The Huts of the High Country

Fitzgerald Hut

Scattered throughout the Australian Alps are more than a hundred historic huts.  They date back as far as the 1860s. Many were built as shelters by stockmen grazing their cattle on high country pastures. Others housed fishermen, gold prospectors, foresters, workers on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, skiers and bushwalkers. Today they are used as emergency shelters for skiers and bushwalkers caught out in the changeable mountain weather.

The huts are the antithesis of luxury. Most are simple corrugated iron or wood constructions. Very few are easy to get to. They are tucked away in the back country, far from roads and other services. Over many years of skiing, bushwalking and mountain biking David and I have come across a half dozen or so of these huts. With a few exceptions they are a challenge to find and it is always fun when we come across one. We have never camped out overnight so all the huts in this post can be reached in a day's bushwalk or mountain bike ride from the nearest road.

The Great Victorian Rail Trail: Australia's Longest Rail Trail

The Great Victorian Rail Trail

Trail - The Great Victorian Rail Trail
Location - Tallarook to Mansfield, Victoria, Australia
Distance - 134 km one way
Terrain - Compacted sand and fine gravel.
Difficulty - Easy to moderate with a few long, steady climbs.
Highlights - Reaching the top of any of the long climbs.
Suitable for - Mountain bikes, touring bikes, walkers and horse riders.

Cycling in Victoria: The High Country Rail Trail

Raymond Island, Victoria

Raymond Island koala
I admit it - I am a wildlife tragic. I'll go almost anywhere to see animals in the bush. David and I first visited Raymond Island in March but we were drawn back on the way home from our last road trip. Only four hours drive from Melbourne, at last count the 7.6 sq km island had a koala population of 307, making it the best place in Australia to see koalas in their natural environment.

The island is a two-minute ferry ride from Paynesville in the Gippsland Lakes District of Victoria - a reliable place to see kangaroos. Paynesville and Raymond Island are the perfect wildlife tragic's double act. You can read where to find the kangaroos at Paynesville by clicking - here. For my March blog post on Raymond Island, with practical information as well as a description of our visit and lots of koala pictures click - here.