Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Victoria specific bushwalking discussion.
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Victoria specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 10:52 pm

[i]"With a lot of national and other parks closed due to bushfires, and the risk probably increasing each year, it would be mad to build a lodge that could burn to the ground or be unavailable for too much of the year due to bushfires."
[/i]

Yes, exactly. It is madness on stilts to even consider thinking that this scheme would become an earner. Even Falls Creek/Mt.Hotham resort management boards would be wary that their trojan horse for shiny new BC skiing /Heliskiing infrastructure could burn down sooner than later.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Wed 19 Feb, 2020 4:26 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:"With a lot of national and other parks closed due to bushfires, and the risk probably increasing each year, it would be mad to build a lodge that could burn to the ground or be unavailable for too much of the year due to bushfires."


You should probably think about how this 'logic' extends outside of the FHAC. Bushwalking during fire season should be banned due to the high risk. Huts should not be rebuilt after they are bunt in a fire. That would be madness. It has been a bad fire year. Plenty of places still standing. Any private structure will be insured also but building one will become harder in some areas. A big stumbling block is no hut on the first day of the walk is available and one would have to be built. There was discussion about building on the old Wilkinsons lodge site but that also will be problematic.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 19 Feb, 2020 8:59 am

I am quoting LOPS. That statement is not mine but it does apply to the FHAC redevelopment.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 19 Feb, 2020 6:24 pm

My lodge comment applies to huts. Should huts in areas that have bushfires be replaced after they burn down? Should the design be such that they are less likely to burn down? KNP had 12 huts burn in the recent fires. My guess is that NSW and Victorian park managers will be considering replacement very carefully.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Thu 20 Feb, 2020 5:31 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I am quoting LOPS. That statement is not mine but it does apply to the FHAC redevelopment.


And my comment applies to all those who argue on these line equally. You were agreeing with the statement (not simply quoting) and I am saying that you should be careful on those lines. I don't think that bushfire danger is a reason argue to stop this project because the argument applies to self guided walkers staying in tents. It is also an argument which PV has addressed with park closures at certain times. If an actual fire were to threaten people on the walk the the answer would be simple. Call for evac or there would be an evac plan in the risk management strategy. I wrote a risk management strategy for a guided commercial venture and it included fire evac plans. In 2003 the Police Helicopter landed at Derrick hut as they were looking for our group. They had been evacuating people off Feathertop and offered us a lift to Hotham but we walked. This is what happens in a fire situation and the area has a number of places for vehicle access and good phone reception out of the valleys.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 20 Feb, 2020 6:56 am

Xplora, good points. One of the FHAC consultant reports said that there would be 17,000 people a year on the FHAC. There would be 1-200 people a day starting in the warmer months, and not all would register or turn back if conditions were bad. At Christmas I was at KNP. My last night was near Townsend, and I saw one perty heading towards Abbott. Another party was camped in the upper Wilkinson watershed. Due to smoke and the Corryong fires I went from Rawson Pass to Seamans Hut instead of Rams Heads. One option was to wait a day and see what happened. At the hut two parties went further into the mountains. Shortly after this rangers told us to go to Charlotte Pass - the risk was too great. The park was closed around then.

With 1-200 people a day on FHAC there will be some who continue despite the risks, and that needs to be addressed in FHAC promotional material. So far this and related material glosses over the hazards and is a bit short on facts, such as suggesting that Falls to Hotham is "Walking on air 2000m above sea level.” The highest points are about 1800-1850 metres, with Feathertop 1822 metre..

Inexperienced parties may not have contingency plans, and may underestimate the walk. A number of people have had woeful gear, experience, fitness and food on the Overland Track, with rescues, bare survival or death being the result.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Thu 20 Feb, 2020 4:59 pm

I think the assumption of 17000 people a year has been debunked and we have all rejected this figure so it really can't be used in an argument from those not supporting the concept to tear it down. I just think we should concentrate on the main arguments and not focus on tangents. In saying that the time for argument is over. That finished and many have done a good job. If anything happens now it will be in spite of any opposition so all this is procrastination.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 20 Feb, 2020 6:09 pm

Agreed, the 17,00 figure was and is fantasy. I'm still annoyed that so many submissions with facts from people well versed in bushwalking were dismissed. FHAC is on hold, and that's a good thing. I'm comfortable with a gradual natural increase in numbers on the AAWT, perhaps with a little more maintenance and development. Not much. The boggy track above Westons is not on the AAWT, but it might be a good place to start. The bushfires will mean that PV resources will be needed to make tracks safe from dead or dangerous trees, which means less focus on FHAC.

Does anyone have figures for income from the Otways and Grampians icon walks? Last I heard they were running at a loss.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby JulianS » Thu 20 Feb, 2020 10:44 pm

Well I didn't expect my question would elicit this discussion, but good to see.

I second the strategy to focus on fundamentals. I don't think it's productive - and may even be counterproductive - to argue about aspects such as risk. It is too easily disregarded in the context of a prevailing view that there would be no greater risk than already exists for self-sufficient walkers. I think you increase the likelihood of being pigeonholed as having extreme/shrill views and your other arguments - no matter how rational or well-intentioned - lose credence. Likewise details such as 1800 vs. 2000m. Even arguing poor economics can be defended against to an extent since it could be said that a proposal is a 'loss leader' designed simply to increase visitation to a state/region.

I'm not saying such specifics of proposals should be ignored in submissions, but I assume what we can all agree on is that the most important argument is that national parks should not be a setting for development and commercialisation in the first place. Even a hypothetically safe/economically sound proposal should not be entertained given its predisposition to exclusivity (shutting people out who are unable or unwilling to pay $$$), loss of amenity, environmental harm, etc.

In this context - and given this project seems to be in a holding pattern - I'd in the meantime encourage like-minded people to look at some other "battlefronts" and potentially write submissions. Walls of Jerusalem, Flinders Chase and Ben Boyd National Parks are examples that come to mind...
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby stry » Wed 18 Nov, 2020 5:41 pm

And in breaking news the Vic government is to allocate $15m of our money to "improving" the Falls/Hotham trail.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/vict ... okbg8ynuGc

No doubt anyone who opposes this will be villified as opposing the state's CV19 recovery efforts.

Clearly they don't plan to let go of this.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Thu 19 Nov, 2020 6:28 am

stry wrote:And in breaking news the Vic government is to allocate $15m of our money to "improving" the Falls/Hotham trail.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/vict ... okbg8ynuGc

No doubt anyone who opposes this will be villified as opposing the state's CV19 recovery efforts.

Clearly they don't plan to let go of this.


There is still a walk which is defined as the Falls to Hotham alpine crossing and it is being marketed without the fancy accommodation or diversions to Tawonga Huts or up Diamantina Spur. The walk is gaining popularity with many tourist type walkers. I have even come across a group of people doing it on Christmas day. Improvements to this walk have always been touted and that amount of money could be spent on erosion control, signposting and other track maintenance which could include raised walking platforms over wet areas. The fact the plan we have argued against has not been able to come up with any economic or environmental report in all this time suggests it will not go ahead in the form suggested. I have been informed it will go ahead in some form though. If I can find out a bit more on the specifics then I will get back to the forum.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 19 Nov, 2020 6:58 am

Parks Vic. cannot manage what is already under their list of assets with the meagre budget they have. Spending extra money and resources on something "new" won't be viable and it will kill the goose that lays the golden egg:It is just madness on stilts!.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Thu 19 Nov, 2020 2:07 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Parks Vic. cannot manage what is already under their list of assets with the meagre budget they have. Spending extra money on something "new" that won't be viable and will kill the goose that lays the golden egg is just madness on stilts!.


There is no evidence this money is for anything new. To repeat myself, it could be to support the existing walk. Lets find out before we get too worked up. I could see it money well spent if put into track maintenance even though I rarely walk these sections now. The number of cars I see parked on BHP suggests more people are using some sections and that will inevitably cause problems with track erosion. Allocations of this size earmarked for one project make it easier for Parks to manage things. It frees up money allocated in budgets for that area as well. Money which can be spent elsewhere.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby mattbeam » Wed 25 Nov, 2020 9:20 am

Xplora wrote:
paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Parks Vic. cannot manage what is already under their list of assets with the meagre budget they have. Spending extra money on something "new" that won't be viable and will kill the goose that lays the golden egg is just madness on stilts!.


There is no evidence this money is for anything new.


This is a reasonable suggestion. A quick look at the budget would suggest the total $150 million that the Falls-Hotham Alpine Crossing is coming out of also needs to fund a new visitor centre and predator-proof fence at Wilson's Prom and a Great Ocean Road revitalisation. There may not be much left for a full-scale attack on the Falls-Hotham Crossing.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Wed 25 Nov, 2020 10:45 am

The information I have from the man spending it is that he sees most going to track work and other maintenance. He does not see much available for buildings but it is a bit early to call. He is not the man in charge of the master plan for the new walk. Parks would still have to obtain cultural permissions for any structure. In fact you cannot put a post in the ground or pull a weed from the ground without cultural permission. I kid you not.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 25 Nov, 2020 2:07 pm

Xplorer, thanks for that. I'm happy with maintenance. Some parts need attention. In the past snow poles were down for a year or two, the descent to Westons was worthy of the Overland Track 40 years ago, and other parts were eroded.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby CaptainC » Wed 25 Nov, 2020 8:35 pm

Not only do Parks Vic need cultural permissions for minor things, I've heard it takes months for the permissions to come through.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Thu 26 Nov, 2020 5:25 am

CaptainC wrote:Not only do Parks Vic need cultural permissions for minor things, I've heard it takes months for the permissions to come through.

Sometimes years and it is a real pain to do all the paperwork needed. I have two projects running with PV that need cultural permissions. I was told there are only two people in the office handling the entire state. High value projects may get priority.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby darrenedwards » Wed 09 Dec, 2020 2:35 pm

This time the powers that be seem determined to fulfill their dream of serviced in-park luxury accommodation at each stop, to look after the ‘comfort seeker’. At the insistence of Tourism Victoria, one set of luxury huts will be positioned on a steep and hard to access spur off Mount Feathertop, where servicing of fresh bedding and gourmet food will necessitate intrusive daily helicopter trips. And fire regulations now mandate clearing native vegetation for some distance around all new accommodation.

The plan still includes a range of buildings on Diamantina Spur towards the summit of Mount Feathertop, Victoria’s only sizeable free-standing mountain, and so far an undeveloped peak. These huts (and a lodge?) would be serviced by helicopters bringing fresh bedding and food to the occupants.

Parks Victoria claims the track, which will only ever be used by a small number of visitors to the Alpine National Park, will generate 130 full time service jobs! The $15m announced will cover stage 1 of the development and the Vic Government are seeking $19M in Federal funding for the remaining commercial developments. It will cost $34 million to construct, and an allocation of $2 million in the current budget appears to be for further planning. The anticipated delivery date is 5-10 years away.

For anyone interested, here is the master plan. Recreational hikers will not be allowed near the huts or facilities as they are earmarked for commercial operators and paying customers only. https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/-/media/pr ... r-plan.pdf
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby north-north-west » Wed 09 Dec, 2020 2:55 pm

More privatisation of public lands.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Baeng72 » Wed 09 Dec, 2020 3:38 pm

Rerouting to Feathertop, down Diamantina Spur and then onto BHP?
Severe Overland Track envy with this 'Walk Victoria Icons Brand'.
I find it really hard to read these blurbs. Pretentious. World-class, Iconic, Experience seeker.... The marketing jargon would make a good emetic.

Diamantina Spur will probably get steps up the shale/rock bit. Maybe an escalator for those who don't seek a difficult experience?

Oh well.....

Minor nitpick, from what I've read about the geology, there were no glaciers there. Just peri-glacial (ice for months, but not year round) features.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby CaptainC » Wed 09 Dec, 2020 7:59 pm

That plan was last updated 22/03/2018. So there was no change from all the feedback that they received. They just laid low and waited for an opportunity to bring it up again. On page 11 it says
Benefits for the Region and State
The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing will support Parks Victoria's approach of Healthy Parks Healthy People by increasing interest and opportunities for a broader number of visitors and educational groups to engage with the natural beauty of the alpine region. The trail will provide demonstrable economic benefit to the local community, the region and the State by supporting a wide range of investment opportunities for tourism, complementary services and infrastructure that provide a holistic and integrated walking experience.

I'd suggest that the 'broader number of visitors' would come from the top 20% of income earners. Nothing for average people here.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 09 Dec, 2020 8:21 pm

Plus, on PV's figures, those on lower socio-economic levels would be pushed out. What happened to parks for the people? PV claimed a return of 7.66:1, but the real figure is closer to 0.7:1. Spend a dollar and get 70 cents back. It's $34 million for stage one, whatever that is. From memory the original figure was $22 million for the entire track. Then it went to around $30 million for the entire track. Now we have around that for stage one. In January 2017 I said that the cost over 10 years would be around $59 million. We're half-way there, probably further as the $34 million seems not to include ongoing costs. PV said that there are 17,000 walker nights on FHAC at present, out by a factor of 500-1000.

As far as I'm aware there is no business case. This is economic mis-management on a grand scale. Certainly upgrade the tracks to bushwalker standard, but not like (Two out of) Three Capes.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Heremeahappy1 » Wed 09 Dec, 2020 9:04 pm

I weep for the next 'iconic' walk that has been slated, funded and promoted for development, Croajingolong...wilderness area, UNESCO biosphere.
After the fires, the destruction, the slow but steady return of flora and fauna, we'll lose another favourite.
Silver-lining, I hope that the 'improvements' will allow access to a new, broader audience who can champion the protection of sensitive ecosystems and perhaps some good can become of this.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby north-north-west » Thu 10 Dec, 2020 6:30 am

Heremeahappy1 wrote:I weep for the next 'iconic' walk that has been slated, funded and promoted for development, Croajingolong...wilderness area, UNESCO biosphere.
After the fires, the destruction, the slow but steady return of flora and fauna, we'll lose another favourite.
Silver-lining, I hope that the 'improvements' will allow access to a new, broader audience who can champion the protection of sensitive ecosystems and perhaps some good can become of this.


The people it attracts are bucket-lister Instagram types. They don't care about the ecosystems, they just want another "experience" to tick off so they can move along to the next.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Thu 10 Dec, 2020 6:46 am

darrenedwards wrote: The $15m announced will cover stage 1 of the development and the Vic Government are seeking $19M in Federal funding for the remaining commercial developments. It will cost $34 million to construct, and an allocation of $2 million in the current budget appears to be for further planning. The anticipated delivery date is 5-10 years away.


Where did this information come from? I would be interested reading from the source. The master plan is not an automatic 'go' for the project

From the Master Plan

'The master plan serves as a foundation for
future detailed studies including; Business Plans;
Management Plans; Economic Analysis; Safety
and Risk Assessments; Interpretation Strategies;
Environmental Risk Assessments; and studies,
incuding business plans, management plans,
economic analyses, safety and risk assessments,
and detailed trail alignment and site planning.'


To my knowledge there has never been any of this completed or if completed, it was never released. The only studies done were desktop. The Master plan was full of errors and not well edited. Above is one. A little pedantic I know but it is one of many which shows how sloppy the consulting group was. If anything was built on the Razorback then it would only be to serve Hotham. Cultural approval has to be sought also. I have said from the start the entire modelling of the accommodation has been for the benefit of the RMB's to increase their offering outside the resorts. This would be the angle to fight it and BV or VNPA can push the angle of luxury resorts being built in the backcountry for the RMB's. Selling off and selling out the park. The only people who will use anything on the Razorback are those coming in from Diamantina hut on the GAR or up Bungalow Spur. Parks Vic knows this. It was told to them at the last meeting in Bright by one of the people currently running tours on the FHAC. He will never take his clients up Diamantina Spur.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 10 Dec, 2020 2:56 pm

Bushwalking Vic. have issued this statement in their newsletter.
"
Commercial development and commercial activities on public land such as national parks generate strong negative opinions amongst bushwalkers, and the proposed FHAC is no different. BWV’s long-standing policy position on commercial development and activities in national parks is that we do not have a blanket objection to the creation of infrastructure to support walking in national parks, but certain clear provisos must be met. In particular, BWV does not support the construction of visually obtrusive infrastructure or any other inappropriate infrastructure along the route proposed for the Alpine Crossing and have particular concerns about proposed facilities in the High Knob (top of Diamantina Spur) and Federation Hut area.

BWV opposes commercial activities in the area that could cause detriment to free walkers’ enjoyment of a truly iconic area. We strongly support the view that national parks are primarily intended for conservation and public enjoyment, and that commercial activities and supporting infrastructure must respect this intent.

However many bushwalkers, including members of BWV affiliate clubs utilise these types of services in other states and overseas, for example, in Tasmania, New Zealand and Europe. Like it or not, demand for commercial alternatives to the ‘traditional’ model of bushwalking has been growing for many years and there seems to be little sign of this changing. "
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Wed 23 Dec, 2020 9:30 am

This might have been covered already somewhere in this somewhat extensive thread (apologies if it has)....

With the advent of platforms at Cope and Dibbins, is it still possible to camp on the ground in those locales without a booking? If not, are there any alternatives apart from Derrick and Cope Saddle/Ryders Yards (noting camping at Wallaces is a no no)? I'm planning a walk that overlaps with the alpine crossing but don't like to lock in an itinerary so don't want to pre-book campsites. I'm happy to camp anywhere with a little bit of shelter and accessible water - such localities might be in abundance (as they are in KNP, for example) but i'm not familiar with the BHP area.

Thanks in advance
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Wed 23 Dec, 2020 3:42 pm

Walk_fat boy_walk wrote:This might have been covered already somewhere in this somewhat extensive thread (apologies if it has)....

With the advent of platforms at Cope and Dibbins, is it still possible to camp on the ground in those locales without a booking? If not, are there any alternatives apart from Derrick and Cope Saddle/Ryders Yards (noting camping at Wallaces is a no no)? I'm planning a walk that overlaps with the alpine crossing but don't like to lock in an itinerary so don't want to pre-book campsites. I'm happy to camp anywhere with a little bit of shelter and accessible water - such localities might be in abundance (as they are in KNP, for example) but i'm not familiar with the BHP area.

Thanks in advance


Camping is technically prohibited within 100m of a camping platform. Easy enough to find spots 100m away but make sure anyone checking brings a tape measure. I doubt you would have problems. Youngs SEC is a nice spot and not far to divert from Cobungra gap track. Much better spot than Dibbins. I find Dibbins a little cold but that could be nice on a hot day. Camping at Derrick is also technically prohibited as it is within the resort boundary. Get that far and you might as well finish. Tawonga huts is also a short diversion from pole 333 and a good spot. Westons offers a smaller area to camp but it has everything you ask. You could continue down to Blairs from Westons and onto Dibbins. Blairs is nice. I know what you mean and am with you. Plenty of options. Happy to help but unfortunately I will not give up my secret spots.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Wed 23 Dec, 2020 7:49 pm

Xplora wrote:
Walk_fat boy_walk wrote:This might have been covered already somewhere in this somewhat extensive thread (apologies if it has)....

With the advent of platforms at Cope and Dibbins, is it still possible to camp on the ground in those locales without a booking? If not, are there any alternatives apart from Derrick and Cope Saddle/Ryders Yards (noting camping at Wallaces is a no no)? I'm planning a walk that overlaps with the alpine crossing but don't like to lock in an itinerary so don't want to pre-book campsites. I'm happy to camp anywhere with a little bit of shelter and accessible water - such localities might be in abundance (as they are in KNP, for example) but i'm not familiar with the BHP area.

Thanks in advance


Camping is technically prohibited within 100m of a camping platform. Easy enough to find spots 100m away but make sure anyone checking brings a tape measure. I doubt you would have problems. Youngs SEC is a nice spot and not far to divert from Cobungra gap track. Much better spot than Dibbins. I find Dibbins a little cold but that could be nice on a hot day. Camping at Derrick is also technically prohibited as it is within the resort boundary. Get that far and you might as well finish. Tawonga huts is also a short diversion from pole 333 and a good spot. Westons offers a smaller area to camp but it has everything you ask. You could continue down to Blairs from Westons and onto Dibbins. Blairs is nice. I know what you mean and am with you. Plenty of options. Happy to help but unfortunately I will not give up my secret spots.
Perfect, thanks:)

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