FALLS CREEK TO MOUNT HOTHAM ALPINE CROSSING, MULTI-DAY 3 DAY AND 2 NIGHT HIKE IN VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
Like mountains? Freshwater streams? Carrying heavy sh*t in a backpack? Well my friend, this epic multi-day hike in the Victorian high country may very well be the one for you.
This bad boy is 3 days, 2 night of gorgeous high country views and alpine terrain.
The trail is 37km, starts out in Falls Creek, travels through Alpine National park and ends at Mount Hotham. This track we hiked is a short section of the much, much larger "Australian Alps Walking Track." Being an end to end hike you'll need to do a car shuffle if doing with friends, or book transportation between Falls & Hotham, more info on that below.
We did the hike in late December 2022, the weather was pretty spectacular but could be a mixed bag at any time of year. Two weeks prior to starting our hike it was snowing, and in the days after our hike it was over 30 degrees. Like we said, the weather in alpine country is always a gamble so it's best to be prepared for all sorts of scenarios - aka carry warm shit and plenty of water!
So here is an overview of the information that this post offers:
Distance: 37km in total
Time: 3 days and 2 nights
Day 1: Falls Creek to Cope Hut (14km)
Day 2: Cope Hut to Dibbins Hut (14km)
Day 3: Dibbins Hut to Hotham (9km)
Where: Alpine National Park, Victoria
Marked Trail: Very clearly marked with yellow arrows
Water: Available at campsites, either tank or river
Loos: Available at campsites, BYO paper
Phone Service: Intermittent, unreliable, bring a PLB
As always, make sure you let someone know of your intentions and expected arrival dates. It's always nice to know when you're in remote country that there is a somewhat responsible adult who can raise the alarm if something goes wrong.
END TO END SHUTTLE TRANSPORT
As we said above, the hike is an end to end hike, meaning that you start in one place, and finish in another. Resultantly, you'll either need to do a car shuffle with friends and have one at either end, or, book transport between the ends. Or you're really keen, hike out and back.
The hike begins in Falls Creek so we decided to leave our cars there, and book transport for the way back. Alternatively you could do this in reverse, and leave your cars at the end so that you're ready to rock when you finish.
There are pros and cons to both directions.. we'll try to simplify it.
If you park your car at the beginning (Falls Creek) you can start the hike as early as you like - great if it's forecast to be hot. Where as if you leave your car at the end, and book a shuttle to the start from Hotham, then you are only able to begin the hike at the time you are dropped off, around 11am(ish).
However, if you park your car at the start (like we did) then you will probably need to book a nights accomodation in Hotham at the end (we've got an easy, cheap recommendation). If you don't book a night in Hotham then you will have to get up ridiculously early on your last day of hiking to race for the shuttle out of Hotham (and back to your car at Falls) that morning. Whilst the last day of hiking is steep, it isn't super difficult. However, we wouldn't advise this as hiking is never as fun when you have a deadline, especially when it involves packing your tent up in the dark. Also, weather pending the last day has some of the best views, so you probably don't want to miss them by hiking too much pre-dawn.
As you know, we went with the transport back to Falls after the hike option, and booked a shuttle with Snow Dog Transport. It was $80 per person.
Hamish who runs Snow Dog was super easy to communicate with, friendly and helpful. He let us know what he thought would be best given our time constraints, suggested accomodation in Hotham for us and was an all round nice guy. We'd highly recommend him and his company, it made everything very easy for us.
So overall - we were very happy in the end with our choice parking at Falls, organising accommodation in Hotham for a night and then transport back to Falls the day after we finished out hike.
FOOD IN HOTHAM
Okay so we'll be straight up, in the Summer months, at least when we were there, there were not a lot of options. There isn't a supermarket so getting supplies to DIY is difficult. That being said, the local pub The General is open and has plenty of options for all sorts of dietary requirements. If you are on a tight budget however, there is a very small general store attached to "The General" with some frozen foods, and long life food - think noodles, etc. This could be useful for a basic restock if you are hiking back or continuing on with your adventure.
It's a nice atmosphere and a great place to get a celebratory beer, fizzy drink or whatever your heart desires after the hike. We had lunch AND dinner there on the day we finished and were happy with the food each time.
The General also has a small general store inside it. We were able to buy soap and shampoo there, as well as a few first aid items. They have some food too but very basic supplies - handy if you're desperate for something!
HOW TO BOOK (and our favourite tent platforms)
So firstly, when we booked this hike we were under the impression that you needed to book a spot, we have since been told that you don't. You're able to hike this trail freely and camp near any of the huts if you can find a spot. That being said, there are tent platforms at each designated camp spot and these need to be booked in advance - this is what we did.
Both of the camp spots along this trail (Cope Hut & Dibbins Hut) have 5 tent platforms available to book. These are booked via the Parks Vic Website.
The sites cost $17.40 for the night and mean that you set your tent up on the pad directly, which is great if it rains, and is is also awesome for minimally impacting the environment around the tent site. That being said, the tent pads were awkward to use. There is a system of bolts and wires to attach your tent to the pad but we found it clunky and that majority of the pads were missing half the bolts, so we ended up tying our tents down using our guy ropes.
Not all tent pads are created equal, and at Cope Hut this is particularly true. We found that both site 2 and 5 had the best views and we'd highly recommend booking these spots! At Dibbin's Hut they were all somewhat similar, so I wouldn't be too fussed about which site you had here.
Aside from the cost of getting to and from the hike location, all the gear and food needed.... below are the out of pocket expenses for the hike.
Snowdog Transport - $80 (per person)
Marouka Lodge Accomodation - $40 (per person)
Parks Vic Camp sites - $34.80 (for 2 people)
= $137.4 per person (plus everything else you need)
HIKE REPORT.. ALL THE JUCIY DETAILS & PHOTOS
DAY 1 - FALLS CREEK TO COPE HUT
Day 1 for us started off in Falls Creek (you can do this hike in either direction) at the trailhead at Heathy Spur Carpark. As discussed above, you can leave your vehicle here, or get dropped here by transport if you have left your car at the other end.
We did the hike with our great friends Ali and Seb - they were doing it for Ali's birthday and before they invited us along we'd never heard of it. But throw out the idea of a multiday hike adventure and we're in!
After the obligatory "here we go" selfie in front of the trail sign, we started off hiking around 9am. It was already hot and looking to be a gorgeous, albeit toasty, day.
The trail begun with a short gradual climb, winding its way up to views of the lake. It was pretty spectacular.
The first half of the day has you wandering through alpine fields of gorgeous wild flowers, it was pretty damn stunning! We stopped for lunch along the way on a small covered bridge and had a pot of coffee, it was nice to be out of the sun and have a chance to wash our faces in the little aqueduct.
After lunch the track followed the aqueduct for the rest of the day, although flat and potentially a little boring for some, the stunning views out to the side over the surrounding mountains made up for it.
Once we reached Cope Hut we set up our tents, had a snack and settled in for a few games of Monopoly Deal. We cooked our dinner and headed up to Cope Hut for sunset, it was a delight!
Cope Hut has a water tank and drop toilet! BYO loo paper.
DAY 2 - COPE HUT TO DIBBINS HUT
Day 2 begun with watching the sunrise, porridge and instant coffee - I don't personally know a better way to start the day.
After breakfast we packed up our tent and gear and headed off. The path begins across an open alpine field with plenty of wildflowers. It was pretty windy, so we hiked up to a little spot out of the wind for a coffee break before cruising up to Pole 33 where we were rewarded with some pretty spectacular views.
From Pole 33 we carried on and came across a herd of brumbies. Although they're undoubtedly a pest in Alpine Australia, they're still pretty darn majestic and beautiful to see. The trail carried on and we cam to a large open trail with views of Hotham and feathertop, it was pretty spectacular!
The trail then heads down to Dibbins Hut, located by the river. To get there you go through some pretty stunning fields of flowers and beautiful old snow gums. Once we got to camp we set up our tent and jumped in the river for a refresh. It was only 8 degrees but there isn't much better than a cold refreshing swim when you are covered in grime from hiking. We ended the day with more monopoly deal, a fire and tasty dinner.
There is a drop loo at this hut, and you can get water from the river!
DAY 3 - DIBBINS HUT TO HOTHAM
The final day begins with a steep climb up a spur from the river at the bottom of a valley. Although it isn't too long, this is the most difficult part of the hike. The trail leaves the campsite, passes Dibbins Hut and climbs up hill until you get to Derrick Hut. When we headed off it was quite misty so we didn't get any views on the climb until a little later when the sun came out.
We stopped for a coffee and snack break at Derrick Hut before continuing on our way to Hotham.
Once we reached Hotham we headed straight to The General for a celebratory beverage and lunch. After lunch we made our way to the Marouka Lodge, where we had booked a 4 person room for the night before getting picked up by Snow Dog Transport the following morning.
G'day I'm Bec
I'm an Aussie who loves travelling, hiking, trail running and pretty much any activity you can do outdoors.
This blog may contain several affiliate links to products and services that I use and love. By clicking on these links, I might get a teeny tiny contribution towards my travel fund, at no extra cost to you!
Click to set custom HTML