countryside around Mitta Mitta
Mitta Mitta (and Dartmouth)
Tiny township on the Omeo Highway.
Mitta Mitta is located on the Omeo Highway, one
of the state's most scenic thoroughfares. The
shortest route from Melbourne (380 km) is via
Wodonga and Kiewa.
Mitta Mitta is a little rural hamlet within
one of the most beautiful river valleys of the
state. The name derives from the language of the
Aborigines who once journeyed to the alpine area
in the summer months to feast on bogong moths. 'Mutta
Mutta' is said to mean thunder - a reference to
the sound of the Mitta Mitta River in full
The Mitta Mitta run was taken up in 1840 but
a township did not develop until gold was
discovered in 1864. The Pioneer Mine, at the
western rim of town, became one of the state's
largest open-cut mines. Gold dredges ate their
way through the landscape in the early years of
the 20th century. The mine yielded 425 kg of
gold over a 16-year period.
In the 19th century there were a number of
gold and tin-mining settlements in the valley
but virtually nothing remains other than the odd
building and some tailings.
This tradition still entices a few optimistic
fossickers into the area. Fishing for Murray cod
and canoeing can be pursued in the Mitta Mitta
The 55-km Mitta Mitta to Mt Beauty Mountain
Race is an annual event.
Things to see:
Dartmouth is a resort town of some 80 permanent
residents which is located 20 km east of Mitta
Mitta along a road which follows the course of
the Mitta Mitta River. The township emerged as
accommodation for the workers building Dartmouth
Dam which is 3 km south-east of town.
Old Dartmouth, which developed in conjunction
with goldmining on the Dart River in the 1870s,
lies beneath the dam. The mining was never on a
large-scale owing to the inaccessibility of the
site and had ceased by 1906 due to the expense
of transport. Thus the settlement was never more
than a hamlet.
Dartmouth Dam, built in the 1970s, is the
state's largest dam and Australia's most
elevated rock-fill dam. Beautifully situated, it
is bordered by 50 km of shoreline, has a dam
wall 670 m long and 180 m high, a surface area
of 62 000 square kilometres and holds four
million megalitres. It was created through the
efforts of the Federal Government, Victoria, NSW
and South Australia for irrigation and domestic
and stock consumption.
Popular activities in the area are
bushwalking, golfing, four-wheel driving,
photography, horseriding and particularly
fishing. The lake contains rainbow, brown trout
and the little-seen Macquarie perch. Motor boats
are permitted but waterskiing is not. The track
from Sassafras Gap to the Eustace Creek camping
area can be reached by car but a 4WD is needed
in wet weather. Two other lakeside camping areas
can be reached by boat.
Walking trails radiate out from the township.
One leads north-east to Mt Benambra (1480 m). A
3-km road leads from the town to the dam wall
while a separate 8-km road leads to a boat ramp.
The town was deserted after the dam's
completion in 1979. In the late 1980s it was
developed as a tourist attraction and now has a
caravan park, an hotel, a motel, some lodges and
a boat-hire service as well as the usual
facilities. The Dartmouth Alpine Fishing Classic
will be held on February 19-21. Ring (03) 6072
4511 for further information or (1800) 244 102
The Tawonga Track (50 km), a dry-weather road
only, heads south-west from Mitta Mitta across
to Tawonga on the Kiewa Valley Highway. This
pack track was created by cattle workers who
drove their livestock from the Mitta Valley to
the higher country in the summer months.
Glen Valley, Glen Wills and Mt Wills
The highway is partially unsealed to the south
of town and can be snow-bound in winter although
the views it offers are quite stunning. At 9 and
22 km respectively are the abandoned goldmining
settlements of Granite Flat and Lightning Creek.
47 km south of Mitta Mitta you will see Mt
Wills (1750 m) to the left. The summit offers
excellent views of the Alps. It can be accessed
along the Australian Alps Walking Track (655 km)
which crosses the highway at the ghost town of
Sunnyside, 52 km from Mitta Mitta. For further
details ring 131 963 and for information on the
sights further south see the entry on
Rafting on the Mitta Mitta
Peregrine offer rafting expeditions along the
Mitta Mitta River which depart from Mitta Mitta,
tel: (03) 9662 2800 or the Peregrine Travel
office in your state capital.