Snowy Plains in General
- Overview :
The remote area north of Licola in Gippsland has a variety of ski tours ranging from short, easy excursions around Lost Plain through to trips lasting over a week extending as far as The Bluff and Mt Cobbler.
- Level of Difficulty :
- Length of Trip :
Access and Trip
Drive to Heyfield, a pleasant two pub town on the Gippsland Plains, 43 km north-west of Traralgon. Then head north along the Licola Road (C486) for 55 km past Lake Glenmaggie to the tiny settlement of Licola. The general store and caravan park are the last vestiges of civilisation. Continue north on the Tamboritha Road which initially follows the Macalister River before swinging east along the valley of the Wellington River. The sealed road ends 22 km past Licola and the road immediately begins to climb for 14 km to Tamboritha Saddle. From here the road undulates for 47 km as far north as the Mt Howitt car park. Beyond The Gorge at Mt Reynard the road is closed by a gate between Queen’s Birthday and Cup weekends. However the section before the gate rises to 1500 m and it is often covered by deep snow making it impassable. So if you are venturing beyond Bennison Lookout in winter tyre chains and a shovel are essential for even a brief visit. This is a very remote area so if you get bogged or snowed in, you are pretty much on your own. Walk out and come back in November to retrieve your car.
In poor snow conditions, it may be possible to drive to the locked gate near Mt Reynard. Beyond the gate, intrepid parties can ski north to the Bennison Plains and Guy's Hut. A further days ski to the north is Vallejo Gantner Hut at Macalister Springs on Mt Howitt. The route roughly follows the route of the road, crossing a series of plains averaging over 1600 m. Navigation can be tricky, especially between The Bastard’s Neck and Vallejo Gantner Hut at Macalister Springs. For trips beyond Mac. Springs, see The Bluff - Mt Howitt section.
The only facilities for skiers are an information board and a 6 km ski loop at Lost Plain, 2 km before the major road junction at Mt Arbuckle. However it is easy to ski along roads and fire tracks through to the treeless Holmes Plain. Kelly’s Hut is 4 km from the Lost Plain carpark. From Kelly’s, McMichael’s Hut is 1.2 km to the south. 4 km north-west of Kelly’s Hut is Mt Reynard (1710 m), the southernmost 1700 metre mountain in Australia. The moderately steep slopes give way to an almost impossibly flat treeless summit plateau with impressive views in most directions.
Both Kelly’s and McMichael’s huts provide rudimentary but adequate shelter but are not very pleasant to sleep in, a tent would be much more comfortable.
Mobile Phone Coverage
Rooftop. Jamieson - Licola, 1:50,000, 2nd edition, 2005. Dargo - Howitt Plains. 1:50,000 2nd edition, 2006.
VicMap. Tamboritha - Moroka. 1:50,000, 1st edition, 1990.
Bushmaps Victoria. Snowy Plains, Mt Kent and Lake Tali Karng.