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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tawonga Huts Hike - Bogong High Plains

The Tawonga Huts are in the Bogong High Plains, about 4 km from the Pretty Valley Pondage carpark.

The carpark is is reached via a turn off from the Pretty Valley Rd, about 6 km from the Bogong High Plains Rd, which starts just past the Falls Creek Village.

The turn-off and descent to the Pondage is signposted, and this is an extremely rough, dusty, corrugated, 2 km track, with a surface consisting of large sharp loose rubble and stones.

The walk starts by crossing the Causeway (1637 m) near the carpark then a 4 km hike (each way) up the stony Fainter Fire Track. Over the top (1814 m), the track drops down into the valley of the Tawonga Huts Creek - the Huts are nearby (1675 m).

The Fainter Firetrack continues north, ultimately ending at Bogong Village.

A side footrack, starting at the huts, marked with orange triangles on trees, goes to the highest peak (1852 m) in the Jathmathangs, formerly known as the Niggerheads.

Maximum altitude reached is 1814 m - lowest is 1637 m.

The wide plain surrounding the huts is used as a major gathering point for cattle mustering each autumn.

The first hut in the area was built by John Ryder prior to 1888 but it was pulled down by a horse teathered to the post, and was then rebuilt in that year.

The third hut was built in 1923 of palings. Many cattlemen used the Tawonga huts, notably Ben Cooper, for whom a cairn sits nearby. This is passed at the top of the Fainter FT on the way in.

The current huts were built in the 1950s about 250m south of the original set. The "Refuge Hut" as named, was built by the SEC in 1928 and pulled here in the 1980s. The fourth hut, was originally a cookhouse and brought to the site on a truck by Billy Hicks, but was burnt down in 2000 and a replacement was then built, similar to that whch was destroyed.

All huts survived the 2003 fires.

The views are stupendous from the Fainter Firetrack, with a sweeping panorama extending from Mt Hotham in the south, then Mt Feathertop (1922 m), the twin peaks of Mt Fainter (1839 m and 1880 m), and the Bogong Massif (1986 m) to the north. The Jathmathangs (formerly known as the Niggerheads) are in front of Mt Feathertop. Mt McKay (1849 m) is nearby.

We visited the Huts on March 8, 2009.

See the complete set of
Photos of our trip!

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