The Silver Mine Walk is a 16.5km, grade 3 circuit hike located near Buchan in the Snowy River National Park, Victoria. The hike should take approximately 5hrs to complete.
The walk can be undertaken as a single 16km loop, or seperated into an overnight trip – with a well established campsite near the river bank. Note that McKillops Road, on the opposite side of the river, overlooks the campsite.
Starting from McKillop Bridge, the Silver Mine walk links fire access and other minor tracks in a varied and interesting route, including a section of the bank of the Snowy River. The path is broad, well graded and carefully benched where it sidles steep hillsides.
The initial walk up the Deddick 4WD track includes a couple of steep sections but is otherwise well graded. As you climb Deddick track you will pass the junction where the Silver Mine Walk exists back onto the 4WD track. The management vehcile only track which you follow from Deddick trail down to river, past several mine sites, is also easy to follow. There is a campsite with fire-pit at the junction of this vehcile track and the river.
The segment of the walk which follows beside the Snowy River is impacted by post-fire re-growth. Parks Victoria advise to walk along the foot of the slope where it meets the flood plain, rather than to follow the water’s edge. To this end, new signposts have been erected along the trail. There are also signposts where the walking track deviates away from the river and up an old driving track. This junction could be difficult to find if following the riverbank rather than the marked trail.
From this point the track follows a dry creek bed for approximately one kilometre and there are many fallen trees across the path which will need to be negotiated. Once the track does start to climb out of the creek bed, it passes through several switch backs while traversing over a steep ridge. The track then crosses over another dry creek bed before climbing to an intersection with the Deddick Trail. This dry creek crossing is another location where walkers may have difficulties in finding the path. At this location, the path follows the creek bed for a short distance of no more than 20 metres before branching away again. Walkers should not proceed along the dry creek bed at this point. To do so will result in eventually re-emerging on the bank of the Snowy River at a location some kilometres south of McKillop Bridge. To try to walk back to the bridge from here will be very arduous.
From Melbourne take the Princes Highway to Bairnsdale, then the (B500) Great Alpine Road to Bruthen. From Bruthen, follow the (C620) Bruthen-Nowa Nowa Road until the intersection with (C608) Bruthen-Buchan Road. Turn left at this intersection and head to Buchan. Buchan is the last opportunity to obtain fuel. From Buchan follow the C608, now called Gelantipy Road to the intersection with McKillops Road (C611). This intersection is also well-signposted.
Shortly after entering Snowy River National Park you will see signs for Little River Falls (a short 400m walk). From about here the road is predominately gravel, with some sealed sections. The last 11km before reaching McKillops bridge is a single lane gravel road that winds down to the river valley. Some parts of this section run along a steep cliff-face with limited passing opportunities – reversing may be required if faced with an oncoming vehicle. The road is in good condition and completely 2WD accessible, though a AWD or 4WD would be better during wet weather conditions.
- Parks Victoria state the walk should be undertaken by seasoned walkers, however on our overnight trip (Easter 2018) we found the trail to be easily identifiable and well sign-posted.
- Shade is quite limited along the entire trail so sun protection is a must if walking in warm weather.
- It’s a long drive from Melbourne. Buchan is a great place to stop, refuel and enjoy a break before the drive into the national park. Along McKillops Road you will drive past a few short walks, including Little River Falls and Little River Gorge. Little River Gorge has a great viewing platform.
- There is a large car camping area with river access, picnic tables and fire-pits just before you reach the bridge. There is a single composting toilet at this site.
- There are many great spots for swimming at the car campsite as well as the day visitor area just across the bridge (which is where the walk starts). There is also a composting toilet at the day visitor area.
Contributed by Mick Woods
Max elevation: 584 m
Min elevation: 172 m
Total climbing: 776 m
Total descent: -773 m
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