With winter approaching, many of us southerners will be looking to escape to the warmer northern states, while some of us will actually be seeking out some fun in the snow. In Victoria, we are blessed with some of the best snow fields in the country and, if the weather is co-operative, there’s plenty of places to go. The problem is, most are around a three hour drive away from Melbourne making a day trip a very long one indeed. There are a couple of mountains close by that do get decent coverage of snow but they are so crowded, it’s hard to find a patch of snow to enjoy on your own. A few years ago, I found a little spot that is not far away from Melbourne, making a day trip doable, but that is also a very well-kept secret.
The place is called McAdams Gap. It situated along the Marysville – Woods Point road about 20 km from Woods Point itself. To get there from Melbourne you head towards Marysville, drive through the town and take the road to Lake Mountain. Drive on for about 10km until you get to the Lake Mountain resort turnoff to the left. Keep to the right and heading straight on towards Warburton and Woods Point. Continue on for a further 57 kms along the Woods Point road until you get to the Mc Adams gap turnoff. The road here becomes a dirt road which , in the summer months is a pretty good road, but in winter, it can be covered in snow and it does develop some pretty decent potholes. In these conditions, even in a full size 4wd, care needs to be taken. I’m not sure I would drive this road in winter in a 2wd. At the very least I would carry snow chains.
When you get to the turnoff to the left, it can be a bit of pot luck if the place is accessible or not. In really heavy snow conditions, they do close the access road to the Getaway itself. It pays to ring ahead to make sure they are open. If they are open, after a short drive along a narrow dirt driveway, you are greeted with the most magnificent sight of a very small pub perched on the top of a hill with a huge VB logo painted on the roof. It’s this little pub that is the real surprise of the trip. Built around a large boiler, it is a warm and cosy escape from the cold where you can still enjoy a beverage or two. The walls are lined with interesting trinkets and memorabilia that are worth taking time to check out. Outside there is plenty of room for the kids to play in the snow as well as picnic tables under the veranda for the adults to look on. The views here are spectacular and on a clear day, you would be forgiven for feeling like you’re the only person on the top of the world. This is certainly a dramatic contrast to the hordes of people at either Lake Mountain or Mt Donna Buang.
There are other nice spots to stop along the way including a side track off to a fire tower nearer to Woods Point that is worth checking out. You could either drive on to Woods Point before heading home via Mansfield, or you could just turn around and head back the way you came. Either way is a beautiful drive home.
I believe this is one of the most beautiful places in Victoria. It’s one of the few places you can experience driving in the snow without getting into anything too hard core, there’s plenty of places along the way to stop off and enjoy a patch of snow to yourself, and the pub is the icing on the cake. If you’re after a little adventure in the snow this winter, McAdams Gap should be high on your list.