Beyond Hotham is a 10-day event that takes place in the heart of the High Country, offering participants the chance to explore one of Australia’s most breathtaking and historically rich regions with the guidance of expert trip leaders. The trips range from single day outings to overnight treks and span all difficulty levels, with a mixture of well-known and private tracks to captivate even the most experienced High Country explorer. Each trip leader’s intimate understanding and historical knowledge of the region add another dimension to the treks, which participants can pick and choose to create their ultimate High Country experience.
The 2013 event was cancelled due to fires affecting over 15,000 hectares surrounding Mount Hotham, meaning the region had suffered three major fires in a decade (2003, 2009 and 2013). Gavin Moody, track master for Beyond Hotham, is now gearing up for the next exciting instalment of the event he was forced to cancel in February after seeing the carnage from a surveying helicopter in the midst of the fires.
“It’s hard to get that momentum back,” said Gavin, who has reconstructed the track schedule to deal with the changes in access and scenery.
“After the fires, there was a lot of burnt and open ground. The majority of the track network was open a month after the fires, though some are still not accessible. New signs and a lot of track and tree clearing has taken place to clear any danger areas and the tracks themselves.” said Gavin.
With some areas still closed, Beyond Hotham has rescheduled and rejuvenated the trips for the 2014 event, which will run from March 13-23. With a broader track range that takes in new destinations through brand new trips, the event has managed to come back from a year off with more life than ever. The same can be said of the region affected by the fires, which Gavin has seen burn and burst forth with life cyclically numerous times.
“Even at this early stage, everything is starting to come back. Within six to eight months, in a lot of areas you won’t even know there was a fire,” said Gavin.
The High Country and those attached to it have been forced to grow after what was a tragic summer in 2013, though from the response of the region and events like Beyond Hotham, there’s something to look forward to in 2014 for Australia’s alpine areas.
Beyond Hotham will run from March 13-23 (13/03/14 - 23/03/14), and you can register for the event now. If you can't make the full 10-days, there are day passes, overnight passes and weekend passes available as well.
Want to know more about the event? Download the 2014 Track Schedule, or read more on what Beyond Hotham is about.
Smoke rises from the hills in High Country Victoria during the 2013 bushfires. Photo: Gavin Moody.