Mount Terrible 4WD trip
A great 4WD adventure in the Victorian High Country
Here at Jamieson Caravan Park, one of our favourite four-wheel drive trips is up to the summit of Mount Terrible. This drive is a fantastic, all year-round adventure, for entry level and more experienced 4-wheel drivers. The summit has a Hut, Fire tower and stunning 180-degree views over the Victorian High Country. You can even spot Mount Buller in the distance. In Winter the summit of Mount Terrible is often covered in snow and there is no access fee to pay.
The drive up from Jamieson on Mt Terrible Track
Starting at Jamieson Caravan Park, head up the road and fuel up at Jamieson River Automotive. Leave the town of Jamieson, driving north towards Mansfield on the Mansfield-Woods Point Road. 1 km out of town take the left turn over the bridge towards Eildon and the Jamieson Brewery and Grill. You are now on the Eildon-Jamieson Road. Take note of your odometer reading, as the Mt Terrible Track is 11 km from the bridge, on the left hand side and clearly signposted. On the way to the start of the Mt Terrible Track while the Jamieson-Eildon Road is winding up the hills you pass the 'Scenic Lookout' worth a quick stop with views over the Goulburn River, Lake Eildon and the hills and mountains of the high country.
Mt Terrible Track is usually well maintained gravel suitable for 4-wheel drive. It is not difficult to drive under average conditions. The grading is low range and high clearance.
More experienced drivers can have a crack at the many side-tracks that detour off the main track. These side-tracks range from medium difficulty to very challenging, especially in the wet or snow.
With astonishing views over the Jamieson Valley, Lake Eildon and tall gum trees, the drive up to Mount Terrible is beautiful.
Mount Terrible fire tower and hut
After about an 1 ½ hour drive from Jamieson, you reach the top of Mount Terrible. The mountain stands at a height of 1325 m. The fire tower was constructed in 1962 and is 22 meter high. During the fire season (approx. November-April) a fire spotter is located on Mount Terrible observing the terrain. The original hut was also built in 1962 to provide accommodation for the fire spotter. Unfortunately, the original hut burned down in 2012 when a log rolled out of the fireplace. Thankfully, no one was injured and in 2016 a new hut was built. This hut is a great feature on top of the mountain, and you can leave your name in the huts registry book. For more information about the remake of the hut, visit the website of High-Country Adventure Tours.
The picnic tables and fire pit in front of the hut make for a great spot to stop and enjoy some lunch with some beautiful views overlooking the high country. For your own safety, please make sure to check fire ratings during fire periods before lighting any fires. Also, be sure to bring your own firewood and to distinguish the fire before leaving. As with all high-country huts, please be sure to follow the huts code.
Back towards Jamieson on Poletti Track
Poletti Track is more technical than Mt Terrible Track. Off Road tires are necessary if the tracks are wet as one stretch of the road cambers poorly. Low range is suggested for the duration of Poletti Track. To get to Poletti Track head back on Mt Terrible Track for 5km towards Jamieson until you come to the Poletti Track turn off. It is clearly signposted and begins with a very steep ascent. Continue along the roller coaster of a track that finishes on the Mansfield-Woods Point Road. Take a right turn for a tasty meal at the historic Kevington Pub or a left turn to head back to end the day around a campfire at Jamieson Caravan Park.
Mount Terrible in Winter (no access fees to the snow)
In the winter months, the top of Mount Terrible often gets heavy snowfall so be sure to check the weather forecast before making the trek out. When there is snow on the radar, it is the ideal place to go tobogganing, have a snow-ball fight, build a snowman, and have a warm bonfire overlooking some pristine views!
4WD trip planning
The total drive takes 2.5-3 hours (excluding the stop at the top, and the pub on the way back). There is Telstra phone reception all the way up on Mount Terrible Track but not on Poletti Track. The best map of the area is Rooftop Big River – Rubicon – Sheepyard Flat Forest Activities Map with 1:50000 scaling providing detail of the terrain. Maps are available at the Jamieson Caravan Park Reception. To get an over view check it out on google.
This is a personal trip description only. Check out maps and weather forecast before any trip. As always with 4-wheel driving, know your skill level, let people know where you are going and have recovery gear with you. Keep in mind, the weather in the High Country can change quickly.