Rubicon Valley Historic Area
The Rubicon Valley Historic Area is home to stunning campsites, the beautiful Rubicon River and Falls and a series of spectacular trestle bridges set amongst remnants of the timber industry and the current hydro power system.
In it's heyday in the early 1900s this was a hive a of timber harvesting activity supporting eight sawmills served by a network of tramways which included several trestle bridges to span various gullies running through the area. In 1929 Victoria's first hydroelectric power scheme was completed in the valley and at the time supplied one fifth of Victoria's energy needs. It still operates today and the aqueducts and power station buildings are dotted throughout the valley adding to the points of interest.
There are several areas to explore throughout the seasons with a range of easy and more challenging walks to be found. There are a variety of grades of bush track accessible by gravel or mountain bike, 4WD or dirt bike set deep into the bush or leading to lookouts such as Morris Lookout. There's also fishing opportunities in the Rubicon River or one of its upper tributaries and camping available at several different sites.
The Cicada Circuit is a loop walk running between the campsites along the valley to the Lower Rubicon Power Station. It meanders close to the river and slightly higher into the bush taking in an impressive range of sights along its length.
Rubicon Aqueducts Trail
This is best accessed from the upper part of the Rubicon Valley via Royston Road. Parking areas adjacent to the trail are often closed so in general, parking at the junction of Royston Road and Rubicon River Road is the most sensible to access the area. From here the Rubicon River Road leads in to the aqueducts and can be joined at several points including at the Royston Power Station and the 15,000ft Siphon Bridge. From any location it is possible to explore up and down the valley as far as the Rubicon Dam or upper point of the pipeline feeding Rubicon Power Station, close to the end of Lebruns Road. This is definitely one of the highlights of the area with numerous timber industry relics, dramatic trestle bridges and the infrastructure of the hydro scheme all set amidst a secluded bush setting.
Rubicon Dam Walk
One part of this area includes a 7km return walk to the Rubicon Dam from the Royston Power Station. This side trip winds it’s way through attractive tall forest on a generally flat route, passing a couple of charming trestle bridge Cross the Royston Power Station Bridge and follow the aqueduct and tramlines for 3.5km to the Rubicon Dam.
Beech Creek trestle bridge was previously burnt and has since been rebuilt and the Lubra Creek Trestle has deteriorated over time and so a short descent from the path on a side track to the creek now gets you across the valley. Take a break at the end of the tramline and you can take in the atmosphere of the damp gorge and its small dam before returning back down to the Royston Power station.
Rubicon Falls Walk
From the Rubicon Power Station, the Rubicon River Road (service access only) meanders uphill on an increasing gradient above the river with great views of the steep sided valley around. Eventually the falls come into view and are most impressive in winter and following fresh rains. Continuing on this track you can reach an upper viewing point.
It is possible to link the Rubicon Falls and Aqueducts walks together. This would create a long day, ideally completed with two vehicles, one at either end of the trail.
Kendalls, The Boys and Tin Hut camping areas are all located close to the Rubicon River offering a stunning setting amidst the bush. Bookings aren't required and they operate on a first come, first served basis but check in advance as some are subject to seasonal closures.
Gravel or mountain bike riders have a mix of opportunities on offer including variations on the trails mentioned above and completing a loop from the lower to upper part of the valley via the Rubicon River and Royston Roads. The Gravel Camp event takes place in this area each year and is testament to the quality of the trails here.
There are multiple points of access along the length of the Rubicon River to drop a line in away from the crowds. Popular access is close to the end of Rubicon Road where it joins Taggerty-Thornton Road. The further up the valley you travel the more remote the experience.
Herbs Track to Morris Lookout is a popular 4WD and dirt bike route and provides access into the next valley and Snobs Creek Falls. A network of trails allows exploration deeper into the surrounding ranges. The Rubicon Valley is also home to the Kenda Dirt Bike Rally for those looking for an organised day out.
Nearby you'll find the townships of Thornton, Eildon and Alexandra for country hospitality, a range of accommodation options and most supplies you'll need to support your trip.
- Read the Walking Safety notes before you set off
- Phone reception is poor to none in the valley, so be prepared and let someone know what you're doing and when you'll be back before you go.
- Always undertake your own research, including reading up on any park or forest notes available before visiting any area and ensure that any activity is suitable for your ability.
- There is no signage on the trails, however there are plans to establish some signage to support the walks which has since been delayed due to the recent 2019/20 bush fires.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Melbourne, take the Maroondah Highway over the stunning Black Spur to Taggerty. Alternatively, from the Goulburn Valley Highway take the Maroondah Highway to Taggerty via Alexandra. From Taggerty head towards Eildon before turning off at Rubicon Road. If you follow this road it eventually turns into an unsealed road and passes several camp grounds and then you turn left onto Royston Road and over a bridge. As you progress up the valley the road conditions can vary as you head into the upper part of the valley so drive safely.
To access Rubicon Valley Historic Area turn right onto Rubicon River Road (Note: the gate is seasonally closed). If this gate is closed park at the junction of Royston Road and Rubicon River Road here and walk down to the Royston Power Station. If the gate is open you can park near the Royston Power Station or continue driving to the end of the Rubicon River Road to the 15,000 ft Siphon Bridge before exploring the many stunning walks of the area.