Lobs Hole Ravine is one of the Snowy Mountains’ best-kept secrets. There are no big signs directing the way, just a glimpse of wooden gates and a sign off to the right of the Snowy Mountains Highway. The sign says ‘Lobs Hole Ravine Road Ravine Camping Area 22km’ and is a lovely side-note to a larger trip around the Kosciuszko National Park. Once through the rustic log gates, the well-formed track meanders through open forest for a couple of kilometres to a sign-posted heritage walk.
History of Lobs Hole Ravine
The remains of a homestead dating from the late 1800s are only a 30 second walk from the track; there are more pioneer ruins in the area, such as the Jounama Homestead, abandoned in the 1950s.
Past the homestead, which sits a few kilometres past the gate, the track begins its descent into the valley, dropping through differing terrain over 15km to Lobs Hole. Like many 4x4 recommended tracks, this is quite narrow in places but not as steep as some of the tracks on the Victorian side of the border. These days the track, like many in the Snowies, provides access for Snowy Hydro maintenance crews to the powerlines that criss-cross the region.
In the mid-18th century, sections of this route were used to reach the now-abandoned Kiandra gold diggings higher in the Snowies. For some miners the valley was something of a respite from the bitter, snowy cold of a Kiandra winter. It was also supposedly a sneaky route for cattle thieves.
The approach to the valley offers some sensational views. You’ll know you’re close to the wide grassy campgrounds of the old town as you pass the tail-end of Talbingo Reservoir with its drowned trees. Hook right here and there’s an accessible shoreline allowing you to plonk in a boat for some fishing.
Lobs Hole has its own mining story to tell, too. In the 1870s copper was discovered and the area soon had houses, schools, a police station and, of course, a pub. It was all over by the 1920s.
After crossing the Yarrangobilly River, which varies in depth depending on the season, look around and you will find remnants of the past such as the crumbling packed-earth walls of the old pub and various pieces of steam-era equipment scattered around. There are grates over some of the deeper mining holes in the area, juxtaposed with present-day water and weather monitoring equipment for the Snowy scheme.
When to visit
The Yarrangobilly River edges the valley to offer plenty of opportunity for a relaxing splash in the warmer months. Fishing is possible but we haven’t heard of too many recent boasts.
There are no facilities at Ravine campground so everything (except possibly water that should be boiled) must be brought in and more importantly, carried back out again, including toilet paper – people visit the area for the beautiful scenery, not to look at your waste and rubbish.
As for camping, there are plenty of grassy flat areas to set up tents or camper trailers and there’s the usual population of kangaroos to set the scene.
Look up at the hills that surround this picturesque valley and there are some stunning rock formations that almost mimic scenery from the Kimberley or Northern Territory, with horizontal layers of hard rock that form bands across the slopes.
If you want to make a round trip of it, you can climb out of the valley to the Cabramurra/Kiandra Road near Three-mile Dam.
Yep, for a long weekend of relaxation, it’s a terrific spot.
Get the latest info on all things 4X4 Australia by signing up to our newsletter.