Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

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Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby gisnd » Mon 11 Jan, 2021 8:00 pm

Hi everyone!

Has anyone done the Hotham to Falls Creek crossing over Easter? Have just booked for this coming Easter (2nd and 3rd of April).

Looking for an idea of typical temperatures and what type of equipment is required in case of snow...

Also, is Easter a busy time to hike this trail? Or does it not matter given the camp site number limits?
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 11 Jan, 2021 9:07 pm

In green season (spring, summer, autumn) expect anything from very hot days to a blizzard. I've had snow on the high plains at Easter. Hence, take gear for all of this, which means multiple layers, light thermal gloves, a beanie or balaclava, and clothing that protects from the sun. It could easily get down to zero at night.

Easter could be busy, so perhaps get into camp early. Cope Hut has room to spread out. If you have time and Cope is crowded, continue to Ryders, another two hours. Get water from the break in the pipes on the main aqueduct a few minutes from the hut. The next day, if the weather is fine, go over the pipe then up Bundara to pick up the pole line at pole 395. Between here and pole 267 a number of poles are down, should not be a problem.

There is no need to book platforms to camp - the PV website is misleading. Just camp on grass away from the platforms. At Cope Hut go on the track past the platforms into a nice grove of trees, a bit windy but more sheltered than the platforms. At Dibbins go past the platforms towards the hut, camping anywhere near there. Derrick is another option, a few hours up Swindlers Spur, but a bit exposed.
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Tue 12 Jan, 2021 6:01 am

A welcome to the forum firstly and I hope this is the first post of many.

Lops is right about the platforms but just to add to that information. A booking is only required for a platform but you cannot camp (for free) within 100m of one. Lops is also correct about the weather. April tends to be a bit unsettled but expect cold nights regardless. It is still a nice time of year to walk but have some layers without going overboard on the weight. You should take a subzero sleeping bag. The platforms tend to be a bit colder than sleeping on the ground.

Easter will be busy if the weather is good. School programs (if allowed this year) will be winding up but you may come across some. They should not be using Cope or Dibbins for camping. Having a platform booked will guarantee you a spot at least as Dibbins can only cater for a few tents elsewhere. Camping is not permitted at Derrick hut (strictly speaking) unless in emergency. It is within the resort boundary but you would be unlucky to get pinged. If you get that far you may as well continue to the car and go to the pub.

There are many alternatives to the advertised track but if you do not know the area then this would give you a good feel for the landscape and perhaps encourage you to return and try other tracks. I would advise you to wear footwear that is waterproof or water resistant at least. Day 1 would be your longest day but day 2 is pretty easy so no need for an early start unless you want to be at camp by lunch. You will have phone reception until close to Dibbins but even then it is only a short walk to get it back.
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby gisnd » Tue 12 Jan, 2021 9:17 pm

Thanks both for taking the time to respond! Sounds like we should upgrade some of our equipment.
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 8:43 am

I walk in the BHP area a lot. I cannot remember booking to camp anywhere. Be sure you are fit enough to deal with Swindler's spur . It is quite an up hill slog. At least by April the intense swarms of insects and the enervating heat will be gone.
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby twwen2 » Sun 17 Jan, 2021 7:13 pm

What's water availability like on the FHC during late Jan and Feb?
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 17 Jan, 2021 8:35 pm

There's water everywhere, with the longest distance between creeks about three hours. These are the water sources I can recall
Watchbed Creek at The Park
A small creek between The Park and the Langford East aqueduct
Aqueducts in a number of places
The dam a little west of Rover Lodge
Below Cope Hut may not be running
Cope Creek
SEC Hut
There are small creeks all the way to pole 267, but they may be suss, feral horses
Dibbins
Derrick
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby commando » Sun 17 Jan, 2021 11:08 pm

Lophophaps wrote:but they may be suss, feral horses


I do not like the term feral to describe any animal.
The feral descriptor should be entirely reserved for homo sapiens, who decided to put unwitting animals in those places in the first place,
and now try to blindly pass the buck in the name of wholesome self righteousness...
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby north-north-west » Mon 18 Jan, 2021 6:32 am

commando wrote:
Lophophaps wrote:but they may be suss, feral horses


I do not like the term feral to describe any animal.
The feral descriptor should be entirely reserved for homo sapiens, who decided to put unwitting animals in those places in the first place,
and now try to blindly pass the buck in the name of wholesome self righteousness...


Your feelings don't come into it. "Feral" is the technically correct term. And, as humans created the problem, they also have the responsibility to fix or at least minimalise it.
The native ecosystems and species damaged and threatened by introduced species of plants and animals matter more than the ferals. Eliminate every feral from this land and those species will still exist elsewhere. Too many species that used to exist only here have gone in the last 250 years. How many more extinctions are you willing to accept?
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Tue 19 Jan, 2021 4:50 am

north-north-west wrote:
Your feelings don't come into it. "Feral" is the technically correct term. And, as humans created the problem, they also have the responsibility to fix or at least minimalise it.
The native ecosystems and species damaged and threatened by introduced species of plants and animals matter more than the ferals. Eliminate every feral from this land and those species will still exist elsewhere. Too many species that used to exist only here have gone in the last 250 years. How many more extinctions are you willing to accept?

A philosophical point of view I from Commando I believe. The term feral is correctly applied to the horses but damage done by humans is clear. To some degree we can control humans.
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby twwen2 » Sun 07 Mar, 2021 1:24 pm

Lophophaps wrote:There's water everywhere, with the longest distance between creeks about three hours. These are the water sources I can recall


Thanks for that. Didn't make it up there over summer - now planning to do it over the Easter long weekend. We don't plan on booking platforms, and will most likely do the 2-night route.

Do most people walk it in a particular direction? We'll be taking two cars and leaving one at the end point, so on face value it would seem to make sense to walk from Hotham > Falls as then we can simply drive back to Hotham to collect the first car and continue south home to Melbourne. I realise that driving distance is the same overall regardless, but it'd probably be nice not have to do the longer drive after the walk.
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 07 Mar, 2021 2:10 pm

I suspect that most people go Falls to Hotham because this is the way it's advertised. Hotham-Bright-Hume Freeway is slow until Harrietville, then progressively a bit faster as you approach the Hume Freeway. Hotham-Omeo-Gippsland is more winding and generally slower for around 150 kilometres, to near Bruthen. Hotham to Melbourne:
via Harrietville 354 kilometres
via Gippsland 466 kilometres

Consider a taxi or the Omeo bus. The taxi from Mount Beauty to falls Creek will be about $50, saving a bit of time at both ends of the car shuffle. Or you could leave one car at Bright and another on Hotham. It depends how many people are in the party and the size of the vehicles. Six people and two transit vans works. Ask on the website if someone can assist.

The distance between the start and finish is a nuisance. A far simpler solution is to do a look based on near Falls Creek, Pretty Valley or Cope Hut. I've done all the FHAC in parts many times in summer, and all except a small section in winter. I've yet to walk FHAC in one go.

Going that far at Easter, think about four days
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby twwen2 » Sun 07 Mar, 2021 3:59 pm

Lophophaps wrote:A far simpler solution is to do a look based on near Falls Creek, Pretty Valley or Cope Hut.


You mean doing a loop starting and ending at Falls?

Lophophaps wrote:Going that far at Easter, think about four days


Why's that? It's advertised as a 3-day/2-night hike and the distances are relatively short (14/14/9km).
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby Baeng72 » Sun 07 Mar, 2021 5:51 pm

I hope this doesn't stray too far off topic, and probably a stupid question, but where's the best place to leave a car for 2 or 3 nights at either Hotham or Falls?
I was thinking leaving a car at Mt Loch Carpark for a few nights would be a good place at Hotham.
But I have no idea if I wanted to leave a car at Falls, I was there yesterday, and the carparks were full to the brim with people I guess were going to take part in the Bike event today. But is there a good spot to safely leave a car for 3 nights there?
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby twwen2 » Sun 07 Mar, 2021 7:24 pm

That's the next thing on my research list - transport. Options as I see them:

1) Take 2 cars, leave one at Hotham (Mt Loch carpark) and continue on to Falls Creek in the second car, parking somewhere in the village or at the Healthy Spur carpark.
2) Take 2 cars, leave one at Hotham and the other in Bright or Mt Beauty and get a bus/taxi up to Falls. Similar to 1) above but cuts off a bit of car shuffle time on the final day.
3) Take 1 car, drive to Hotham and get a private transfer up to Falls. Could be pricey ($350-400) but eliminates a lot of backtracking on the final day as we can drive straight home from Hotham.
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 07 Mar, 2021 10:18 pm

A loop (not a look, typo) based on Heathy Spur, Watchbed Creek, Cope Hut, Pretty Valley or anywhere that fits is possible. The reason I'm not keen on the FHAC is the logistics, too much time and efforts commuting when you could be walking. Also, FHAC is short. With an 8-9 am start it's possible to get to the Jim- SEC-Youngs region in the first day, then get to Hotham by lunchtime on the second day. There's a small climb over Heathy Spur, a small climb to Cope Hut, and the rest is flat, downhill or so gentle up it's easy. Then it's flat and gentle up to pole 267, down for a short way to Dibbins. FHAC is an artificial walk, too short, too hard to sort cars, and that is why nobody did it until the publicity.

Pretty Valley is a good place to start. From there you have a number of tracks, easy off-track walking, sheltered campsites, water everywhere (but pick creeks that have a decent flow - feral horses are a problem), and essentially make it up as you go. Have a menu of places, campsites, huts, tracks, summits and the like and go where you want. Find an unusual place, like Mount Cope for the night, no water but good views and fairly sheltered. A loop on Hotham with a short car shuffle is Brandy Spur, Paling Spur, blunder around the high plains for a few days, up Swindlers Spur to Loch car park.

There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. At Falls Creek there are many places to leave cars.
The village;
either side of the dam wall (should be okay, have not stopped there for a while);
bottom of Heathy Spur (there's a car park near there, cannot recall the precise location;
Watchbed Creek (on the bitumen, 800 metres in at the creek, or at the gate. The latter is tight, park facing downhill.)
Hotham has:
Loch car park (very exposed);
the village (bit of a walk to get there;
Diamantina Hut (park facing downhill)

The more remote spots should have room, but if not, be flexible. No spot is really secure, but if there are other people camped there or there are other cars, the risk should be lower.
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Mon 08 Mar, 2021 6:57 am

I have never had any problem leaving a car in the mountains. Left one with the window down for 4 days once. Maybe I am too trusting. Mt. Loch is fine and so is Falls Creek. Many leave a car at Diamantina hut.

I know the planned walk is the Falls to Hotham but Lops has a good idea. If you think about it, you can do a loop pretty easy and it could be done in 3 days also. The F to H is only two days at best unless you stop a lot or walk really slow but you can do all but Swindlers spur and return to Falls Creek via Blairs hut and Westons then back to Pretty Valley. Leave the second car there if you like. If your plan is to do this so called iconic walk then I understand. You will see the best of the walk and then some. Easter will be busy.
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby stry » Mon 08 Mar, 2021 10:04 am

Is "busy" a euphemism for "mayhem" :lol: :lol:

I reckon if you are out of sight of others at any time over Easter up there, you will be doing well. The post lock down break out urge seems to be unabated :D

BTW - ditto on parked car security - never had a problem - touch wood.

Leaving heavily accessorised vehicles outside seasonal gate closures is, however, a another matter. Such feeding grounds seem to be well known to low lifes.
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Re: Hotham to Falls Creek Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 08 Mar, 2021 11:22 am

I agree with Xplora that Easter will be busy. Popular spots will have a lot of tents, with smaller places like Federation Hut, Derrick Hut and Dibbins Hut crowded. These and other places have room, but the good spots may be in use, forcing people into exposed, scrubby or sloping campsites. Most of my Bogong High Plains campsites have been away from other people. It's just a question of finding the secluded places. One reason I favour a more or less random walk is that I have found places that would otherwise be unknown to me, off the main routes, like this.

BHP pond S.JPG
Bogong High Plains pond

The pond is 800 metres distance from a track, and hardly anyone goes there. I stumbled across this.
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