The Razorback & Bungalow Spur (13 Feb 2022)

After our trip out of Falls Creek we had a a few nights based in Harrietville. We had been unsure about whether to stay in Mt Hotham or Dinner Plain or Harrietville – but we were glad with our choice. Harrietville has a lovely village ambiance. The day after our arrival from Falls Creek was meant to be a rest day. But that had been on the premise we had descended from Mt Bogong the day before rather than our relatively flat stroll back to the car from High Plains Creek. So we decided to walk the section of Bon Accord Track as far as Washington Creek.

Fortunately I had been doing my research on bakeries and cafes in Harrietville the night before and concluded we needed to visit the bakery before we went walking. We timed it well – the vanilla slices had just come out, and so with two (not the one Tom had suggested we share!?!) of them tucked into the pack we set off on our walk.

Not long in I convinced Tom we really should have morning tea and eat them. He kept talking about eating half of one now and saving one for later. Amateur. They were amazing. And it would have been impossible to cut them in half without making a complete mess even if you’d wanted to.

Washington Creek itself was a bit disappointing. The sign boards said it was a great place for a picnic, I think that was overstating it. After being ejected from our initial lunch spot by some ants (I didn’t want a repeat of the previous day where half my thigh swelled up from a bite), we crossed the creek and used the camping flat. We did have a dip in the icy creek as well – but there wasn’t really anywhere more than thigh-deep. Back in Harrietville we enjoyed a coffee and a relaxed afternoon.

The alarm went off at 5am. Groan. The winding road to Mt Hotham starts immediately after Harrietville. I drove past the warning signs about the deer/kangaroos/wombats which were going to litter the road. Tom was about to make a joke about looking out for deer, when we rounded a corner to find one standing on our side of the road. After a bit of face-off it decided it might move.

The sky had lightened considerably by the time we got to Diamantina Hut. Ideally I think we would have got there 15-20 minutes earlier. As it was we started walking about 6:30am – sunrise at 6:42am. The light was magic. There’s no better place to be then on a magnificent ridge pre-dawn when it’s a still clear morning. There were plenty of stops for photos as the light changed and sun met us.

Tom in the early morning light

The Razorback awaits

We were glad to let a large group pass us on the way out. They were pretty boisterous and the noise carries when it’s so still. Otherwise we didn’t see anyone until we met the crowds who had been camped at Federation Hut overnight. It seemed they had all set the same alarm time. We passed something like 8 groups all in a row on their way back out. It was in a section where we had to stand off the track and every time we thought it was safe to move on another group would pop round the corner!

We made it to the Federation Hut/Feathertop junction shortly after 9am. Unfortunately the cloud was gathering around Feathertop despite it having been clear all of our way in. Nevertheless we of course headed up into the cloud. The large group from earlier were flying a drone on the summit so we decided to make do with a spot slightly short of the summit for morning tea. It was really quite pleasant once you dropped a metre off the ridge out of the wind.

Morning tea on the lee side of the Feathertop summit ridge

Once the summit was a bit more peaceful we headed across, willing the clouds to part, which they did sporadically. You didn’t have to descend far to get out of the cloud and at Federation Hut it was a lovely, sunny day.

Looking back the way we came

Weather was much nicer at Federation Hut!

Tom had offered me the option of continuing down to Harrietville via Bungalow Spur – he would go back the way we came and drive the car back. I happily took him up on the offer – though a little apprehensive on how steep it might be. As it turned out Bungalow Spur is a fairly gentle grade. I had been expecting something like Strongleg!!

Part of the reason for Tom’s offer was due to the bakery opening hours. The only way to visit the bakery again during our visit was to get there before 2pm – and that was only going to happen via Bungalow Spur. Tom reckoned I would be running to get there at the bottom. I don’t think he realises how much dawdling gets eliminated when I’m walking by myself 🙂 I made it to the bakery by 1:30pm… only to find the lady in front of me had bought the last vanilla slice 🙁 I had to settle for some other goodies. I suddenly felt the exhaustion having knocked off 22km and 1300m descent, and gratefully sunk into a chair at our accommodation to wait for Tom’s return.

The next day we headed to the south coast.