4WD Trip Along the King River

Travel period 9-11 Feb 2021

Victoria’s High Country is well known for its breathtaking views, rich history and natural beauty. Located in the north east of Victoria, the High Country is an area that features National Parks, vineyards, snow resorts and offers many natural attractions such as horse riding, hiking, and 4WDriving.

With much of the area only accessible with a 4WD, it is truly one of the premier camping and 4WDriving destinations in Australia! With a huge range of tracks and campsites on offer, with the majority completely free of charge.

Recently we had an epic 4WD adventure in the Alpine National park, taking our off-road camper trailer through its paces on a 4WD trek along the King River. A few days away camping, we took the opportunities to breath in the fresh Alpine air and we definitely do not regret it.

The Trip

Day 1

The journey from Melbourne to Mirimbah takes about three hours via the Melba Hwy. By mid-day we were at Mt Stirling turn off in Mirimbah. Mt Stirling – its natural beauty provides the perfect backdrop to explore wide expanses of alpine forest and rewarding activities.

We kept driving towards Telephone Box Junction and made a sharp left onto Circuit Rd and on the right side of the road we came upon King Saddle Shelter – nestled amongst majestic stands of Alpine Ash, the King Saddle is the ideal base for exploring Mt Stirling, and marks the start of the Mt Stirling interpretive walks.

King Saddle Shelter

Continuing along Circuit Road, on the left just before the No. 3 Road intersection, is Razorback Hut – it was built during the 1950s, it is a popular camping spot and surrounding area offers excellent facilities for horse enthusiasts.

We continued on driving before turning left onto the winding King Basin Road, which involved crossing five river fords on our way to King Hut. Generally, the river (fords) crossings were fairly easy but there are several large rocks to avoid. Some of the entry and departure angles are quite steep in and out of the crossings.

King Basin Road is not too challenging a track but in places its rocky and can be pretty slow going. For future reference, there are some excellent camp sites along this road with absolute water frontage next to the King River.

The Camp Site

We set up camp at King Hut camping area. It was a beautiful and peaceful camp site alongside the King River. Even at this time of the year it is quite secluded and fresh enough to take the edge off the heat. There was only one other camper in the entire site so we virtually had the place to ourselves.

There was not much wood in the immediate vicinity of the camp site so it pays to bring your own or collect some on the way to ensure a good campfire for the evening. Not far from the hut there are horse yards for use by intrepid explorers. The hut itself is in excellent condition, having been recently rebuilt.

After kilometres of rocky, dusty driving and several river crossings, we got to sit back to enjoy the scenery and each other’s company, while watching the sun disappear behind the mountain.

Day 2

On our second day, we woke up bright and early to a crisp morning as the sun flickered through the trees with the sounds of the flowing river, it was just magnificent!

King Hut is one of our favourite spots in the Victorian High Country. It has nice flat grassy camp sites, fire pits, and pristine King River with swimming holes. It is the perfect place to use as a base for sightseeing including the spectacular views of fresh alpine water Bindaree Falls, the iconic ‘The Man from Snowy River’ Craig’s Hut and the popular touring destination, Lake Cobbler.

We spent the rest of the day swimming, bush walking, and relaxing. Well worth it! As the sun started to set, we just sat back enjoying the campfire cooking, and completely relaxed.

King Hut

Day 3

After a pleasant two nights, today brought fair weather as we set off for home and said goodbye to our favourite camp site. We decided to head west to No. 3 Road. We took the long way via the Speculation Road and turned left onto Circuit Road. We made a stop at Howqua Gap Hut – it was built in the 1960s as a base for logging operations. Weatherboard hut, with an iron roof and wooden floor. There is a brick fireplace, iron chimney, shelf and seat.

Howqua Gap Hut

With about 1,387 metres rise in elevation things got angular pretty quick. Hunger was setting in by this point. But the views on the way down here are just too good to pass up.

We stopped for lunch at Telephone Box Junction – affectionally known as TBJ, Telephone Box Junction is the gateway to Mt Stirling and a meeting place for cross country skiing adventures.

Telephone Box Junction

After lunch we were headed off to No. 3 Road, turning off Circuit Road to the left. This is a spectacular drive with several steep ascents and descents. The track was worsening with an uneven rocky descent after the No. 3 Refuge Hut. It was tricky and challenging at the same time as we were towing a camper trailer.

No. 3 Refuge Hut

Eventually we approached the end of No. 3 road. At the intersection we turned left onto Carters Road which heads toward the Sawmill Settlement. Turning right off Carters Road, we headed down the Buckland Spur track; about 500 metres on there is Tomahawk Hut – this is a free camp spot with great 4WD tracks and one of many Alpine historic huts scattered throughout the High Country of Victoria.

Tomahawk Hut

From here it was an easy drive along Carters Road, with not another soul in sight. More than ever before we have a deep appreciation for being able to get out to explore and discover these places for ourselves. It is this quiet moment in which we unwind.

We pulled into the Sawmill Settlement day visitor area just in time, for dinner and inflated our tyres to road pressure before we headed home.

It was a pleasant two nights away camping and 4WDriving. We camped at an amazing location, drove some insane 4WD tracks and immersed ourselves in high country history and beyond spectacular scenery.

The Victorian High Country has some of the best 4WDriving and camping anywhere in Australia, and this trip is into one of the best in the region. With pristine camping, spectacular views, and great 4WDriving you just have to get out and explore this area for yourself.

Happy 4WDriving!