The Great Alpine Road in Victoria has many hidden gems and amazing camping locations. Think campfires beside creek beds or historic cattleman’s huts.
We were driving on the outskirts of Omeo, south of Hotham and Dinner Plain Alpine areas, and could see in the distance red cliffs. My travel companion followed his nose and we happened upon very interesting remains of the Victorian goldrush.
The Oriental Claims Historic Area is a picnic area 3 km south west of town. Dogs are allowed if on leash, but there is no camping.
Turn right to the picnic area first, and read up the history of one of Victoria’s largest alluvial sluicing works. Omeo thrived with the goldrush of 1854, but by 1914 – this was the only remaining mine.
Many fled China to try their luck panning gold – and the cliffs are are evidence of the devastation on the environment.
You can cross the swing bridge to Ah Fong’s Loop. Turn left past the picnic area to the Pioneer Claim Loop (both 45 minutes return). This takes you up to the Pioneer Lookout – or you can walk to Omeo (2 hours return).
You might also happen upon Black wallabies and Common wombats. There is a toilet, picnic tables and fire pits along the creek, and more tables beside a big shelter which would be great lunch spot for groups.
If you take the access track left, you can drive to the lookout – and the scale of the mine is impressive. Happy exploring!
There is lots more to discover along the Great Alpine Road. Local camps include:
- Omeo Hilltop Hotel (free)
- Omeo RV Stop (free)
- Omeo Caravan Park
- Mt Kosciuszko Lookout (free)
- Victoria Falls (free)
Thanks to Nigel Worthington for touring with me on this little adventure!
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