Whether you’re looking for a chill weekend away or an epic adventure-fuelled holiday, Mansfield has you covered.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Taungurung people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

Mansfield is a go-to for a regional Victorian getaway. It’s the gateway to the High Country, but with an up-and-coming culture of its own. The town is relaxed and inviting, featuring wide, tree-lined streets. Here, everyone is pumped on the outdoors and you’ll find virtually every adventure activity at your fingertips. Just 2.5 hours from Melbourne, Mansfield can even be visited on a day trip.

About Mansfield

Virtually every punter in Melbourne with a set of skis has passed through Mansfield, the little town set in a lush, pastoral valley that hugs the base of Mt Buller.

It’s far from a sleepy spot though, and you’d be mistaken if you thought all the fun was to be had up top. In Mansfield, you’ll find energetic, adventurous High Country locals, food and coffee to rival the laneways of Melbourne, and best of all, a bunch of activities that’ll bring you closer to ‘Bingo!’ on your bucket list.


Guide to Mansfield: Experience Victoria's Alpine Foothills From Every Angle, Bronni Bowen, person, mountain, tree

Mansfield History

The Aboriginal people who have inhabited the Delatite area since before Europeans arrived are the Taungurung clan. They hold alliances with several other clans and language groups in Victoria, who together are known as the Kulin Nation. The first Europeans arrived in the 1830s.

If you get to Mansfield and feel like you’re exploring the pages of Tomorrow When the War Began, don’t fear. Author of the Tomorrow series, John Marsden, lived around Mansfield for years, and the area inspired many of the locations in his books. Discover them all over again as you hit the rougher High Country in your 4WD.

How to Get to Mansfield

Mansfield is an easy 2.5 hour drive from Melbourne CBD, either following the Hume Highway north or by taking a cheeky side trip via the Yarra Valley to the east.

Places to Stay in Mansfield

Running Creek Camping Reserve, Howqua

About 40 minutes out of Mansfield amongst meandering Howqua foothills and State Forest, Running Creek meets the Howqua River in spectacular fashion.

Running Creek Camping Reserve is a free campground located in some of the most desirable river-flat bush you can imagine.


Guide to Mansfield: Experience Victoria's Alpine Foothills From Every Angle, Bronni Bowen, river, water, person


The first part of the campground is equipped with pit toilet blocks and is accessible by 2WD.

This area gets busy though, so to unlock a next-level experience, leave the van-infested sites and flocks of children behind, pile into your mate’s 4WD, and cross that river like Moses and the Red Sea.

It’s dog and horse-friendly – hell, you can even bring your trail bike if you’re so inclined. Fires are permitted, except on total fire ban days.

Bring your own wood, as there’s none lying around, and like any good Scout, don’t use wet river rocks to make your firepit.

How To Get There

Heading east from Mansfield’s main drag, turn right onto Mansfield-Woods Point Road. 20km along, you’ll hit Howqua Inlet where the river slides into Lake Eildon.

Hang a left and head up the dirt road another 10km and you’ll spot signs to Running Creek Camping Reserve. Big recommend that you drive towards the rear of the initial grounds and cross the river for less accessible spots – just make sure your hubs are in.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!


Sheepyard Flat Camping Area, Howqua Hills

Sheepyard Flat Camping Area is pet friendly – you can take your dog but not your horse. Another incredible, flat site with amenities a bit closer to the base of Mt Buller. It’s a free campground on the banks of a stunning river, but gets very busy on a long weekend, so get in early.

How to Get There

Head east on Buller Road just beyond Merrijig, then turn right onto Howqua Track and follow it for 20km. There are several huge sites here, so follow the signs till you stumble on the situation of your dreams. Accessible by 2WD, just BYO firewood!

Things to do in Mansfield


If you’ve played your cards right and rocked up earliest, your campsite is on the banks of a wide, rocky river, good for strolling up in waders, trusty fishing stick in hand. Rainbow and Brown trout are the two main species of fish likely to jump on your rod here, and both can be eaten (remember that you must have a current Inland Fishing Licence). You can also drink the water from these rivers, but it’s recommended you boil it first.


Guide to Mansfield: Experience Victoria's Alpine Foothills From Every Angle, Bronni Bowen, boat, water, people



Don’t forget, Lake Eildon is down the road too, just begging you to chuck in a kayak and splash around for a few hours. Go around sunrise for sensational fog-filled photography shots and mysterious misty lakeside vistas. Ahhhhh… the serenity.



If you’ve got a 4WD, it’s tradition to have a little play on the Merrijig end of Pollards Road (sometimes closed if wet), and maybe even blast it up The Paps. There are some good humps and a little bit of a scramble on both these tracks, and it’s fun to give the muddies a workout every now and then.

Read more: How to 4WD for beginners



Kicking off close to camp, there are two walking tracks that start at Running Creek Reserve and end at Tobacco Flat, approximately 12km upstream.


Guide to Mansfield: Experience Victoria's Alpine Foothills From Every Angle, Bronni Bowen, people, bush, trail


The Howqua River Walk follows the river flats with nearly 40 river crossings, while the Lower Howqua feeder traverses the higher country.

Timbertop Walking Track (Saddle to Summit), Howqua Hills

Distance: 5.8km
Duration: 1.7 hours return

Look, it’s no real secret: Mt Timbertop is the local favourite when it comes to bushwalks that get you high. It’s a cheeky little thigh burner featuring blockbuster 360º views of everything.

I’m talking Buller Summit (so close you could almost reach out and touch it), The Bluff beyond that, Mansfield Valley, The Paps, the Western Ranges – everything.

Take the summit circuit – Timbertop is pretty level right across the top, so you can amble along and admire the Snow gums without eating dirt via distraction. Take extra wind-breaking layers for this one.


Guide to Mansfield: Experience Victoria's Alpine Foothills From Every Angle, Bronni Bowen, mountain, trail, people


After some alternative and slightly more adventurous gains? Mt Buller and Mt Stirling got you!


Hot Air Ballooning

Stick with me here while I go a bit aviation-nerd on you. One of Mansfield’s lesser-known features is a unique micro-climate that delivers incredible flying weather year-round. There’s a little airstrip on the edge of town that’s home to a number of fixed-wing enthusiasts and the local heli joy flight business, plus loads of small aircraft who pop in for visits and jollies up around Mt Buller all the time.


Guide to Mansfield: Experience Victoria's Alpine Foothills From Every Angle, Bronni Bowen, trailer, mountains


But for a truly exceptional aviation experience, you can go hot air ballooning here, in the afternoon. Global Ballooning operate sunrise flights year-round, but Mansfield is one of the few places in Australia you can fly in the afternoon too, and it’s all thanks to the stable bubble of air that encapsulates the area. These flights are available between May and September.


Guide to Mansfield: Experience Victoria's Alpine Foothills From Every Angle, Bronni Bowen, hot air balloon, fire


Major kicks include not having to wake up before the sun and the opportunity to check out Mt Buller’s ski lifts from a rather superior vantage point. Rad photos, rad feelings, and you’re all packed up and back at camp in time for dinner!

Essential Gear

  • Appropriately rated sleeping bag and camping equipment
  • Spotlight
  • Fishing rod, bait, and waders
  • Hiking boots
  • Warm clothes, fleece, and windbreakers, no matter the season
  • Mozzie net

What it’s Like to Visit Mansfield

With brilliant new foodie startups like The Goods and The Fields, Mansfield is not only a stop for snacks and meals, it’s the base for all things High Country. You’ll find chains, swags, gear, and alpine fuel – this where you’ll be hitting for just about everything. There are sprawling parks along the main street begging to be a break on your road trip, and the locals are raring to give advice on all the activities to partake in.

Tips For Visiting Mansfield

Head to the Alpine Bakery for a sensational baguette, and the best banana smoothie is found at the Produce Store. The Merchant roast their own coffee too – that is a top drip.

For anything mechanical or tire-related before you depart town, see the handy crew at The Workshop; they fix everything there.

Mansfield FAQs

Where is Mansfield located?

Mansfield is located 2.5 hours northeast of Melbourne in regional Victoria.

How do you get to Mansfield?

The most popular options for reaching Mansfield are by car (2.5 hours from Melbourne), or by bus. V/Line will get you from Melbourne to Mansfield for around $30 and generally departs twice a day.

Can you swim at Mansfield?

Yes! There are loads of incredible swimming spots. The Delatite River traverses the entire valley for kilometres, and near a lot of road crossings you’ll even find a stile that’ll allow you to hop the fence. Lake Eildon is another great option, particularly for water sports in the summer.

Do you need a 4WD to get to Mansfield?

Absolutely not. Just keep an eye on the map and for signs that specify road conditions. There’s plenty of exploring to be done in a smaller car.