Anyone who plans to travel between Melbourne and Sydney but wants to go the long way around through the heart of Australia's Alpine Country, Barry Way is for you. It is a combination of sealed and unsealed road linking Jindabyne in NSW high country to Lakes Entrance on the Victorian Gippsland Coast. During Summer, Barry Way is a popular route for adventuring cyclists.
Location: Southern NSW/Victorian High Country/East Gippsland
Length: 201 km. Minimum duration (one way): 1 day
Description: Barry Way is an alpine road located in New South Wales, Australia. Beginning as a sealed road at Jindabyne the Barry Way heads southwards, becoming unsealed just north of Ingebyra and continues as such to the NSW/VIC border. The road passes through some very remote and unspoilt wilderness in the Australian Alps. The scenery along the road provides views of the Snowy River valley and the surrounding mountains.
During the summer months, the weather on the Barry Way can be extremely hot and the sun's rays powerful whilst in winter the road can be closed for considerable amounts of time due to heavy snowfalls and dangerous ice. At the NSW/VIC border, Barry Way becomes known as Snowy River Road and continues southward into the Gippsland region of Victoria. Barry Way's highest elevation along its length is 1260m.
Features/attractions: Kosciuszko National Park; Snowy River Wilderness Area; Snowy River National Park; Buchan Caves
Road conditions: The roads are a combination of sealed and unsealed surfaces (89 km unseled in total). The worst you'll come across is some small washaways where the water runs off the hill and across the road. After heavy rain the road cam be covered in rocks, but it isn't a goat track. It is suitable for 2 wheel drive vehicles and can be a bit challenging for novice bush drivers; caravans can be towed with care, but this is not recommended unless you have plenty of experience.
As the road traverses alpine country, heavy winters snow falls are common so October to April would be the recommended months to make the trip. Limited supplies are available at Seldom Seen on the Victorian side.
The journey: the drive commences at Jindabyne near the south east corner of Kosciuszko National Park. Coming from Sydney, travel south to Canbarra via Hume and Federal Highways, then south to Cooma and Jindabyne via Monaro Highway.
Jindabyne to Willis (67 km): Barry Way commences at Jindabyne and travels south through Moonbah and Ingebyra to Willis on the NSW/Vic border. This section of road is a mix of sealed and unsealed. Jindabyne supermarket and the bakery in the same shopping complex are a good place to take on supplies before starting down the route.
Willis to Wulgulmerang (42 km): This is an unsealed section called Snowy River Road, which passes through some stunning alpine scenery. The road is well maintained, but narrow and windy and can be slippery after rain, particularly after Suggan Buggan. There is a big drop off to the Snowy River below in places so take care on the hairpin bends and watch out for oncoming traffic.
There are some brilliant camping spots on the banks of the Snowy River, so time your trip to camp where it shows the road next to the river near the border. The village of Suggan Buggan is 20 km south of Willis. Here there is an interesting old log school. Suggan Buggan is a nice spot to stop overnight; its campsite has picnic tables and toilets, but there are no supplies or fuel there. Seldom Seen roadhouse near Wulgulmerang is worth a stop, if only for the weird and wild decorations and sculptures that festoon it. It was burned out by bushfires in 2005 but has been rebuilt.
Wulgulmerang to Buchan (57km): This section of Snowy River Road is sealed bitumen all the way, mainly though farmland. Be wary of buses, log and quarry trucks however; kangaroos, wallabies and wombats also frequent the roadsides. Not long after passing through Wulgulmerang is the turn-off to Little River Gorge, which is worth a look. Little River Gorge is Victoria's deepest gorge. A 400 metre walking track leads to a cliff-top lookout. Opposite the viewing platform, Wulgulmerang Creek plunges some 300 m into the gorge.
McKillops Bridge Deviation: if the sections of gravel road earlier on in the trip have left you hankering for more, consider taking the road from Little River Gorge to Bonang via McKillops Bridge and Deddick River. Numerous activities are also popular in this section of Snowy River National Park, including abseiling, canoeing and caving. The ascent beyond Little River Gorge into McKillops Bridge is one of Victoria's most precarious roads, unsuitable for caravans and semi-trailers.
The drive on the Deddick Trail is simply beautiful, scenic, challenging and awe inspiring. From Bonang, travel south on a mainly sealed road to Orbost, and then west on Princes Highway to Lakes Entrance. This deviation adds 135km to the journey, of which around 100km is on unsealed bush roads.
Karoonda Park at Gelantipy offers a full range of outdoor adventure and farm experiences for groups and individuals. Established early in the 1970's as a Beef and Sheep farm, the operation has expanded into School Camp Programs, Adventure Tourism, Family Cabins, Lodge and Motel Suite Accommodation, Hereford Bull Stud and Roadhouse. This area featured in Rolf Boldrewood's Robbery Under Arms (1888). Bushranger, Captain Starlight, is also said to have passed through the region.
Tulloch Ard Road is an alternative route between Buchan and Butchers Ridge / Gelantipy. It follows the Snowy River National Park western boundary on reasonable dirt roads, passing through Murrindal Flora Reserve and Snowy River National Park, deep in the Snowy River Wilderness Area. Spectacular river scenery, deep gorges, waterfalls, magnificant forests and the Tulloch Ard Lookout walk are features.
Murrindal is the home of the Shades of Death Cave, discovered by Europeans in 1900, explored in 1905 but not permanently opened to the public until 1984. The area is mentioned in an Aboriginal legend which tells of a man who wandered into a cave and met Nyols, tiny people rarely seen by mortals. Shades of Death Cave at Murrindal Camping Ground is permitted at Jacksons Crossing, Balley Hooley Campground and Hicks Campsite in Snowy River National Park near Murrindal.
Buchan to Lakes Entrance (55 km): Buchan Caves are worth inspecting; there is an excellent camp ground here. Camping is permitted at Raymond Creek Falls in Snowy River National Park near Buchan (Buchan visitor information). 12 km south-west of the town is Buchan South, the site of a black marble outcrop which was used in the construction of 16 huge pillars for Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance. 900 tonnes were also shipped to London for inclusion in Australia House. Stonehenge, in Buchan South, is worth a visit for gemstone collectors.
After passing Mount Nowa Nowa on your left, take the left turn to Nowa Nowa and on to Lakes entrance. Alternatively, bypass Nowa Nowa and Lakes Entrance, proceeding to Bairnsdale via Bruthen (45km).