Great Alpine Road Visitor Guide

PAGE 54 | GREAT ALPINE ROAD VISITOR GUIDE MT. HOTHAM Exploring above the snowline When the snows melt, Mount Hotham reveals a whole new world of natural beauty, hidden from the hoards of skiers and snow players who ascend the mountain over winter. A picturesque and invigorating environment year-round, Mount Hotham is easily accessible from the south, through the East Gippsland region, and from Victoria's north east, both via the scenic Great Alpine Road. Mount Hotham is virtually the mid-point between Bairnsdale and Wangaratta. Located in the pristine Alpine National Park, it is a wonderland of natural beauty, with walking tracks crisscrossing the mountain side, and wildflowers popping their heads up to bask in the sunshine. Grazing and gold European involvement at Mount Hotham started with the movement of stock between Gippsland and north-east Victoria, which followed settlement near Omeo by McKillop, McFarlane, Livingstone and others in 1835. Stockmen from Cobungra station moved cattle to the Ovens and Kiewa valleys over the top of Hotham. This grazing interest was followed by mining, when gold was discovered in almost all the river valleys surrounding Hotham. It didn't take long for the area to become appreciated for its recreational potential. Trains and tourists The railways were expanding throughout the state and promoted remote areas as destinations to encourage patronage. Victorian Railways played a part in the development of Hotham as an adjunct to its management of the chalet on Mt Buffalo. The desire of devotees to the new sport of skiing led to increased demand for accommodation on Hotham, not only for convenience, but to provide shelter from extreme weather. In 1925, a cottage built of stone by Italian masons was christened 'Hotham Heights'. Snow and sport The first ski club was built at Mount Hotham in 1944 by the Alpine Club of Victoria, and other lodges soon followed. Between the end of World War II and the early 1960s, great progress was made to create a more intensive alpine recreational area that could meet the rapidly growing interest in snow sport. With the installation of other amenities, Hotham evolved into a resort. All-season attraction Although it hosts a major influx of visitors over winter, the beauty of Mount Hotham and its precious flora and fauna can be best appreciated when the snow gum woodlands, the sub-alpine heathlands, mosslands and grasslands are warmed by the sun. To find out more about Mount Hotham in summer and autumn, including track and trail maps, visit Pictured clockwise from top: The alpine village at Mount Hotham has a different feel after the snow melts. Mount Hotham is a wonderland of natural beauty in summer and autumn. The Brandy Creek Trailhead. Mount Hotham is a popular base for car, bicycle and motorbike touring, and walking trails criss-cross the mountain side. The road up to Mount Hotham. Photo: Visit Victoria