Hiking Australia’s Alpine crossing (Victoria)

Explainer:

The Alpine crossing is a beautiful hike located 3 hours drive from Melbourne, in the Victorian Alps. This trail connects Falls Creek to Hotham, which ate two small ski towns. Best hiked in warmer months (October-June) as the trail can be covered in snow in winter. You can also hike the trail in either direction: Falls to Hotham, or if you wish Hotham to Falls. The hike features striking snow gums, Alpine meadows of tussock grass where you may even see wild horses and in the summer months there fields of multicoloured wild-flowers growing. This hike Is a great introductory overnight hike, and has beautiful changing landscapes each day for the hiker. It also has a rich history dating back to the colonial era, and pre-dating that First Nations Australian significance. Along the crossing you will see multiple huts, two of which you camp at – Cope Hut and Dibbins hut. These add to the experience of the hike and make it a memorable journey.

Distance: 40km

Duration: 3 days (2 nights)

Direction: I hiked from Falls Creek to Hotham. But yes, it is possible to hike in the opposite direction.

Day 1: Falls Creek to Cope hut – 17km – 6 hours hike time estimate

Day 2: Cope hut to Dibbins hut, 14km  – 6 hours hike time estimate

Day 3: Dibbins Hut to Mount Hotham, 9km  – 3 hours hike time estimate

Hike times will vary on your fitness, pack weight, weather etc *

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult.  This is a good introductory hike for people wanting to start doing overnight-hikes. The hiking is not too difficult, the trail is well marked and although there is a bit of elevation gain/loss its not a lot compared to other hikes.  If you’re an experienced hiker this will still be a beautiful walk and keep your heart rate up.

Notes:

  • Cope Hut has a water tank for hikers, which was empty when we arrived but there is a stream near by you can fill up your water in.
  • Dibbins hut has a large stream that you can fil water from.
  • Both Cope Hut and Dibbins hut have TOILETS with TOILET PAPER. Id advise to still bring your own.

Basic safety:

  • Its always safer to hike with a friend, or in a group.
  • Hydration is important.
  • Weather: Alpine weather can change fast. Always bring appropriate clothing to be able to warm up or stay dry.
  • Always check the weather before going >>> link
  • Always check the fire danger before going >>> link
  • Use a map: Pick up a map from the Falls Creek information centre when you park.
  • Bring a powerbank to charge your phone if you wish to have GPS or take photos.

Map:

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I enter the huts?

Yes you may enter the huts! They’re very interesting to step into, and even have guest books for hikers to fill out. You may NOT sleep in the huts however, as this is for emergencies.

May I sleep in the huts?

Only in an emergency, such as severe weather events. Otherwise the huts are just for going into and looking around, you can NOT sleep in the huts on an ordinary hike.

Did we filter our water throughout the hike?:

Yes we filtered the water we drank.

Is the hike Kid friendly?:

Yes. We met a couple that had their daughters on the hike who were age 8 and 10. They had only smaller bags with them and did one night on the trail at Cope hut. If you feel confident, give it a go!

Campsites:

You can camp on “Pads” which are elevated pads off the ground, OR, you can free/wild camp up in the alpine in the designated area close to the huts.

There are 5 Pads at Cope hut and Dibbins hut campsites. The Pads are 3mx3.7m large. You can attach your tent to the Pad using small eyelets on the Pad which you can anchor too.

The tent pads cost roughly $18 per night and can fit two tents that’s are 2 man tents.

If you wish to hire a pad you can do so on the Parks Victoria website here >>

https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/alpine-national-park/where-to-stay/dispersed-camping-in-alpine-national-park

Can I free camp?:

Yes. In designated areas. If you miss a booking for a Pad, don’t stress! You still have the option to free/wild camp. Just be clean, respectful and leave the area in a good condition.

Do not disturb or interrupt the delicate alpine eco-system and just put a tent anywhere you please. Be mindful to look for spots that have already been camped on. This would ruin the privilege for others.

Cost: including fuel from Melbourne, food, campsites, transfers.

Fuel: $80. Food $40. Campsites: $36. Transfer: $75. Total estimate: $231

Parking: There is a around 7 parking spaces at the Falls Creek trail head for the Alpine Crossing.

Is it safe to leave my car?: We had no problems, and it is a safe community far from trouble makers, still take precautions but I would say leaving your car is no problem.

Returning to your car: SnowDog transfers picked myself and my friend up for $75 each from Hotham village and returned us to Falls to our car. Return journey is around 2.5 hours.  If you have two groups of friends, it would be possible to leave a car at each trail head to save money.

https://snowdog.com.au/

Why choose this hike?

There are many exciting features of the Alpine Crossing. Some include:

The Huts: The huts themselves are interesting old rickety huts dating back decades and decades. They have a history of the early settlers who came out that way.

Wild horses: You may encounter wild horses (Brumbys) up in the alpine plains on day two! This feature is an amazing experience for a lot of hikers to see wild horses in a herd, up in the high country. Quite a cool story to tell your friends.

Wildflowers in Summer months: The alpine meadows which you cross on day 2 are covered in wild flowers in the summer months. It is spectacular. Beautiful spots to take a lunch break, cool off, drink some water and rest between hiking sessions throughout the day.

Alpine meadows: The alpine meadows are beautiful open sections along the hike which give you clear views of the mountains in the distance and an amazing scope of the vast alpine area around you. Very memorable feature of this hike.

Dibbins hut on night 2

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