I first saw this part of the world on one of Rex Hunt’s fishing shows many moons ago. Rex caught a trout with his very first cast, so I figured it didn’t look that hard. I immediately booked a trip and fell in love with Khancoban and the region.
For all you knuckleheads that thought Khancoban opened the bowling for Pakistan, I’m here to tell you that this little dot on the map on the west side of the foot hills of Mount Kosciusko has plenty of fantastic fishing options in clear, freshwater. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve yet to experience the beauty of fishing in water so clean you could mix it with Scotch, or whether you are a true and accomplished trout head, this is one place you have to put on your ‘bucket list’. When you do visit, there is a nice little caravan resort with plenty of accommodation options right on the banks of the Khancoban Pondage.
This, my fellow fish heads, is a guided tour of the Khancoban Lakeside Caravan Resort.
From Melbourne you are looking at around five and a half hour’s drive. Take the Hume to Albury/Wodonga, hit the Murray Valley Highway past Tallangatta, travel through Corryong and follow the signs. From Sydney, the most comfortable drive is down the Hume. Hang a left 20 clicks past Tarcutta toward Tumbarumba, then on into Khancoban.
This well-appointed resort is a great base to attack some of southern New South Wales and northern Victoria’s famous trout streams and lakes.
The accommodation options range from 60 grassy campsites (30 of these powered) and two on-site vans through to 15 great cabins decked out with all you will ever need. There are a couple of Deluxe Spa Cabins with corner spas so you can soothe your weary bones after a long day on the water. And if you would like that true country feel there is even a ‘Fisherman’s Cabin’ for a larger group. It sleeps seven with a potbelly stove plonked in the middle of the lounge.
Tony Ellis who owns and runs the Resort has even catered for the overnighter with four brand new motel units –and another three family units still under construction. Tony has set up an undercover BBQ area with several free barbies full of gas so you can test your recipes on your daily catch. The resort’s amenities for the campers are comfortable with strong hot showers to warm the cockles on those crisp mornings.
On offer as well is a large fish-cleaning table with running water, weigh-in facilities to keep you honest and a huge freezer for those who take home their bounty. All the comforts from home are on hand in the cabins, such as air-conditioning, heating, microwave and TV’s tuned to the local stations. All units were spic and span when I turned the key but keep in mind that they are not serviced on a daily basis. The vans and cabins are all self-contained with great gas stoves and ovens, along with all cutlery and pots and pans. All you need to bring is a little bedding along with your food, drink and, of course, fishing gear. When you turn a key in any motel unit or spa cabin you will receive a free continental breakfast, some fruit juice, milk, cereal, tea, coffee and sugar just to get you started on the first morning.
You can also bring ‘Rover-Boy’ along provided he is kept under strict control. Reception at the resort has a small shop on-site offering milk, ice creams, drinks, fishing gear and licences, as well as fresh bait, outdoor clothing, hats, fly vests and sunglasses. If you need to stock up on food, there is a small shopping centre in town. Other facilities at the Resort include: full coin operated laundry, a recreational room for the kids, gas refills, and boat and canoe hire. Tony can even hire out fishing gear, from standard rod and reel outfits, through to flyfishing gear.
Your first port of call should be the Khancoban Pondage, as these shores lap the park’s boundary – and there are some absolute monster trout lurking about. I have seen some massive trout over the 10lb mark taken from the Pondage on a fairly consistent basis. Tony tells me the best he’s seen out of the Pondage is an 18.5lb brown bulldozer (caught on a Mrs Simpson from the Pondage wall), as well as several weighing 15lb plus. While mostly browns, there have been a few memorable rainbows of 10lb and over.
I have had very good results in the past, walking the bank of the Pondage on dusk waving the fly wand to cruising trout. A couple of times I have been connected to something around the size of Red October, but both times they have smoked me and I came up empty.
If you would like to see the actual size of the behemoths that mooch around these parts then get into the pub, have a drink and ogle at the three busses they have mounted above the bar. They will blow your socks off.
The Swampy Plains River is classed as a blue ribbon stream so make sure you’re up to speed with all the regulations on bag limits as well as fishing methods. I can tell you one thing though: when the Swampy fires, it fires. The outflow at the Pondage gates is a great spot to try your luck as cool water spills into the Swampy.
Other streams and rivers to explore are the Nariel, the Indi or Upper Murray, the Upper Swampy, the Geehi River as well as the Khancoban Creek. Then when you have mastered all this you can fish the lakes such as the Geehi Reservoir, the Tooma Reservoir and the Three Mile Dam just to name a few. If big trout is your cuppa tea, along with sensational high country and alpine views, then spending a day or seven at the comfortable surrounds of the Khancoban Lakeside Caravan Resort should be placed atop of your ‘to do’ list.
Luckily the rivers and streams around Khancoban are stocked regularly (25,000 this year), so there’ll be more monsters next year.
FACT BOX 1
Midweek Specials: five nights for three, Sunday to Thursday (conditions apply).
Campsites: $18 double
Powered sites: $25 a double with $6 per head extra.
Motel units: $80 double.
Standard van (sleeps five): $35 double.
Van with annex/ensuite (sleeps 7): $49 double.
Cabins range from one room economy cabins that sleep two, through to three bedroom cabins able to sleep nine. Prices start from $59 double.
Deluxe spa cabins (sleep 6): start at $110 double. $10 to $12 per extra head per night.
Standard rod hire: $10 per day.
Flyfishing outfit: $40 a day.
Boat Hire, Quintrex aluminium with outboard motor and safety gear: $120 day/$65 half day.
Canoe Hire: double, $65 day; single, $45 day.
Big River raft: $85 day.
Also available for hire are Play Stations, DVDs and videos.
Fact Box 2
More information and contacts
If the snowfields are your go then the Khancoban Caravan Resort is a great place to base yourself without the heavy price tag of the accommodation places on-mountain. Ski chains are available for hire with a fitting bay provided during the winter months along with a good selection of skis for hire. There is also a ‘one-way’ snow chain hire if you just want to travel over the top of Australia.
Khancoban Lakeside Caravan Resort, Alpine Way, Khancoban NSW.
Phone: (02) 6076 9488
Email: --e-mail address hidden--
Web: www.klcr.com.auReads: 5496