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Mount Hotham, VIC

Popular ski resort in the Victorian snowfields

Mount Hotham (1862 metres) and the village of Hotham Heights lie in the heart of the Bogong National Park. In winter it has a reliable snow cover with both excellent  powder snow and high-quality downhill skiing slopes. At 1840 metres, the resort is the highest in Australia. The village is located at the top of the ski runs which are serviced by fourteen ski lifts. The summit is one kilometre from the Great Alpine Road and provides excellent views of Mount Feathertop, the surrounding countryside and the Ovens, Kiewa, Bundara, Cobungra, Victoria, Little Dargo, Wongungurra and Buckland Rivers. Mount Hotham caters to inexperienced, intermediate and advanced skiers and is an ideal location for a cool, summer holiday of bushwalking.

Location

Mount Hotham (1862 metres) is located 381 km north-east of Melbourne via the Hume Highway and Great Alpine Road.

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Origin of Name

The first European to explore the district was Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller in 1854. He named Mount Hotham after Sir Charles Hotham who  who was Governor of Victoria in 1854-1855.

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Things to See and Do

Skiing, Snowboarding and Tobogganing
The total area of Mount Hotham and Dinner Plain is 320 ha of which 245 ha is serviced by a total of 13 ski lifts. The terrain relating to the lifts is 20% for beginners, 40% for intermediate level and 40% for advanced skiers. All the information about the lifts, a live snow cam, snow reports and vital statistics can be obtained at https://www.mthotham.com.au. During the winter months Mount Hotham and Dinner Plain have accommodation for 7,000 people and there are more than 11 restaurants and cafes in the area. The site also has information about activities including husky sled dog tours; snowshoeing; cross country skiing and back country sled tours. Check out https://www.mthotham.com.au/on-mountain/things-to-do/activities. There is a useful trail map which clearly indicates the lifts and trails in the area. Check out https://www.skiresort.info/ski-resort/mount-hotham/trail-map.

Bushwalking
In summer, when the grassy plains above the tree line of mountain ash and snow gum are covered with wildflowers, the mountain's walking tracks are popular with bushwalkers. Bushwalkers are well catered for with a number of downloadable track notes which can be accessed at https://www.mthotham.com.au/summer/things-to-do/whats-on/activities/hiking-summer/track-notes-summer. A good starting point is the Guide to Wildflowers which can be downloaded as a PDF at https://www.mthotham.com.au/Portals/0/Hotham/Documents/Summer/Wildflowers-Foothills-of-Northeastern-Vic-2018.pdf and the general Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain Tracks and Trails which identifies 10 tracks and trails in the area can be downloaded at https://www.mthotham.com.au/Portals/0/Hotham/Documents/Summer/Hotham-Dinner-Plain-Tracks-Guide.pdf.
The walks are as follows:
* The Huts Walk- Grade 4 - 15 km between Alpine Crossing Trailhead and Davenport Access Track - approximately 7 hours.
* The Cobungra Ditch Walking Track - Grade 3 - 12.5 km one way - mostly level - 4 hours one way.
* Brandy Creek Mine to Cobungra River - Grade 3 - 3 km one way - mostly level - 90 minutes.
* Brabralung Trail (Hotham - Dinner Plain) - Grade 3 - 12 km one way - mostly level - 4 hours one way.
* Dead Timber Hill from Dinner Plain - Grade 4 - 4 km return - 90 minutes
* Carmichael Falls Walk from Dinner Plain - Grade 3 - 2 km return - 90 minutes
* Montane Walking Track & Montane Loop from Dinner Plain - Grade 3 - 6.9 km.
There are many more tracks and walks in the area. There is a trek across the Razorback to Mount Feathertop. The Alpine Walking Track cuts through the Mount Hotham Resort on its passage northwards. Others lead to the Noggerheads, the Red Robin Mine and Mount Fainter.

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Other Attractions in the Area

Dinner Plain
Dinner Plain is 13 km south-east of Mount Hotham via the Great Alpine Road. The scenic village with over 200 lodges and chalets which offers bush walks, a spa and retreat with outdoor hot springs, Australia’s highest brewery and a range of dining options. The activities in the area include biking, hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing along trails that spread out from the village. The area includes historic cattlemen’s huts from the gold rush era and there is a shuttle bus to the ski runs at Mount Hotham. During winter there is a beginner ski hill, complete with tobogganing and a snow-play area. Check out https://www.mthotham.com.au/on-mountain/getting-about/dinner-plain for more details. It was named because the coaches travelling from Omeo to Bright stopped and had "dinner" at the local pub.

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History

* Prior to European settlement the Jaitmatang Aboriginal language group lived in the district. Other groups passed through the area in the summer months.

* The explorer Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller became the first European to explore the slopes when he passed through the area in 1854. He named it after Governor Sir Charles Hotham.

* European settlement began around 1860 when several women set up cabins and shanties to house miners in transit between the Dargo, Omeo and Ovens goldfields. 'Mother' Morwell established a log cabin near Mount St Bernard (1524 metres) and shanties near Freezeout and Freeburg. Mother Johnson Flat, 7 km from Mount Hotham village, is named after a woman who once ran a wine shanty there.

* In 1860 gold was discovered at Crooked River near Mount Hotham.

* The St Bernard Hospice was established 8 km south-east of Mount Hotham in 1863.Legend has it that, because the St Bernard hospice was only 3.5 metres high, the mailman occasionally fell down the chimney while searching through very heavy snowfall for the building.

* In 1874 640 hectares around Mount Hotham were set aside for public usage. The Petersen brothers made the first recorded ski crossing of the Victorian alps.

* So difficult could the roads be in winter time that no wheeled vehicle is said to have passed through the area until 1883.

* A coach service from Omeo began in 1884.

The public was encouraged to regard the area as a holiday spot by the decision, in the 1910s, of some public figures - such as then governor, Sir Thomas Gibson-Carmichael, his wife and other prestigious figures - to ski at St Bernard.

* The Norwegian consul, Hans Fay, and a friend, made the first ski trip across the Razorback from St Bernard to Mount Feathertop in 1912.

* By the 1920s ski clubs started moving from Mount Buffalo to Mount Hotham.

* In the early 1940s Eric Johnson began a long-running service carting stores and skiers' packs to Mount Hotham via the Bon Accord Spur on a sled pulled by a horse on snowshoes.

* The St Bernard Hospice burned down by a summer bushfire in 1939.

* In 1939 the Hotham Heights Chalet burnt down. It was replaced in six months.

* By 1985 there was accommodation for 3300 people at Mount Hotham.

* In 1999 an airport was opened 20 km from Mount Hotham at Horsehair Plain.

* The area experienced major bushfires in 2007.

* The Great Alpine Road through Mount Hotham underwent major repair in 2013.

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Visitor Information

Mount Hotham Visitor Information Centre, 28 Great Alpine Road, Hotham Heights, tel: (03) 5759 3550.

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Useful Websites

Check out http://www.mthotham.com.au.

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