We pick up from all *Mansfield locations and travel to Merrijig, nestled beneath Mt Buller. We leave the bitumen and travel to Sheepyard Flat on the Howqua River. Surrounded by forest, the Howqua Track climbs to Eight Mile Gap and on through tall Mountain Ash forests to Refrigerator Gap. Near here we leave our four wheel drives and our trek begins. As we ascend the tall Mountain Ash stands give way to snow gums, and as we climb higher these become more stunted. The track becomes steeper as we ascend through the escarpment and becomes more gentle as we come out above the tree line on the majestic summit of The Bluff (1726m). The views to the west reveal Lake Eildon, Mt Torbreck and the scrambled rocks of Eagles Peak. To the north Mt Buller, and to the east, laid out before us the Cross Cut Saw. We descend to the blowhole, a funnel that channels and amplifies the westerly wind in a storm. We climb Mt Eadley Stoney (1684m) before descending to Bluff Hut amid the snowgums and our nearby camp. You will be met with a cool drink and a warm fire for our first memborable high country evening.
*Mansfield is two hours from Melbourne, is serviced by a V-Line bus that departs daily from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne. Accommodation is avaialble at all levels in Mansfield.
Your first morning in the High Country. After fresh billy tea and plunger coffee, and a breakfast spread we prepare for our hike. Today is an easy walk through some of the Australian Alps most stunning snow gum stands. We ascend Mt Lovick and descend down to Lovicks Hut. From here the track climbs steeply to the aptly named Picture Point. We enjoy some spectacular escarpent views as the Cross Cut Saw looms closer, and arrive at our camp in a gorgeous meadow surrounded by snow gums.
A hearty breakfast is needed, for todays walk is the most challenging. We start with a short downhill stage before ascending Mt Magdala (1725m). The track winds east down to a striking cleft in the ridge that the cattlemen named Hells Window. From here we ascend through snow gums and out onto wide open plains on to our highest point, the summit of Mt Howitt (1742m). We traverse around the Terrible Hollow and out onto the Cross Cut itself. To the south the ridge descends dramatically into the Wonnangatta Valley, and to the north into the Howqua Valley. Coming off the Cross Cut the trail winds onto the summit of Mt Buggery (1606m). After descending through snowgums to a small saddle we make our way through snowgums and rock shelves to eventually clear the trees again and arrive at the summit of Mt Speculation (1666m). From here it is a short descent from the summit to meet our vehicles at Camp Creek.
After a leisurely breakfast we descend via Mt Cobbler and Lake Cobbler to Bennies. We visit Paradise Falls and arrive at the wineries of the King Valley late morning. After lunch, and winery visits we travel to Powers Lookout, where bushranger Harry Power once hid out avoiding the long arm of the law. We arrive back in Mansfield late afternoon and the end of a memorable expedition.