Range Rover Club Victoria

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Iconic Victorian high country tracks and views - Butcher Country Track and Wonangatta Valley

  • 7 Apr 2023
  • 9:00 AM
  • 10 Apr 2023
  • 4:00 PM
  • Alpine National Park
  • 1





Date and time:  9:00am, Friday 7th April to 4.00 pm, Monday 10th April 2023 

Description:   The Butcher Country Track trip has been an annual event on the club's calendar on the June Queen's Birthday long weekend for many years until  2018 when Parks Victoria seasonally closed the Butcher Country track in May to protect the upper reaches of the track from further deterioration. The track is now open and, as such, a Butcher Country Track trip is now to be run once again. This is the third attempt for the Butcher Country Track with cancellations in June and November last year due to snow and forecast inclement weather.  Hopefully a mid-Autumn timing will be more favourable, particularly crossing the Macalister River.  The Butcher Country Track is an iconic high-country track commencing in the Macalister River valley and rising some 1200 metres over a track length of 32km to the Howitt High Plains

We will leave from the Cheynes Bridge campground on the Macalister River, located 20km before Licola, on he Friday morning, travelling through Licola to the start of the Butcher Country Track after 7 crossings of the Macalister River. 

We will camp along the track on the Friday night before coming out onto the Howitt High Plains, where we will have lunch on the Saturday at the historic Howitt Hut. We then drop down to the beautiful and remote Wonnangatta  Valley via the Zeka Spur Track with camping on the Saturday night near the site of the Wonnangatta  Homestead. Some refer to it as Victoria's Shangri-La with its remote valley landscape, dotted with English trees from a by-gone era.  That afternoon, we will visit the homestead site and nearby cemetery and hear of the history of the valley and of the Bryce family that farmed the valley and made it their home from the mid 1800's.

On Sunday we travel further down the valley before heading up the steep Herne Spur Track onto the Wombat Range Track before dropping down to Eaglevale and crossing the Wonnangatta River. We then travel up the iconic Billy Goat Track to the Pinnacles lookout, which has a superb view of the high country from the fire tower.  On the Sunday night we camp on the snowplain at the junction of the Moroka Road and Doolans Plain Track.

On the Monday, we travel along the Tamboritha Road before dropping down into low range along the B1 and Chromite Mine tracks, crossing the Wellington River before climbing again up to the Burgoyne Track, then returning to the Cheynes Bridge campground where our trip will finish.

The best maps are the Rooftop's Jamieson - Licola Adventure Map and the Dargo-Wonnangatta  Adventure Map.

Trip Standard: The trip is rated as hard as some sections of the tracks are steep, rutted and rocky, with other parts possibly muddy with bog holes to negotiate and there are a number of water crossings.  Participants must have completed RRCV driver training and preferably, but not essentially, will have previously completed a medium weekend trip.  The tracks are challenging but it is the challenge and scenery of the high country that makes it an iconic trip.  Don't hesitate to discuss with the Trip Leader if you are unsure but would like to join this trip.

Weather: Alpine environment, potentially cold and wet. Review the alpine weather forecast leading up to the trip to ensure you have the appropriate clothing, footwear and camping gear.

Equipment Below are the required vehicle requirements.  If you are not sure if your vehicle is suitable for the trip, please discuss with the Trip leader.

Well-maintained low range capable 4WD vehicle with high clearance (minimum 2-inch lift above standard) and have rated recovery points front and rear.  Tyres must be at least of light truck construction, All Terrain type with deep tread and minimum 60 profile (no road tyres).  A second spare tyre is strongly recommended.  Vehicles must have a snorkel fitted and carry a tarp to secure to the front in case of higher-than-expected water levels and must be UHF radio equipped.  Standard recovery gear including dampener, rated snatch strap and shackles and a shovel must be carried.  

No camper trailers, pets or firearms. 

RACV Total Care or similar, plus full Ambulance Cover is highly recommended.

Fuel: A full fuel tank out of Heyfield.  Fuel availability at Licola is marginal.  If snow or cold weather is forecast for the weekend, then a fuel additive for diesel engines to stop gelling of the diesel is required as snowfalls can occur this early in the season. Torque Icebreaker concentrate is one such product.

Distance:   Cheynes Bridge campground is 225 km from Melbourne. The trip distance is approximately 280 km of mainly low range driving.

Duration: 4 days

Convoy limit:  8 vehicles

Club Guest Registration policy:  It is club policy in regard to insurance cover that if a member brings any non-members on the trip they must be registered and have paid the required fee as Temporary Members BEFORE the event. 
i.e.  non- members can no longer register on the day with the trip leader. 

Temporary Membership information and ways to register can be found at:

Temporary (Guest) Membership

Also, if a non-member wishes to bring their own vehicle, the member inviting the non-member must contact the trip leader for approval to bring the vehicle. Such approval will take into account skills of the driver, suitability of the vehicle and whether or not a place within the convoy limit is available for a non-member's vehicle.

Meeting arrangements:  We will meet at the Cheynes Bridge campground on the Heyfield- Licola Road at 9.00am for a trip briefing.  The Trip Leader, and no doubt others from the club, will be camping at the campground on the Thursday night.

Trip Leader: Graeme Allen on 0477488434 or graeme.allen86@gmail.com. 

Please contact the Trip Leader if you are unsure of any of the requirements for this trip.

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