Victoria’s high country isn’t just a winter destination.  We break down the best Mount Hotham and Dinner Plain summer activities.


Mount Hotham and Dinner Plain are two of the Victorian high country’s most spectacular towns, famous for their line-up of incredible winter sports.

But what happens when the snow melts?  Should you just avoid a Dinner Plain holiday during the off-season?

Our advice?  No way!

The region around Dinner Plain is arguably even more exciting in summer, and boasts a diversity of outdoor activities that are guaranteed to keep you and your family entertained.  From spectacular hikes to crazy four-wheel-driving, there’s something to suit everyone.

Don’t spend your summer sweat-soaked and sulky – explore Victoria’s high country and savour the cool, alpine atmosphere.

We’ve put together a list of our favourite Dinner Plain summer activities, so, if you think a Victorian getaway in December, January or February sounds like your thing, keep reading.

 

Dinner Plain Summer Activities

Hiking

Mount Feathertop, Alpine National Park, Victoria
Mount Feathertop

If you’re visiting Dinner Plain and Mount Hotham over summer, hiking is one of the best activities available.  The Victorian highlands are naturally stunning – think vast, blue-hazed mountain ranges and bush-shrouded valleys threaded with walking trails.

From the bare ridges of Mount Feathertop to the rugged, gum-lined Cobungra Ditch walking track, there’s a range of different options to suit all ages and abilities.

Dinner Plain Hiking Trails

  1. Brabralung Trail (Easy-Difficult, 12km, woodland, open plains)
  2. Fitzy’s Cirque (Easy, 1km, around Dinner Plain)
  3. Carmichael Falls Walk (Moderate, 2km, bush)
  4. Room With a View (Easy-Moderate, 3km, snowgums, great views)
  5. Collectors Cirque (Easy, 2km, around the village)
  6. Dead Timber Hill (Easy-Moderate, 4km, forest, lookout)
  7. Montane Walking Track (Difficult, 9.1km, varied terrain)
  8. Montane Loop (Easy, 1km, gravel track)
  9. Tabletop Walk (Difficult, 10km, snow plains, woodland)
  10. Precipice Plain (Moderate, 9km, 4×4 track, lookout)

Mount Hotham Hiking Trails

  1. The Cobungra Ditch (Difficult, 17km, varied terrain)
  2. The Huts Walk (Difficult, 18km, varied terrain)
  3. Summit Walk (Easy, 2.5km, vehicle trail, lookouts)
  4. Mount Feathertop to Razorback Ridge (Difficult, 22km, varied terrain)
  5. Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing (Difficult, 37km, varied terrain)

Running

Mount Hotham snowgums, Victoria
Snowgums on Mount Hotham

Yes, it’s just like hiking, but faster and more uncomfortable.  Lace up those Asics, pop on your Lorna Janes and hit the stunning trails that surround both Dinner Plain and Mount Hotham.

With a variety of road and trail options available, there’s plenty of choices for both casual joggers and advanced runners.  Fitzy’s Cirque, Collectors Cirque, Carmichael Falls Walk and Dead Timber Hill are all good options, and feature plenty of different terrains, so you don’t need to worry about getting bored.

If you’re visiting in November, keep an eye out for the Running Wild Dinner Plain Mile High Trail Run.  It’s a running festival featuring 1km, 5/10km, 21km and 32km runs through the Alpine National Park.

A normal marathon this isn’t – because Dinner Plain is so far above sea level, the air is both thinner and cooler than normal, which means you’ll sweat less but need to breathe more.  It’s definitely not a challenge for the faint-hearted!

Mount Hotham Street Library

Street libraries are a great little initiative designed to cater to regions without proper libraries.

Basically, the idea is that visitors can swap out books (or just take them) if they’re short on something new to read.  When they’re done, they can return the book or even donate new ones.

It’s a system that relies on the integrity of the community, and the fact that it works is a testament to the small-town spirit of places like Mount Hotham.

So, if you’re exhausted after a hard day of horse-riding or running, it’s a great idea to sprawl on the grass or lean against a comfy rock as you devour a tasty book.  If it’s still a bit chilly, try snuggling up by the fire instead with a cuppa or a glass of wine.

Bike Riding

Road Cycling

Great Alpine Road cyclist
A cyclist climbing the Great Alpine Road.

There’s really two types of cycling available at Dinner Plain: bitumen, and dirt.  Let’s start with the (slightly) less frightening one.

The Great Alpine Road is Australia’s highest sealed road, so it’s an incredible experience for both amateur and advanced cyclists.  You can enjoy a sedate ride between Dinner Plain and Mount Hotham, or branch out with longer rides to nearby towns like Omeo and Harrietville.

For something truly challenging, try the Omeo-Dinner Plain ride which encompasses the 7 Peaks.

Mountain biking

With a vast network of trails available, mountain biking in the Alpine National Park is nothing short of awesome.  Even when summer sets in, the relatively cool atmosphere and snow gum canopy present above many trails means you won’t overheat.

The DP Riders Club offers both bike hire and guided mountain biking tours, which is great if you’re not particularly confident on the dirt.             

Horse Riding

Horse riding in Victoria high country

Dinner Plain is commonly described as “a horse rider’s paradise”, and it doesn’t disappoint.

The cool climes, extensive trails and rugged alpine heath make equine exploration a great option.  Horse rides here aren’t your typical hour-long walk – we’re talking everything from a few hours to five days through some of Victoria’s most stunning scenery.

Young children can generally join in (although they might require a lead rope), and normally you won’t have to go faster than a walk (some tour operators do permit cantering when appropriate).  If you’re looking to reconnect with nature and try something different, a horse ride around Dinner Plain might be the way to go.

Fishing

Although there’s plenty of heart-pumping activities on offer over summer, the Dinner Plain/Mount Hotham region is also famous for a more sedate pastime: fishing.

The clear, cold rivers and streams of the Victorian high country are closed from June to the first week of September, but, after that, you can expect great fishing in snowmelt-swollen waters.

Try fly fishing, lure fishing or bait fishing; there’s guides available if you’re not an experienced angler.  Remember, you will need a Recreational Fishing License – they’re available to purchase online, and 3-day licenses cost just $10.00.

Driving

Mount Hotham lookout
A lookout along the Great Alpine Road near Mount Hotham

Last but not least is Dinner Plain’s most underrated offering – driving.  Like cycling, your four-wheel adventures come in two forms: on-road, and off.

The Great Alpine Road is one of Victoria’s most incredible motoring experiences, and, if you’re a photographer, Instagrammer or don’t have a 4×4, then this one’s for you.

Explore 339 kilometres of mountainous road that traverses mountain ridges, tiny villages and steep gorges, including locations like Mount Buffalo, Bright, Beechworth, Milawa and Rutherglen.  Make sure you keep your iPhone handy, because the panoramic vistas here are simply breath-taking.

Although you can do this in winter, it’s definitely a lot more dangerous – black ice and snow drifts are just some of the hazards you’ll face, and you’ll need to bring diamond-pattern snow chains.

Four-wheel-driving is also a great (but bumpier) option.

There’s a few different tracks to choose from, but one of the most popular is the Dinner Plain 4WD Track, which stretches from Birregun Road to the Great Alpine Road.  Blue Rag Range, accessible from the Dargo High Plains Road, is a more advanced drive that’s recommended for experienced drivers only.


Think we missed any Dinner Plain summer activities?  Let us know your suggestions on Facebook and Instagram!

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