The River Road is one of our favourites, but you know about that…
Here is an alternative, a shortcut from Tintaldra up along the course of Cudgewa Creek to the eponymous town and then the Murray Valley Highway. It’s the C548 in the excellent numbering system Victoria employs for its country roads.
You would hardly think it now, but Cudgewa was once a very important place. It was the terminus of the Wodonga to Cudgewa railway line that supplied the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
The line dates backs to 1887 when the first section of the railway line connecting Wodonga to Huon was begun. By 1891, the railway line had extended to the Old Tallangatta township, taking in Bolga (which is where modern Tallangatta is now). Old Tallangatta is under the waters of the Hume Reservoir – if there’s any water in it. In 1916, the track had reached Shelley, the highest railway station in Victoria.
In the late 1950s, considerable work was undertaken to get the line ready to haul the huge tonnages of material that would be required for the Snowy Mountains Scheme to Cudgewa, then a very important place. The last regular goods train on the line made its journey on April 21, 1978, and by 1981 the Wodonga to Cudgewa railway line was officially closed.
Why am I telling you this? So you’ll feel a little closer to the history of your own country, that’s why.
By the way, the last time we looked, the Cudgewa General Store was for sale for a quarter of a mil. If you’re thinking of a tree change, it might be just what you’re looking for and if you’re a motorcyclist (which is probably a fairly safe assumption) you’ll find yourself living right in the middle of some of Australia’s best riding.
The Cudgewa Road, or the Cudgewa-Tintaldra Road to give it its full local name, is less than 30km long. Generally it is in very good shape (or was when we rode it recently) and has very few side roads, if you know what we mean. Not that we’d encourage speeding, you understand, because if you speed you’re a bloody idiot. We know that’s true because we have a sticker distributed by the Victorian government that says so. It’s here somewhere. Well, it was.
We have not seen any stickers indicating what sort of idiot you are if you let your road network deteriorate so badly it becomes dangerous, but we’re sure the Victorian government has one of those available, too. Perhaps the Minister for Transport would like to model it on the official car.
Anyway, this road seems to be in good nick – for now.
The road is at its most open in the north, nearest to Tintaldra. For most of the rest of its course it follows the creek and as a result offers some nice corners. Don’t become complacent because a few of them are a bit technical. Stay awake and stay on the road, as we always say. Well, when we’re awake we do.
If you’re staying for a day or so at the Tintaldra pub, a course of action we generally recommend, you can combine this road with the Guys Forest Road (the C547) for a short morning heart starter or afternoon cool-down run. The circuit covers about 110km and takes you through Berringama and Walwa as well as Guys Forest.
I hope we’ve added yet another great road to selection from the wonderful motorcycling smorgasbord that is north-eastern Victoria.