There are Clubs and activity companies who organise structured expeditions through the summer months. See ski.com.au/activities for further information on these activity companies
- 1 NSW
- 2 Victoria
- 2.1 Falls Creek area
- 2.1.1 Wallaces and Cope Huts loop (6.7 km)
- 2.1.2 Mt Cope
- 2.1.3 Edmonsons Hut
- 2.1.4 Setting off points
- 2.1.5 Other day walks
- 2.1.6 The Australian Alps Walking Track
- 2.1.7 Mt Bogong – the big feller
- 2.1.8 Mt Feathertop
- 2.2 Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain area
- 2.3 Mt Buffalo
- 2.4 Mt Buller area
- 2.5 Mt Baw Baw area
- 2.6 Yarra Ranges
- 2.7 Other walking in the Victorian Alps
- 2.1 Falls Creek area
- 3 Australian Alps Walking Track
Where there are tracks you should stay on them (regardless of how wet and muddy they are). Each time you leave the track you do more damage. The tracks are already wrecked beyond any repair that will take less than decades, if not centuries to disappear. Damage in the high country can take many decades to disappear, if it can be fixed at all. Bushwalking Maps and notes
Top of the Thredbo Chairs
- The Merrits nature track, from the top down to Thredbo Village. This is a pleasant walk through the varieties of alpine flora, from snowgrass to snowgums. Mostly downhill, and unfit quads will feel it. Merrits nature track
- The walk to the summit of Kosciuszko. This is about 6.5 km one way along a brick pathway or raised metal grid track. NPWS ask you to stay on this path. The number of walkers walking to the Summit has caused severe degradation to some sensitive flora, as well as erosion. You can see the damage below the metal grid in some places. The Kosciuszko View lookout about 3 km along the track gives a good view of Kosciuszko. It is worth going as far as Rawsons Pass to see Australia's highest toilet bunker. Kosciuszko summit walk
- The Dead Horse Gap walk, from the top of Karels T bar down to Dead Horse Gap. This walk has expansive views and does not get as crowded as the walk to the Summit. You can return to Thredbo along the River Walk. This is an excellent round trip.Dead Horse Gap and Thredbo River
In the Thredbo River Valley
- River walk, beside the Thredbo River between the Village and Dead Horse Gap. Thredbo to Dead Horse Gap
- From Dead Horse Gap south on the Bobs Ridge Track towards Cascade Hut and beyond or following the Thredbo River Valley to The Chimneys.
- Short, flat walks around Bullocks Flat (the Skitube Terminal), Thredbo Diggings and Ngarigo
- Walks around the Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort (although these may be for guests only - pretend you are considering buying some land)
From Charlotte Pass
- Up to the summit of Kosciuszko (about 9 km one way)Charlotte's Pass to Mount Kosciuszko
- The walk to Blue Lake. Blue Lake is a very scenic alpine tarn, with high cliffs falling straight into the lake. It is one of the few glacial lakes in the region. You can also do a short diversion on a footpad that heads west from the north west side of the Snowy ford to a ruined chimney and other relics of the grazing era a little further up the valley.Charlotte's Pass to Blue Lake
- The Main Range Walk, also called the Lakes Walk, doing a loop from Charlotte Pass out onto the main range to Rawson Pass via Blue Lake and Lake Albina and back down to Charlotte Pass on a well defined track or on the old Summit road. A short diversion from Rawsons Pass takes you to the top of Mt Kosciuszko. This is an excellent but strenuous 20+ km day walk, or it can be broken into a couple of relaxing days with an overnight camp (but do not camp in the lake catchments - it is prohibited). There are spectacular views along the way. The hill between Charlotte Pass and the Snowy River (called Heart Attack Hill for good reason)is very steep. Most people do this walk in an anti-clockwise direction to avoid the hill at the end of the day. Main Range Track
- Watsons Crags. This one requires a bit of navigation and experience. Watsons Crags is a narrow ridge jutting out from the Main range near Mt Twynam into the Geehi Gorge. There are spectacular views into the gorge and beyond, as well as back to the Western Faces and the Sentinel. This is a long walk, and the route is not clearly marked. It should only be attempted by experienced walkers confident with their navigation skills.
Walks from off the Summit Rd between the Park entrance and Perisher including:
- Sawpit Nature Trail, a short walk around Sawpit Creek.
- Pallaibo track, from Sawpit Creek down to the Thredbo River picnic area near the old park entrance station. This is a one way walk, and you need to do a car swap or be prepared to walk or hitch back up to Sawpit.
- Waterfall walk out of Sawpit Creek on the opposite side of the road. This is a walk up to a waterfall and then back to the road on a loop. It has some beautiful spalled granite formations, if you like rocks. There are usually kangaroos on this walk.
- Rennix Track, out of Rennix Gap. There are usually kangaroos on this walk.
- Rainbow Lake walk out to the water supply for the old Kosciousko Hotel.Rainbow Lake Walk
- Porcupine Rocks walk from Perisher out to Porcupine Rocks. The Rocks have a spectacular view of the Thredbo Valley. You can continue along the XC pole line to Charlotte Pass.
If you are staying in Perisher and the weather is atrocious it is worth driving down the road to some of the lower walks. Often the weather changes from atrocious to perfect as early as Sponars. This means that most of these walks are fine.
Access to Mt Kosciuszko, the top of Australia, is possible with a 6km walk from the top of Thredbo, or a 9 km walk from Charlotte Pass (both one way).
The maintenance road from Munyang Power Station, and the Aqeduct track and Disappointment Spur track go up to Schlink Pass and give access to the Kerries and Brassies and the area around Jagungal, as well as Dicky Cooper Bogong and the north end of the Rolling Grounds. These are more remote areas and may still be closed after recent devastating bushfires. The walk to and from Whites River Hut and Schlink Pass will take most of a day. Access any further requires an overnighter. From Schlink Pass you can get access to the Jagungal area (if it is open) via the Valentine and Grey Mare Fire Trails. You can also get accress to Jagungal from the north from the Selwyn area, across Happy Jacks Plain.
There is a suspension bridge across the Snowy River at Illawong hut, a couple of km upstream from Guthega. This bridge gives access to Mt Twynam and Blue Lake from a different direction. A walk across the dam wall at Guthega gives access to Mt Tate, Consett Stephens Pass and the southern end of the Rolling Grounds. There are no formed tracks for these walks, although there are footpads in some places. Guthega to Blue Lake via Little Twynam Guthega to Snowy River Suspension Bridge
There are also walks from Selwyn, 3 Mile Dam and off the Cabramurra Rd, as well as walks around Kiandra and Yarrangobilly Caves. The Gold Seekers Track between Selwyn and 3 Mile Dam has some interesting gold rush relics.
WARNING - IMPORTANT
- If you undertake any walks you must be prepared for rapid changes of weather. It snows every year in summer and the weather is extremely unpredictable. Navigation can be difficult in foggy conditions.
- You should wear sun protection. There is no shade in the high country.
- You should carry your own water or treat your drinking water. Giardia has been detected in the alpine streams. Water near huts and popular camping areas can be contaminated, as can watercourses downstream from resorts.
I have never been to Geehi Flats, on the west side of the range on the Alpine Way and not seen kangaroos. You will often see them on the Waterfall and Rennix Gap walks. Wombats are everywhere but they will avoid most noisy walkers. If you want to see them sit quietly in the evening. The NPWS does critter spotting walks in school holidays. Emus are everywhere. Lately they have been hanging around the road near the Skitube turnoff. I have often seen them near Selwyn. You often see *ahem* sign of brumbies at Dead Horse Gap although the actual horses are seen less frequently.
From about the end of November there are spectacular displays of wildflowers throughout the high country. There are carpets of flowers many hectares in extent.
Walks from Thredbo
Rather than modify other peoples contributions, I will put these hikes in a different sub-category. © D.S. 2008.
Ø Ramshead Range and Kosciusko.
7.00. A1. Hannel’s Spur. Shown in Brown on map. Grade: Very Hard. 20 km. If there’s sufficient interest, we will also run a walk from Geehi up Hannel’s Spur to near Mt Townsend and then to Thredbo. Involves a 1770 metre ascent, the longest single climb in Australia.
8.30. A2 Climb Kosci via 2 strange hills & a lake. Orange on map. Grade: Medium - Hard. 20 km Thredbo River track – Dead Horse Gap – The Ramshead – North Ramshead – Cootapatamba Hut – Lake May (aka Cootapatamba) – Mt Kosciusko – optional side trip to Seaman’s Hut – choice of chairlift or Merritt’s Nature Track.
9.00. A3. Kosciusko, a lake and a strange hill. Shown in Red on map. Grade: Medium. 20 km. Kosciusko Express Chairlift – Kosciusko Lookout – Mt Kosciusko – Lake May (Cootapatamba) – North Ramshead – track to Dead Horse Gap – Thredbo River track.
9.30. A4. The highest mountain, highest hut & highest lake. Pink on map. Grade: Easy. 16 km. Kosciusko Express Chairlift – Ethridge Gap – optional descent to Lake May (Cootapatamba) during a break – Mt Kosciusko – side trip to Seaman’s Hut – choice of Merritt’s Nature Track or chairlift.
Ø The Main Range.
8.30. B1. The three highest mountains in a day. Blue on the map. Grade: Hard. 22 km. 1 hour drive to Charlotte Pass. Hedley Tarn – Blue Lake – off track to Mt Twynam – Carruthers Peak – Northcote Pass – Lake Albina – side trip to Mt Townsend – Mt Kosciusko – Kosciusko Express Chairlift (if before 5.00 close) or Merritt’s Nature Track.
9.00. B2. The Lakes Walk. Shown in Purple on the map. Grade: Medium Plus. 18 km. Kosciusko Express Chairlift – Mt Kosciusko – optional side trip to Mt Townsend – Lake Albina – Carruthers Peak – Blue Lake – Hedley Tarn – Charlotte Pass. If ahead of schedule, there may be an optional side trip to The Sentinel.
9.30. B3. Porcupine Rocks & Blue Lake: 2 scenic walks. Teal on map. Grade: Easy-Medium. 5 + 9 km. Drive to 60 km to Perisher. Morning walk to The Porcupine and Mt Duncan. Drive 8 km to Charlotte Pass for optional lunch at The Kosciusko Chalet. 2½ hr walk to Blue Lake. Drive to Thredbo.
Ø Thredbo Valley.
8.30. C1. Three rarely visited summits & a steep scrub bash. Green on map. Grade: Hard. 20 km. Drive 4 km to Dead Horse Gap. Cascade Fire Track – Upper Thredbo River – The Big Boggy – The Chimneys – Mt Terrible – Teddy’s Hut – Paddy Rush’s Bogong – Steep 2 km scrub bash to Friday Flat. Optional longer but easier return via Dead Horse Gap.
9.00. C2. Main Range views from a remote alpine valley. Olive on map. Grade: Medium. 16 km. Drive 4 km to Dead Horse Gap. Cascade Fire Track – Upper Thredbo River – The Big Boggy – The Chimneys – return to Dead Horse Gap.
9.30. C3. Upper Thredbo River & Bullocks Flat. Yellow on the map. Grade: Easy. 10 + 4 km. Morning. Walk up Thredbo River to Dead Horse Gap & return. 15 km drive to ski tube station. Optional lunch at Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort. Circuit to Bullock’s Hut and Thredbo Diggings.
The Victorian Alps offer great bushwalking opportunities. Below are some ideas to get you interested. There are many good books including
- Bushwalking and Touring in the Bogong High Plains Alpine National Park, John Siseman and John Brownlie, Envirobook 1986
- 70 Walks in Victoria’s Bright and Falls Creek Districts, Tyrone Thomas, Hill of Content ,1996
- 120 Walks in Victoria, Tyrone Thomas, Hill of Content, 5th ed 1989
Often there are reports of interesting trips in the Victorian Alps in Wild magazine
Click for reviews of bushwalking guide books
Falls Creek area
Some of the best alpine walking is at Mount Bogong and the Bogong High Plains. The temperature on the high plains is usually about 10 degrees cooler than in the valley, so summer walking can be quite pleasant.
The High Plains offers many day walks, as well as extended walks. Huts, built for cattlemen, hydro workers or bushwalkers, offer focal points for many of the walks.
The High Plains are very exposed. Unless you know you that you will only be on sheltered, well made and marked tracks, you must take a good topographical map and compass (which you know how to use). A GPS is handy, but by no means essential. The weather on the High Plains can change very quickly. Snow, sleet,impenetrable fog and high winds can occur in any month of the year. Always carry warm and weatherproof clothes.
Wallaces and Cope Huts loop (6.7 km)
This is a great introduction to the area. If you only have time for one walk, this is the one to do. Start at the junction of the High Plains road and the track to Cope hut, about 10km from Falls Creek. Follow the road back towards Falls Creek, then diverge right and follow the pad next to the snow pole line. This takes you to Wallaces Hut. Built over 100 years ago and classified by the National Trust, this impressive old hut is set in a really lovely snow gum clearing. From Wallaces, follow the track down to the aqueduct. Wilkinson Lodge was just near here, but it burnt down in 2004. Turn right and follow the aqueduct track to Rover Lodge, a large modern “hut” run by the Scouts. These hardy souls ski out here for a week at a time. They even have their own rope tow. Continue along the aqueduct track, but veer right up the walking trach to Cope Hut. This meets up with a vehicle track again where you turn right and continue up to the hut. Cope Hut, was built in 1929 specifically for bushwalkers and ski tourers. From Cope Hut, continue up the track to where you left your car.
Mt Cope rises about 200metres from the surrounding high plains, to a peak at 1837m. It is an easy, well marked, walk from a small car park in the high plains road. You will be rewarded with 360 degree views of the high plains and surrounding peaks.
Take a map and compass. Start at Heathy Spur, climbing up to join the Nelse Track. Turn left and follow the track for about a kilometre. You could divert to visit Johnstons hut. The track leaves the Nelse Track at pole 782. Johnstons is a private hut not open to the public, but the setting is rather nice. At snow pole 788 there is a small track on the left heading down to Edmonsons Hut. Or climb Mt Nelse first. Mt Nelse is the peak immediately above Edmonsons hut. Mt Nelse North is a little higher, and Mt Nelse West is higher again, being the 3rd highest point in Victoria. Edmonsons Hut is an old cattleman’s hut. Return via the Nelse Track and a road slog back to Heathy Spur.
Setting off points
After crossing the dam wall, look for a boat ramp and picnic tables on the right. On the left will be the start of the Heathy Spur track. This track climbs gently to join the Nelse Track in an area known as The Park. It gives access to Mt Nelse and all the other areas accessed by the Nelse Track. It is a more scenic route, but poorly marked. In poor visibility the Nelse Track is a safer choice. Always carry a good map and compass.
The setting off point for a number of walks is the Nelse Track, also known as Big River Fire Trail. The Bogong High Plains road crosses the Rocky Valley Dam and winds along the shoreline till Watchbed Creek. A vehicle track then heads off to the left . This is the Nelse Track. You can park near the intersection, or drive a couple of kilometres up the track to a locked gate. There are often a lot of cars parked along the track, and you may not get that much closer.
The Nelse track provides access to Mt Nelse, many huts (including Kellys, Fitzgeralds, Johnstons, Edmonsons) Hollands Knob, Marum Point, Spion Kopje and Mt Bogong. Always carry a good map and compass.
After passing the start of the Nelse track, continue up the hill for a kilometre or so and look for a small car park on your left. This is Langfords Gap. Langford East Aqueduct runs for about 7 km kilometres to the left . It gives access to the Marum Point and Fitzgeralds and Kellys huts. Langford West Aqueduct , to the right, runs for about 8km till it meets the High Plains road again at Langford West camp. The Wallace and Cope huts loop uses part of this track. You can road slog between Nelse Track and Langfords, but is a rather bleak section: car shuffle if you can.
Drive up the McKay road but keep left after Ruined Castle and descend to this little reservoir. The Fainter Fire Trail heads off towards Tawonga Huts, Mt Niggerhead, Mt Fainter, Mt Jim and Mt Hotham. Always carry a good map and compass.
Other day walks
- Ropers Lookout: short family walk, start on the far side of the dam wall. Recent track works have made this very civilised with stone steps on all the steeper sections.
- Marum Point: start at Nelse Track or Langfords Gap. Take a good map and compass. A nice point to point walk is Heathy Spur – The Park – Marum Point – Langfords Gap.
- Kellys and Fitzgeralds huts: start at Langfords Gap, return via Nelse Track, or vice versa. Take a good map and compass.
- Tawonga Huts: start at Pretty Valley and follow the Fainter fire trail to this group of tiny huts beneath the Niggerheads. Take a good map and compass.
The Australian Alps Walking Track
The long distance Australian Alps Walking Track starts near Walhalla and winds through the Alps to finish in the ACT. Part of that track links Mt Hotham with Mt Bogong, via the Bogong High Plains.
Mt Bogong – the big feller
Mt Bogong (1986m) is the highest mountain in Victoria. It is a massive, hulking mountain that looms over the valleys beneath. The actual summit is only a little higher than the plateau. The West Peak is often mistaken for the summit because it is a more dramatic high point.
There are many routes up Mt Bogong. The best known are the Staircase Spur and the Eskdale Spur. The tracks for both of these start at Mountain Creek camping ground near Tawonga. It is possible to go up one and return the other in a day. But you need to be fit. It is a long, steep climb.
Mt Bogong is very exposed and the weather can change at short notice. Always treat this mountain with respect and carry warm and weatherproof gear in all seasons. Always take map and compass. A GPS will be of limited use on the wooded spurs, but can be very handy on the plateau if the weather closes in.
There are refuge huts near the tree line on each of the 2 main routes.
The other major hut on Mt Bogong is Cleve Cole Hut. It is a long, exposed walk from the top of Staircase or Eskdale, so it is better to retreat to Bivouac (Staircase) or Michell (Eskdale) than push on in bad weather.
Cleve Cole is a very substantial hut, built as a memorial to a skier who died on the mountain in 1936.
Another popular (overnight) route up Mt Bogong is T-Spur. This is very steep route links Mt Bogong to the Bogong High Plains. Access is from the Bogong High Plains Road. The Nelse track leaves that road as the road veers away from the Rockey Valley reservoir. Follow the Nelse track past Mt Nelse to Warby Corner, and then turn right and follow the track to the site of Ropers Hut. One of the highlights of this route was a visit to Ropers Hut near the edge of the high plains. Unfortunately this idyllic hut was destroyed in the 2003 bushfires. It is being rebuilt by volunteers. Duane Spur descends steeply to Big River. There are a few camping spots near the crossing. T-Spur climbs steeply up Mt Bogong, then there is a pleasant walk to Cleve Cole Hut.
There are some easy short family walks that also start at Mountain Creek camping ground.
A quick review of all the routes up Mt. Bogong.
|A - Mt Bogong, Summit 1986 m.||N - Cleve Cole Memorial Hut|
|B - West Peak, 1965 m.||O - Horse Ridge / Granny Spur|
|C - Little Bogong, c.1670 m.||P - Quartz Ridge|
|D - The Staircase||Q - Bogong Creek Saddle|
|E - Bivouac Hut||R - Mt Arthur, 1684 m.|
|F - Eskdale Spur||S - Spion Kopje, 1837 m.|
|G - Michell Hut||T - Edmonson's Hut|
|H - Granite Flat Spur||U - Johnston's Hut|
|I - Audax Ridge||V - Mt Nelse, 1882 m.|
|J - Mulhauser Spur||W - Mt Nelse North West 1891 m.|
|K - Long Spur||X - Roper's Hut (to be rebuilt Nov 2007)|
|L - T Spur||Y - Duane Spur|
|M - Camp Valley||Z - Mt Wills, 1757 m.|
- Day walks. Most trips to Mt Bogong spend the night on the mountain. If you want to climb Bogong as a day walk, it's only possible via Staircase, Eskdale or Granite Flat Spurs. It will be a long, hard day, so leave EARLY and even in the warmest weather, you should at least take 2 litres of water, lunch, a warm jumper, a hat and a quality raincoat (anything less will be torn to shreds by the wind or scrub). Probably the best day walk route is to ascend The Staircase and descend via Eskdale Spur. This route has the advantage that if night falls before you complete the walk, the last hour is on a 4WD road. Unlike the Staircase track, it is fairly easy to stay on the Mountain Creek 4WD track in the twilight. --©David Sisson 14:51, 23 January 2007 (EST)
Working clockwise, the routes up Mt Bogong are:
- The Staircase. A long steepish grunt, but a fairly good track, great views and a hut half way. The most common route.
- Eskdale Spur. A slightly easier alternative to The Staircase with a good track and a very good hut. The hour long walk along Mountain Creek to the base of Eskdale can be unexciting.
- Granite Flat Spur. Not often used, but quickest way to the summit if you have a 4WD. 2WD will get you on dirt road (The Hollow Way, turn off the Omeo Highway a few km south of Mitta Mitta) to the track junction, where there is a gate locked April to November. In summer you can take the easy 4WD track to a carpark only about 1km from Michell Hut on Eskdale Spur.
- Mulhauser Spur. A former stock route. While it was once moderately popular, it has become overgrown since grazing was banned.
- Long Spur. Access from Omeo Highway side. Easy but long, with only a few short steep bits. Allow a full day from Big River Saddle to Bogong's summit or Michell Hut. The run down logging hut on Long Spur was probably burnt in '03.
- T-Spur. Fairly heavily used access from Ropers Hut on Mt Nelse. It has an okay track, but the climb is a bit of an effort and it's very steep near the Big River. Once Maddison's Hut site is reached, the route becomes easier as it traverses the length of the delightful Camp Valley to the terrific Cleve Cole Memorial Hut. Most groups take a full day to walk from Roper's Hut to Cole Hut.
- Granny Spur/Horse Ridge. (Cairn Creek Hut to Tadgell Point near Cole Hut) No track, but a footpad had formed before the 2003 fires. A fun route for those with well developed bush sense and good navigation skills. It's probably overgrown now.
- Quartz Ridge. A relatively easy walk from Bogong Creek Saddle to the Hooker Plateau on a good track. You can get to B.C.S. via Mt Nelse, the Grey Hills, the Tramline or Granny Spur.
- Little Bogong. Very Hard, I've never heard of anyone going up, always downhill. To quote 'Sidetrack' "The scrub was so thick, we faced backwards and pushed our packs through the scrub". It is very scrubby, very steep (an average grade of 1 in 3) and has a few clifflets that you don't see until you fall down them.
One of the many delights of the mountain is Camp Valley between Cole Hut and Maddison's Hut site. The walking track now by-passes it and goes through snowgums, but it is much nicer to stick to the scrub-free frost-hollow that parallels the creek. (Superb campsites with plenty of firewood.) I'd also recommend the diversion to Howman's Falls if you have the time.
Mt Feathertop is probably the most beautiful and certainly the most loved peak in the high country. It provides terrific bushwalking in summer and in winter it is a great venue for mountaineering and extreme skiing. But be careful, as it averages a death per decade. Most deaths are in winter and most come from not treating cornices with the respect they deserve.--© David Sisson
Maps. Mt Feathertop - Hotham 1:30,000. 2nd edition. Rooftop, 2009.
Winter snow walks.
Walking routes up Mt Feathertop (Anti clockwise from the north.) © D.S. Most of the mountain was toasted in the 2006 fires, but all tracks except Champion Spur and the trout farm - Stony Tops track have been restored.
- North Razorback. Fairly easy, but exposed. 4.1 km from the summer 4WD road head to the summit. 7.3 km from the winter gate.
To get to the North Razorback, turn off the Great Alpine Road (B 500) just south of Bright at Germantown on the Mt Beauty Road (C 536). Cross the Ovens River and immediately drive south along Snowy Creek Track (aka Dungey's Track). If you're in a low clearance 2WD, park at the end of the freehold land and walk. If you're in a Subie or 4WD, continue southwards, turning right at every main road junction (ignoring short logging tracks). Eventually you will climb up to Stony Creek Tops.
At Dungey Gap (1300 m) you will find the seasonal road closure gate (locked between Queen's Birthday and Cup Weekend), and a large blackberry infested clearing. 100 metres north east of the road is a large metal fire water tank full of pretty rancid water and a small creek which flows most of the year. (Don't rely on it from January to April).
The road deteriorates from here, so walk the last 3.2 km unless you have a real 4WD. At the end of the road, it is only 4.1 km to the summit along the North Razorback walking track which continues over undulating ground for another 3 km . At the treeline the track fades to a footpad and is easily lost. But the steep 1 km route to the North Peak is obvious. Find the track again and walk along the summit ridge to Mt Feathertop.
If you have an older map (or a VicMap published at any date), ignore the walking track shown between the North Razorback and MUMC Hut. It was built to transport material when the hut was being built and has been overgrown for 40 years. The ground the former track traversed is very steep and scrubby, so it's much faster to take the track over the summit.
The 1st edition of the Rooftop map also indicates a walking track from the trout farm at the base of North West Spur to Stony Tops. This was in reasonable condition before the 2006 fires, but it has not been restored and is no longer maintained.
- North West Spur. A steep, hardish slog. Turn off the Great Alpine Road (B 500) onto Stony Creek Road 20 km south of Bright or 5 km north of the Harrietville general store. The road crosses the river and splits into a number of tracks, but follow the main track east for a few hundred metres and park your car.
Follow the dirt road along the south side of Stony Creek. Don't cross the creek before the walking track starts and you are well away from farmland. After an initial climb, the track descends to a minor creek 2 km from the start of the track and then the serious climb begins. It is long and steep. Higher up there are a couple of spots where the track isn't always obvious, so pay attention to the route once you are amongst snowgums. MUMC Hut is 7.6 km and at least 3 hours walk from the car park. It provides a welcome break and is large, clean, and roomy. However as the stove has been removed, it is pretty cold, especially in winter. From the hut follow the relatively gently graded track which crosses the west face of the mountain to a track junction half way between the summit and Federation Hut.
- Bungalow Spur. The most popular route for overnight walkers. 8.2 km and 3+ hours to Federation Hut, plus another 1.8 km to the summit. The track was built for pack horses servicing the hotel that used to be near the top of the spur, so it's relatively easy going. The modern Federation Hut at the top of Bungalow Spur is large, clean, roomy and well insulated. The stove will keep the hut warm all night as long as both doors are kept shut.
Access. Drive to Harrietville on the Great Alpine Road (B 500). Just north of the bridge over the East Branch of the Ovens River, turn onto Feathertop Track and follow the road south east for 1 km. Park your car at the information board, just before the track turns north and crosses a creek.
It's easiest to think of the walk to Federation Hut as four sections of 2 km, each of which takes under an hour. The first two sections to Picture Point and Tobias Gap feature a winding climb on the side of the mountain, initially through tall forest and tree ferns, alternating with dryer areas of peppermint forest on the northern slopes. In winter, light snow is usually found at 1,100 metres near the halfway point at Tobias Gap.
The third section is much straighter as the track stops zig-zagging and heads directly towards the hut. The end of this section is at a corner where a swampy stream crosses the track. From here. it is 1 km to the site of the Feathertop Bungalow, followed shortly after by the site of Feathertop Hut. This is a good place to take a breather before the final kilometre along the snowgum lined ridge to Federation Hut. In winter this section is often covered in deep snow, but the route is usually obvious as it is constantly packed down by walkers and skiers.
From Federation Hut the track heads north east, joining the Razorback track after 400 metres. After another 400 metres the track to MUMC hut diverges and the steep 1 km walk to the summit begins. In summer stick to the track to help reduce erosion. In winter stay back at least 4 metres from the top of the ridge to be safe from cornice collapse.
- Champion Spur. While it was not burnt in 2006/07 fires, an 80 cm wide track was cut up the length of Champion Spur. This track has not been maintained and is slowly becoming overgrown again.
- Bon Accord Spur. A slog, steep in parts, but not too bad. Joins The Razorback 1 km north of Diamantina Hut. There is a bridge over the West Branch of the Ovens River, so crossing is not a problem. Bon Accord Hut was burnt in 2003 fires and Parks Vic have vowed that it will not be rebuilt.
- The Razorback (South). 10 km, 4 hours each way. Long and dry, but relatively easy going. The walks starts at Diamantina Hut on the Great Alpine Road, 3 km west of Hotham ski resort. The track undulates northwards, sometimes above the treeline, sometimes just below it. But the route is generally pretty exposed and you shouldn't undertake it unless the forecast is for fine weather. In summer it is the easiest way to get to the top of the mountain, but in winter it is covered in deep snow and is pretty heavy going. For snow shoers, Bungalow Spur is a much easier route.
- Diamantina Spur. Starts at the West Kiewa River Road (accessed from Mt Beauty, but closed in winter). The track climbs 4 km to join the Razorback with another 3 km to the summit. The route is shortish, but steep and sharp with loose shale. Parts were burnt in the 2006/07 fires.
- East Ridge and North East Spur. Both descend from the North Peak. No tracks, but the area was burnt in the summer of 2006/07, opening a brief window when mere mortals could walk the routes. Both ridiculously steep, so walking down is preferable to climbing up them. Once the scrub grows back, they will be strictly for heroes only. Steep and scrubby with dense blackberries near the West Kiewa River.
A history of Mt Feathertop and it's most famous building can be found at: http://wikiski.com/wiki/index.php/Feathertop_Bungalow
Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain area
There are a number of rewarding day walks near Hotham and Dinner Plain. Be realistic about your speed and ability and always head out with a pack containing an up to date map, lunch, 2 litres of water, a warm jumper and a good raincoat that won't leak or tear in the scrub. Remember that alpine weather is very fickle, conditions can change from a sunny summer day to a blizzard in an hour. These are summer walks, winter conditions are very different. © David Sisson 17:32, 8 February 2007 (EST)
Carmichael Falls. Grade: Medium. 1 hour.
The walk starts from a signpost on the gravel road that marks the southern border of Dinner Plain. If you are staying in town, walk to the southernmost point of Big Muster Drive and head south for 100 metres until you hit the dirt road. From the signpost, a good track descends for 1 km to a viewing platform. There are occasional muddy patches. In spring the flow is quite impressive, but it is a worthwhile walk at any time of year.
Room With a View. Grade: Easy – Medium. 1 hour.
This track traverses the area to the north of Dinner Plain and passes a number of points with great views towards the Bogong High Plains, the Cobungra Valley and Mt Feathertop. The track starts 100 metres east of the town entrance.
Brandy Creek Mine and the Cobungra River. Grade: Medium. 3 hours.
From Whisky Flat on the Great Alpine Road, locate the 4WD track heading north east. Walk for 1 km down to the Brandy Creek Mine. Take the time to explore the mine site. Miners diverted water into a dam and used high pressure hoses to wash the dirt through sluice boxes which collected the gold. Sluicing was the most destructive form of gold mining and the devastation is still apparent almost 150 years later. From the mine, descend along the old road to the attractive valley of the Cobungra River. After a break and time to look around, return to Whisky Flat the same way. A worthwhile hike, but not the most exciting walk in the area.
Brandy Creek Mine, the Cobungra Valley and Swindler's Spur. Grade: Medium. 9 hours or two days.
Brandy Creek 4WD track – Cobungra River – Dungey’s Track – Dibbin's Hut – Swindler’s Spur – Mt Loch car park. To do this walk in a longish day, a car shuffle is needed between Loch car park and the Brandy Creek Track. Alternately you can camp at Dibbin’s Hut and walk back along the track that runs parallel to the Great alpine Road.
Navigation is fairly straight forward, except on Dungey’s Track in the valley of the Cobungra River and Swindlers Creek. The track has become a little overgrown and the route is not always obvious. At their junction, be careful to follow Swindler’s Creek for a few km before climbing up to Swindler’s Gap and descending back to the river.
Dinner Plain to JB Hut. Grade easy. 1 hour.
Head west from the Dinner Plain town entrance along a walking track south of the Great Alpine Road. Explore JB Plain and the hut, returning the same way.
Mt Tabletop. Grade: Medium. 4 hours.
JB Plain Hut – Mt Tabletop (1593 m) – JB Plain Hut. From the hut, cross the open snowplain and pick up the walking track to the south west. Initially the walk is through open snowgum woodland before a short descent to a saddle where water can usually be found in two creeks. The track then climbs to the very flat summit plateau of the aptly named Mt Tabletop. There are trees on top, but walk to the edge of the escarpment for some nice views.
Mt Tabletop, Mayford and Precipice Plain. Grade: Hard, 10 hours or two days.
JB Plain Hut – Mt Tabletop (1593 m) - hill 1426 – unnamed scrubby spur – Mayford town site – 4WD track – Precipice Plain – Dinner Plain – JB Plain. A hard, serious walk, usually undertaken over two days, but a with an early start a fit and experienced group can do it in 10 hours. Expert navigation is required on the 7 km off-track section and the scrub that has regrown since the 2003 fires is fairly dense. The walk can be shortened by an hour or two by starting at JB Hut and leaving a car at Precipice Plain. The D.P. taxi van could also be utilized.
Two huts, two spurs and Victoria’s 5th highest mountain. Grade: Medium-Hard. 8 hours, 19 km..
Loch Car park – Derrick Hut – Swindlers Spur – Dibbins Hut – West Kiewa Valley – Machinery Spur - Red Robin Mine – Mt Loch summit area and Raven's Haven - Loch Carpark. A nice diverse circuit for fit walkers. It's probably best to do the walk anti-clockwise as it allows a better appreciation of Mt Loch (and a traverse of the mountain) and most of the latter part of the walk is on a 4WD track which can be followed in the dark if the group is delayed.
Mt Loch, Spargo’s Hut and Derrick Hut. Grade: Medium. 5 hours, 11 km..
Loch Carpark – Mt Loch (1876 m) – Derrick Hut – Spargo’s Hut – Derrick Hut – Loch Carpark. Notes. It is important to go over Golden Point (the hill between Derrick’s and Spargo’s). The area to the south and west of Golden Point is a huge blockstream and the rock hopping takes hours! An alternative direct return to Hotham Heights from Spargo’s for those not worried by scrub and steep slopes would be graded Medium Plus, 5 hours.
Mt Hotham. Grade: Easy. 1 hour
Mt Hotham (1863 m) can be climbed from Hotham Heights by following the Summit chairlift and continuing along a 4WD track. An alternative and shorter walk to the top is to follow a track from Diamantina Hut on the Great Alpine Road.
Davenport village and Hotham summit circuit. Grade: Easy - Medium. 3+ hours, 10 km.
An interesting and diverse walk taking in snowgum woodland, two mountain tops and a chance to look at the lodges at Mt Hotham. From the car park between Wire Plain and Mt Little Higginbotham, walk along the unsurfaced road that passes to the south of Little Higgy. When buildings come into view, this road becomes Davenport Drive, the main street of Davenport Village. Follow the road to the General Hotel and then walk up the ski slopes next to the Big D chairlift. At the top, follow a track past some water tanks near the top of Mt Higginbotham and descend to the area around Lawler's apartments, taking the street down to the Corral car park. Then walk up the slope next to the Summit chairlift and follow a rough road that heads west for 1 km to the top of Mt Hotham. On the return trip, divert over the Hull Bridge, past Zirky's cafe and head towards the bottom of the Road Runner chairlift. Turn left (south) and follow a gravel road across the ski slopes which joins the Great Alpine Road just past the Blue Ribbon chairlift. Then walk along the main road for 100 metres to rejoin Davenport Drive and follow it back to your car. This is a nice, not too challenging walk which passes two cafes which are usually open in summer.
Mt Feathertop via the Razorback. Grade: Medium Plus 9 hours, 22 km..
Diamantina Hut – The Razorback – Mt Feathertop (1922 m) – Razorback – Diamantina Hut. Many walkers want to climb Victoria’s most spectacular high peak. Be aware that it is a long haul and water may not be available at Federation Hut (1/2 hour return sidetrip), so start early! Be on the track well before 9:00.
The Twins. Grade: Medium Plus. 4 hours, 10 km..
A nice circuit to a rarely visited mountain. Mt St Bernard Hospice site – Wangaratta Ski Club lift – Alpine Walking Track – The Twins (1703 m) – overgrown 4WD track – water point – Mt St Bernard. It's best to do this walk clockwise as the AWT is easier to follow heading uphill on the steep walking track section and fairly reliable water is available later on.
Mt Blue Rag and the Blue Rag Range. Grade: Medium, 5 hours.
Dargo High Plains Road – Mt Blue Rag (1679 m) – Blue Rag Range highpoint (1718 m) – Dargo High Plains Road. While this walk is mostly on a 4WD track, it is one of the most scenic in the area.
Mt Buller area
Mt Stirling and Craig's Hut
This easy access bush walk is located around the back of Buller and is a popular place for cross-country skiers in winter. Craigs Hut was the film set for the movie Man from Snowy river and is located on Clear Hills, which offer great views of the Australian Alps.
The walk is easy in nature, as it is along either an access track or a well defined path. However, some sections are steep (such as the accent of Mt Stirling from Telephone Box Junction) and it is essential that you carry a map (and know how to use it) as well as warm clothing and shell wear - even in summer.
The walk starts from Telephone Box Junction (TBJ - At which I was unable to find a telephone box while there...), which is the launching place for cross country skiers on Mt Stirling. It is located about 10km along Stirling road, which turns off at the Mt Buller control gate.
The walk can either be a two or three day hike. The two day hike involves leaving TBJ and walking to Craigs Hut in the one day - not far in distance but does involve a long uphill section as you climb stirling. The other involves camping at Bluff Spur Memorial Hut (dedicated to two people killed in a freak storm on Stirling - have you packed your warm clothes yet???) and spending the next day exploring craigs hut and surrounds, before hiking out the following day. At Craigs Hut be prepared to be very annoyed when the Elderly Society of Victoria arrives in a fleet of busses from the road on the other side. At least they don't stay long as they will catch hypothermia.
Mt Buller's West Ridge in winter
Firstly in winter this is a hard grade trip, in summer it is medium-hard. Parts of it are semi-technical and if you are not experienced and don't know what you are doing, the trip is potentially dangerous. In addition to the usual back country snow gear like a telephone, overpants, a good raincoat, gloves, goggles, warm clothes, warm hat, sunburn cream, torch, etc., you should be carrying cash or a credit card (in case you bail out at the ski resort), crampons and an ice axe (which are easily hired in Melbourne) and know how to self arrest using the axe. If you don’t, you may slip down an often icy 45 degree slope to the treeline. You should start walking well before 10.00. Don't start the trip if the weather forecast is not for fine conditions. © D.S. 2007.
The trip involves a short car shuffle, so you will need two or more cars. Drive to Mirimbah at the base of Mt Buller and leave one car under the trees near the toll booth. Squeeze everyone into the other car(s) and drive 2½ km back towards Mansfield. Just before you get to Sawmill Settlement, turn south into Doughty’s Road. Take this well maintained gravel 2WD road for just over 3 km to a road junction near the top of the ridge. The main road swings to the west while a minor road continues south. You will know if you have driven too far on Doughty’s Road if you get to a regrowing logging coupe. Either leave you cars at the junction or drive along the minor road for 200 metres until you get to a bend. The start of the walking track is fairly obvious.
The walk/climb Big Hill - Mt Buller
The track starts at a moderate grade and heads to the top of the ridge (be careful not to follow a false pad leading west), before climbing to the top of Round Hill. There is usually light snow here but the track remains fairly obvious. Take a breather (and a few photos) here. Follow the track down the hill to a saddle and after a few undulations, the serious climb starts. There is a minor semi-cliff just below the treeline where the track is not always obvious, but if you lose the track, it tends to be to the south of the ridge line past Round Hill. Soon you climb above the treeline to the top of a moderately steep hill. This is the last good resting place before the top, so take an early lunch here and appreciate the grandstand view of the south face.
Beyond here the route goes over a rocky hill which involves a few minor rocky scrambles. Much of the route is over loose shale and you do not want to wear crampons on loose shale, especially if it is covered with verglas! So unless the snow is reasonably deep, keep your crampons off and using your axe as a walking stick, proceed slowly and carefully. After the hill, you will get to an obvious saddle before the main face.
It should go without saying that if there is any danger of avalanches, (light fresh snow over ice or over packed snow with a hard surface) you shouldn't proceed beyond here. Instead go back to Round Hill.
Stop here and put on your crampons. Six point crampons are adequate, if you have 12 point crampons you will need fairly stiff soled boots or your rigid crampons will slip off or break. Practice your self arrest technique, walk 50 metres and tighten your crampons. If it is early in the season and the snow is not well packed down or there is deep fresh snow, you could use heavily cramponed snow shoes with a fold up high heel, but only if conditions are not icy.
Contour eastwards towards the ski lifts, and you will soon get to an obvious route up a chute with the improbable name of Main Street where you may see some ski tracks. Climb up this chute to the top of the ridge. From here it is only a few hundred metres to the summit.
This is when you have to make a decision. If it is after 2.00 OR you are mentally or physically tired, walk over to Baldy and take the Holden Express chairlift down to the bus terminal in the town square. The lift company doesn’t like pedestrians leaving holes all over their nicely groomed ski runs, so downhill chairlift rides are free for pedestrians. At the Buller town square, take one of the regular buses down to Mirimbah. The fare is about $15 each.
If you are planning to walk back to Round Hill from the summit, you should be aware that descending steep snow slopes is much more difficult than ascending them. You will probably have a few falls walking down any of the chutes, so make sure you have perfected self arrest using your ice axe.
The Summit - McLaughlin’s Shoulder - Mirimbah
If it is before 2.00 and you are all still in good spirits and not feeling fatigued, head down McLauglin’s Shoulder. Take off your crampons when you start to encounter rocks shortly after the treeline, but keep using your axe as a walking stick. There are a few 1 or 2 metre high rocky bits where you should be careful not to slip, but nothing too hard. There is no track, but you will occasionally see ancient metal markers nailed to trees. About half way down, McLaughlin’s shoulder splits at a fairly flat and open grassy area. It is very important to take the right hand spur. The split is not obvious and it is easy to be over confident and end up going down the left hand spur. Make sure you are to the right of the centre of the ridge and that you can occasionally catch a glimpse of the valley to your right.
Soon you will be beyond the rocky and navigationally tricky bits and you will come across a series of beautiful flat spots that look like purpose designed campsites. After these, continue descending down the middle of the spur and you should come out exactly at Thank Christ Corner on the well maintained Klingsporn’s Track. This was the main pack horse access for skiers at Buller before the road was built in the 1930‘s. There is almost no danger of walking over this obvious track without noticing it.
Take another breather and turn left towards Mirimbah. If you have taken the wrong spur, you will come onto the track about 1 km west of Thank Christ Corner. (This western route is steep with lots of logs to climb over and holes to fall into, so it pays to make sure you take the eastern spur.) The good track crosses a number of usually dry creeks and splits just before Mirimbah. The right hand route continues to gently contour downhill, the left hand route climbs to the top of the aptly named Killer Hill before dropping steeply to Mirimbah. Take the right hand route. It has been a long day and you will be knackered.
On the off track section it has been known for people to roll an ankle. Since the days are short in winter, any delay will mean doing the last section, (on a very good track), in the dark using torches. Make sure you are carrying them. At Mirimbah, send your drivers to retrieve the car(s) you left at Round Hill, while the non drivers huddle in the cafe drinking warm coffee. © D.S.
Mt Baw Baw area
You can go from Baw Baw to Walhalla as a guided 2 day walk. See http://www.greatwalhallaalpinetrail.com/ for more details. I'm hoping to do it in reverse before winter. Will post details on completion
Mt. Donna Buang
These are ROUGH drafts from a hiking guidebook I was writing for the Healesville - Marysville - Warburton area. Since people have been hassling me for them and as the 2009 fires have changed a lot of things, I may as well put some of the walk notes here until I can rewrite the notes for the burnt areas in a few years. © D.S. 2008.
Background. Mt Donna Buang (1250 metres) is the nearest snowfield to Melbourne. The tall ash forests on it's slopes were harvested for a century and the timber was moved by a network of tramlines. The industry took off in 1901 with the completion of the railway to Warburton.. Before the Second World War, it was also a minor ski resort with cleared runs, ski jumps and four ski lodges. In 1935 12,000 watched ski races on Donna. However the snow was never terribly reliable and after the war, two of the lodges that survived the 1939 fires were moved to the more dependable snowfield at Mt Buller, while the ruins of another can be seen at the foot of an old ski run.
Today most of the mountain is parkland. It is a accessed by a sealed road and is a popular tourist destination. In winter it attracts families to play in the snow. There is a 21 metre high lookout tower on the summit accessed by a strange double helix staircase. From the top there are impressive views of the mountains and forests, as well as the farmlands and towns of the Yarra Valley.
Walks on Mt. Donna Buang.
10 Mile turntable to summit and Mt Victoria. . Easy - Medium. . 2½ hours. 6 km. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . GREEN on map.
Cement Creek, rainforest and Mt Victoria. . . . Medium Plus. . . 4 hrs. 5 for circuit. . 8 / 13 km. . . . . BLUE on map
Warburton to Summit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Medium - Hard. . 4 hrs, 6½ return. 7 km, 13 km return. RED on map.
Dom Dom Saddle to Donna Buang. . . . . . . . . Medium - Hard. . 7 hrs one way. 21 km. . . . . . . . . . . BROWN on map.
While you can drive to the top, there are a number of walking tracks up the mountain. One is a long day hike from Dom Dom Saddle, another begins at the aptly named Martyr Road in Warburton while a third starts half way up, near the Cement Creek Rainforest Gallery. There is also an easier option of a scenic walk near the summit.
Donna Buang via Cement Creek, rainforest and Mt Victoria.
Shown in BLUE on the map.
Note: The Cement Creek walking track is closed as of Feb 2012. It seems to be due to some concern over the safety of a structure, possibly the bridge that crosses the creek. -JL
The walk is Medium Plus grade, 8 km long, and will take a reasonably fit group about 4 hours including a few breaks. Add an hour if you will be walking the last 4½ km down the road rather than driving back to the start. This is the most attractive walk in the Warburton area and is mostly through cool temperate rainforest. So while it involves a 750 metre climb, it is well worth the effort. Most of the walk is moderately graded except for two short but fairly steep sections near the start. If it has rained or there is snow on the ground, there will be water on the track for the first kilometre and it may be difficult to keep your feet dry, so carry a spare pair of dry socks.
Access. Drive through Warburton until the Warburton Highway, B380, crosses the Yarra River. Shortly afterwards turn left on to The Acheron Way, C507. The road immediately begins a steady climb which continues for 7 km to the Cement Creek junction. Park here and spend 15 minutes inspecting the impressive Rainforest Gallery, a 350 metre walking circuit that starts high in the canopy before descending to the forest floor.
The Cement Creek walking track starts 250 metres along the Donna Buang road. You can either walk or drive up and park in the large clearing at the start of the track on the left of the road.
The ascent via Cement Creek and Boobyalla Saddle. The track immediately plunges into tall eucalypt forest and crosses Cement Creek and some tributaries by a combination of bridges and stepping stones. If it has rained recently or there is snow on the ground, the first 1½ km can be quite wet and muddy with water running down the track. Soon the track begins to climb up on the north side of the creek. This is actually an old cable haulage tramline where logs were winched down the mountain. There are a few diversions where trees have fallen over the track, but it essentially continues in a straight line parallel to the creek. This is the steepest part of the walk, so take a few breaks and look around at the forest. Below the towering Mountain Ash canopy, you will see a rainforest understory of Tree Ferns, Sassafras, Blackwood and Myrtle Beech
Soon the old cable haulage finishes and you emerge onto a flat section where the tramway was horse drawn before the climb resumes for a short distance. Soon after the end of this second climb, the scenery changes from rainforest with a Mountain Ash overstory to more open Alpine Ash woodland. Follow the track through the tall trees and just as they are changing to Snowgums, you will arrive at Boobyalla Saddle.
Take a breather before the final section to the summit. Turn left and head south along an undulating track. There is an especially attractive spot where the track passes through a pure stand of Myrtle Beech. Before long, it joins a Melbourne Water road. Turn left and continue south for a few hundred metres until a dip in the road. Just as it starts to climb, take a track to the left heading into the forest. There is a short climb through beech and eucalypts and soon you will emerge at the the summit.
The summit boasts an impressive 21 metre high lookout tower with a curious double helix staircase. The view from the top is spectacular. Nearby is a slightly squalid shelter hut with partially open sides and a toilet block. At busy times in winter, there may be a caravan selling snacks.
The descent via Mt Victoria. From the observation tower, walk 100 metres east to the toilet block. Contour north across the top of a fenced off former ski run. Soon you will pick up a good track that heads downhill, roughly paralleling the fence line. In snow the route is fairly clear and it is marked with occasional red metal arrows. At the bottom of the ski run is the ruin of an old ski lodge.
Soon you will reach a junction with a track to the right heading south to Ten Mile picnic area. Take the left hand track which stays fairly level for 2 km to Mt Victoria. The top is barely perceptible as it is really a knoll on a spur that looks like a mountain from near Warburton. The track then descends to a telephone tower. From here there is a short section of gravel road before the main sealed Donna Buang Road. If you have left a car here, drive down to the start of the walking track, otherwise it is an easy hour's walk along the road to your cars.
Winter. The Cement Creek walk is especially attractive for experienced groups in winter, although snow conditions in July and August make things a little harder. However walking through a silent beech forest in deep snow is a truly wonderful experience and rare outside Tasmania. Everyone in the group should have a good quality raincoat that won't tear on scrub as well as overpants, gloves, a warm hat, telephone and a spare pair of warm, dry socks. The snow can be quite deep, so it will be useful if at least one person in the group has snowshoes to help pack down the track.
While you should have a GPS, navigation in snow isn't too much of a problem on most of the route except for the top section of the track paralleling Cement Creek before Boobyalla Saddle. Keep an eye out for the markers nailed to trees on this section. They are more easily seen looking downhill, so make sure you turn around frequently so as to stay on the track.
Donna Buang and Mt Victoria.
Shown in GREEN on the map above.
The walk is on well maintained tracks, easy-medium grade, 6 km long and will take most people a bit over 2 hours. The first half hour has some moderately steep sections, although they should not be too much bother if you take a few rests.
Access. Drive through Warburton until the highway, B380, crosses the Yarra River. Shortly afterwards turn left onto The Acheron Way, C507. The road climbs steadily for 7 km to the Cement Creek junction. Park here and spend 15 minutes inspecting the impressive Rainforest Gallery, a 350 metre walking circuit that starts high in the canopy before descending to the forest floor. Drive up the Donna Buang Road, C505, for 6 km to the 10 Mile picnic area and park. This is the most attractive place on the road and much nicer than the rather bleak summit area.
The track leaves the car park and climbs north for 500 metres through mountain ash and tree ferns to a junction. Turn left and continue past the ruins of an old ski lodge before a steeper section beside a former ski run leading to the treeless summit area. In addition to a toilet block, there is a 21 metre high observation tower, picnic tables and a large but basic shelter hut without doors. The view from the tower is breathtaking. There are endless forested mountains in most directions, while to the west, Melbourne's office towers are just visible.
After you have had a look around, head back down the track to the junction and instead of returning to the carpark, take the left hand track. The route undulates through mixed species forest to Mt Victoria, (which is barely a knoll), before descending to a telephone tower. Then walk down a gravel road 500 metres before joining the main sealed road and walk 800 metres back to 10 Mile picnic area.
Warburton to Donna Buang via Mt Victoria.
Shown in RED on the map above.
If you're up to it, it is very satisfying to climb the mountain right from the bottom. This walk is a bit of a 'Hero Hike' for people training for long trips. The 1,100 metre ascent is long and steep, the only steeper walk nearby is the track up Mt Juliet. While it is all on reasonable tracks, the walk is rated medium-hard. Fit people should be able to do the 7 km climb in 4 hours, while the downhill return by almost the same route will take about 2½ hours.
Access. From Melbourne drive along the Warburton Highway, B380, to Warburton. As you enter the town, turn left on to a bridge which crosses the Yarra River. (Melways 289 K4) Immediately turn right along Dammans Road and take the first turn to the left onto Martyr Road. Drive to the top of this very steep road next to the golf course and park at the corner where the road turns right and becomes Wellington Road.
The walk. Initially the walk heads north through paddocks and forest to meet a disused aqueduct. Cross the aqueduct and keep climbing. The track unrelentingly heads straight up the mountain, mostly through Mountain Ash forest with occasional temperate rainforest species such as Myrtle Beech. 4 km from the end of Martyr Road, cross the sealed Donna Buang Road and continue up a gravel road to a phone tower. At the end of road continue along a well defined walking track. After 500 metres you will get to the top of Mt Victoria and the climbing ends! The next 2 km are gently undulating. At a junction, ignore the track heading south to 10 Mile and head north west towards the final 500 m climb to the summit. If you have the energy, it is worthwhile to climb the 21 metre observation tower.
If you haven't arranged a lift down, have a rest and either go back the way you came, diverting via 10 mile and a short walk on the sealed road, or take the Cement Creek track half way back to Warburton.
Dom Dom Saddle to Donna Buang.
Shown in BROWN on the map above.
This is a long, but not too hard walk, but you must leave a car at either end as it's not possible to do the return hike in a day. This walk was burnt out in the February 2009 fire and it will be closed for a few years. . . © D.S. 2008.
Other walking in the Victorian Alps
Moroka Gorge is an attractive destination. After it was discovered it was forgotten for a century, but it now has a good walking track.
Australian Alps Walking Track
This popular track extends from the suburbs of Canberra to Gippsland in Victoria. To walk it's entire length takes most people about two months, but it also provides a good framework to build interesting circuit walks.
The 'official' route bypasses many of the highlights of the High Country, unbelievably excluding the entire Main Range of the Snowy Mountains. Needless to say this curious bureaucratic definition of the track's route is universally ignored.
The 'standard' route of the track is unusually defined as the one descibed in John Siseman's guide Australian Alps Walking Track: Walhalla to Canberra. 3rd ed. Pindari, 1998. The book was excellent, but it is now a bit obsolete. A lot of time has passed and there have been two huge fires which have changed things a lot. So while the book can't be fully trusted these days, it's a still a useful guide and Siseman and John Chapman are preparing a new edition, (which won't be out for some time). In the meantime, there are some basic updates on Chapman's website.
Many years ago the Victorian section of the track was marked with friendly yellow diamonds at eye height. These were a useful indication that you were on the right route in places where the track was not obvious. They have been replaced by blue-green camouflage signs at ankle height. Needless to say, these absurd low level signs are impossible to see, even if you are looking for them. Combined with post fire regrowth, it means that good navigation is more important than ever.
If you are considering an extended walk incorporating part of the AAWT, here is a quick assessment from north to south.
- You can have a fun time around the ACT / NSW border by creating a loop via Old and New Currango - Oldfield's Hut - Mt Bimbo and beyond.
- Kiandra to Thredbo is one of the best sections of the Alpine Walking Track. it usually takes a relaxed 6 - 7 days, but if you're a bit quicker there is lots of scope for side trips and variations to extend it as long as you like. Best of all, access is easy at both ends, so it's possible to use buses or hitch hike. A slightly shorter version is to start the walk at Mt Selwyn, or to drop down the Whites River corridor to Munyang instead of going all the way to Thredbo, although this option misses the Main Range and the alpine lakes which are some of the highlights of the walk. You can also drop down to Guthega from Consett Stevens Pass.
- Thredbo to Cobberas is an okay hardish walk, especially if you peak bag The Pilot and all five peaks on the Cobberas Range, lots of steep stuff, scrub and off track, but you would have to either spend 2+ days walking back to Thredbo the way you came or arrange a pick up at near Native Dog Flat.
- Cobberas to Mt Wills is mostly dull, boring and unrewarding. Navigation around Johnnies Top is occasionally difficult. In short, don't bother unless you are a completist and this is the last bit of the AAWT that you haven't done.
- Mt Wills / Mt Bogong / Bogong High Plains / Hotham. Mostly glorious country. One of the best sections of the AWT. Lots of scope for variations and side trips to make the trip as long as you want.
- Barry Mountains. Long, fairly dull and it is not always easy to find water. However the challenging and steep climb from Barry Saddle to The Viking is a ripper and the sort of thing that most people would find challenging, both physically and navigationally.
- Howitt - Buller area. The third of the classic sections. You could do the Howitt - Viking circuit (4 days) or walk entirely on the AAWT from Mt Speculation to Mt McDonald (the section between Mt Clear and McDonald is rocky and scrubby, but navigation isn't too hard). A reasonably challenging multi-day circuit could be: Buller - Stirling - King Spur - day long side trip to The Razor and Viking - Speculation - Howitt - Magdala - Bluff - 8 Mile - off track up Little Buller Spur.
- McDonald to Stronach's (North of Baw Baw). Best avoided. Almost all 4WD tracks surrounded by dull woodland OR scrub-bash from hell stuff (especially around Mt Easton).
- Stronach's Camp - Baw Baw Plateau - Walhalla. Quite wonderful (in a discreet, mostly understated way), but only a few days and hard to create a lengthy circuit.
In summary, the best bits are: Kiandra to Thredbo, Wills to Hotham, Howitt - Buller area and The Baw Baw Plateau. © D.S. 2008.