Laura Waters tackles the Buller Huts Trail in the Victorian Alps, discovering wild mountains, historic huts and summer wildflowers. But it’s no walk in the park.
Laura hiked the trail with a group of four friends. They found the trail to be more challenging than they expected, with steep climbs, exposed ridges, and river crossings. However, they also found the trail to be very rewarding, with stunning views and wildflowers.
The Buller Huts Trail experience
Day 1: The group hiked from Mt Buller to Eight Mile Flat. The trail was steep and overgrown, and there was some scrambling involved.
Day 2: As challenging as the first day is, the second is no easier. Straight out of camp at Eight Mile Flat we begin a 1175m ascent to the top of The Bluff.
Day 3: It’s only 13.5km to the next camp at Hells Window but a lack of water at the small creek hiding in an adjacent gully means we are forced to push on down a detour to Macalister Springs and our ‘short day’ turns into the longest yet at 11 hours.
Day 4: The next day is Traversing the Bluff billed as a hard one – a traverse of Crosscut Saw, an exposed ridge with jagged little undulations, then over Mt Buggery and on to Mt Speculation – and I wonder how we will fare if we are to face anything tougher than what we’ve already experienced.
Days 5-6: The final few days are markedly shorter if not easier. The descent of the Muesli Track feels little more than a rock chute sprinkled with patches of dirt that we slip and slide to reach camp at King River Hut in time to escape the forty degree heat in the river’s icy waters. Day six gives us five decent river crossings and a 675m climb to our last camp where Craig’s Hut stands amidst a high grassy meadow, owning the landscape like the movie star it is. Spots of rain greet our last morning, building to a steady drizzle as we leave the summit of Mt Stirling for the final few hours back to Mt Buller and I thank our lucky stars we’ve managed to avoid it until now. Rain, wind or limited visibility would have made the trail an entirely different creature, one that might have punished us squarely for our cavalier approach to it.
As it is, the route claims a total of four toenails and strips a good few kilos from our bodies but it was all undoubtedly worth it. The complexities of the trail’s multiple land managers and the desire to keep it somewhat wild means that extensive signage and track maintenance are unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future, but in a world where the wild is increasingly sanitized for the mass market I actually like it this way. Like anything in life, when the challenge is great, the reward is greater.
Download Laura’s full trip report.
Trip report by Laura Waters