A tiny town with history and beauty tucked away in the Victorian High Country
Most RV travellers have heard of Dargo and the legendary Dargo High Plains but I believe most have never taken the time to visit this stunning region as they may feel it’s not a suitable RV touring destination. Dargo has a deserved reputation with off-road 4WD drivers, dirt bike riders, mountain bikers and then you can throw in the bush walkers, rafting, canoeing and fishing enthusiasts and you can understand why it’s a first rate activity based location. But what about for RV visitors you say?
Well I believe this remote community and its surrounds is truly a top touring trip in its own right regardless of your interests, be they of the active or passive persuasion. The small township of Dargo is nestled in a pretty river valley surrounded by the famous High Plains and today has a population of around 150 souls. It has groves of century-old walnut trees that thrive well along the valley floor and of course it has cattle, plenty of cattle. The town is also one of the entry points for the Alpine National Park, the Mitchell River National Park, the Avon Wilderness Park and the surrounding State Forest.
The main road into Dargo is from the south, coming off the Princes Highway it’s fully sealed and no issues for those towing a caravan. Roughly it’s only about 90km from the highway via the C601 depending where you turn off, Stratford if coming from the west or Bairnsdale if coming from the east. If an off-road trip is your preferred way to go then you can reach Dargo from Mt Hotham to the north via the Dargo High Plains Road which is unsealed and about 70kms in distance.
On our most recent visit we stayed at the Dargo River Inn which has plenty of RV sites and a number of great cabins. The Dargo River Inn also caters with meals and drinks along with fun entertainment on certain nights of the week and the prices are quite reasonable. Located just out of town we found this to be a top location base for exploring the many regional attractions. However, if you are independent and all set up there is plenty of great free camping options just out of town along the Dargo River. Simply just head out of town going north then take the Upper Dargo Road off to your right where we found a couple of great camping spots just a few kms out of town. There are five camping areas to pick from with plenty of space, they all have drop toilets and fire places and are all riverside sites.
History was the theme on our last visit and Dargo and its surrounding hills have a rich goldfield history that is quite amazing and a little hard to comprehend today. The old gold fields of Grant, Talbotville and Crooked River are all within easy driving distance and are well worth exploring. Their golden age was in the mid 1800’s with the peck of activity taken place in a rather short time span between 1860 and 1870. Grant was the major town and at its peak (1864-5) had a population of around 2,000 people… this town was surveyed with a double fronted Main Street and over thirty other streets surrounding. By the end of 1865 Grant had 15 licensed hotels, a church, courthouse, police station, numerous stores and a newspaper office and this was just Grant. Nearby the smaller towns of Talbotville and others also had hotels, stores and houses and of course mines. Today the old site of the Grant Township is easy to find and wander around.