At an impromptu Adventure Gang dinner in early January 2014 we came up with the first Adventure Gang yearly challenge.
The Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) runs for 655km, from Walhalla in Victoria all the way to Tharwa in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). And we walked it, all of it, in 2014! Read our AAWT blogs to learn more.
This did not mean that we had to take a month off work to hike the whole track; we split the walk up into bite-size sections, each taking two or three days at a time. None of us had to hike all of the track, the key thing was that at least one of the Adventure Gang covered each section of the track, and (hopefully) that all of us would hike at least one section.
Logistically this was a big challenge as the New South Wales and ACT parts of the track involved a fair amount of driving from Melbourne. We therefore had to arrange key swaps, car shares and some longer weekends to do the more remote parts of the track.
The AAWT hike sections
We used John Chapman’s Australian Alps Walking Track book as a guide for our adventures, although we didn’t follow his suggested sections exactly. Our sections (ordered from Walhalla in the south, up to Tharwa) along with their respective blogs and additional information, are:
- Walhalla to Stronachs Camp – 46.2km, 2015m ascend, 1210m descend
- Stronachs Camp to Mount Victor – 30.7km, 1505m ascend, 1535m descend
- Mount Victor to Rumpff Saddle (hiked in reverse) – 33.5km, 1575m ascend, 1750m descend
- Rumpff Saddle to Howitt Plains Carpark (hiked in reverse) – 53.9km, 2830m ascend, 3270m descend
- Mount Howitt to Barry Saddle – 23km, 1480m ascend, 2270m descend
- Barry Saddle to Selwyn Creek Road – 22.6km, 1620m ascend, 1450m descend
- Selwyn Creek Road to Mount Loch Car Park (Mount Hotham) – 24.9km, 1775m ascend, 1095m descend
- Mount Loch Car Park to Langford Gap – 26.6km, 695m ascend, 895m descend
- Langford Gap to Omeo Highway – 41.1km, 2075m ascend, 2465m descend
- Omeo Highway to Benambra-Corryong Road – 28.5km, 1120m ascend, 1680m descend
- Benambra Corryong Road to Buenba Hut Site – 26.5km, 1165m ascend, 920m descend
- Buenba Hut Site to Cowombat Flat Carpark – 47.8km, 2015m ascend, 1705m descend
- Cowombat Flat Carpark to Dead Horse Gap – 41.5km, 1405m ascend, 1020m descend, and:
Dead Horse Gap to Cascade Hut (hiked in reverse) – 8.9km, 295m ascend, 365 descend
- Dead Horse Gap to Kiandra – 107.4km, 3070m ascend, 3225m descend
- Kiandra to Ghost Gully (Port Phillip Trail) – 31.4km, 705m ascend, 740m descend
- Ghost Gully (Port Phillip Trail) to Tharwa – 73.7km, 2320m ascend, 2735m descend
Australian Alps Walking Track information
The Australian Alps Walking Track is a long distance walking trail through the alpine areas of Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT. It is 655km long, starting at Walhalla, Victoria and running through to Tharwa, ACT, which is near Canberra. The track runs mainly through Australian national parks, such as the Alpine National Park and Kosciuszko National Park, although it is not exclusively restricted to national parks. It ascends many peaks including Mount Kosciuszko, Mount Bogong, and Bimberi Peak, the highest points in NSW, Victoria, and the ACT respectively.
The AAWT crosses exposed high plains including the Victorian Bogong High Plains and the Main Range in New South Wales. To walk the whole track can take between five to eight weeks.
The track has been signposted for part of its length in a tri-state agreement. However, most parts of the track require hikers to have reasonably developed navigation skills and to refer to a topographical map and compass.
If you are interested in hiking some or all of the AAWT, some useful information (in addition to our blogs!) can be found on Australian Alps National Parks, including maps and ideas for easier and more challenging sections.