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Bushwalks in the Victorian Alps : exploring…

Bushwalks in the Victorian Alps : exploring the high country

by Glenn Van der Knijff

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As older guides become increasingly out of date, there has been an increasing need for a well designed modern guidebook to the high country with clear maps and gradient profiles. Bushwalks in the Victorian Alps concentrates on the two best walking areas in the mountains, the Bogong - Hotham and Buller - Howitt - Wellington regions with a few walks on the Buffalo and Baw Baw Plateaux and a walk on Mt Torbreck, but sadly the book is a bit of a disappointment.

The choice of destinations is excellent, with all the best spots covered, but the principal failing of the book is route selection. An awful lot of the routes described go to the destination and return the same way, when there are good alternative return routes. Even where the author describes a circuit, his choices are sometimes questionable. An example is the recommendation to walk the unpleasant switchback road between King River Hut and Cobbler, instead of the easier and more enjoyable Muesli Spur track.

The second problem is the number of factual errors and questionable judgements. A few examples for the case of Mt Feathertop: van der Knijff describes the huge $200,000 Federation Hut double decker dunny as ‘small’, rates the notorious trackless route on Champion Spur as ‘moderate’, and confuses the old Feathertop Hut with its former neighbour the Feathertop Bungalow. There are at least a dozen similar errors elsewhere in the book. In many cases these errors make an informed reader question whether the author has recently visited or even read about the areas he describes.

However a number of interesting walks are described that have not been covered in any guidebook published in the last 30 years, notably a route from Moroka Gorge direct to Snowy Bluff. But excellent book design and a few interesting new routes don’t make up for the book's many failings, so John Siseman’s Victoria’s Alpine National Park: a bushwalkers guide, (1997) remains the best walking guide for the area, despite its age. -© David Sisson
added by David_Sisson | editWikiski, David Sisson (Dec 31, 2012)
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