Falls Creek to Hotham Alpine Crossing

CaptainC

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I've just received the following

Dear All,


Tourism North East are keen to get your input with respect to the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing, in particular the proposed route, features and attributes that will make it a compelling part of the 655 kilometre Australian Alps Walking Track.


In conjunction with other vested parties, TNE have Ministerial approval to undertake the first round of preliminary consultation for the draft Masterplan for the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing. As this is preliminary, there will be further, more comprehensive consultation to be done in coming months, before the finalisation of the submission (a brief timeline is presented on the link below).


You can click on (or copy and paste the link) http://www.tourismnortheast.com.au/alpine-crossing/ to find the collateral which outlines the proposed alignment and the overarching objectives of the project.


TNE are eagerly seeking feedback from a very broad range of operators, stakeholders, local town influencers, LGA's and would greatly appreciate your assistance and participation in reviewing the link and information contained in the two page flyer.


Then – to provide your input, please participate in this short survey:


https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/79W9NBZ


Please feel free to circulate to any other interested parties that may have feedback that could be useful, at this preliminary stage, in helping to develop an iconic trail, linking both Falls Creek and Mt Hotham.


Thanks in advance for your participation.


Regards

Stuart Smythe

Chief Executive Officer
Falls Creek
 

skifree

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Thanks for bringing this to our attention Captain C.

Interesting route. Getting a hardened track up Diamantina Spur will be an interesting job, it would be nice if the trail (particularly) is marked so as to be use able in Winter.
 

Boodwah

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Thanks for bringing this to our attention Captain C.

Interesting route. Getting a hardened track up Diamantina Spur will be an interesting job, it would be nice if the trail (particularly) is marked so as to be use able in Winter.
This. Diamantina needs lotsa work. Wondering who their market group is over those who do these walks regularly anyway. Hard to imagine many more doing it without extra creature comforts.
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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well dunny at Westons....poo tubes aint ganna cut in on an Iconic Walk..

upgrade of Diamintina Long Drop too and add in rainwater tank to keep folk out of water ways....

The initial part of the Diamintina Spur is dangerous for trekkers of limited ability...Parks need to re-route ASAP..
this will eliminate legal consequences should a fall take place...

Horse Yards is for Horses and the riders should not be neglected in this proposed Iconic Walk..
;)
No further huts should be constructed in Horse Yard Area...

A fire refuge should be considered somewhere close to Blairs Hut and kept low key with surrounding landscape but very well sign posted from all directions....

Eco tourist organizations should not intrude on the use of Horse Yards by other user groups
granting permits for use to this area weekend after weekend should not be considered..

Team Bears suggest that consultation with Ken Harris(Red Robin Battery)who has the best knowledge of area and of access problems..:)
 

Hully

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I thought that this walk was already in place with overnight at Dibbins Hut and Cope Hut?? There is already trailhead signage, camping platforms and Parks Vic website booking in place. This sounds like bureaucrats doing a masterplan to keep themselves and consultants in work. Has the current 'product' been given a chance to prove itself.

In regards to alignment, I would think that the current Swindlers Spur, Dibbins Hut, Cope Hut, Langfords Aqueduct, Heathy Spur makes more sense as it allows for a range of walk times from one day through to three day. I would think that Diamantina Spur moves the walk out of the realm of the typical 'tourist product' walk.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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I don't think the EcoTourist enterprises like the route thro Dibbins Hut as they cannot get their support vehicles to the site..
Team Bears see them rocking up at Horse Yards cos it is convenient for them...they tell me that they have booked the site with Parks Vic..!!!

Diamintina Spur is not too difficult with only sunnies and a water bottle to carry...but the initial climb to gain the spur proper needs some serious work to weave across the slope and to gain altitude :needs switch backs...like Bungalow spur...

but this is work that should be considered on its own merit regardless of the new Iconic Walk momentum..

perhaps another site other than the Horse Yards needs to be considered....

Team Bears say if u want their opinion ...u better off funding a dozer and grader to do some track works in West Kiewa than wasting funds on other things..
 
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Hully

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If commercial operators would prefer a different route to enable them to better service and sell an iconic walk then clearly they should be the ones preparing, funding and presenting the business case and also funding (or facilitating the grant funding) of any track upgrades identified as necessary. There is, as I already have said, an existing Alpine Crossing walk that has been described as iconic, recently upgraded with improved track and camping facilities, sign posted and launched with some fanfare. Either this new masterplanning process or what has preceded with the current Alpine Crossing is a wasteful misspend of public funds.
Yes, I will be making submission of such to TNE process.
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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If commercial operators would prefer a different route to enable them to better service and sell an iconic walk then clearly they should be the ones preparing, funding and presenting the business case and also funding (or facilitating the grant funding) of any track upgrades identified as necessary. There is, as I already have said, an existing Alpine Crossing walk that has been described as iconic, recently upgraded with improved track and camping facilities, sign posted and launched with some fanfare. Either this new masterplanning process or what has preceded with the current Alpine Crossing is a wasteful misspend of public funds.
Yes, I will be making submission of such to TNE process.
though the trip thro Dibbins Hut is pleasant....the Diamintina and upper West Kiewa at Blairs Hut are more scenic and as it stands access is usually obtained to the Horse Yards for the general public...

Now the management gate to Blairs could be interesting...for authorized vehicles with permits attending to special ecotours Bears have no problem with them accessing Blairs Hut and setting themselves up....so if Horseyards gets overcrowded then it would be good to see groups of 15 say camped at Blairs Hut area.as an alternative....:thumbs:..
 

sidetrack

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It sounds like its being driven by FC to me. They want the market with dollars and those people don't want to camp of stay in any of the crappy huts in the area. They want cooked meals and proper beds.
 

Hully

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Make no doubt about it...this is all about commercial development within the National Park. "A resolved, design-led, strategic master plan and implementation strategy is currently being developed which considers regional tourism and commercial opportunities in the context of recent changes to public land policy, particularly tourism investment in national parks." Amongst this short sentence of bureacratic jargon it leaves no doubt that it is about comercial development along the walk.

This area of the Alpine National Park already contains the highest density of commercial development with the Park (Falls, Hotham, Dinner Plain) and has the highest density of sub-alpine towns and access points surrounding it of all the park. The Alpine Resorts are set aside for commercial development within the National Park and development should be restricted to these areas. If a new walk/realignment is to be developed it should be focussed on shortening the route so that commercial development desired by 'pay to walk' customers is contained in the existing Alpine Resorts. I am getting a little tired of Alpine Resorts marketing the National Park as their product.

Part of me thinks that the good thing about this proposed alignment is that, apart from the waste of public money in what has already been done and preparing this 'masterplan', it takes 'pay to walk' customers and commercial operators away and leaves the traditional route and camping areas to walkers. However, with commercial development comes restriction to others to drive people to utilise the commercial operation and provide the paying elite with an 'excusive experience'.

It is also strange that the TNE makes mention of the Australian Alps Walking Track as the proposed new alignment significantly reduces the amount of the walk on the AAWT. The true 'iconic' walk in this part of the Alpine National Park is the AAWT from Hotham to Bogong or Harrietville to Mountain Creek.
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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Hully is making sense here...

any further development in West Kiewa needs to be carefully managed...

Bears not in favour of more house like accomodation down here..

Red Robin Mine Battery has buildings already and may be an appropriate site for any further development..

Had run ins with ecotouroperatives last year...
and Team Bears do not want to see them take over areas like Horseyards buy allegedly booking the site for their o/n camp..

some upgrades in toilets/rain water tanks is ok with us..

perhaps even a rotunda to sit around when its pissing down with rain but its ganna have to be very carefully landscaped and certainly not slap bang in horseyards which are picture card perfect at moment..

and cost of permits for this iconic walk needs to cover cost of Parks in keeping walking tracks free of fallen trees and toilet construction/maintenance....

we don't want private enterprise profiting enormously by gaining unfairly from the National Park or DSE works...

Bears believe that it is possible to run ecotours from Falls Ck to Hotham with o/n camping in tents set up by operators in West Kiewa but care needs to be taken in granting any permits and other users be they fishmen,horse riders.trail bikes or mt bikes etc need to have their rights protected from private enterprise....

we can see that there is lots of politics will be involved in this and it wont be an easy path forward for Parks Vic and DSE....

West Kiewa is a truly magnificent experience and Bears want to see it stay much as is but some track work would be well received and some signage and upgrade of fords with dozer work..but it needs to be managed not just left alone..
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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Parks Vic gone stir crazy these days or what??
Bears note that their little poster map has mis.spelt Jaithmathangs on the left border that deals we suppose with indigenous culture...but bad proof reading aside...

submissions close 23/Nov so some folk better have a look at proposals....:p
 

Chaeron

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I reckon that the main initiators - the 2 resorts, the local tourist operators, and regional councils have been caught off guard by 3 things -

1) the tourism uptick around mountain biking which is a more lucrative and higher turnover prospect.

2) the realities around Diamantina spur, the cost of development versus the number of hikers.

3) the unexpected public blowback around infrastructure, control, bookings.

So I reckon they’re going to leave this on the back-burner, especially with changed ParksVic management.

With new management boards for the resorts, the Buffalo lodge development and the CFA fiasco and a state election on 24 November dominated by urban issues I reckon it’s going to be a while before we see anything happening on this front.

Marginal seats might get more action.
 

Chaeron

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Feeney could be doing the time-honoured Spring street crossing at rush hour.

Lose his house of Reps seat in the by-election, angle to return to an upper house seat in the Federal Senate, get knocked back, angle for an upper house state seat, get knocked back, go and sulk in the holiday house, and then get an appointment running the MFB or something.
 
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weerab

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I reckon that the main initiators - the 2 resorts, the local tourist operators, and regional councils have been caught off guard by 3 things -

1) the tourism uptick around mountain biking which is a more lucrative and higher turnover prospect.

2) the realities around Diamantina spur, the cost of development versus the number of hikers.

3) the unexpected public blowback around infrastructure, control, bookings.

So I reckon they’re going to leave this on the back-burner, especially with changed ParksVic management.

With new management boards for the resorts, the Buffalo lodge development and the CFA fiasco and a state election on 24 November dominated by urban issues I reckon it’s going to be a while before we see anything happening on this front.

Marginal seats might get more action.
Phew!
 
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Xplora

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I reckon that the main initiators - the 2 resorts, the local tourist operators, and regional councils have been caught off guard by 3 things -

1) the tourism uptick around mountain biking which is a more lucrative and higher turnover prospect.

2) the realities around Diamantina spur, the cost of development versus the number of hikers.

3) the unexpected public blowback around infrastructure, control, bookings.

So I reckon they’re going to leave this on the back-burner, especially with changed ParksVic management.

With new management boards for the resorts, the Buffalo lodge development and the CFA fiasco and a state election on 24 November dominated by urban issues I reckon it’s going to be a while before we see anything happening on this front.

Marginal seats might get more action.

The 4th thing that caught them off guard was challenging them on the number of people currently doing the walk which is what they based the economics on. They had no answer as to where they plucked the figures and the summary has agreed to review the figures. When I put it to them that their number of 17000 walker nights meant over 8000 a year for the current 2 night walk and the camping platform hire suggested around 400 at the most (if you double the number of platforms hired and then double again for those not using them) they were speechless. Now if they were to grow it to 64000 walker nights a year then you would need turnstiles and ushers. Very appealing? We are still waiting for the proper environmental and economic studies which were to be released last year. The other hurdle they have is around Planning. If PV build and manage the accommodation then they do not have to comply with some planning aspects. If done by a commercial operator then they cannot comply with CFA requirements for access and they must comply with all council planning requirements. This would be difficult or impossible. PV don't want to build and manage them. The resorts, Alpine shire and Tourism NE have their own agenda which has nothing to do with the walk. I suspect you are right about the idea being put on the back burner for the moment. The admission the Great Ocean walk is running at loss should be enough to shelve it.
 

Hully

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The 5th thing that caught them off guard is that they will have to go over my dead body:confused: before they turn the Alpine N.P, into a cross between Lego Land and a user pays wheelchair friendly Club Med resort for cashed up bogans.:mad:
I don't think that using "wheelchair friendly" as a derogatory term is in good taste. Personally I would prefer to see a focus on spending money and effort increasing accessibility for all, particularly those with physical disability, rather than introducing infrastructure for the well heeled for whom the barrier to accessibility is a level of luxury.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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I don't think that using "wheelchair friendly" as a derogatory term is in good taste. Personally I would prefer to see a focus on spending money and effort increasing accessibility for all, particularly those with physical disability, rather than introducing infrastructure for the well heeled for whom the barrier to accessibility is a level of luxury.
Sir, I take your point and retract that aspect of my rant. Nat . Parks are for everyone, not just user pays glampers.
 
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Xplora

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The 5th thing that caught them off guard is that they will have to go over my dead body:confused: before they turn the Alpine N.P, into a cross between Lego Land and a user pays Club Med resort for cashed up bogans.:mad:
It is good to know the extent of your sacrifice for the cause. A few more dead bodies on the track would take the shine off. Any others offering?
 
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Chaeron

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Nominating our favourite forumites.... now wouldn’t that get ugly fast. :D

In the spirit of the Golden Globes I nominate the recently ‘retired’ Buller CEO, (no names mentioned of course, a defamation action would be a first for the forum, wouldn’t it?)
 

Xplora

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But you want to exclude glampers, and the glampers are not excluding you.

I get confused.
Those offering the glamping services are seeking to exclude regular walkers from areas currently used by them once they have their infrastructure in place. The original plan was a 500m exclusion zone which has been reviewed and I believe reduced to 100m. The effect would have been to stop the non-paying customers from camping at places such as Tawonga huts. Other exclusions included restricting numbers of people on each section of the track at any time with a permit system used. Preference was to be given to those using the payed resort style accommodation.It was also suggested special rangers be employed to police permits and camping. When speaking with the local MP's (both NP members) the cost of the project did not seem to be an issue but excluding people was a big concern and they objected to that. Those putting the concept forward have argued that currently the conditions of the track and lack of facilities for those who do not want to camp is excluding them from walking it but facilities of a suitable standard are on offer at Falls Creek and Hotham from where they can do day walks and return to their comfy air conditioned rooms.
 

Xplora

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You were doing so well until you got to "comfy air conditioned rooms". What is wrong with "comfy air conditioned rooms"?
Nothing at all. I like them too. Just not between the resorts in the Park. It was not meant to have a go at those who like the comforts. Simply pointing out there is something already provided for those who do not like roughing it and they can still enjoy the area without impacting on those who want to sleep out. One of the slogans I put forward at the Bright meeting was about encouraging 'comfort before and after nature' instead of their concept of comfort in nature. I quite like grabbing a nice room after a long walk and then heading out for a good feed, this is when walking some distance from home and not feeling like a long drive. Very civilised.
 
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mr

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I thought it was reduced to an area around the huts.

that is also my understanding from someone i know working on the project, who i expressed my deep concern for the original 500m offset to track and hut sites

regardless, to my knowledge, there is no private investors the project relies on for at least $half
 

Xplora

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At the Bright meeting they said it was a mistake and had been reduced to 100m from the track and camp areas. Still not great if you want to camp near Fed hut as that is another area earmarked. It is currently 100m from the camping platforms at Cope and Dibbins huts.
 

GS

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I thought it was reduced to an area around the huts.

The Tassie model (Overland Tk) of having the option of tent sleeping or under a roof at the huts seems like a better plan, even if numbers are limited during peak times. This is also done at Torres Del Paine....seems to work quite well for heavily visited areas and sort of caters for everyone, those wanting to keep it simple and those wanting/needing more developed accomodation.
 

mr

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Key Issue: Non-Exclusive Setting
Comments
– A 100m camping exclusion buffer from trail
will make it difficult to camp and impossible
at steep areas like Diamantina Spur.
– The proposed camping exclusion buffer can
create environmental damage by pushing
free campers into potentially sensitive areas.
– Camping platforms are less desirable than
at-grade camping (often empty e.g. Dibbins
Hut).
– Independent walkers should not be displaced
from the best camping spots.
– There will be more litter if independent
walkers are banned from sites with toilets.
– Night 4 makes camping difficult for big
groups.
– There should be no booking priority for tour
operators.
– Clarify the use of hut for independent
campers in an emergency event or inclement
weather.
– Consider that walkers on the Australian
Alps Walking Trail cannot know when they
will arrive at a particular campsite and are
generally unable to book ahead.
– Concerns were raised about the displacement
of dispersed campers

Suggestions
– Booking for campsites should not prioritise
one group over another; it should be at least
50/50 for groups and private campers - refer
Overland Track.
– Unbooked sites should be opened to any
users approximately three weeks before usedate.
– Dispersed camping 100m from track
and 250m from designated campsites is
appropriate in flat areas.
– Consider compromising on the '100m from
roofed accommodation' buffer in areas where
dispersed campers would be absolutely
excluded (i.e. Diamantina Spur and Mt.
Feathertop).
– Provide dispersed campers with access to
toilet facilities to limit environmental impact.
– Compare the environmental impact of
dispersed campers vs. platform campers vs.
roofed accommodation.
– Master plan to explore the 100 m buffer
zone and its impact on hikers camping free of
charge.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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Has this turned into the White Elephant Project?

It's most certainly chewed up an enormous amount of Money already.....
 

Xplora

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regardless, to my knowledge, there is no private investors the project relies on for at least $half
It was noted a great reliance on private investment was needed and PV were not interested in doing that side of things. They were also looking for people to start up a guiding service I have noted a number of companies offering some sort of package. Not sure how successful they are.
 
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mr

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might have been in the other thread @Xplora, but i posted a link showing that since 2013 or so when PV opened up to private investors, they have received none or few actual propositions. only one i can think of are the boat tours at the prom. this may be their terms of reference too (eg short lease on the buffalo chalet)

Vic aint Tassie, and there arent many ken latona's here
 
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mr

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pretty sure the grampians / geriwerd epic track has been scaled back too
 

mr

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They were also looking for people to start up a guiding service I have noted a number of companies offering some sort of package. Not sure how successful they are

to me the guiding aspect comes after the infrastructure is there. people that want guides want the other stuff too. so to rely on private investors for the infrastructure, which isnt coming, will mean the guiding is also limited until there is somewhere to shit, shower and shave
 
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