Mount Barrow is worth the white-knuckle drive
Mount Barrow is a high mountain peak at an elevation of 1.359m (4,458ft) above the sea level, located just east of Launceston in the northern region of Tasmania. If you don’t like heights or twisty dirt roads, this drive is not for you. It's one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Can you drive up Mount Barrow?
The one way road to the summit is totally unpaved, pretty narrow and defiant. It’s called C404 (Mount Barrow Road). Starting at the paved A3, it’s 16.1 km (10 miles) long to the summit. The first 10km of the route has a well-maintained gravel surface and runs through a combination of undulating farmland and forestry areas. The boundary of Mount Barrow State Reserve is reached at the 10km mark, where parking and picnic areas are provided. The road beyond the parking area is officially closed to vehicles other than 4wd but worth the drive. It comprises a tortuous, steep collection of switchbacks - rivalling nearby Jacobs Ladder - but also provides spectacular views of the valleys to the north and west. The road to the summit is very steep, hitting a 16% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The elevation gain is 1027 meters. The average gradient is 6.37%.
Is Mount Barrow open?
Set high in the Nunamara Forest Reserve, the road to the summit is periodically closed in winter due to snow, with the snow line located at around 1.100 metres (3,609 ft) metres. The last 1.5km of the road is located above the tree line, at around 1000m above sea level, and is the nearest location to Launceston that regularly gets winter snowfalls. This is a gravel road and is sometimes in bad condition, especially in winter, so 4WD vehicles are recommended. For safety reasons only 4WD vehicles are allowed on the mountain, when it is snowing.
How long does it take to drive to Mount Barrow?
To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 45 and 60 minutes. The drive offers stunning views. The summit hosts facilities for TV, radio, and aircraft navigation. It’s the main television and FM radio transmission site for north east Tasmania. Broadcast Australia’s Mt Barrow transmission site overcomes extreme weather conditions to deliver television and radio services to Tasmania’s north. At the summit there is a very impressive panoramic view both of the Tamar Valley and the mountains to the east.