Planning to improve outstanding Alpine walking experience continues
Thursday 9 June, 2022
Parks Victoria is extending the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing walking track. It’s part of our commitment to making sure more people can enjoy the outdoors.
When complete, the extended Crossing will be one of Australia’s outstanding alpine walking experiences. It will capture the essence of the Australian Alps – the solitude, the seasons, the breathtaking beauty and the stories of the High Country.
The proposed 57-kilometre route, will combine and upgrade an existing track network. It will take in the Diamantina Spur and Razorback with an optional ascent of Mount Feathertop, Victoria’s second-highest peak. The facilities created as part of the five-day, four-night route may also provide options for shorter overnight walks.
The aim of the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing is to support more people with varying hiking ability, interest and experience to walk in this iconic and special place. It also aims to support nature-based tourism in the area.
We are exploring track upgrades and campsites, including several roofed options, as part of the $15 million investment for stage one of this project.
Minimising impacts to the landscape is a guiding principle of this project. All elements of the project are subject to detailed environmental and cultural assessments before designs are completed and work commences.
We have undertaken a detailed Preliminary Environmental Values Assessment. The recommendations from the assessment are guiding the next steps of the project. And there are further detailed environmental and cultural assessments and approvals to come.
While there are some unavoidable impacts to vegetation from construction in the Alpine National Park, the construction will be planned to minimise these. There are also expected environmental benefits as a result. These are:
- Encouraging walkers to stay on the main track, to reduce additional tracks being formed and limit impacts to vegetation and wildlife.
- Installing walkways and realignments over sensitive peatland areas greatly reduces the impact of walkers in these unique landscapes.
- By providing toilets in overnight locations, the impact of human waste in remote natural areas will be reduced.
- Increasing the opportunities for environmental education of walkers along the way.
- By allowing a broader range of people to experience the Alpine National Park, more people will understand and advocate to protect it.
Tourism and business
A Business Case has also been completed. This is an independent in-depth analysis of the project and investigates its viability, implementation and operating costs, impacts and benefits.
Parks Victoria also undertook a Landscape and Visual Assessment. The visual impact of the proposed roofed accommodation will be minimal. This is based on the selected locations when using materials designed to blend into the surrounding environment.
Above: Landscape and visual impact assessment being undertaken
Use of existing walking tracks in the area has increased significantly over the past few years. Visitor counters are showing that up to 500 people walk along the Razorback in a day, and over 280 on Heathy Spur. This volume of walkers has an impact on tracks and maintenance requirements, and new infrastructure is expected to help manage this.
The project considers many visitors, including school groups, young families, and older visitors, and strives to create an experience that will suit a wide range of user groups with different fitness levels.
Importantly, walkers will still be able to camp in other locations along the track and complete the crossing for free if they don’t wish to use the new facilities.
The full Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing project will be delivered over stages, subject to progressive investment. Subject to on-ground and construction industry conditions the first stage of the project is expected to be completed in 2024.
Find out more about the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing project.