Falls Creek, AAWT & Heathy Spur Track – “short” walk

So we traveled to  Falls Creek for the opening of the Victorian snow season.

We did not ski but hiked in snow and on ice.

We got vaguely “off track”

We discovered the delights of the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) and are keen to return.

In reality, the main purpose of the 10 hr return trip was for our son, Tom , to try out as a “dishy” at Astra Lodge. Getting a job above the snow line , with accommodation provided, is his goal for part of this year. For anyone who is interested, he did really well but they have another person to try out next weekend (yep, there is that much demand for jobs, you have to do a work trial to wash dishes)

We had fantastic weather, blue skies and little wind so made the most of it!

Snow making Falls Creek Victoria

Sue checking out the snow making Falls Creek Victoria

On Saturday the summit chair lift was free so we headed up and explored the “green” run (Wombats Ramble) where we usually very slowly (snow plow….) ski.

It was interesting checking out the trees covered with man made “snow”.  We walked down to Rocky Valley Storage which was at the end of the run.  A very pleasant afternoon.

On Sunday we explored further afield and headed off at around 11:30am with no particular destination in mind, other than a good walk. We’d packed some lunch and gear just in case the weather turned.

From Falls Creek we walked around Rocky Valley Dam to the Big River Fire Track and headed uphill on a snow covered track to the junction with the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT)

AAWT Track marker

AAWT Track marker - that's a lot of numbered poles

The AAWT passes across the Bogong High Plains on its mountainous 650 km (10 week) journey through the Australian Alps from Walhalla (Gippsland, Victoria) to Tharwa (near Canberra, ACT). You can read full details about this iconic (but liitle known outside Australian bushwalking circles)  journey at the official site.

Bushwalkers - Australian Alps Walking Track - AAWT

Bushwalkers - Australian Alps Walking Track - AAWT

We did come across some cross country skiers who were searching for enough snow but think they were disappointed as it was quite patchy.

In addition, we ran into a young couple who had hiked out to one of the remote huts for an overnighter. It looked like fun!

Heathy Spur Track

Heathy Spur Track - looking back at AAWT

Following a short section on the AAWT we turned left back towards Falls Creek via the Heathy Spur Track. It is 4.5 km from here to the Rocky Valley Dam. This is the section where the track was a “bit unclear” and after a while we just “bush (snow) bashed” across country until rejoining the road.

You will see from the map below, the red lines are our route. The green lines are the AAWT.

Heathy Spur and Australian Alps Walking TrackParks Victoria Notes on the area

We returned to the Lodge just on dark at 5pm having completed an estimated 16km for the day. Not bad for an afternoon’s work!

Have you walked in this area or to nearby My Bogong?
Would you consider doing the whole AAWT? Do you know anyone who has?
What is the best part about walking in the Australian Alps?

Comments

    • Frank says

      Geday Wanderlust, welcome. Winter is a great time for a stroll. We did a long walk in Tasmania one July (mid winter here) and it was fantastic (did not see another person for 5 days) btw, I love your about page….. Cheers

  1. says

    Hi Frank & Sue,

    Looks like fun! I haven’t been up to Falls Creek in winter for about 15 years!

    The first I heard of the AAWT was when I went up to hike Mount Wills (http://bushwalkingblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/mount-wills-mount-wills-historic-area.html). My plan was to park the car and start hiking the AAWT from where it crossed the road but I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I ended up taking a 4WD track instead. Eventually the AAWT joined up with the track I was on but I only knew this because I saw one of the numbered posts (I certainly didn’t see any ‘track’. My point being that parts of it must be really hard to navigate! I think it’s probably beyond my abilities!

    When I got to the Mount Wills summit, there was a visitor book in the hut and I read a few (of the many) pages of messages left by people who were hiking part or all of the AAWT. There seemed to be quite a lot of messages in a short time so I guess it is regularly hiked. I don’t know anyone who’s been brave enough though!

    This was my first Alpine hike and I was suprised how different the country is up there compared to what I’m used to. It’s an incredible place! I think the wild-flowers were probably my favourite part.

    Cheers
    Neil

    • Frank says

      Hey Neil, Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. The AAWT is supposed to be relatively easy to navigate, not sure what happened in that section. I know a few years ago up near the Razor Back we hit a “wilderness” area and all signage and track markers STOPPED. It was weird. In Tasmania in World Heritage Areas there are still track markers!
      Great write up on the area on your site, it is a terrific resource. (Good luck with your “Great Walks” article submissions, enjoyed reading the one you sent us.)

      • says

        Oh really? That’s encouraging then. Maybe the Parks Victoria map I was using is wrong and the 4WD track was actually part of the AAWT. Who knows!?

        Thanks for the compliments! Not sure if you guys subscribe to Great Walks but it’s not too costly if you’re interested (you can sign up online too… They should be paying me for this! hehe)

        • Frank says

          I think we subscribe , Sue loves it! (or she pinches it from the library at her work for us to read,….)
          Cheers

  2. Tooth says

    Mount Bogong is a glorious place. I went up to the top & back as a day walk from Mountain Creek (in summer) and had a fantastic time! I enjoy that the trail starts out at the bottom of the valley basically, which means you get to walk through that beautiful layer of woods before finally reaching an altitude where it all opens up into wide views above the treeline (albeit those views also consist of a hell of a lot of dead snow gums because of bushfires, which is sobering). We saw quite a few Gang Gang Cockatoos in the forest, which is always a treat and a good sign that the bush is healthy I think!

    Got some pictures of the hike here if you’re interested: http://www.toothbrushnomads.com/australie/australie-victoria/mount-bogong-au-toit-du-victoria/ (sorry, am afraid the text is in French tho!)

    I’m not sure what the exact layout of the AAWT is, but I reckon it’s a brilliant idea. There are so many beautiful spots in the Alps, and I think they’re quite often vastly unknown or underrated (at least to visitors from overseas as I am – nobody seems to belive we’ve got mountains in Oz!). Then again, unknown means quiet and preserved, so it’s all good! 😉

    • Frank says

      Hi Tooth,
      Really appreciate you dropping by. Jumped over to your site and really, really enjoyed reading your Mt Bogong article. I wacked it into Google Translator and there were a few funny translations!

      The track looks beautiful, long and difficult features to attract hikers masochist like a magnet.

      Dozens of walking sticks abandoned at the foot of the sign show the sweat paid by our predecessors

      Loved it and great pics! Frank

  3. Georgie says

    Many moons ago we walked with a group of friends from Feathertop down to the Harrietville pub. We had two babies then, so had one each on our backs. We left one car at the pub, then all piled into the other car – no compulsory seatbelts those days – and drove up to the top of Fethertop. We had a wonderful day walking back down. We had lunch at an old hut, then dinner that night at the Harrietville pub in front of their roaring fire, singing folk songs. We all had sore knees from so much downhill walking, and I left my favourite gloves at the lunch hut, but all worth the great memories and pics. G

  4. Alex says

    I’ve hiked the AAWT from Cope Hut to Howitt, and it has to be the most challanging area to hike, but also, the most beautiul!
    Ive have not been to tassie walking yet, but the morning view from mt. Specuation has to be the greatest view in the world!!!
    After I do my ‘schoolies trip (22 days from Hotham to Falls to Bogong to Hotham and then to Buller), i’ll let you know what some of the rest is like!!!!!!

  5. says

    Hi there! Happy New Year. Diane and I are planning a visit to the UK duinrg May. We would like to base ourselves in Tetbury for a couple of nights to explore the local area. At this stage we believe that is likely to be duinrg the week of 14 May, but are yet to finalise bookings. How are vacancies duinrg that week for either the Master suite or Chapel suite? Enjoy your skiing holiday. Cheers from Sydney! Phil

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