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The hike commences at Diamantina Hut and follows the walking trail which can be located at the start of the tree-line on the south east side of the hut. Follow this trail as it ascends to Lookout Hut before descending back to the Great Alpine Road at 'The Cross'. Follow the road 500m east towards Hotham Heights to the start of the Machinery Spur Track.
Follow Machinery Spur north, passing the Charles Derrick Memorial Cairn, Derrick Col and Mount Loch to Red Robin Gap and gold mine at the junction of the West Kiewa Logging Track. The Red Robin Gold Mine is historically important due to its association with what is still Victoria's last discovered goldfield and subsequent rush. After exploring the mine, follow the West Kiewa Logging Track as it zig-zags east before turning north towards the Red Robin Battery. Approximately 1.6km north of the battery you will reach Blairs Hut. The area around Blairs Hut is a good place to set up camp for the night.
Continue to follow the logging track north in order to reach the start of the Diamantina Spur. The Diamantina Spur track climbs steeply west from the Kiewa River West Branch for 4 kilometres before joining the South Razorback track at High Know, approximately three kilometres from Mount Feathertop's summit. The trail offers great views of Mount Feathertop but climbs steeply (very in places) and involves some scrambling over loose shale. There is no water on Diamantina Spur so ensure that you collect all you need before ascending.
Once on the South Razorback, turn right and follow the track north passing Molly Hill to the Memorial Cross Junction. Turning right at this point will lead you to Feathertop's summit, left is to Federation Hut. If you wanted to make this a three day hike it is my recommendation to head to the hut and set up camp before attempting the summit. Depending on the time of arrival it may be worth leaving the summit until the morning. If you are completing this hike in two days you can leave your pack at Memorial Cross and skip Federation Hut completely.
After visiting the summit, return via the same route to Memorial Cross and High Knob. Continue to follow the well defined walking track south along the Razorback, past Diamantina Spur, Twin Knobs and the aptly named Big Dipper. At 1763m elevation the track will intersect with the Bon Accord Spur to the west. Remain on the Razorback and continue to follow it south for the remaining 1.6km back to the trail head at Diamantina Hut.
Blairs Hut. Located approximately 14.4km from the trail-head, the hut is a log cabin measuring 6m by 3.8m with a gable iron roof, replacing an original bark one in 1968. The internal stone lined fireplace is unusual.
Federation Hut. Located approximately 22km from the trail-head, the hut was built as a gabled hut with aluminium siding and a corrugated iron roof. The original hut was re-clad in timber in May 1988. The hut is lined with five ply and has bunks for 10 people. It is 3.6m by 5.5m in size.
Note that the function of all alpine huts is for emergency shelter only. Do not plan to camp in huts and please leave them exactly as you found them, replenishing any fire-wood that you use.
Mount Feathertop: Water can be collected from a natural spring, approximately 850m from Memorial Cross, along the North West Spur track.
Kiewa River West Branch: Pure, clear, sparkling, very cold, alpine water, easily accessible from Red Robin Battery through to the foot of the Diamantina Spur.
Ensure you treat all water before drinking
About the region
The Machinery and Diamantina Spurs hike summits Mt Feathertop on day two. Feathertop is the second highest mountain in Victoria and one of the most picturesque peaks in the state. It is linked to the nearby Mt Hotham ski resort by The Razorback, a high narrow ridge, but otherwise surrounded by steep slopes which continue right to the summit. Unlike most nearby mountains, Mt Feathertop has steep slopes right to the top and does not have the rounded summit dome that is typical of many nearby peaks.
Mt Feathertop is probably the most appealing peak in the high country. It provides terrific hiking in summer and in winter it is a great venue for mountaineering and extreme skiing. But be careful, as it averages a death per decade. Most deaths are in winter and most come from not treating cornices with the respect they deserve.
The Machinery and Diamantina Spurs hike commences at Diamantina Hut, 2.5 km on the Harrietville side of the Hotham Village.
- This is a challenging hike, in an alpine environment, that should not be underestimated. During the winter months you should consider this a Grade 5 hike.
- This hike requires that you have a sufficient level of equipment (in good working order), fitness and self-reliance.
Max elevation: 1898 m
Min elevation: 1078 m
Total climbing: 1787 m
Total descent: -1787 m