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The Blowfly Spur and the Blue Rag Range circuit is a challenging three day hike along and then off the side of the Barry Mountains. It includes a full day river walk followed by a 1000m ascent out of the river and over the Blue Rag Range. In steep and scenic alpine country with lofty tops, high level ridge lines and a very deep valley in between. This is a seldom visited section of the Wongungarra River affectionately called "The Black Hole". One half day is off track in very steep terrain, another full day is spent walking down the river. You will need to be fit, experienced, well equipped and prepared for alpine conditions.
Day 1. Follow the AAWT over The Twins and Mt Murray before turning off onto The Blowfly Spur. The track (at around 15km from the start) ends and descends where few have gone before. Straight south down the ridge to the Wongungarra River. Fire regrowth may have impacted on the ease of the spur descent so be prepared for hours of bush bashing. The last 500m of the ridge drops 400m to the river below. This is a challenging descent. The campsite will have to be found along the riverbank. This is the biggest day so an early start is required.
Day 2. The day is straightforward. Follow the gentle Wongungarra River downstream as it drops approximately 120m over this 11km section of the river. Easier camping on shelves by the riverbank near the exit track and a swim if your not sick of being in and out of water all day.
Day 3. Straight up north east out of the river on a very steep (1000m) ascent over 9kms along a 4wd track. Walk along its length to the Blue Rag Range high point of 1716m. Follow the ridge track which is above the treeline east to Dargo High Plains and the road Junction to finish.
Water is available in the Wongungarra River. Be sure to collect as you exit the river at the beginning of day 3.
This hike is for experienced hikers only who are proficient in off trail, alpine navigation.
About the region
The Alpine National Park is a national park located in the Central Highlands and Alpine regions of Victoria, Australia. The 646,000-hectare national park is located northeast of Melbourne. It is the largest National Park in Victoria, and covers much of the higher areas of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria, including Victoria's highest point, Mount Bogong at 1,986 metres and the associated subalpine woodland and grassland of the Bogong High Plains. The park's north-eastern boundary is along the border with New South Wales, where it abuts the Kosciuszko National Park.
From Melbourne, take Hume Fwy/National Highway M31 to Snow Rd/C522 in Wangaratta South. Take the exit for C522 from Hume Fwy/National Highway M31. Follow C522 and Great Alpine Rd/B500 to Twins Rd in Hotham Heights. The start location is near Mt St Bernard at the Great Alpine Road intersection with The Dargo High Plains Road.
You will then need to drive a vehicle or vehicles south to the end point at the Dargo High Plains Road intersection with The Blue Rag Range Track.
Over a third of the hike will off track through potentially dense scrub. There will be rock scrambling with packs, possible pack hauling, steep and very steep sections and walking through cliff lines. One full day day will be spent walking down the river.
Max elevation: 1708 m
Min elevation: 553 m
Total climbing: 3191 m
Total descent: -3059 m