Can You Handle the Billy Goat Bluff Track? (One of the Steepest in VIC)

billy-goat-bluff-track

You will need more than a keen sense of adventure to tackle the Billy Goat Bluff Track. The iconic track is listed as one of the most challenging in the country. But if you have previous 4WD experience and enjoy a challenge, you can take on the high country hills with confidence.

There are a few things to consider when taking on the track and the surrounding area of Alpine National Park including the track’s conditions, what you want to see and do along the way and where you will camp.

 

Billy Goat Bluff Track Facts

Location: Alpine National Park, 340 km northeast of Melbourne in Victorian high country

Track Length: 125 km

Access: Closes for winter and on catastrophic fire danger days. Check with Parks Victoria the track is open before you leave home.

Suitable for: 4WD high clearance only.

Fuel Availability: Dargo and Licola.

Camping Available: Bush camping at Kingswell Bridge, Moroka Hut, McFarlane Saddle with no facilities. Toilet facilities available at Black Snake Creek. Horseyard Flat has toilets, picnic table, water and fire pits.   

Driving Time: You can drive the Billy Goat Bluff in one day, consider staying overnight to take in all the sights.

Best Time of the Year: Travel in the spring or autumn to avoid the hot and dry summer conditions and the freezing temperatures of winter. You may require anti-freeze and snow chains during winter.   

Tips: Be prepared for the unexpected. The weather can deteriorate quickly and snow can fall any time of the year, so take warm clothing.

What to Do/See: Spectacular views, wildflowers (seasonal), fishing, rock climbing, horse riding, hunting, explore the historic huts and relics.  

 

Track Difficulty

The track begins at the intersection of Wonnangatta Road and Billy Goat Bluff track in the Alpine National Park, near Dargo. The Billy Goat Bluff track difficulty level is high. It’s considered one of the hardest drives not only in Victoria but all of Australia. For good reason, the Billy Goat Bluff track is listed as one of Australia’s most dangerous and challenging roads. The track is extremely narrow and edged with cliff faces, making passing oncoming vehicles a challenge.

the-bluffs
Image courtesy of DR101au via Wikimedia Commons

It’s safe to say it is one of the steepest tracks, ascending 1,200 metres in 7 kilometres. The rocky incline is slippery when wet so don’t attempt it in bad weather. You could find your car slipping off the track like this vehicle in the video here. Around the 22:30 minute mark shows what a long, slow process the recovery effort can be. Billy Goat Bluff has one of the steepest descents dropping from 1450 metres above sea level to the valley floor at 400 metres.

The track is very narrow in parts so a radio helps to communicate with other vehicles on the track. Sometimes you may need to pull over as much as possible and wait while a convoy passes in the opposite direction. Be patient and respect other track users. Fallen trees can obstruct the track in the heavily wooded sections. While a support vehicle is not mandatory, it’s handy to travel with another vehicle.

 

Things to Do & See Along the Track & Beyond

There is no shortage of attractions to keep you busy in the Alpine National Park.  

The Views

The climb takes you to the Pinnacles Lookout which is a short drive off the road. The working fire tower is manned during summer. The breathtaking views allow you to look back and see where you have come from.    

Visit the Moroka Gorge and Falls by car or if you prefer to hike, you can take on the six hour 13 km hike starting at Horseyard Flat. You will need a high level of fitness to attempt the steep descents and ascents.  

sunset
Image courtesy of Adrianbutera via Wikimedia Commons

Lake Tali Karng is a detour from the track but offers spectacular views and an opportunity to fish and camp.  

 

Camping Along Billy Goat Bluff Track

Leave the camper trailer at home, the Billy Goat Track is no place for towing. You will need to take a tent or sleep in your vehicle. This is one trip you will want to travel light. There are caravan parks nearby so you can enjoy a warm shower and cooking facilities when you finish the track.

Some parts of the Alpine National Park require a permit to camp.

mountains
Image courtesy of Matt from Melbourne via Wikimedia Commons

 

History

If you a history buff, the Alpine National Park spoils you for choice. There are hundreds of historic huts built by cattlemen in the 1800s to provide protection from the harsh elements. One of the most famous huts is Craig’s Hut built for the film, The Man from Snowy River.

Information boards at some huts give you an insight into their long stories. The important relics are in varying states of repair. Some huts were destroyed in the 2003 and 2006/07 bushfires and needed rebuilding. Other huts have been carefully restored over the years while some are all original.

You should only use the huts as overnight accommodation in an emergency. For information about the huts and their approximate location, check out the Victorian High Country Huts Association.

billy-buttons
Image courtesy of AndrewMarkHurley via Wikimedia Commons

Near the track are the ruins of the Wonnangatta station, home to a pioneering family for many years and the place of an unsolved murder mystery.

Half an hour north from Dargo, is the Grant Historic Area with its abandoned mining relics, cemeteries and township sites hidden in the thick forest. The Dargo Hotel was built in 1898 and is still serving cold beer.

 

Exercise

There is no shortage of physical activity in the Alpine. There are many tracks and trails available for bushwalking, hiking and horse riding. In winter cross-country skiing is popular in the plains area. In spring and early summer the wildflower display is spectacular. There are several rivers and streams providing fishing opportunities. Check fishing licence requirements before you pack the rod.   

 

More 4WD Tracks in the Alpine National Park

The National Park offers more than just Billy Goat Bluff track for 4×4 enthusiasts. While Billy Goat is challenging, it isn’t a long track so if you have got to the high country, make your trip worthwhile by completing a few tracks to get your 4×4 fix.

After finishing the Billy Goat Bluff track in Licola, head north to pick up the popular Zeka Spur track. Visit the nearby Howitt Hut Camp along the Wonnangatta River.

high country
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

Link Track is another steep track with the odd big boulder thrown in to keep things interesting. If you enjoy the ascents, Hern Spur is another one to check out.

When raging, the Wonnangatta River makes the Wombat Range track impassable but at other times it’s a white knuckle ride with a climb that feels like you are driving up the side of Cynthia Range. At the top it levels out for one kilometre then drops off just as steep and difficult as the way up.    

Butcher Country offers several rivers, steep climbs and sharp descents to keep any 4WD enthusiast coming back for more.

Whatever time of the year you travel, think about safety. Take recovery equipment and a chainsaw to cut through any fallen trees. Plan your trip and remember the terrain makes for terrible fuel consumption so you will need more fuel than you think.   

 

Billy Goat Bluff Track Map to Lead the Way

For all the information you will need about the Billy Goat Bluff track including track notes, elevations, accommodation and landmarks, grab a copy of the Wonnangatta Outback Travellers Guide.

With the Victorian High Country there can be a surprise around every corner so this is one place a topographic map comes in handy. Study the Buller-Howitt Alpine Area Topographic Map or the Bogong Alpine Victoria Topographic Map before you go to get an idea of what you will be up against.  

If you want to investigate all the Alpine National Park area including Mount Bogong, four hours north of Billy Goat Bluff track, then it’s worth picking up a copy of Bogong Alpine Area Outdoor Recreation Guide which includes walk descriptions, overnight hikes and ski trails and a map of the Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Dinner Plain and Mt Bogong area.

Looking for a particular map, book or guide? No problem, give us a call on (08) 9335 8665 or contact us online and we’ll track it down for you.

 

 

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