The Bogong High Plains are Victoria’s Alps. Situated within the Alpine National Park and easily accessed from Falls Creek, they are a landscape of heathlands and grasslands with a significant covering of eucalyptus trees, particularly the snow gum. In summer, most of the High Plains are a rocky, open and dry grassy landscape, covered in native flowers and foreign dandelions and the welcome shade of the eucalyptus’ wide spread branches. There are mountains streams, and in the cooler shady gullies away from the baking summer sun, you might find green ferns and small waterfalls. The area was first settled by cattlemen, then became the playground of early pioneering skiers. The historic and iconic cattleman’s huts are a remaining tribute to both. In winter this landscape is covered in snow and becomes a popular skiing destination, the Bogong High Plains Road closes beyond Falls Creek, and most of this becomes unaccessible to all except cross-country skiers. In 2003 a large portion of the High Plains were burnt by bushfire and the landscape still bears those scars. As it will for many many years to come.
Native grasses and flowering shrubs in a range of soft greens in a shady valley on the High Plains.
Dandelion weeds with their yellow flowers in the green grass outside the corrugated iron Cope Hut, built in 1929 as a ski refuge.
Eucalyptus leaves and very small gumnuts on a healthy un-burnt gumtree near Cope Hut.
Native flowering scrubby bushes with small white flowers in a grassy High Plains valley, with snow gums in the distance; Steps leading up to the old wooden door of Cope Hut, which is open to the public as a shelter year round.
A leafy snow gum casts it’s dappled shade over the old corrugated iron Cope Hut, with its grassy surrounds and a blue sky.
Lush green grass in the shade at the base of one of the snow gums outside Cope Hut, with a grassy hill behind.
Eucalyptus tree and grassy hill reflected in the old rough wooden window of Cope Hut, with grass growing at the base of the rusty corrugated iron wall; Leafy snow gums spread their limbs like an octopus in a grassy landscape.
Bright yellow native everlasting paper daisies, with dandelion weeds.
Leafy shady snow gums and the grass-covered High Plains at the front door of the old corrugated iron Cope Hut.
A bug holds on to the tip of some tall dry summer grass, with yellow native flowers below.
The historic corrugated iron Cope Hut, surrounded by shady snow gums and grasses, looking out over a valley in the High Plains.
A couple walk across a grassy plateau on the High Plains beneath blue summer skies, as a few clouds cast shadows across the landscape.
A mess of long dry grass with weeds and flowers, with the skeletons of dead snow gums on a hillside burnt in bushfires a decade ago.
A few small white flowers grow in the green vegetation beneath an old white dead snow gum; Different small native shrubs with delicate white flowers and grasses cover the landscape beneath the dead snow gums.
Tall green and yellow grasses beneath a eucalyptus tree with dandelion weeds.
Two yellow dandelion flowers in a decade-old landscape of bushfire regrowth, the hillside covered in grasses and shrubs with fresh green growth but a forest full of dead snow gums.
Thick and wrinkled trunk of a healthy old eucalyptus tree in scrubby green bushland near Wallace’s Hut.
Wallace’s Hut, the oldest of the mountain cattleman’s huts still standing, built in 1889 out of slabs of snow gums on a grassy plateau surrounded by eucalyptus trees, is easily accesible to hikers for most of the year.
Yellow native everlasting daisies grow amongst the grasses and fallen tree branches.
Wallace’s Hut surrounded by healthy snow gums casting dappled shade across the grass landscape on a sunny summer day.
Tiny pink and white native flowers grow on a scrubby bush covered in bugs and insects that are hard to spot amongst the foliage but can be heard buzzing when you walk past; Thin snow gums lean towards each other creating an archway over the native grassland and yellow everlasting daisy flowers.
A purple flower amongst the long green grass.
Looking over a dry grassy hill covered in yellow dandelions to a dirt road winding it’s way down into the valley through a stand of dead white snow gums, the scars of an old bushfire; Rocky Valley Dam with a very low water level, in a landscape covered in native shrubs, flowers, boulders and the foreign ever-present dandelions.
The Bogong High Plains Road winds it’s way through the Alpine National Park and the snow gums, some show the impact of past bushfires while others remain healthy.
The grassy landscape around Rocky Valley Dam.
A eucalyptus tree grows at the sandy edge of Rocky Valley Dam, the hills on the other side covered in old dead snow gums from past bushfires.
A large variety of native grasses and shrubs surround Rocky Valley Dam, plus the colourful but foreign yellow dandelion flowers; Rocks and yellow dandelion flowers cover the grassy landscape, with reminders of past bushfires in the skeletons of dead shrubs and snow gums.
Looking across a very low Rocky Valley Dam, with plenty of sand exposed by the low water levels, to hills covered in white dead snow gums shaded by passing clouds.
The grassy landscape covered in rocks, old dead white wood from past bushfires, and many many yellow dandelion flowers.
Clouds and the blue sky are reflected in the water of Rocky Valley Dam, which is surrounded by grasses and small hills covered in eucalyptus trees.
Looking across Rocky Valley Dam, with a very low water level, to hills on the other side covered in dead snow gums from the past Alpine bushfires; One of the rocky mountain stream aqueducts that flow across the High Plains and feed into Rocky Valley Dam, surrounded by grass and flowers.
A landscape of bushfire regrowth, with hills covered in dead trees but a thick green undergrowth beneath.
A tree trunk with various shrubs, grasses and dandelion weeds, and a valley filled with dead snow gums behind.
A rough dirt track, part of the walking trail to Ropers Lookout, runs beside a mountain stream aqueduct with hills covered in dead snow gums and a stormy sky casting shadows over the landscape.
Masses of dandelions amongst the tall grass and native shrubs growing thickly at the base of dead bushfire snow gums, charred black limbs amongst the dried out white ones.
A rocky stream aqueduct across the High Plains, with the grey storm clouds of a summer storm moving in across the blue sky above.
Bushfire regrowth in the shrubbery, with longer dead branches sticking out from the thick green new foliage, surrounded by yellow native everlasting daisy flowers.
Yellow native everlasting daisy flowers grow in the rocky ground at the edge of the mountain, with the valley and hills covered in the grey skeletons of burnt dead snow gums and a grey stormy sky above as a summer storm rolls in.
Tall dry yellow grasses in front of a valley filled with black and grey dead snow gums which were burnt in bushfires years earlier.
A gully filled with thick, lush and green bushfire regrowth with shrubs, ferns and white native flowers growing amongst and even beginning to overtake the dead snow gums which cover the hills.
Looking down Falls Creek Falls, the waterfall making the rocks shiny, with bushfire regrowth in the valley below.
A small path through ferns and lush green plants to the small Falls Creek Falls waterfall, Bogong High Plains, Victoria.
All images and text ©Jess Gibbs 2013