There are many incredible long distance walking tracks crossing the mountains of the world. Some, like the Pacific Crest Trail or PCT, which goes from Mexico to the Canadian border, have a high profile and see thousands undertake (or at least start) the journey each year. After the Overland Track, our most famous long distance mountain walking track would be the Australian Alps Walking Track, or AAWT, which stands out because of the smaller numbers of people who undertake it, its relative remoteness, and the fact that long distances of poorly marked tracks can make for difficult route finding. There are not many towns along the way (only a couple of ski resorts) and food drops can be a lot of work to organise and very time consuming (in contrast, along the PCT people mail supplies to themselves in the towns the trail passes through).
The AAWT starts in Walhalla in Victoria, crosses the Victorian Alps into the Snowy Mountains and goes almost to the outskirts of Canberra. It is 650 to 704km in length, with an epic 28,000 metres of elevation gain during the length of the walk. The track between Baw Baw Plateau and Mt Skene in the southern section can be hard to follow in sections.
There is a great website for the track, a detailed guide produced by John Chapman, a Track Angels group who provide support to walkers with things like transport and food drops,
The Australian Alps Walking Track is an extension of the Victorian Alpine Walking Track. For many years bushwalking enthusiasts from the Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs and various government agencies promoted the concept of a long distance walking track from Walhalla to Canberra.
Here’s a few things that may be of interest If you have ever daydreamed of walking the whole track.
The newest story/ video I have seen comes from Tom’s Outdoors in Tumut, who recently released Wake Up and Walk. A ‘documentary short film following Dominic Erbacher’s 23 day, 700km Australian Alps Walking Track journey and the ups and downs of solo hiking’.
In winter 2022, Huw Kingston completed his Alpine Odyssey, a winter crossing of the full length of the Australian Alps Walking Track.
Alicia Crossley recently walked it solo. This is her reflection.
Kathryn Maccullum walked it on a solo trip in 2003.
Mark Oates has done a number of traverses of the AAWT, including a winter trip in 2018 (epic).
Ben Jones walked the AAWT in late 2022, and his 4 videos of his trip gives a great insight into current track conditions, including areas that are overgrown. You can find them here. Interesting video despite his tedious commentary on Daniel Andrews.
Anthony Sharwood attempted the walk over the summer of 2019/ 20 and fire was a constant concern on his walk. His story ended up in the book From Snow to Ash.
Then of course there are the crazy people who run the trail. Check the Fastest Known Time website for details on people that have walked the track in short periods. And the Australian Alps Walking Track Ultra page on facebook. This guy ran it in 13 days. Apparently the record (as at January 2022) is 10 days, 23 hours and 14 minutes!
And, of course, do a search for ‘australian alps walking track’ on You Tube to find heaps of great, and often inspiring stuff.
There are some additional resources and stories on Mountain Journal here.
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