The view from Danny’s Lookout, Alpine National Park.
The Australian Alps include the high peaks of Mount Bogong (1,986 m), Mount
Cobberas (1,830 m), Mount Feathertop (1,922 m) and Mount Hotham (1,868 m). Many
of the other mountains are, in fact, plateaux or flat eroded plains bounded by
steep cliffs or escarpments.
The formation of the alps started more than 500 million years ago when Australia
was joined to Antarctica, India, South America, Africa and New Zealand in the
super-continent Gondwana. However, the shape of the mountains you see today were
created only about 10,000 years ago.
These old mountains, were once low land plains. As the earth moved upwards along
large fault lines, the low lying plains became alpine plateaus... or highland
plains. Rivers and streams, such as Mountain
Creek, cut their way through the rock leaving steep valleys and gorges.
Ferns thrive in the gullies, surrounded by tall forests of Alpine Ash,
Peppermint and Blue Gum, that covered the lower slopes.
As you go up the
mountain, these are replaced by Snow Gum woodlands, which in turn give way to
alpine grasslands and heathlands at an altitude of about 1,600 metres. Here the
snow stays longer and the average temperature is low - less than 10ºC.
The high country is home to many creatures.
The Flame Robins migrate here each
summer to breed, whilst Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos and Currawongs stay for
much of the winter. The Mountain Pygmy Possum lives only in the alpine and
sub-alpine regions. It hibernates through the winter, stirring occasionally to
For thousands of years, Aboriginal people came to the high plains each summer
for the annual Bogong Moth harvest, with the associated ceremonies and trade.
The protein rich moths were collected and roasted, that is said to taste a bit
like roast chestnuts.
With the coming of Europeans, cattle were brought up to
the high plains each summer, with cattlemen building small huts to protect
themselves from the elements. Many of these huts still exist and are
The water that flows down from the high plains and mountains, such as
Mountain Creek which starts at the base of
Mt Bogong, eventually flows to the sea. Whilst on-route it provides an important
water supply for homes, farms, industry and the generation of electricity.
Victoria park signage and brochures.