Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Great Alpine Walk

Yes, we are at it again. Another walk. This time it is in the Victorian High Country. Once again we have opted for a group guided walk where our bags will be transported for us so we only need to carry a day pack.

Here is the interary ...

Day 1:
We will be picked up at Melbourne airport at 10:00am and head off to the Falls Creek Alpine Village (where we will be staying for 3 nights) via Glenrowan and Mt. Beauty. On arrival there will be a stroll around the village (1 hour, easy).

Not very strenuous at all!

Day 2:
Initially we will follow the Aqueduct Trail which is connected to one of Australia's early hydro-electricity schemes. Mountain cattlemen's huts feature prominently on this holiday and we will get to visit the oldest one in Victoria, Wallace's Hut as well as Cope Hut, once known as the "Menzies of the High Country". The ancient snow gums in this area are twisted and gnarled by centuries of harsh winters. The route continues around the shores of Rocky Valley dam to our lunch spot. The morning walk should take around 4 hours.

After lunch there will be a choice:
Easy: following the lake shore back to the bus (1-2 hours)
Harder: Hike to the summit of Mt McKay with stunning 360 degree views (2-3 hours) then through the Falls Creek Alpine ski area back to the lodge.

Overnight: Falls Creek

Day 3:
Today the hike will take us to some of Falls Creeks peaks as well as another couple of historic huts.

The route begins along easy aqueduct trails again before climbing up through gently graded snow plains to visit the secluded Fitgeralds Hut. Next will be Edmondsons Hut which will be the lunch stop amongst the snow gums. (4 hours)

The afternoon options:
Easy: Along Watchbed Creek and back to the bus (2 hours)
More challenging: Up onto Heathy Spur and then cross country on a compass bearing to Roper Lookout. The track then descends to the shores of Rocky Valley Dam (3-4 hours).

Overnight in Falls Creek.

Day 4:
A challenging day. It is possible to walk from Falls Creek to Mt Hotham. Very few people have done this walk, even amongst the locals (they aren't silly ... they drive!).

Challenging option: Follow a section of the 750km Alpine Walking Track (which runs between Walhalla and Canberra) all the way to Mt Hotham. There won't be many people out on this track, if any at all, however there is a chance to see brumbies (wild horses). Along the way, we will drop steeply down to the Cobungra River and Dibbins Hut (yes, another hut ... this one is sometimes called "Creep-Inn" and I'm curious to find out why), and then back through the Mt Hotham ski village. The days' walking finishes with a stroll through the Davenport area of Hotham village. (around 7 hours)

More leisurely option: a two hour walk and then by bus to Mt Hotham.

Overnight: Dinner Plain

Day 5:
An easier day ... well after Day 4 ...

The walk neanders through snow gum forests and across thick snow grass plains. The standard 10km track to Dinner Plain is easy (4 hours).

Challenging addition: It is possible to add an option 9km walk to Mt Tabletop (3 hours challenging). Accessing this remote mountain requires some off track walking over uneven terrain. Cattle grazed these plains until quite recent times. There are more historic huts as well as some cattle yards made by felling trees into piles.

Either way, we will walk into Dinner Plain, the highest freehold land in Australia, where every building is constructed of mud brick, weathered timber, local rock and galvanised iron.

Overnight: Dinner Plain

Day 6:
Another big walking day.

The hiking starts along the breathtaking Razorback Ridge, one of the most dramatic walking routes in Australia. My Feathertop will gradually appear more and more impressively. The final (optional) steep climb to the summit (of Mt Feathertop?) is supposedly a ripper.

The rest of the day will be spent walking down the gently graded Bungalow spur to the township of Harriettville (7 hours challenging). The spur is covered by tall mountain ash trees, many of which stand stark and white following the bushfires of 2003.

Harrietville is built on mine tailings created by a huge dredge called the Tronah Monster, which was sold to a tin miner in Malasia in the 1930s. Today it's a friendly holiday village with a laid-back atmosphere.

More leisurely option: An out and back walk along the Razorback (4-5 hours moderate).

Overnight: Harrietville

Day 7:
An easy 2 hour walk through Bright Gorge finishes off the walking for this holiday.

After morning tea in Bright, travel back to Melbourne, arriving at the airport at about 4pm.

We will be doing this walking holiday with auswalk.

When are we off? January 2013 ... and Trevor has already booked and paid the deposit.

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