Mount Hotham's guided bushwalks are more than just a walk
Looking for something to do over the long weekend? Throw your walking boots on and a hat and make your way up to Mount Hotham for the most fascinating and fulfilling guided bushwalk you will experience.
Mount Hotham’s Summer Guided Bushwalking Program is in its fifth year of operation. The free guided tours commenced in 2011, after the completion of the Cobungra Ditch and The Huts walk.
Each of the walks have strong historical themes, however these were not previously explored and many were unclear about the names behind the walking tracks.
Mount Hotham’s Cultural Heritage and Tracks & Trails Officer Andrew Swift is passionate about Mount Hotham history and developed a passion for Mount Hotham mining history early in his life.
Mr Swift believed that it was important to unleash the intricate history around the area and decided to create the free tours to entice people to come and learn the significance of the tracks of which they were walking.
“Part of familiarising the public, lodge owners and the bushwalking public, we do these bushwalking tours,” Mr Swift said.
“During the guided tours, I tell people how we built the tracks, all the building techniques that we used such as how we carted thing out by hand, used hand tools, and how we reused any vegetation cut out of the track to re-establish poor areas around where we were working.
“Providing all that information on those walking tours was part of having the whole guided bushwalking program.
“It’s pretty rare that you get to go on a free guided tour, there are lots of agencies and local government where you can go on a guided tour but you must pay,” he said.
The tours take you back as far as the 1850s, where Europeans were in search for gold deposits. The rough paths and mountain tracks, where aboriginals had made their traditional routes, were eventually moulded into distinct tracks.
Mr Swift engages even the youngest of kids through his theatrics and informative knowledge about the golden era and its long historic transformation from untouched wilderness to the Mount Hotham Alpine Resort that stands proud today. He structures the free guided walks individually to the audience at the time and engages every type of audience.
“I just respond to the different age groups that are there.
“So, if there is kids’ groups, I like to have it a bit more fun and engaging, but if they are a more mature group I’m happy to talk a lot more of the history and they respond well to that,” he said.
Mr Swift said that the free guided tours help resort management to gain feedback from the public about the tracks and trails network which is proven to be “very valuable”.
“The direction signage we get feedback from. So, we know that’s working so we improve in that area, we know that the bushwalkers that come along are happy with the interpretive signage – we’ve ticked a few good boxes there.
“We know if people aren’t happy with a bit of area that’s a bit boggy, we try and do something about it.
“So we are giving them information and they’re giving us back information – so it’s a win-win from us too, we benefit a lot from holding the free tours,” he said.
The tours are usually scheduled for the long weekends for interested bushwalkers and the public who can come up for the weekend and explore the Alps.
Information about the Free Summer Guided Bushwalking Program can be found at here.
For further information regarding Mount Hotham’s historic tracks and trails network contact Andrew Swift on (03) 5759 4036.
22 February 2017
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