VIC Sheepyard Flat, Howqua Hills historic area.

cruza driver

Hercules
Staff member
Nov 9, 2010
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Mighty Victoria
#1
Sheepyard Flat is located in the Howqua Hills Historic Area and open all year. It is on the Howqua River and located approx 28km from Mansfield which is the last stop for fuel and supplies. Sheepyard Flat can be used as a base camp to visit countless High Country Huts including Craigs Hut which was used for the filming of Man From Snowy River.

After leaving Mansfield head towards Mt Buller, and just past Merrijig which is about 15km from Mansfield take a turn right into Howqua Hills Track (dirt 2wd access) that leads into Sheepyard after approx 10km. Care needs to be taken in the peak periods due to traffic along here and caution if it has been raining as there is a couple of hairpin corners.

Once crossing the bridge over the Howqua River there is campsites either side of the bridge as the grounds. The campground is grassy and provides firepits and long drop toilets at either end.

Note it can get extremely busy in peak periods and long weekends. When camping normally a group of horses on a trail ride come through and cross the river which makes for a good photo oppurtunity. Of the evening there is also a few kangaroos around paying a visit.

The river is popular with fishing and is shallow in the summer for kids and also the adults to cool off in the hotter months. It can get cold in winter due to being surrounded by hills but it adds to the atmosphere. A bush walk leaves in both directions from camp and one heads to Frys Hut where there is another campgound that can be accessed if Sheepyard is a bit busy.

http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/howqua-hills-h.a#changeOfConditions

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The beauty of this area is that there is always grass
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cruza driver

Hercules
Staff member
Nov 9, 2010
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Mighty Victoria
#3
I know the previous posts show beautiful weather but we camped there one Easter and received a freak hail storm, so be prepared :smile:

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The hail on the bull wasn't put there thats what landed on it!!
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View from under the awning of the OB Hawk we had at the time
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mikerezny

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2016
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#6
Hi,
can anyone tell me if the dirt road into Sheepyard Flats would be accessible with a Falcon Sedan towing a normal Penguin?

Thinking of heading out there tomorrow morning.

If not, what about getting into Kelly Tree / Stringybark Creek?

many thanks
Mike
 

Fabulous

Well-Known Member
Feb 26, 2013
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Melbourne
#11
Haven't done it for a while, will be up there next weekend for a day trip. Track is a 2wd dirt road, in the wet a bit harder and slippery/slushy, with a firm base, in the dry should be fine if you take your time.

I'm not a big fan of taking our onroad Starcraft on dirt roads, but that's just us.
 

mikerezny

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2016
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#13
Hi,
thanks for all the very helpful responses. We took the advice of @17triton and steered clear of Sheepyard Flats this trip since the weather forecast for Sunday was rain. In hindsight, asking for advice was probably a very good idea!!!!! Didn't get to read the response from @cruza driver until we got back. My fault for not asking sooner.

Instead, we headed for Stringybark creek on Friday. What a lovely campground. Only three campers there Friday night, only two on Saturday night.

Then early Sunday morning the wind and rain started. Fortunately, we packed everything up before we went to bed!!!
It rained so much I got up a couple of times to go around the inside of the van checking for leaks. Only problem was a small amount of water under the door vent. Couldn't work out where it was getting in.

Packed up next morning and headed off back down to Tolmie. Only got about 3 kms and there was a huge tree across the road. Probably 60cm in diameter. Someone on the other side first suggested cutting around via Stringybark Creek Road, but when pressed admitted it might be a bit problematic in the wet with a 2WD and a caravan. So, he then suggested going further North and cutting across from Old Tolmie Road.

So, now our very first lesson in turning trailers on a narrow dirt road was about to begin, and so did the rain / sleet. Unhooked the van, swung it around, thinking 'glad it is only a camper trailer!' Then got the car around the van and turned around and hooked back up. Mission accomplished! Gave each other a pat on the back "well done!"

Good we had that experience because we were able to contemplate how much more difficult that could have been on the narrower Stringybark Creek and Old Tolmie Roads. So we avoided that experience and headed straight up to Benalla.

Stopped a few people on the way back to warn them of the fallen tree and get the condition of the road to Benalla, which was clear (phew!). A couple of them were in 4WDs and knew the way through Stringybark Creek, both of them said we would have had trouble getting through that way.

All the time thinking what would have happened had we not sought and taken the advice to avoid Sheepyard Flats, especially if the same amount of rain came down over there as well! I am convinced we would have been in trouble.

Then a long boring drive back along the Hume back to Melbourne....NOT! We ran into a hailstorm that completely whited out the highway for at least a few kms. Only just able to pick out the lane markings. Heaps of cars pulled over along the side of the road.

Very glad to have gotten safely back home. Sheepyard Flats will have to wait until perfect dry weather. Stringybark Creek has now become one of our favourite campgrounds.

Oh, by the way, the pies at The High Country Bakehouse near the IGA in Mansfield are well worth a try. We were going to sample pies from the other award winning bakery, The Mansfield Cafe, on our way back. But that will have to wait for another visit.

Oh well, many more bits of experience gained.

Once again, thanks for all the most helpful and welcome advice.

cheers
Mike
 
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17triton

Well-Known Member
Feb 24, 2013
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#14
Sounds like an adventurous weekend Mike and good that it turned out ok. Any chance you are going looking for a 4wd now?;)
I haven't camped at Stringybark Creek yet but went and had a look when we were at Mansfield and it looks like a great spot and is on the list of places I want to camp at.
 

mikerezny

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2016
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#15
Any chance you are going looking for a 4wd now?;)
Hi @17triton,
no, not at the moment. We still have a lot of exploring that we want to do in the Falcon and Penguin. Any vehicle upgrade is complicated because we love the simplicity of the Penguin but realise that we may, in the future, want something heavier with a toilet / shower. Thus, we probably won't upgrade until we make a decision on our longer-term van.

We have been to over 20 different camping sites in Victoria since last November. In that time we have baulked at three: Blue Pools, getting through the entrance gate, defaulted to the Quarries; bush camping before Golden Beach, due to soft sand, defaulted to Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park; and this weekend, Sheepyard Flats.

In any case, we still have a lot to learn about towing a van and understanding the limitations due to weather, terrain, our abilities and equipment. We can probably get into just as much trouble in a 4WD and van if we haven't a clue what we are doing.

There is also a camping in Tolmie Recreation Reserve with showers, and another, before Stringybark Creek called Toombullup School Site.
We had intended to check them out on our way back, as well as Power's Lookout, but .....

cheers
Mike
 
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Dobbie

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2014
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#16
Sensible approach........

I totally agree with the keep it simple as much as possible and just enjoy where you explore, then upgrade and get more complicated when you need to.....we've baulked at a couple of places as well but peace of mind is more important to us at this stage rather than going gung ho just for the fun of it. Did that when I was young and foolish and all it did was cost money on some occasions....others were definately worth it, however.

Growing older has certainly slowed down my adventurous spirit and I really get more from a new, peaceful place to camp to discover.

It certainly sounds like you had an interesting sheep yard experience.

Happy exploring.
 
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Crusty181

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Feb 7, 2010
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Mentone, VIC
#18
Years ago, before we met, my wife got Giardia from drinking from the water at Sheepyard Flats. A decision that has cursed her ever since with many digestion issues for life.

Use a filter or take water in with you from a trusted source.
Great advice. I wouldnt drink water from any creek or river anywhere in Oz, but its difficult to convince some folk that clear running water means nothing
 

Drover

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Nov 7, 2013
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#19
Any water course that has camping allowed anywhere along it I would be cautious, people are such a grubby animal, I was awakened as a young tagger on the diary farm as I watched the milkers stop as they crossed the creek to off load about 20 gallons into the water..............any water from most creeks got boiled in the billy when camping......