The Bluff: Link Track (25.7km)

Alpine National Park

Victoria

25.7km

2 days

Grade 5

Circuit

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2 Reviews on “The Bluff: Link Track (25.7km)”

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  • I did this one a couple of years ago, so take some of this information with a grain of salt.

    Depending on how quickly you can hike, you probably want to leave 8 Mile Flat at around 8 to 9 AM. If you hike at the same pace as me, this should get you to Bluff Hut around 5 to 6 PM. The initial hike up 8 Mile Spur will be steep (although nothing compared to the climb up to the Bluff) so be prepared.

    At the time, the last part of the track coming back down the 8 Mile Spur Track into Refrigerator Gap was overgrown and difficult to follow. Make sure you have a compass and map on you so that you can navigate in the bush to Bluff Link Rd if need be. Refrigerator Gap is also an excellent spot to rest and recharge prior to making the climb up to Bluff Hut. There’s 4WD access for those hiking with support, and plenty of open space and shade to sit around and enjoy lunch.

    In addition, please pay attention to the conditions. The map I had noted that the upper section of the climb up to the Bluff gets slippery when wet, so take care. I fortunately had excellent conditions at the time so the grip was good. Either way, be prepared to scramble over rocks in places. The climb is very steep, and I couldn’t see many places where there were easier alternate routes. I would second Hugh’s advice on getting your pack as light as you can.

    The hike from the Bluff to Bluff Hut is pretty straightforward. Just take care if you decide to walk along the ridge rather than the trail itself. The vegetation is dense in spots, and it’s probably best to stick to the trial any way to avoid damaging any of it.

    The notes above mentioned that the 14 Mile Spur track was hard to spot. When I went, there was the occaisional flag marking the track out including it’s start near Bluff Link Rd, but there was an event on nearby, and that may have been from the event so be prepared to find it the hard way. Once you are on it, however, it was pretty easy to follow. The final descent down into Ritchies Hut is also surrounded by vegetation, so long sleeves and pants are a must. A stick to brush away spider webs is also highly advised so that you don’t end up with a face full of spider.

    I took the Low Track back to 8 Mile Flat, and it is so refreshing on a hot day to walk through the Howqua River at all of the crossings. Just keep an eye out on snakes, I saw at least three of them on my way through.

    There is good reception for the most part along the route, thanks to Mt Buller being just across the valley. However, the usual advice applies: Don’t rely on your phone. If you are going to camp at 8 Mile Flat, the 4WD track isn’t open year-round I don’t think, and even in a decent All-Wheel Drive (Hyundai Santa Fe) I still had trouble getting out due to how steep one section of the track was and the dusty condition of the track. I think it took me three attempts to get out of there. DON’T try to get in there with a 2WD, you’re probably not getting back out.

    There are also log books at both Ritchies Hut and Bluff Hut. Sign them on your way through, and happy hiking!

  • Walked/fastpacked this trail this weekend (26-27/11/22) and Bluff’s Hut water tank was full, and that was before the 5mm of rain we got on Saturday night. FYI the tank is about 500L.

    Some parts of the track are a bit boggy, and because of the recent weather, there’s a few water crossings you have to do once down on the river.

    Oh and the rock scrambling to get up to the Bluff Summit (if going anti-clockwise) is doable if you take your time. Would recommend getting your pack as light as possible though.

  • This was one of the best and most intense hikes I’ve done. Echoing what others have said, the climb up 8 mile spur is brutal, unrelenting uphill the whole day. But it makes the view once you get up on top of the bluff that much more spectacular. We saw no reliable water source after 8 Mile Flat and carried about 4litres each for the day. There was a half full water tank at Bluff Hut when we went in March 2020. Plenty of camping near Bluff Hut and just up the road a short ways. The next day coming down 14 Mile Spur was fine, it was overgrown for much of it (but there were some pink markers, so maybe its been maintained since then) and finding the trail from the 4wd track was a bit tricky, some large tree trunks had been placed at the start of the trail, so keep a close eye on your GPS when you get to the zigzag section of the 4wd track. Once you get down to Ritchies Hut (another great hut/campsite) theres plenty of water in the river. Two options to get back to 8 Mile Flat are the high and low tracks, on a hot day the low track with all the river crossings might be quite pleasant – but slower going. The high track was very exposed and you’re walking along some quite steep cliffs, also looked like prime snake territory and we saw 3-4 snake sized lizards that really made us jump – so take care along this section! All in all a fantastic hike, I’d say the best one in 2020!

  • Avatar of Trail Hiking Australia Trail Hiking Australia

    Such an awesome hike. Particularly in the snow

  • Avatar of Melanie Butters Jinnette Melanie Butters Jinnette

    Leisa Meyer this looks like a good one as well.

  • Loved this hike! Did the circuit (Nov 17) in 10hrs as part of Hut2Hut training. The Bluff climb is brutal but the views from the top stunning! There are a couple of large trees down across the entrance to 14 mile spur making the trail head pretty obvious, but the rest of the trail is very narrow and difficult to see at times (particularly with rain laden Myrtle closing in on you!)

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The Bluff: Link Track

Trail Hiking Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we hike and pay respects to their Elders, past and present, and we acknowledge the First Nations people of other communities who may be here today.