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  • taniapanozzoworral

On top of the world

Updated: Jul 23, 2021

As the mercury climbs to January’s inevitable onslaught of 40 degree days on the lowlands it's Falls Creek that is calling my name.



They say you should either live near the sea or the mountains.


I don’t do either, so holidays or getaways are generally one or the other.


Snow is out. In my 20s I spent too many years in the Italian village of my father where the wonder of the first snowfalls give way to cold beyond compare and the winter wonderland melts into a white slush that would challenge a hard fit “tough mudder”.


So as the mercury climbs to January’s inevitable onslaught of 40 degree days on the lowlands it is Falls Creek that calls my name. The alpine resort in North East Victoria is far enough from Melbourne to deter the day trippers but packed with people seeking cooler climes — mountain bikers use the extensive network of trails carved into the ski runs; hikers lace up their boots — the hardened with backpacks for their overnight or many night adventure with the elements; horsey types camp out near Pretty Valley with their noble stress to explore the history and heritage of the the once summer grazing runs made famous by Banjo Patterson with Clancy of the Overflow and at this time of year runners and rowers looking for a high altitude advantage with the Tokyo Olympics on the horizon.


The great thing for me is I’m none of that — oh, I lace up the Nikes, but they’re comfy for the walks through the rolling high plains that at this time of year are bursting with wildflowers, the back pack carries lunch and water. Sometimes a moderate alcoholic beverage sneaks into the supplies.


Moderate is how I like to do the high plains around Falls Creek. That’s why when the clouds roll in and the threat of rain is imminent it’s a short drive across the Rocky Valley dam wall — a lake that sits 1600m above sea level and claims the largest and highest body of water in the country — to the trail head for the Ropers Lookout walk. It’s 2 kilometres along an aqueduct trail and the a knarly little staircase to the summit. On a clear day it’s a majestic view over the village, down to the Kiewa Valley and back over the lake. This day it was blowing, cold, a little wet and yet still impressive.


"There are so many other walks, many to be enhanced by a $15 million spend on a walking trail to Falls Creek’s sister resort at Mount Hotham. It promises to just add to the summer attractions."


Hiker guilt or perhaps the memory of the Last Hoots pizza from the night before set the scene for a tougher challenge on Day 2. It’s an 8km round trek to the Tawonga Huts — a group of four huts built and rebuilt through fires and other pestilence that as a group are still recognised as significant by the National Trust. The walk follows a fire trail from Pretty Valley dam, beyond the high country riders in their Drizabones, and is 8km return from the carpark. It’s a lot of uphill and summits above 1800m with views towards Mt Feathertop, Fainter and the Yithmathangs.


But there are so many other walks, many to be enhanced by a $15 million spend on a walking trail to Falls Creek’s sister resort at Mount Hotham. It promises to just add to the summer attractions.


And if walking isn’t your thing then it’s a two-wheel drive to the top of Mt Mackay, exposed to the elements, rugged and majestic where the sunset lights up the rolling vista of peaks and high plains that are unique to Australia, perhaps the world. And as you soak up the view you might reach into that backpack and find one of those sneaky beverages to toast the hidden beauty of an Australian summer (or kick back at Apartment 3, the deco inspired bar with a view at Elk at Falls).




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