The Stringy Bark Creek and Powers Lookout tracks are a very easy drive from Mansfield that can be traversed by 2WD. The additional trek to Top Crossing Hut is for those who want to experience a rougher 4WD track.
Rating: AWD; low range and high clearance on Top Crossing Track
Time: A day
Distance: 90km Mansfield to Whitfield on main route; 144km with alternate route return to Top Crossing Hut
Longest drive without fuel: 84km; one-day fuel endurance in moderate 4WD conditions required
Fuel and supplies: Mansfield, Whitfield
Best time of year: All year, although winter driving conditions can be poor
Fire bans: Powers Lookout Scenic Reserve and sections of Alpine National Park will be closed on Code Red (Catastrophic) days
Warnings: The track to Top Crossing Hut fords the King River in several places, so take care; after heavy rain the river can become impassable
Important contacts: Mansfield Visitors Information Centre, Ph (03) 5775 7000, 1800 039 049
Facilities: Mansfield, Powers Lookout, Tolmie, Whitfield
High Country Victoria Navigation & Maps
Travel out of Mansfield on the Mansfield - Whitfield Road towards Tolmie.
Travel through Tolmie and head west at the Tatong Tolmie Road. Travel on this good gravel road to Stringy Bark Creek. You will find signs indicating the location of the 'Kelly Tree', a memorial to the policemen slain by the infamous Kelly Gang.
To get from Stringy Bark Creek to Powers Lookout, it's an easy journey back along the Tatong Tolmie Road to the Mansfield - Whitfield Road. Turn north and travel towards Whitfield. You will find the road out to Powers Lookout to the east from the Tatong Tolmie Road. A short drive along this good gravel road will lead you to the lookout.
Those content to call it a day after visiting Powers Lookout should retrace their steps to the Mansfield - Whitfield Road and continue north to Whitfield.
Those looking to get onto more challenging track should continue on from Powers Lookout until you reach Upper King River Road. Head south along Upper King River Rd, then east onto Top Crossing Track. You'll pass by Lake William Hovell and Sandy Flat camping area until the track ends at Top Crossing Hut. When you're ready to head out, return to the road that leads to Powers Lookout and head north on the Mansfield - Whitfield Road to Whitfield.
- High Country Holiday Park, Mansfield, Ph (03) 5775 2705
- Mansfield Holiday Park, Ph (03) 5775 1383.
- Valley View Caravan Park, Whitfield, Ph (03) 5729 8350
- Sandy Flat
- Stringy Bark Creek Camping Reserve
- Toombullup East School site
- Top Crossing Hut camping area
Things to do
At Powers Lookout, a short walk with a series of ladders leads to the outcrop's northernmost viewpoint. Take the 20-minute return walk to the nearby water hole. At Paradise Falls (17km from Whitfield via Cheshunt) there is an easy track to the 31-metre cascade. Little Falls is 2.4km back along the road from Paradise Falls and is a pretty place to take a break. Enjoy the shores of Lake William Hovell, which offers excellent fishing, boating and picnic facilities. Enjoy the boutique wineries in Whitfield before making your way to the famous wine region at Milawa.
Villains of the High Country
They’ve been both hated and revered, but there’s no question that bushman outlaws Henry Johnson (aka Harry Power) and Ned Kelly have secured a place in Australian history, culture and lore. The Irish-born bushman Power, said to have been a protégé of sorts to Ned Kelly, escaped from Pentridge Prison in 1869. It’s said that when authorities found him asleep in his hideout, he offered them tea before being arrested.
The history of the Kelly Gang has been a matter of much debate. In his famous Jerilderie Letter, Ned made it clear that he thought his actions justified by the persecution his family suffered at the hands of the Victorian police. The Kelly Tree gives chilling insight into the shootings that helped seal Ned Kelly’s fate.