Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur Track, Alpine NP Victoria

Climbing Mt Feathertop along the Bungalow Spur Track involves a steady 1440m ascent over 11km to the summit at 1920m of elevation; the second highest point in Victoria. You climb from lush forest through mountain ash and snow gums, then into alpine meadow up to the summit, where there are extensive views over the Victorian high country.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

I find climbing steeply up 1000+ vertical metres to the top of a pointy mountain very satisfying. So when I read that climbing Victoria’s second highest mountain involved a 1440m vertical climb over 11km I thought it justified our first bushwalking trip to Victoria. And the reports I read about Mt Feathertop promised a pointy summit; now, it is by mainland Australian standards, but if you’ve hiked in NZ or Tasmania, (or almost anywhere else in the world), then you won’t find it particularly pointy. You steadily climb up through lush forest at first, into mountain ash woodland, then snow gums, and finish in alpine meadows. The views extend over the Victorian high country, and inspired me to visit Mt Buffalo a couple of days later, which  I could see from the summit, and looked great. (I had to work out where this was on the map.) 

This sort of walk is rare in Australia, and it’s probably our largest ascent on a well formed track, (the 1800m climb to the top of Mt Kosciuszo along the Hannel’s Spur track is not a well formed track I hear, although I’ve never done it). We stayed in Harrietville, and the track very conveniently starts just out of town.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
A sign near the bottom of the mountain: “Private Property. No shortcuts. Trespassers shot, survivors tortured.” Fair warning I suppose.

Track Notes

There’s track notes for this walk (and others in the area) on the Parks Victoria website, and the Bungalow Spur track notes are also on Trail Hiking Australia. It’s a straight up and down walk. There are a few other routes to climb the mountain, but this appears to be the most direct and easiest to get to. If you want to summit the mountain without much ascent then try the Razorback Ridge Track (also in that Parks Victoria link).

The Scenery

There were lots of wildflowers on this walk, and most of them were new to me, so I took lots of flower photos. We did this walk in late December.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
Lush forest down near the start.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
The forest was thinning out into woodland by this point.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
Mountain Ash require fire to germinate. Here are a bunch of dead ones burnt in a bushfire a few years ago.
Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
Dead mountain ash.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
A jumble of dead and alive trees here.
Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
Ferns I’ve not seen before.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
Getting up quite high here, where meadow begins to take over from snow gums (which were admittedly mostly burnt out in this section).

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
Snow gums grown at the highest altitudes of any Australian trees, and recover very slowly from fire. These trees are slowly regrowing from their base.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
Billy Button.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
These flowers appeared to have hats. Some of them took their hats off to open up fully.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
The Razorback Ridge (at about 1600-1750m of elevation) connects the Great Alpine Way (road) with Mt Feathertop. This is the easiest way to climb the mountain, and because it’s mostly above the treeline the views are good apparently.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
Approaching the summit.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
You can just see Sophia centre of the picture.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
From near the summit. To the left are rocks hinting at the more rugged east face of Mt Feathertop.

 

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
The summit was infested with these green flying insects that will be somewhat familiar to Australians. Not disgusting as it happens.
Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
Sophia at the summit of Mt Feathertop (1920m).
Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP
Me at the summit of Mt Feathertop (1920m). In this picture you can see Mt Buffalo to the left of my head. Not obvious on this photo, but the area was clearly rugged and this view inspired me to go there two days later.

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur, Alpine NP

Tasty Victorian beers after our Mt Feathertop walk.
After a lie down we went to the pub opposite our accommodation (Harrietville Snowline Hotel) for recovery beers: Beechworth Pale Ale and Two Pot Black Stout (7% alc).

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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