Rubicon Valley Historic area and camp grounds
The Rubicon Valley Historic Area is situated in the Rubicon State Forest 22 km south-east of the Alexandra Timber Tramway, an easy drive of about 15 minutes, the majority of it on good bitumen roads. It also provides an opportunity to travel parallel to the former Alexandra to Rubicon steel tramway, remnants of which can be seen along the way. From Alexandra take the Goulburn Valley Highway as far as Thornton, then turn right and follow the Taggerty Road to the Rubicon River crossing, then turn left on Rubicon Road.
The Rubicon Valley Historic Area provides excellent opportunities for camping, bushwalking, picnicking, fishing and mountain biking at Kendalls, Boys and Tin Hut camping grounds. Kendalls Camp is approximately 5.5 km along Rubicon Road. Kendalls and Tin Hut are closed from the Thursday after the Queen’s Birthday holiday through to the Thursday before Melbourne Cup. The Boys Camp, once the site of a camp for the unemployed, is open all year. Pit toilets are provided at Kendalls and The Boys, and the Kendalls area is suitable for small caravans and has an interpretive panel outlining the history of the area.
Kendalls Link Trail is a well-formed 1.1 km walk connecting Kendalls Camp to the Boys Camp. The Cicada circuit trail is 6.1 km return loop starting at The Boys Camp and traversing both sides of the Rubicon River. The trail meanders along the river for a large part of the walk which is perfect for taking in the sounds of the river as well as the riparian flora and fauna. Cross the bridge over the pipeline and follow the road towards Camp Jungai and back onto the trail. The remainder of the trail passes through the bush above the campgrounds before ending back at The Boys Camp.
There is much to explore in the Rubicon Historic Area. The surrounding forest is the site of four hydro-electric power stations situated along the Rubicon Valley. When completed in 1929, the hydro-electric scheme provided about one-fifth of Victoria’s electricity needs. Still in operation today (although in a diminished role), it is important as a source of renewable energy.
The Rubicon State Forest has a long history of timber production beginning in 1907. Prior to the 1939 fires, there were seven sawmills and settlements utilising the forests. Four mills rebuilt after the fires became important as part of the operation to salvage the fire-killed timber, the last forest-based mill in the area closing in 1954. Most former mill sites are marked by large sawdust heaps. The area still produces hardwood today from the mountain ash, alpine ash and shining gum high in the ranges.
Things to see and do
Additional attractions in the area include:
- Snobs Creek Falls
These falls drop more than 100 metres over a series of rocky outcrops and offer spectacular views. There is a short walk from the carpark to viewing platforms. Access is via the Snobs Creek road off the Goulburn Valley Highway
- Morris Lookout
Morris Lookout is a short drive (4WD only) from the camping areas and provides stunning views of the surrounding area, including the townships of Thornton and Eildon. Access to the lookout is via Herbs Rd (closed during the winter months).
- Mt Torbreck summit
The summit of Mt Torbreck (1516 m) is 2 km on foot (one-way) from the Barnewall Plains visitor area on Barnewall Plains Rd. The walk, steep and rocky in sections, takes approximately 2 hours return. On a clear day, views from around the summit are well worth the long climb.
- Lake Eildon National Park
Lake Eildon National Park protects 27,750 ha of rugged hills, partly open woodlands and partly dense forest. It offers the opportunity to experience an array of wildlife, natural and historic features and a wide range of recreational activities.
- Tumbling Waters picnic ground
Tumbling Waters picnic ground is situated where the Taggerty Road crosses the Rubicon River. Toilets are provided, and the Rubicon River provides an excellent opportunity to cool off on a hot day.