From a pleasant grassy clearing beside the Howqua River, The Bluff Trail climbs steadily through dry open forest along Eight Mile Spur. The final stages of the ascent to the rugged natural ramparts of the Bluff are quite steep, but the rewards are soon evident. From the treeless 1,725 metre summit a spectacular alpine panorama unfolds, stretching to Mount Buller in the north and faraway Lake Eildon.
The trail continues through alpine meadows, carpeted with brilliant wildflowers in early summer, to Bluff Hut and a sheltered campsite among the nearby snow gums. Next morning, descend along a 4WD road on Sixteen Mile Spur to the Howqua River, then follow the river valley past Ritchies Hut to the start of the trail at Eight Mile Flat. Commercial tour operators also run horse-riding trips to the Bluff.
Day 1 (13km)
Camp at Bluff Hut. Water should be available at this location.
Day 2 (15km)
Return to the trail head. Water will be available at Ritchies Hut and at various points along the Howqua River.
Travel to Mansfield from Melbourne (195km) and Take the Mt Buller Road for 20.6km, turn right onto Howqua Track and travel for 16.4 km to Sheepyard Flats. Drive through Sheepyard Flats and continue along Brocks Road for 13km to 8 Mile Flat. Turn left at the junction and continue to the carpark at the end of the track.
All hikers should realise that weather conditions can change rapidly in alpine areas at any time of year. Snowfalls can be experienced at any time, so please be prepared with:
- warm clothing
- windproof and waterproof jacket
- gloves and hat
- strong footwear
- energy food and water
- compass and relevant topographical map
Max elevation: 1715 m
Min elevation: 564 m
Total climbing: 1803 m
Total descent: -1803 m