The sealed section of Victoria’s secluded C511 road, as featured in Drive TV Season 1, is to be made ready for a very special visitor.
in the Season 1 of DriveTVI took you to a very remote part of the Yarra Ranges outside of Melbourne.
The goal? To find a unique and near-perfect stretch of driving tarmac miles away from any connecting roads to serve no one but the driver.
The sealed section of the C511 Warburton-Woods Point Road exists. Its flowing curves and subtle elevation changes meander through rainforest and timber catchment areas, offering both exceptional scenery and sheer driving pleasure.
The downside to this particular stretch of road is that it’s in the middle of nowhere.
The road surface to get there is unpaved and quite rough, so much so that our adventure in Volkswagen Amarok W580S was very bumpy!
But why is it there at all?
While researching for the TV shoot, we came across an intriguing royal rumor.
In 1954, just two years into their reign, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip toured Australia. For 57 days, from Wednesday 3 February to Thursday 1 April, the couple traveled between Sydney and Perth, making countless stops along the way.
After 10 days is the longest waypoint was Victoriathe couple taking time off to spend a long weekend at a lodge in Warburton in the Yarra Ranges, some 70km from Melbourne.
The story goes that as development of the Upper Yarra Reservoir neared completion, the major construction project was of potential interest to the royal couple and preparations needed to be made should a tour make it onto the official itinerary.
The road itself was built in 1866, but with the catchment area and tunnel developments everywhere, it marks the only ‘through road’ through the region.
Australian Army engineers were commissioned to prepare a section of road that would showcase the work and provide a suitable touring area for important guests.
And so a short 7km stretch of the C511, unconnected to any other major road or railway and buried deep in the mountain ranges, was sealed with the best hot mix asphalt available.
It’s a great story and the dates and locations are verified, but it still leaves a few unanswered questions.
First, how would they get there? If the Queen and Duke arrive from their accommodation in Warburton, they would have to traverse the entire length of the unsealed C511. It was rough in our Amarok, let alone a 1954 Land Rover!
There is a small airstrip nearby which currently supports firefighting aircraft in emergencies, but if it was operational at all in 1954 it is three miles from the start of the paved stretch of road. Not even asking where they were going on an airplane to start with.
Review historical accounts of the tour and detailed travel adviceit looks unlikely that the C511’s immaculate section even made it onto the royal schedule.
We can’t find any rationale for the Army Engineers’ involvement, nor any backstory as to why it was paved in the first place.
But the road exists, and the royal rumor lingers.
And if you want a fun backstory to explain why a road in the middle of nowhere is as perfect as a freshly baked freeway, then a proper royal connection isn’t a bad way to get there.
You can watch the full Drive TV episode here or read our route guide so you can make your own way and discover this interesting corner of Queen Elizabeth’s connection to Australia for yourself.
Vale Queen Elizabeth II – 1926-2022
The post The Victorian Road in the Middle of Nowhere They Paved for a Queen appeared first on Drive.