Walk Category: Day
Getting There: Car
Nearest Town: Mt Hotham, Bright
Walk Area: North East Victoria
Distance from Melbourne GPO: 381km (via Bright) or 463km (via Omeo)
Mobile Phone Coverage: Varies by provider and location
Walk Details Collated: 2012
This walk takes visitors on a journey to discover why and how this water race was constructed in 1883-84. This is not just an ordinary water race, this was an engineering wonder that had to be surveyed and cut through one of the harshest and rugged landscapes in Australia. There are a number of information boards along the walk. Involves a steady descent over 1.4km at the beginning and a steady ascent over 0.5km at the end to reach the Great Alpine Road. The 10.4 km section of walk along the ditch is mostly level with good views of the mountains.
The 12.5 km option requires a car shuffle. If undertaking the 18km option, the 5.5km along the Hotham - Dinner Plain Trail which parallels the Great Alpine Road, involves an undulating but generally uphill climb back to Mt Hotham.
This area was burnt during the 2003 bushfires. While the snow gums have regenerated, the trees are shedding dead branches so avoid using the track on windy days.
From the Great Alpine Road descend down the Davenport Access Track (a 4WD management access road) for about 1.4 km. The Cobungra Ditch Walking Track is well signposted on your right. Leave the Davenport Access Track and descend down a short flight of steps to reach the Cobungra Ditch. This water race was built in 1883-84 for the cost of 11,000 pounds - a fortune back then.
The track follows the ditch for approximately 10.4km and is generally flat. A number of excellent information boards along the track provide the background and other interesting details on the ditch. This track was previously known as the Aqueduct Trail but has been renamed because 'Cobungra Ditch' was the original name for this water race.
The Ditch Track ends near Brandy Creek Mine and on reaching the Brandy Creek Fire Trail, turn right onto the Fire Trail and follow it uphill for about 500m to reach the Great Alpine Road and your car.
Option (Route shown in red on Mapbox map): If walking back to Mt Hotham (the 18km option), it is a 5.5km walk along the Hotham - Dinner Plain Trail which parallels the Great Alpine Road. This is an undulating but generally uphill climb back to Mt Hotham.
To view more on the map, zoom in or out, click the symbols and the walk route. To open a full screen version of the map, right-click and open in another tab or window. See also the downloadable map1.13 MB of the walk from Mt Hotham Resort.
Getting to Mt Hotham:
Option 1: Follow the Hume Freeway north past Benalla, turning off onto the B500 exit to 'Beechworth/Bright'. Follow signs to Bright and continue through Bright To Harrietville and eventually Mt Hotham on the Great Alpine Road.
Option 2: Follow the M1/CityLink/Monash Freeway east towards Gippsland and continue on this road to Bairnsdale. In Bairnsdale follow signs to Omeo or Great Alpine Road which will take you north to Mt Hotham.
Getting to start of walk from Mt Hotham village:
Walk or drive to the Davenport Access Track. This is at the Dinner Plain end of Mt Hotham opposite the Tanderra Ski Club Lodge and is well signposted. There is space for a number of vehicles to park here. If only going one way then you need to arrange to be picked up at the end of the walk or leave a car at the end of the walk prior to setting off.
The walk ends at Brandy Creek Fire Trail where it meets the Great Alpine Road. This is on the left at the end of a long straight stretch of road approx 6km from Hotham and 5.5km before Dinner Plain (when driving from Hotham). There are parking and picnic facilities located here.
The bushwalking season for Mt Hotham is from November Cup Weekend to April (and perhaps to mid May depending on weather conditions). For the remainder of the year the tracks may be covered by snow and the conditions are generally not be suitable for bushwalking.
Mt Hotham Resort: Resort information, events and accommodation.
Parks Victoria: Alpine National Park website. Look for Park Note called 'Alpine NP - walks around walks around Feathertop, Hotham and Dinner Plain'.
Bureau of Meteorology: Mt Hotham 7 day forecast
Maps: VicMap 1:50,000 Bogong Alpine Area & Bogong Alpine Area Outdoor Recreation Guide, Spatial Vision Innovations, 2nd editon 2011