Hut to Hut, Victorian Alps
DATES: On demand
TRAIL TYPE: Loop
TERRAIN: steep, rugged, challenging
TOTAL DISTANCE: 96km
TOTAL ASCENT/DESCENT: TBC
DIFFICULTY: Medium (day 2/4) - Difficult (day1/3)
DAYS ON TRAIL: 4 (run) 5 (walk)
ACCOMMODATION ON TRAIL: camps
HIGHLIGHTS: mindblowing ridge running, huge Australian alpine vistas, historical hut charms.
WELCOME TO MOUNT BULLER
Thursday? Yeah - take it off. Meander to Mount Buller up or down the Hume Highway, via Mansfield - stop for some prime gourmet produce, a coffee and country hospitality. Then wind your way up the mountain, through stunning stands of gums and check in to your comfy accommodation. You may like to take a little leg warming run on one of the excellent short trails that surround the village. Or stroll the nature trail to the Buller Summit for a huge view of where you'll be running in coming days. Or just relax. Briefing will be over a cheeky red, dinner and desert. Then get an early night. Big day on (well, actually running off) the mountain tomorrow.
MOUNT BULLER SUMMIT TO BLUFF HUT
It's a big view atop Buller. And it gives you immediate idea as to the day ahead. See that drop to the east? The one that plummets down to the valley floor, an age in the distance. You'll be hitting the deck there in about 2 or more hours, having run/scrambled down Four Mile to Gardiners Hut, catching classic glimpses of the Bluff ahead (and your afternoon's challenge). Reaching the valley flow and the mighty Howqua River - true mountain horse country - it's an undulating run aside the river to Eight Mile Flat. Savour that word - 'flat' - it's the last you'll see of such on this run. From Eight Mile Flat it's a thigh-testing climb up Eight Mile Spur to Rocky Ridge. Don't get too excited as you rise to the top - it's a false summit, Refrigerator Gap marking a saddle before a crunching climb to the Bluff where your mighty effort is rewarded and then some. Check the face-slapping view back to Mount Buller, where you started, and the feel the achievement blow through you like the fresh afternoon wind. Enjoy the magnificent ridge run, undulating and then dropping down to the night's accommodation at Bluff Hut.
BLUFF HUT TO LOVICK'S HUT
Today is both reward and rest for those who want it after yesterday's big climb. Have a late breakfast, wander to the big view spots, again checking out where you ran from and where you're running too: the beauty of this loop run is that the views never diminish and you catch sight of your route and the Buller Resort you are looping back to, on the far horizon from all angles. For those wanting to take it easy, it's a a short 6km run along 4WD trail that leads to the next night's stay: Lovick's Hut. Chill out here, and perhaps cop a massage before warming up by the open fire. For those champing at the bit to run regardless, we'll take you on an out and back excursion to King Billy No1 Peak 1716m, tacking on an extra 10km to your day.
LOVICK'S HUT TO KING HUT
Here we have the penultimate and the Ultimate (capital U) day. Yesterday you though the Bluff was cool. Well wait til you get a load of Magdala, (1725m), including Hells Window (looked like mountain heaven to us), Mt Howitt (1742m) and then, the awe inspiring Crosscut Saw. It delivers what it says on the tin: this is a spine run with bite and you won't stop going 'wow!'. And you'll probably stop for as many photos as we did. The 'Cut' will lead you Buggery (as in Mount) and then Speculation, a bald peak with killer views. In fact, all along today's trail you have the unique sensation of being able to see where you've run from, all the way back to Buller. It certainly adds to the experience and it'll impress you the distance you cover. From Speculation we head another 500m to the campground and then you have the choice: keep running along a 4WD trail across Mustering Flat, or grab a ride to camp. For the runners, it's just under 8km further (all pretty spectacular in its own right) until Muesli Spur and a descent worth the getting to into King Valley and King Hut. Phew. What a day.
KING VALLEY HUT TO MT BULLER
The highest stuff ma be done, but you have some treats in store yet. Running 4WD trail takes you to Craig's Hut, famous as the hut seen in 'The Man From Snowy River'. The hut was built as a set for the movie, but it's a 'real' hut (just not a historical one used by horsemen) and pretty classic. We'll stop here for a breather and to suck in the views. Then it's off on another climb to nearby Mt Stirling. Yep, more 360-degree views including across to the Mt Buller Resort. Yes, the bar is in sight! But not before sweeping down some of the best singletrack running to be found on earth. Including Stonefly and Cornhill MTB trails (closed at the time of running to cyclist, so safe). This is fun running all the way into Buller. Clear skies will bring one more challenge: to run to the summit of Buller, from where you started your journey - it's worth the 'closure'. That said - no view? Clouded in? how's that hot shower looking? We scrub up at our luxury digs and then head out to a gourmet dinner to celebrate a memorable, wild, ridge run. We suggest runners stay on resort, relax and indulge, with a public holiday (Melbourne Cup Day) slated for the Tuesday, meaning you can take your time getting off mountain and home, maybe place a punt on the nags before you leave.
OVERVIEW: All food (locally sourced, quality produce incl cheese, antipastos, wine etc), hydration, accommodation (on mountain and in camp including tents and cots), hot showers in camp, full 4WD support, in camp chef, wine/beer, massage in filed (one night), in camp entertainment (i.e. campfire live music).
NOT INCLUDED: travel to/from Mount Buller (transfers can be arranged at extra cost), insurance (mandatory incl ambulance), spirits/liqueurs/extras at resort, sleeping bag, personal items. A full list of inclusions will be supplied ASAP.