Last Updated on December 28, 2020
Sheepyard Flats – Howqua Hills Historic Area – Free Camping!
Sheepyard Flats is a free camping area, not too far from Mt Buller in the north of Victoria. Horse riding safaris operate in the area, heading up into what is known as the Victorian High Country.
Getting to Sheepyard Flats
Located in the Howqua Historic Area, a family favourite camping destination. About 4 hours drive/ under 250kms from Melbourne, Sheepyard Flats is in a valley with easy access by foot, horses, 4wd or bikes to some of the Victorian High Country region. Popular with campers and groups, it can get very busy in peak times, our last trip was during Easter. Oops, as camp spots are free not reserved, it is pot luck finding a spot. We were lucky and found a wonderful spot with immediate access to the Howqua River. A great place for the kids to mingle and play in the rock pools!
Days can easily be spent chilling out around the campfire, walking along the track to nearby Fry’s Hut and yacking with other campers. Even though it was a busy time to be there on this trip, it was a favourite with the girls as they had so many ‘new best mates’ to play with. A huge fallen tree was the main gathering point as they could all climb on the exposed roots and play.
Accessing Sheepyard Flats and the Howqua Hills area is via about 18kms of dirt road on the Howqua Track near Merrijig, on the road to Mt Buller. A weekend is just long enough if this is all the time available, but a few days means time to explore.
Hiking nearby Mt Timbertop
On the way into the Flats, a walk to the top of Mt Timbertop is a well worth the effort. 4kms return, about two hours – steep most of the way. The bonus is that the return walk is downhill, though! Views across the valley and plains can be seen from a number of vantage points on the Mt timber top walk. The ridgeline at the top is covered in beautiful ‘Snow Gum Trees’, plenty of shade and pretty views.
Starting Point for the Timbertop Walk: From the Mt Buller Road Junction, drive about 7.5kms on the Howqua Track (the same road going into Sheep Yard Flats). Graded Medium to Hard. Kids can do the walk and we will be heading that way to add a full walk review in the next holidays!
Easter Camping at Sheep Yard Fats
Easter Sunday at Sheepyard was rather amazing. Worried that the Easter Bunny would forget them and not know where they were, the girls had been a little reluctant to come on this trip initially. BUT, the bunny never fails… Chocolate Eggs were to be discovered in the trees by our campsite! We could see the weather brewing up something special… the hail came down in an absolute whiteout. Kids were scampering everywhere to get undercover! The weight of the hail was making tents droop… it was super fun!
A short walk over to historic Fry’s Hut, where there is free camping also, takes about 1.5 hours return. Following the Howqua River. By the hut is a massive Eucalyptus that never fails to impress. It is possible to drive to Fry’s Flat and the hut too, it takes about 5 minutes.
A camping weekend in the Howqua Hills, or even a day trip in, is a brilliant addition to the agenda of anyone travelling in this region!
With plenty of spaces to camp along the river, this is a popular destination. Peak holiday times do get very crowded but go out of the main holiday season and the place is usually fairly quiet.
If you are new to the idea of camping and would like some tips on basic camping set up, read our post on taking the minimum amount of gear on your first trip.
A visit to Sheepyard Flats and the Howqua Hills Historic region can be included in a road trip from Melbourne to Sydney over the mountains.