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: Variable
Walk Details Collated: 2012
This area was burnt during the 2003 bushfires. While the snowgums are regenerating, the trees are shedding dead branches so avoid using the Cobungra Ditch track on windy days. Care should also be taken in other areas of the walk on windy days.
The Huts Walk offers bushwalkers a unique opportunity to experience some of the high country's rarely seen significant natural and historic landscapes. Interpretive signs highlighting some of the remarkable history of this feature have been installed along the route. The walk also takes you through a range of natural landscapes, from shady and sparsely open forest to damp gullies and impressive waterfalls. Mt Hotham Resort advises that the February 2013 bushfires have not affected this walk.
The walk is mainly on formed tracks with occasional steps and obstacles.
The full circuit is 21km. There are options to shorten the walk by (1) making it a one way walk and omitting the final 2.8km along the Great Alpine Rd (shown in red on the map below). A car shuffle or other pick up arrangements would be required for this option, and/or (2) not going to see Silver Brumby Hut (shortens walk by 2.8km).
This walk description is based on starting at the Davenport Access Track on the Great Alpine Road.
From the Great Alpine Road descend down the Davenport Access Track (a 4WD management access road) for about 1.4 km, a steady downhill walk all the way, until your reach the Cobungra Ditch Walking Track which is well signposted on your right. At this point you need to decide whether to visit the Silver Brumby Hut (2.8k return from this point) or to turn off onto the Cobungra Ditch track on your right.
To visit the Silver Brumby Hut continue descending on the Davenport Access Track for about 600m when you reach an intersection near the bottom of the Village chairlift. Turn sharp right on Blue Ribbon Track (which follows Swindler's Creek) and follow this track for about 800m to reach the hut. The original Silver Brumby Hut was built in 1992 as a temporary film prop for the Australian film "The Silver Brumby", based on the famous novel by Elyne Mitchell. The present hut was built in 2006-7 as a replica of the original. A joint project of the Rotary Club of Sale Central, East Gippsland Institute of Tafe, Tanderra Ski Club and the Mt Hotham Resort Management Board. Situated in the Plains of Heaven on Swindler's Creek, the location is an ideal spot for a picnic lunch.
Retrace your steps back to the Davenport Access Track and turnh left to follow this uphill for about 600m until you reach the signpost to the Cobungra Ditch on your left.
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 Cobungra Ditch track follows the water race 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. See separate walk description for the details of this walk.
After walking along the Ditch track for about 1.8km you will reach a track intersection with the Huts walking track going off on your left and the Ditch track continuing straight on. From the Ditch the track descends steeply for 900m into Swindler's Creek (there is a bridge over the creek) and makes a steep accent over 1.4km up Golden Point Spur to Spargo's Hut - this is the steepest section of the Huts Walk.
Spargo's Hut is one of the oldest intact structures in the resort. This State Heritage registered building has been described as the
Mawson's Hut of the Australian Alps. It was built by prospector Bill Spargo and his brother Cecil in 1927-8 for Bill's prospecting and mining activities in the Golden Point area. Bill was Superintendant of the Alpine Road for the Country Roads Board in the early 1920s and was influential in the establishment of Mt Hotham as a recreational skiing location. He later discovered the rich gold-bearing Red Robin reef on Machinery Spur in 1941. The hut is a survivor of the 1939 and 2003 bushfires.
Continue along the marked (but not formed) walking track (which follows an old mining track) for a further 2km until you reach an intersection with the Australian Alpine Walking Track (AAWT) - should see pole 84 track marker at the junction point. There are good views through regenerating snowgums along this section but please avoid sensitive vegetation areas.
To visit Derrick Hut trun right and follow the AAWT for about 500 metres. The hut was built as a day shelter for ski tourers by the Wangaratta Ski Club in 1967. This neat little timber hut is a memorial to Charles Derrick a cross country skier who died in 1965 in a blizzard whilst attempting to ski from Mt Bogong to Mt Hotham. Located on Dibbin's (Swindler's) Spur, the hut is nestled in a sheltered hollow surrounded by ancient snowgums.
The rest of the walk traverses the relatively open and flat high plains.
Retrace your steps back past the track junction (pole 84) and continue following the marked trail for about 1.4km (from Derrick Hut) where you will meet the Loch Ridge-Machinery Spur track. The AAWT turns right at this point heading for Mt Loch and the Red Robin mine and battery. Keep left/turn left to take the Loch Ridge-Machinery Spur track back to the Loch Reservoir and Carpark - about 2.75km.
From here it is a 2.8km walk back to the start point along the Great Alpine Way (shown in red on the map below).
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 the and open in another tab or window. See also the downloadable map4.96 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 starts at the Davenport Access Track which is opposite the Tanderra Ski Lodge on the Great Alpine Road. If done in reverse then the starting point is the Loch Reservoir and Carpark. Parking is available at both ends of the walk.
The bushwalking season for Mt Hotham is from November Cup Weekend to April (and perhaps to mid May depending on the weather). 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.
Maps: VicMap 1:50,000 Bogong Alpine Area & Bogong Alpine Area Outdoor Recreation Guide, Spatial Vision Innovations, 2nd editon 2011.
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 forecasts