THE LINK ROADS of North East Victoria and the Southern Riverina
The oft forgotten link roads
THESE link roads are where you will discover the road trip you never knew you needed.
They are those small, medium, and longer rural roads which connect two major roads or highways, cutting through valleys, through forests, across mountain passes and open plains, or skirting our magnificent alpine regions.
We have chosen the following roads because of their fun factor, breathtaking scenery and landscapes, and a whole swag of things to see and do along the way.
Getting to them is even an adventure, but once you have driven one – or all – of them, you will want to keep going back.
A FIRM favourite, the Granya (Gap) Road is a steep and windy sealed section which claws its way up and through the Mount Granya State Park, before dropping down to the Murray Valley Highway at Bullioh in the Upper Murray region of North East Victoria.
The road is 15-kilometres in length and is just under 950-metres at its highest point.
Mount Granya State Park, which is located 60-kilometres east of Albury-Wodonga in Victoria on the Great (Murray) River Road, is a dominant, 6140-hectare outcrop in the Upper Murray landscape, its steep, forested slopes rising dramatically above the upper reaches of Lake Hume and surrounding valleys.
The only sign of civilisation along the road is the farming community village of Granya at the northern end, a couple of farm houses scattered here and there, and a couple more at the southern end of the road.
The road has many sharp bends and a couple of hairpins, and some corners are slippery owing to the lack of sunshine at any time of the year.
Beware of cyclists and motorcyclists. Caravans are not recommended.
Tumbarumba to Tintaldra via Tooma
IF scenery, stop-off points and sweeping hilly roads are your thing, this is the road for you.
Heading south-east from the timber town of Tumbarumba, Tooma Road passes the majestic Paddy Rivers Falls and skirts the western edge of the Snowy Mountains.
Five kilometres from the farming community of Tooma is the Southern Cloud Memorial Lookout which offers magnificent views of Maragle and Tooma Valleys, as well as the main ridge of the Kosciusko National Park.
This lookout features an undercover picnic area, along with a series of interpretive story boards that commemorates the site where, in 1931, the Southern Cloud aircraft disappeared in the mountain ranges you can see from the lookout.
The road passes the historic Tooma Inn and Tooma Station before joining the Tintaldra Road which crosses the Murray River into Victoria at the township of Tintaldra.
The road is 54-kilometres in length and is windy, but allow plenty of time to visit the falls and stop at the Southern Cloud lookout.
Holbrook to Tumbarumba
THE Jingellic Road between the submarine – yes, submarine - town of Holbrook and the timber town of Tumbarumba, follows the (almost) exact route explorers Hume and Hovell took on their overland trek from Yass in New South Wales to Port Phillip, Victoria, in 1824.
From Holbrook the road traverses mainly flat countryside, passing through the farming communities of Wantagong and Lankeys Creek.
The terrain takes on a different perspective from Munderoo where it starts a gradual climb to Mannus, then gets very steep and windy on its way into Tumbarumba.
The scenery along the entire drive is spectacular but also gives an indication of the hardship the expedition had to endure.
Buildings along the 87-kilometre route include the historic Lankeys Creek Community Hall and Mannus Correctional Centre.
Walwa to Shelley
AFTER 14 months and $7.6 million of road works, the Walwa-Shelley Road reopened to traffic early 2019.
The bulk of the roadworks on the 47-kilometre stretch was through the 18,400ha Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park.
Pine Mountain is reputedly one and a half times as big as Uluru and the park is popular for picnicking and camping, four-wheel-drives and mountain bikes, and bushwalking.
Bluff Falls is a spectacular set of waterfalls where water cascades off the park plateau, over Cudgewa Bluff.
Logging trucks and motorbike riders are regular users of the road and those corners which do not get any sunshine can be slippery and wet, so care must be taken.
The area on the Murray Valley Highway known as Shelley is home to a major radiata pine plantation operation and once boasted having Victoria’s highest railway station, at 781-metres above sea level.
The road out of Walwa is narrow but once into the national park the extensive roadworks, to cater for logging trucks, widens significantly, with many tight and sweeping bends.
Merton to Euroa
THE Merton-Euroa Road, or Route C366, is a 34-kilometre link road between the Hume Freeway in the north and the Maroondah Highway in the south.
It is a cracker and runs along a valley floor of the picturesque Strathbogie Ranges, the mountains the murderous Kelly Gang hid during their bushranging days.
Tackling it from the Merton end means dropping down from a plateau to the valley floor via a narrow two lane road that offers plenty of twists and turns, blind bends and hairpins.
Oh. And stunning scenery, if you slow long enough to catch glimpses of it.
Unfortunately, there are no places to pull over to take in the glorious mountain countryside.
Once you get down off the plateau the road is flat to Euroa but there are still plenty of bends and sweeping curves to keep you happy.
Not caravan friendly at the Merton end owing to the steep, windy sections.
Sandy Creek to Tawonga
THE Sandy Creek to Tawonga drive south along the eastern side of the Kiewa River is a road less travelled yet offers stunning scenery of rich pastures, fertile river flats, and the magnificent mountain ranges of the Kiewa Valley.
The Gundowring/Mullagong/Redbank/Mongans Road which starts just south of the Murray Valley Highway at Red Bluff at the southern end of Lake Hume, connects with the Kiewa Valley Highway a few kilometres north of Tawonga.
What a stunning drive as you look directly down the valley towards the Victorian High Country, with Victoria’s highest mountain, snow-covered Mount Bogong (1986m), standing sentinel above this very picturesque valley.
Within the valley are the townships of Tawonga South, Tawonga, Dederang, Tangambalanga, and the Wodonga satellite town of Baranduda.
Villages include Kiewa, Kergunyah, and Gundowring.
The Kiewa Valley Highway is located adjacent to much of the course of the river, along whose banks are many dairy farms which are the life blood of the valley.
The Gundowring to Tawonga road gives you a different perspective than if you were driving on the highway which runs parallel on the opposite side of the river.
It is in good condition for a C-grade rural road, although narrow in parts, and it pays to keep a sharp lookout for farm vehicles and, of course, herds of dairy cattle which cross the road here and there to get to their dairy sheds.
THE Batlow Road/Snowy Mountains Highway between Tumbarumba and Tumut offers more than just scenery.
It offers the traveller the chance to stop in at numerous farm gates to buy (via the honesty system), fresh fruit and vegetables, and visit the apple town of Batlow.
While apples, pears, cherries, berries, and stone fruits are still grown in the area, the town was once a thriving centre when the local packing house canned and distributed under the Mountain Maid label, was central to the town's prosperity.
The town was almost destroyed in the 2020 bushfires, the same fires which devastated the Sugar Pine Walk at Bago State Forest at Laurel Hill between Tumbarumba and Batlow.
The pretty timber town of Tumut, 32-kilometres to the north east, puts on a stunning display during autumn and is well worth the drive just to take in the autumnal colours.
Lockharts Gap Road
ANOTHER short, sharp, fun-to-drive North East Victoria road is the Lockharts Gap Road which connects the Murray Valley Highway (B400) with the Omeo Highway (C543).
It is a short cut between the two and while it takes you away from the township of Tallangatta, and the site of Old Tallangatta, both on the Murray Valley Highway, it is well worth the drive, especially if that is what you love doing!
The road is 34-kilometres in length and it takes around 30-minutes to drive, providing you don't stop at the Lockharts Gap Lookout which sits at the junction of the Eskdale Spur Road and Powerline Road.
We strongly recommend you do pull in to the lookout carpark as the views to the east down the valley are stunning.
The road starts (or ends) just off the Murray Valley Highway at Sandy Creek and traverses undulating to hilly terrain all the way to the farming community of Tallandoon on the Mitta Mitta River.
Turn right at Tallandoon and you can follow the Omeo Highway through Eskdale and Mitta Mitta all the way to the township of Omeo, a major stop-over for those travelling the Great Alpine Road between Wangaratta and Bairnsdale.
Lockharts Gap Road passes through the farming communities of Red Bluff and Charleroi.
The road is two-lane but narrow, and sealed in its entirety, but beware of slow-moving local farm traffic and motorbikes.
Tawonga Gap Road
THE Tawonga Gap Road, or Route C546, connects the Great Alpine Road with the Kiewa Valley Highway and, if you can get a ‘good run at it’, is one of those short, sharp roads that begs to be driven more than once.
It ticks the box on many fronts, from spectacular scenery, fun bends and curves, dangerous drop-offs, and hairpins, but it can be extremely busy on weekends and holidays courtesy of motorcycle and bike riders.
This driver’s playground offers a picturesque 24 kilometre drive up and over the Tawonga Gap, with two lookouts along the way which offer magnificent views of the lush Kiewa Valley and Kiewa River, and the township of Mount Beauty.
Standing sentinel is Victoria’s highest peak, Mount Bogong, which soars 1986-metres above the valley floor.
The 30-minute drive leaves the Great Alpine Road just east of the tourist town of Bright at Germantown and, for the first part of the journey, follows the course of German Creek, along whose banks are numerous chestnut farms.
The sealed road, which is narrow in parts, then climbs dramatically to its highest point at Tawonga Gap Lookout.
The lookout has plenty of parking and a couple of picnic tables, plus there is a viewing platform which affords uninterrupted views of the snow-capped Victorian Alps.
On the windy downhill section is Sullivans Lookout.
The road’s intersection with the Kiewa Valley is just north of the sub-alpine township of Tawonga South.
As the Tawonga Gap Road is the shortest route between Mount Beauty and Bright, it is popular with locals and tourists, so it is best driven during the week if you want a bit of fun.
But take care as riders do use it during weekdays as well.
WE will post more link roads as soon as we drive them