McMillans Walking Track

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Introduction

MacMillans Walking Track is a 220 km track running through the southern edge of the alpine country east of Melbourne.

Even to walkers from Victoria, this track is not very well known being often overshadowed by the Australian Alps Walking Track. While the two tracks do cross, this track provides a very different experience as it crosses some deep valleys and passes isolated mountains like Snowy Bluff. For experienced walkers seeking something different, this track provides it.

This is an historic track that cuts across the southern side of the Victorian Alps. The track climbs and descends a lot as it crosses many river valleys and is a fairly tough walk. It is suggested to take 12 to 14 days to complete the 220 km track. The Ben Cruachan Walking Club repeat this walk every 10 years in 10 days - a tough itinerary which is not recommended for most groups.

While the track is marked at junctions and important areas, experience at using maps is needed as markers do go missing.

History

In 1864, Angus McMillan led an expedition to cut a track through the high country of Victoria to link the goldfields together. It took about one year to cut an eight foot wide track that was suitable for pack horses. This was used for many years but as the goldfields declined and modern roads replaced the need for a pack horse trail, the track fell into obscurity and vanished under the scrub.

In 1983, the Ben Cruachan Walking Club began a project to discover and remark the original MacMillans Walking Track from Woods Point to Omeo. This small club based at Maffra (a town in Gippsland in eastern Victoria) was led by John Smith and took on a difficult task as the track had all but vanished. On such a project, probably the hardest job of all is getting official approval. By 1987 they had this and the track was remarked. In 1988 it was officially re-opened.

In places, the original track had been 'improved' to a road. Initially, the track follows these roads and it is intended that these sections will gradually be replaced by walking track to make it more interesting for bushwalkers. Where possible, the track follows McMillan's original route.

Location

The track runs from Woods Point, a small town in the mountains east of Melbourne. It ends at the Alpine Road, 17 km from Omeo, which is a small town in a broad valley in the centre of the alpine region.

Access

The track crosses several major roads that cross the alpine region. The track does not pass through any towns and you can either carry all supplies or use one of the access roads to put in a food drop. The most useful roads for a re-supply point are the Jamieson-Licola Road, the Tamboritha Road (near Licola) and the Dargo Road.

Maps and Track Notes

The only available information is a useful brochure titled "McMillan's Track 1864' which includes brief track notes and a sketch map showing the tracks location. This is available from the Ben Cruachan Walking Club at PO Box 70, Maffra, Victoria, 3860 (include a stamped self addressed envelope - they are volunteers). If walking this track you will also need to obtain detailed maps as the sketch map is inadequate for navigation. The track's location at the eastern end is shown on the Adventurer Map series (see Book Sellers on my external links page). Not all maps for the area show the tracks location and to walk the track it is suggested to take both the relevant adventurer maps for the location plus detailed VicMap topographic maps for navigation.

The only book with detailed track notes to part of the track was 'Wonnangatta Moroka National Park' (Edition 2 - 1988) by John Siseman. The book included 6 pages about the track but it is unfortunately out of print and and not expected to be reprinted soon.

Permits

None are needed for walking the track.

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Last updated : December 8th 2015