Australian Alps Walking Track guide

Download the Australian Alps Walking Track guide

About this guide

WALHALLA to CANBERRA – The Australian Alps Walking Track winds through the high country of Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT. It traverses rugged remote alpine country and bushwalkers must always be experienced, self reliant and have good navigation skills.

On the Australian Alps Walking Track you will visit some of Australia’s finest alpine national parks. The track climbs our highest mountains and crosses exposed high plains. It passes through magnificent tall forests and stunted snow gum woodlands, and discovers sites rich in history.

Origins

The Australian Alps Walking Track is an extension of the Victorian Alpine Walking Track, through New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. 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. The Victorian Alpine Walking Track, developed in the 1970s, was the first stage in the dream of linking the Australian Alps with a three-state trail. Continuing the Australian Alps Walking Track through Kosciuszko National Park (NSW) and Namadgi National Park (ACT) turned that dream into reality.

On the right track

The 650 kilometre track generally follows ridges and high plains through some of the highest country in Australia. It is mostly far from any towns or other settlement. You can join the track at many places between Walhalla and Canberra, as it joins popular walking tracks in the Baw Baw, Alpine, Kosciuszko and Namadgi national parks. You can walk the track in eight weeks, but many people choose to walk shorter sections such as those on the Baw Baw Plateau, the Bogong High Plains, and in the Jagungal Wilderness Area.

Navigation

The track is distinctively identified at track and road intersections for its entire length.

It follows well maintained walking tracks, barely visible foot pads, grassy fire access trails, and four-wheel drive vehicle tracks. To tackle the track you should be an experienced bushwalker, used to travelling in remote areas, and skilled in the use of map and compass. In some heavily forested sections of track in Victoria where it is difficult to navigate, the yellow track markers will be placed on trees. Please note there are no markers in Wilderness areas. A GPS and EPIRB may be useful. You must not depend on track markers for navigation.

Totems with directional markers are located at road and track intersections. New yellow track markers have replaced the older blue markers to improve visibility and to meet new Australian standards.

Wilderness

The track passes through five wilderness areas: Razor/Viking, Cobberas, Pilot, Jagungal and Bimberi. There are no directional markers or signs within these areas and walkers must be prepared for remote area navigation.

Weather

Weather conditions in the mountains are colder, wetter and much less predictable than at lower altitudes. During winter and spring snow can cover long sections of the track. In summer, thunderstorms are common and snow may fall, especially on the higher mountains. You need to be equipped for camping in all conditions and to be familiar with the symptoms and treatment of dangerous cold stress (hypothermia) and heat stress (hyperthermia).

Water

Water can be scarce along some sections of the track, especially in summer and along the drier ridges and spurs. Boil or filter all water. Be prepared to carry water, enough for two days.

Permits and restrictions apply along sections of the track

  • fuel stove only areas exist in Baw Baw National Park, Alpine National Park, at Mount Bogong, in Kosciuszko National Park above the tree line (about 1700 metres altitude) and in the Cotter Catchment of Namadgi National Park
  • camping and fire permits are required for sections of Namadgi National Park
  • camping restrictions apply in the Thomson and Jordan water supply catchments of Victoria.

Australian Alps national parks

The Australian, Victorian, NSW and ACT governments work closely together, as the Australian Alps Liaison Committee, to better manage the ancient and unique landscapes of the national parks in the Australian Alps. Parks and reserves managed under the internationally respected cross-border arrangements stretch from the outskirts of Canberra through NSW to the mountains of Victoria.

The Australian Alps Walking Track represents the spirit of cooperation across the Australian Alps national parks.

For further information

Victoria:
Walhalla General Store 03 5165 6227
Parks Victoria information line 13 1963
Baw Baw National Park, Erica 03 5165 3204
Alpine National Park, Bright 03 5755 0000

New South Wales:
Snowy Region Visitor Centre 02 6450 5600
Tumut Visitor Centre 02 6947 7025

Australian Capital Territory:
Namadgi Visitor Centre 02 6207 2900
ACT Information Line 13 2281

Maps

Australian Alps Tourist Map 1:500 000 – 02 6242 0995
Stuart Brookes Bush Maps Victoria
Information Victoria: Vicmap 1:25 000 and 1:50 000 – 1300 366 356
NSW Land and Property Information: 1:25 000 and 1:50 000 – 02 6332 8123
ACT Government: Namadgi Map and Guide, 1:100 000 – 02 6207 2900

Books

Australian Alps Walking Track by John Siseman 1998 from Pindari Books
Wild guide to plants and animals of the Australian Alps 1999 from Envirobook Publishing