Top Ten Australia Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures
Five miles above the valley of the Wonnangatta River, the rough track drops suddenly and for the next five miles the only way is down. Along the way the fire trail crosses a couple of narrow rocky rivulets before bursting out of the dense eucalypt forest onto the grassy plains bordering the bubbling, bouncing, narrow, clear waters of the river.
This is Victoria's "hidden valley," high in the Victorian Alps. The steep mountain ridges that surround it were a natural barrier to the European explorers, miners, and pastoralists who came this way in the 1850s. Today the valley and much of the surrounding tree-clad range country is protected in the Alpine National Park.
The park is a Mecca for four-wheel drivers, bush walkers, fishermen, and hunters who come to this valley to experience the solitude, the grandeur, and the excitement of this remote place. Its streams are inhabited by duck-billed platypus and trout. Its forests, with their tall mantle of arrow-straight mountain ash and alpine ash and dense understory of sassafras, silver wattle, and black wattle, harbor deer and fat rotund wombats.
The vehicle trail crosses the river a half a dozen times as it skirts along the valley floor, each crossing a little deeper than the one before. Finally it climbs the bank for the last time and then climbs a long, steep narrow ridge that gives expansive views of virgin mountain country stretching away to a far horizon. Look back and you'll see a mountain kingdom in which to lose yourself for a week or more.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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