the-viking
  • Length: 40.7km

  • Duration: 4 days

  • Grade: 5

  • Style: Circuit

  • Start: Mt Howitt Carpark

  • End: Mt Howitt Carpark

  • Closest Town: Licola

  • Location: Alpine National Park

  • Distance from state capital: 323km

  • State: VIC

  • Latitude: -37.1092123676

  • Longitude: 146.6816104584

Summary

The ultimate Victorian High Country hike. The Viking Circuit takes  in perhaps the greatest alpine scenery Victoria has to offer. The Viking Circuit is located in the Alpine National Park north east of Melbourne. The area is famous for the inspiration to the land-forms in Tomorrow When The War Began. With some inviting features such as The Crosscut Saw, Mt Buggary, Horrible gap, Mount Despair and The Viking this is not an easy hike. .

Over 4 days you will cover close to 40km in distance which includes approximately 2,700m of accumulated vertical ascent. Oh yeah, and all that with a full pack.

The trail passes near Mount Howitt, before traversing the Crosscut Saw to Mount Speculation. It then continues through to Mt Despair and the Razor before ascending The Viking then down to the banks of the Wonnangatta River. The final day will see you ascend back up Wonnangatta Spur to your start point.

Alternatively you can do this hike in reverse which would see you start at the Mount Howitt Car Park in Victoria’s Alpine National Park. It then goes down the Dry River Track to Wonnangatta Valley and then to the top of The Viking. It then passes over The Razor, Mt Despair, Mt Speculation, The Crosscut Saw, Mt Howitt and Macalister Springs. Then returns to Howitt Car park.

Getting there

Drive to Licola and at the road junction near the bridge take the Tamboritha Road (don’t cross the bridge). You will drive past bush camp sites before the road will turn into a dirt road. 48km from Licola you will reach the Arbuckle Junction, turn left and follow Howitt Road for another 37km to the Mt Howitt Carpark.

Warning

This walk is rated as difficult (Grade 4 and 5) and varies from well marked trails to lightly trekked wilderness. You will need to be fit, well prepared, possess excellent navigation skills. there is very little water along this trail so you will need to carry adequate supplies or have a good understanding of water procurement.

 

Total distance: 40740 m
Max elevation: 1676 m
Min elevation: 643 m
Total climbing: 2671 m
Total descent: -2669 m
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41 thoughts on “The Viking Circuit (40.7km)

      1. This time of year would be ideal due to the increased likelihood of water sources due to snow melt. My only concern would be the Wonnangatta river as this would be impassable after heavy rain or snow run off. We are heading up this way in November for this reason.

        1. The access road is usually closed until the end of October and sometimes longer. It is a long drive when the road is in poor condition so allow plenty of time to get there but you can camp at Howitt carpark to get an early start in the morning. Not a walk for beginners unless they are fit and guided by a competent person.

  1. I completed the trail over the weekend in 3 days.

    Day 1. Started out from Mt Howitt Car Park to Mt Speculation
    This is a tough hike, it also happen to be the easiest out of the 3 days. Water source is down at Camp Creek, 15 minutes walk from Mt Speculation.

    Day 2. Mount Speculation to Viking Saddle
    The track from Mt Speculation to Catherine saddle is no longer visible due to overgrowth. We aimed for Catherine Saddle direction and climbed down from the mountain’s ridges while bush bashing.

    Important note: There is a running creek at Viking Saddle. There’s mini trail that will take you there, and it only took 10 minutes. Although it is running water, please ensure to filter and purify it as there are animal faeces nearby.

    Day 3. Viking Saddle back to Mt Howitt Carpark
    The 3rd day only took us … 18 hours. We started out at 7am got to Wonnangatta River at 5pm. There were lots of bush bashing, and if it wasn’t for the GPS guidance provided by this site, surely we could not have made it. The hike from Wonnangatta River back to the carpark can be really tough in 30C degrees heat. So we were kinda lucky that the sun set at 8:30pm. Got back to the car at 1:30am

    As the author has mentioned, you’d need to possess excellent navigation skills, able to keep calm and the patience to bush bash your way through. It is definitely not my favourite Victoria’s hike, but the morning view on top of Mt Speculation of the mists below make it all worth while.

    Good luck and have fun 🙂