Spectacular ridgelines, cosy mountain cabins, surreal sunsets and not another soul in sight. Welcome to Mt Howitt.
- Spectacular alpine views across Victorian high country
- True alpine camping
- One of the most spectacular huts in the Victorian alps
- Loo with a view
- Epic mountain photography
A Weekend Adventure A World Away
This remote and pristine part of the Victorian Alps just has to be one of Australia’s best kept secrets. For as long as I can remember, nothing has made me feel more invigorated and alive than being truly amongst nature and appreciating everything about my natural surroundings – and this journey into the Victorian high country delivered this feeling in spades.
Nestled amongst the rugged and remote mountains of the Victoria Alpine Park lies Mt Howitt, and the aptly named ‘Crosscut Saw’ – by far the most spectacular ridgeline in all of the alpine region.
The first part of the trail is relatively easy as you meander through snow gum wetlands with mellow inclines and declines for about an hour. You’ll then reach McAllistar Springs and the most beautiful alpine hut in all of Victoria, the architecturally designed Vellejo Gantner Hut. Here you can access water from the stream and toilet facilities courtesy of ‘the loo with a view’. Take a well earned rest and a bite to eat at the hut.
This hut is gorgeous! I can only dream of one day being trapped in a snow storm out here and lighting up the gorgeous stone fireplace and cracking a bottle of wine whilst waiting the storm out! Until then its best to admire the hut for its design and surroundings as these alpine huts are destined for emergency use only.
Summitting Mt Howitt
Heading off on the most obvious path down away from the hut you will find yourself on a track for the summit of Mt Howitt, the Crosscut Saw and the alpine walking track. Along the way you’ll pass the aptly named ‘Devils Staircase’, gorgeous valleys and promising views of the Saw as you make your approach.
Once you’ve opened into the clearing and reached the top you’ll be greeted with some of the most spectacular views I’ve experienced in the Victorian high country. We chose a lovely little flat section right on the ridge line of the Crosscut Saw to set up our camp. Calculating where the sun would rise we set up our tent so that when we opened our door we would be greeted with the morning rays. This is my top tip for the most glorious wake up call of all time!
Sunset was on fire and we were so lucky – everywhere you looked the light was painting layers of texture and colour. I’ll always remember how vivid and interesting the landscape was.
After cooking up some dehydrated food, we nestled in for the night, high up on the ridgeline and under the stars, all wrapped up in thermals, sleeping bags and cosy in our tent.
Sunrise was nothing short of breathtaking, and the light that poured into the valley illuminated the skies and created views never to be forgotten. Couple that with some freshly brewed coffee from the Aeropress and you have a morning as close to heaven as you can get in my opinion! Keep your five star hotels – views like these can’t be bought, only earned.
Heading back down mid morning and to hit the trail home, you can’t help but feel stoked about having made the effort to get to Mt Howitt. Top it all off with an ice cream and a swim in the pristine river back in Licola to revive your aching muscles and refresh yourself for the drive home.
- Food, water
- Tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, air pillow etc
- First aid kit
- Change of clothes/warm clothing/down jacket/waterproof jacket
- Jetboil or similar
How To Get There
From Melbourne, head to Licola. Stock up on fuel and last minute supplies here – after this you’re on your own. Heading out of Licola, drive over the bridge and turn left. You’ll be entering national park and eventually a dirt/gravel road that continues on for another 90km. You’ll eventually encounter a fork in the road, continue left and keep going until you reach the Howitt Trail carpark on the right. This is where the trailhead for the hike begins.
Intermediate. A fairly easy and relatively short hike with a well marked track.
Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration
14 km return / 332m elevation gain / 5-6 hours