Dargo High Plains Road

We’re generally pretty cautious taking roads that involve big mountains without some sort of feedback from locals, and we were only mildly confident that the Dargo High Plains Road would suit our setup. In this post though, we’re sharing our thoughts on the road, after doing it in a 2016 Isuzu Dmax and 2.3 tonne Reconn R2 Hybrid Camper.

The Dargo High Plains Road is fairly straight forward
We did the Dargo High Plains Road, and here’s our thoughts

Where does the road run to?

The Dargo High Plains Road starts in Dargo, and runs all the way through to the Great Alpine Way (B500) near Hotham Heights.

Dargo Hotel is worth a stop
The road starts in Dargo, which is well worth a stop
Driving to Hotham Heights
You’ll pop out on the Great Alpine Way near Hotham Heights heading north

What’s it like?

Coming down into Dargo, I knew we were in for some big climbs, and I wasn’t wrong. Dargo High Plains is bitumen up until about 34km from Devils Hollow, where it turns to gravel. It’s generally quite wide and well maintained, but has sections of corrugations and rocks that give you a bit of a shake up.

The first hill heading north out of Dargo to McMillan Road is steep and windy, before it flattens out a bit, and eventually goes to gravel. If you don’t have an external transmission cooler, the ability to monitor automatic transmission temperatures or a lockup kit, this hill might make your vehicle get really hot, towing something heavy. We saw 114 degrees on our automatic transmission, with an external cooler.

We ended up in low range for some of the gravel, because the automatic transmission temperatures were getting a bit too hot, and it helps with the engine braking on the way down.

Letting tyres down earlier in the Victorian High Country
The drive to McMillan Road is really steep, and bitumen

What condition is the gravel like?

I’d rate this as a pretty decent gravel road. The Jamieson Licola Road was a lot worse, and this is generally pretty good. You do get some morons travelling down it much faster than they should be, so stick on your side of the road and take it easy, and you’ll be fine.

We had our tyres let down about 30% from road pressures from doing McMillan Road, Billy Goats Bluff and the Crooked River Track anyway, which seemed to work well.

Dargo High Plains Road
The gravel is mostly good condition, and no issues towing a caravan or camper

Can you tow a caravan on it?

Yes, you can, if you are experienced with towing on hills, and know how to use your engine braking. I’d be letting some air out of your tyres, and using low range on the steeper gravel sections to keep things cool and ticking along easily, but its not like towing your caravan down the main highway in town.

Dargo Hotel with our camper
We towed our Hybrid Camper through without too much trouble

The road closes

When you get to the end of the Dargo High Plains Road, you’ll see big gates, which are shut when the road is closed. You can generally expect this to be shut between June and the end of October, but it varies from year to year. This is due to snow, and general road conditions.

Would we do it again?

Yep, this was a great way to do the Eastern side of the Victorian High Country, and we went from Briagalong to Dargo, to Hotham Heights, then Omeo, Corryong and onto the beautiful Alpine Way.

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