Where is it? In the Australian Alps, 230km north-west of Melbourne
How to see it for yourself?
Drive up towards Mt Buller from Mansfield, then take a left after the Mirimbah tollgate onto Stirling Road. Then it’s 8km of sealed road to Telephone Box Junction, the limit for vehicles in winter. But in the warmer months you can continue to the gravel by 2WD Circuit Road: turn left and drive for 20km to the junction with Clear Hills Track. From there it’s a 20-minute walk or short 4WD drive to Craig’s Hut. The spectacular, minimally developed Mt Stirling attracts cross-country skiers, horse riders and bushwalkers. The original Craig’s Hut, inspired by those used by cattle drovers for temporary shelter, was built for the movie The Man from Snowy River (1982) but burnt down in a bushfire. This replica – with a tin rather than bark roof – was completed in 2008. The shot was taken at sunrise. There are a couple of hundred huts (or their ruins) scattered through the Australian Alps; some built for fishermen, skiers, miners or hydro workers as well as graziers. Most are only accessible on foot/bike/horseback. Wallace Hut near Falls Creek (see number 26 in this list) is thought to be the oldest, built in 1889. A further 2km down the Bogong High Plains Road is Cope Hut, built for skiers in 1929, while Fry’s Hut in the Howqua Hills Historic Area, 34km from Mansfield, is another good example. See the sites below for more information.
Why I love it
“I spent three days camping in the snow at Craig’s Hut with a good friend a few years ago and it was an experience we will never forget. The peace and solitude were incredibly unique. We drank ice-cold water from a nearby stream and built a campfire from fallen tree branches. Every night we lay awake in our tents trying to figure out what kind of high-country animals made such terrifying noises! Perhaps the rumours of wild cats and panthers have some credibility after all.” – Mark Gray