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
Walk Details Provided By: Mt Hotham Alpine Resort
This area was burnt during the 2003 bushfires. While the snowgums are regenerating, the trees are shedding dead branches and the Mt Hotham Resort recommends not using the track on windy days.
For more detailed information on environmental matters please refer to the detailed track notes provided by Mt Hotham Resort (see Attachments). This leaflet also includes a map of the walk.
Set off from the Big D and up Higgi Drive. Ascend the vehicle track to the right of the Big D passing Higgi Drive Apartments and under the Big D chairlift. Continue to walk along Higgi Drive and notice the areas of basalt boulder scree on the slopes of Mt Higginbotham, formed through the erosion of surface soils and accumulation of rocks at its base. The Victorian Alps basalt cappings date back between 23 and 65 million years, when lava flow passed through the area.
As you pass the UV filtration shed on your left you will notice rocky terrain underfoot. This is known as the 'Tunnel of Love' and was
constructed by resort management to assist male Mountain pygmy possums (Burramys parvus) accessing female possums. The basalt boulder filled tunnel runs from the slopes of Mt Higginbotham, under Higgi Drive and below the Great Alpine Road.
Spot a swale (on your left, off of Corral day car park). Mount Hotham Resort manages its water quality, controls runoff and manages catchment areas ensure downstream quality. Stormwater runoff and snow clearing from car parks could contaminate downstream environments, and for this reason vegetated swales are used to treat the runoff, trap pollutants and provide meltwater infiltration.
Cross over the Great Alpine Road and begin your descent down the Basin Ski Slope. Alpine plants are able to withstand a harsh
environment and will flatten out beneath the snow, bouncing back to form after the spring thaw. The resort also uses recycled village water for snowmaking. Head towards the Playground Chairlift. Turning left onto the track at the base of the ski run you will enter subalpine woodland. Woodlands and low open-forests of the sub alpine zone are dominated by snowgum (Eucalyptus pauciflora), the only tree species to survive at this altitude.
Pass Road Runner Chairlift and walk up Mother Johnson's Track. At the top of Mother Johnson's track veer right past Heavenly Valley
Chairlift and onto the Loch Ridge-Machinery Spur track. On your right you will see Loch Reservoir at the base of Mt Loch. Introduced in 2006, the Resort's water recycling scheme reduces water usage from Swindlers Creek by over 90 million litres per year. Enjoy the spectacular views along the Loch Ridge.
In 2003 bushfires spread throughout the ACT, NSW and Victoria burning over 1.87 million hectares. While Hotham Village was spared, unfortunately much of the Orchard ski area was not. Snow gums have swellings at the base of the trunk called lignotubers which are stimulated to grow when the tree above ground dies. Snow gum re-growth is visible throughout the area, however it is estimated to take ten years or more to recover a full canopy. Grasslands affected by the fires have now fully recovered.
Carry on along the Loch Ridge track towards the Orchard Chairlift station and the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT). At this junction keep right and follow the AAWT along the pole line towards Derricks Hut. (The Loch Ridge track continues on to Red Robin mine and Mt Loch). Shortly after this intersection you can see over to Loch Bog on your right. Bog and fen communities are of particular significance in alpine areas for regulating water flow. Bogs usually sit at the head of a spring and are dominated by Sphagnum moss. Sphagnum is bright yellowy-green and retains up to twenty times its own weight in water, therefore acting as a natural reservoir which slowly discharges water into catchment areas.
Keep following the AAWT to your final stop on the eco-trail, Derrick's Hut which was constructed in 1967 in memory of skier Charles Derrick.
From here retrace your steps back to the Loch carpark and then back to the Big D either along the Great Alpine Road or along the same route you followed on the outwards journey.
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.
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:
This walk starts at the 'Big D' chairlift near the corner of Great Alpine Road and Higgi Drive - the Big D is clearly sign posted. There is parking in the vicinity of the Big D and The General.
The bushwalking season for Mt Hotham is from November Cup Weekend to April (and perhaps 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' and
Bureau of Meteorology: Mt Hotham forecasts