Enjoy summer in the Australian Alps
In the distance the ashy tree tops, following extensive bush fires, look like a soft velvety blanket, covering the impressive mountain ranges of the Australian Alps. However, take a closer look and the landscape is already alive with a new generation of gums and colourful wildflowers, providing home to a diverse fauna. The footprints of natural disasters defied by the sheer will to survive, forms a peerless backdrop to your journey through the ‘rooftop of Australia’.
1.Visit the oldest hut of Alpine National Park
Once upon a time some one hundred and six huts dotted the high country of Victoria’s Alpine National Park, providing shelter to cattlemen and explorers. However, over the years many have succumbed to bush fires and today only around thirty five remain to tell their story with Wallace Hut being the oldest.
Built in the late 1800′s by three brothers from Ireland, Wallace Hut was used as a shelter by stockmen who would run cattle up to the Bogong High Plains. One wonders how it managed to survive the extreme heat of raging bush fire that are still evident in the surrounding vegetation that casts a shade over its roof.
The hut isn’t locked, and you can enter by pulling the string that releases the wooden door latch. Inside there are still items and etchings in the wood, revealing a little about those who had once sought refuge here.
The weather in the Australian Alps is harsh, especially in winter, and these huts were and still are essential to survival.
We loved the walk down to the hut from the car park which is only about 750m, sided by gumtree regrowth and wild flowers. Arrive some time between September and November and you may witness large clouds of Bogong moths, once a delicacy enjoyed by the Aboriginal people of this area.
Much of the road to Wallace Hut Car Park is dirt and subject to closures due to bad weather.
2.Shed your clothes at the top of Mt Feathertop
Park near Hotham Heights and prepare for the first section of a 21km round hike, first following the sharp ridge line affectionately known as the Razorback, leading you towards Feathertop Saddle and ultimately to its peak Mt Feathertop.
With drop-offs either side, the Razorback will leave you breathless but the walk to the foot of Mt Feathertop is fairly easy. Your next challenge is to conquer the remaining 1.5km of the track that ascends to the summit of the mountain peaking at 1922m. Reaching the top will leave you feeling immensely proud but probably quite hot. Strip your clothes off and immerse yourself in the unparalleled 360° views of the Australian Alps.
It’s a demanding walk with changing weather conditions and no drinking water source in sight.