The Unbelievable Australian Road Trip No-one has Ever Heard of.

The along McKillop Road

The view along McKillop Road

Last week Our Global Adventure took another road trip, one which we think maybe the best we’ve ever done. In fact we’re so confident that this road trip will blow your mind, we are going to say it is one of the best in Australia, maybe even the world! We were road tripping in Victoria, but guess what? We are NOT talking about The Great Ocean Road. Yup this one is better! This unbelievable road trip, that no-one has ever heard of, is in the Snowy River Country in East Gippsland, and it is time to put it on your bucket list.

Have you ever heard of McKillop Road in the Snowy River National Park?

Have you ever heard of McKillop Road in the Snowy River National Park?

A little while ago, a local guy, Sam, told us about a really cool road trip that was worth a drive if we had time during our stay in southern New South Wales. He excitedly told us about tight bends, sheer drops and unbelievable scenery. So excited was he that we should do the trip, that he took out a map and traced the route for Simon, who needless to say, was immediately keen.

Last week it was my birthday, and now that we don’t have the need for any ‘stuff’ Simon and the kids were at a loss as to what present to buy me. So we decided that instead of buying me a gift, we should have an amazing experience together to mark the occasion. If Sam’s tales about the amazing road trip were true, then it seemed like just the time to experience the Snowy River road trip for ourselves.

Little River Gorge is 500m deep.

Little River Gorge is 500m deep.

Don't miss the Lookout at Little River Gorge.

Don’t miss the Lookout at Little River Gorge.

This corner of Australia is drop dead gorgeous from East Gippsland in Victoria, through to the Sapphire Coast and Bega Valley in New South Wales. So, it doesn’t really matter where you start your loop of the Snowy River Country, you are in for a treat. We started at Bega, and made our way along the prettiest forest road from Candello to Bomballa before crossing the border into Victoria, just after a little town called Delegate. When we stopped at Bomballa for a coffee, the café owner asked where we were heading. We told him that we planned to take the McKillop Bridge route over the Snowy River, his eyes lit up, and he assured us that we were in for quite a treat!

If you are traveling from NSW, then after Delegate, what you’ll want to do, is get off the main Bonang Highway and on to Dellicknora Road. It is a dirt road, but quite fine for a 2WD vehicle. From here on, the scenery starts to get really interesting. The road follows the Deddick River, winding and bending it’s way along green pastures, mountain tops and forest roads. There was so much to stop and take in, and yet, the best is still to come!

Imagine taking in a view like this for hours as you drive along a forest track.

Imagine taking in a view like this for hours as you drive along a forest track.

Where the Dellicknora road comes to an end at Mckillop Road, head North West toward McKillop Bridge and get ready to have your heart in your mouth. As the single lane, dirt road winds it’s way toward the McKillop Bridge (which spans the Snowy River) there are plenty of stretches where there is a rock face on one side, and a sheer drop on the other down to the river below. There is often no room for another vehicle to pass without one backing up and passengers will need to remind the driver to “keep his eyes on the road!”

Travellers will cross where the Snowy River and Deddick River merge, on McKillop Bridge, the deck of which is 255 metres long. This historic bridge was built by the Country Roads Board in two stages between 1931-36. During which time its height was raised after the original bridge structure was washed away in record floods of January 1934, just before it’s official opening.

The Little River Campsite is only accessible by 4WD vehicle.

The Little River Campsite is only accessible by 4WD vehicle.

Whilst the McKillop Road would be suitable for a 2WD vehicle, there is also a small side trip down to the Little River Junction Camp that is most certainly for 4WD’s only. Heed the warning signs folks, or you will be stuck out there. A little further along is the Little River Gorge Lookout. Do not even consider driving past this. Rain, hail or shine, get out of your car and walk the 400m to this vertigo inducing platform perched 500m above the Little River. It is a must see! This lookout was so spectacular, it left us, kids and all, nearly speechless for the 20 minutes or so that we tentatively held on to the railing. Back in the car, and a little further along you will come to the Little River Falls, OK so it won’t blow your mind like the Gorge lookout, but it’s still worth a peek.

The Snowy River Country is just gorgeous!

The Snowy River Country is just gorgeous!

When McKillop Road ends you will find yourself coming to a junction with Snowy River Road heading north, and Gelantipy Road heading south. We took the southern option as our base for the night was to be Buchan where we planned to explore the famous limestone caves the following day. This road will take you through some of the highest, greenest farming pastures in Australia. East Gippsland is so stunning up here, that even the city girls might be tempted into marrying a farmer!

Farm pastures on top of Australia.

Farm pastures on top of Australia.

We had a cabin booked for the night in the Buchan Caves Reserve, (more about this fabulous spot in our next post) and then the following afternoon started looping back toward Bega. Our route took us down to Orbost, a quaint country town where the Snowy River runs through on it’s way to the coast, and then along to Cann River. I don’t know what it is about Cann River, it’s one of those blink and you miss it spots, but it’s just so pretty nestled in the surrounding forests that it’s worth a coffee stop. The Princes Highway leading into and out of Cann River is also a lovely drive.

Further north east, we made our way up the Princes Highway to Eden. This was our second time travelling through Eden, a gorgeous coastal village that the Grey Nomads flock to every year, (which is usually a good indication!) and both times we’ve said that we HAVE to return again when we have more time. Eden deserves a trip all of it’s own. But this time Eden was our last stop for a bite to eat before making our way back to Bega so it was onward and upward.

The kids loved exploring the Snowy River.

The kids loved exploring the Snowy River.

Our road trip along the top of the Snowy River Country took in many dirt roads, so be prepared to take your time and enjoy the scenery, this is not a trip to rush. When we travelled in early Spring the McKillop Road was fine for a 2WD (albeit a bit bumpy) but check with locals, or Victoria Parks Rangers in the area for the condition of the road before heading off. The road is NOT suitable for caravans and there are warning signs at both ends, so don’t even attempt it. The road is probably not suitable for passengers that suffer vertigo or are nervous travellers either, but if they can brave it, they’re in for an unforgettable experience! We were lucky enough not to pass another car on the road, but in the high season there might be a little more traffic to contend with.

The McKillop Road over the top of the Snowy River National Park is one of Australia’s best kept secrets, add it to your must-see list before the word gets out 😉

 

6 thoughts on “The Unbelievable Australian Road Trip No-one has Ever Heard of.

  1. I love the idea of this birthday present, so much more to remember than a thing. The scenery looks gorgeous but I know I wouldn’t be able to see it first hand because I can’t even walk along a jetty (with being able to see down between the slats) without being a woozy mess so “walk the 400m to this vertigo inducing platform perched 500m above the Little River” would send me over the edge. Looking forward to reading about the next part of your adventure 🙂

  2. Pingback: Going Underground… At Buchan! - Our Global Adventure

  3. Although posted 21 months ago; I couldn’t agree more and have been to McKillop’s bridge twice; the scenery is breathtaking; if you ever go back it is also really worthwhile to go from Cann River to Point Hicks Lighthouse; which Lt. Hicks of the Endeavour first sighted the East coast; We also love the Ambyne Suspension Bridge at Tubbut

    • Thanks for the recommendation Clinton! We thoroughly enjoyed this road trip and it sounds like you did as well. We would definitely encourage others to do it as not many have even heard of it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. Hi, like Clinton I’m a bit late to the party here but I just wanted to say thanks for the article. I did the drive from Buchan up to McKillop bridge a couple of years back and its one of the most memorable travel experiences I’ve had, in Australia out abroad. I was very happy I handed the keys over to my partner before the drive to the bridge because I think if have tipped us over the edge! Also we were lucky to only encounter only one car on McKillop road, but we found the Psycho driver didn’t want to reverse into the overtaking spot even though they’d just passed one 5m back – they just forced their way past! Very scary as we were the ones on the outside edge. There really are some selfish drivers around! Anyway, all worth it, especially to witness the amazing scenery sounds gelantipy, and seeing some emus in the wild. I hope to make the drive to Bega one day too! Thanks for sharing, brought back some great memories for me

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