Guide to Travelling Local series. Where are you heading off to next?