Alpine adventure

Falls Creek is not just a winter wonderland, there’s plenty to see and do all year round!

A friend once told me that a good story never starts with someone eating a salad. Therefore, on this occasion I’ll be starting with something a little more interesting – a good ole snake yarn.

I’m hiking towards Mt Nelse in the Victoria alps with my mate Tom who originally hails from Nottingham in northern England. Tom and his wife Sally currently manage Huski Lodge at Falls Creek and later in the year will also run the neighbouring Astra Lodge (currently undergoing substantial renovations). The couple met abroad while both were working in the Canadian ski resort of Banff. They love the mountain-life so it was easy decision to settle their family in the Australian alps.

Tom enjoys exploring the local walking trails and doesn’t mind hiking alone when he gets a chance.

“In Canada there was always the possibility of bumping into a bear or a cougar so it’s always safer to hike in pairs or a group, he says.

“Here in the mountains around Falls Creek there’s not too many dangerous animals to be wary of so I often go solo – I just need to keep an eye out for snakes”, he adds.

“Luckily I haven’t seen one yet”.

Tom leads the way as he tells stories about close encounters with bears and cougars and I respond with tales of stumbling upon snakes while hiking “The only good snake is a hibernating snake” I say.

We continue along the narrow walking track, when, right on cue, Tom stops dead in his tracks and yells ‘snake’.

Sure enough, a metre in front of him lies a big red-belly black snake. It slithers along the trail for a bit and then heads into some nearby bushes.

I look over at Tom who is frozen and looking white as a ghost.

“Still want to come out here on your own” I ask.

He takes a deep breath “Reckon I will reconsider that. Might need some fresh underwear” he replies.

We continue cautiously along the Heathy Spur track and then link up with the Big River Fire Trail which takes us to the summit of Mt Nelse. At the top we are graced with unlimited 360 degree views in all directions. The vantage point above the treeline is so good that we momentarily forget about snakes. We savour the view, eat some lunch and then retrace our steps back to the trailhead. It’s a great introduction to Alpine life!

During winter, Falls Creek is a glitzy and fashion-conscious resort, combining great skiing and infamous après-ski entertainment. However, during the warmer months bushwalking, mountain biking, fishing and swimming become the norm.

A great way to understand the local history is to visit a few of the alpine huts. Pastoralists moved into this area in the 1830s, setting up cattle runs in the foothills of the alps.

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