After pulling into a truly epic camp site at Frys Flat, I grabbed my phone to look at the nearby 4WD tracks on Newtracs. Once again, there is no shortage to choose from, and the Victorian High Country has months worth of tracks to explore. Not long after though, some locals drove through, and mentioned we should check out Bluff and Lovicks Hut, which we agreed to do the next day.
Where is Bluff and Lovicks Huts?
These two huts are located very close together, on the Bluff Track. You’ll find them not too far away from Mt Buller, Bindaree Falls, King Billy and Mt Howitt.
How do you get there?
There’s a heap of different ways you can get to Bluff and Lovicks Huts. The Bluff Link Road is very common, but you can also get there from Brocks Road via Cairn Creek Road or from King Billy Track coming from Howitt Hut, and a huge range of tracks coming from the East around Dargo and Bright, or from the south around the Licola area.
How hard is the 4WD track to Bluff and Lovicks Hut?
I’m always curious to see how people rate the track, and when a local said to me that often the roads are harder than the tracks, I had a bit of a chuckle. Driving from Frys Flat, the roads were pretty good, although they did gradually deteriorate as we got towards the huts, becoming narrower, more corrugated and rockier.
Once you turn onto Bluff Hut though, its classified as a difficult 4WD track, and I was keen to change into low range, and see what it had to offer.
The Bluff Track is certainly narrower, and steeper than Bluff Link Road, and it has a number of water run off humps with water puddles on the upper side. There were a few little ruts, holes and ledges that you could either drive through, or pick a different line, along with a number of substantially rocky sections which required a bit of clearance.
We saw a small amount of mud at a couple of the steps, and at Lovicks Hut if you wanted to drive around the back of it, but for the most part the track was fairly straightforward and easy going.
We saw a couple of very stock looking 4WD’s, including an Isuzu Dmax that was running factory size tyres, in their OEM standard. For anyone who knows what the Bridgestone 693’s are like on anything but sand, you’d know they offer very limited traction, and I was surprised to see them on what appeared to be a tour.
Whilst the track is easy enough, I’d want the confidence of some decent all terrains knowing that if you did slip a bit, you were going to be able to control it, and not end up off the edge, but that’s just me!
Now, you should also know that when we did the track this region had about 50+mm of rain over the last week, and there was a fair bit of water around. I’m sure it gets much wetter, and much slipperier after more rain, and then the track difficulty would change again.
To get to Lovicks Hut, you just continue along the same track, and whilst there are a few bits to slow down and take carefully, it was all fairly easy.
About Bluff Hut
Bluff Hut is another pretty incredible part of the Victorian High Country, and whilst it was rebuilt after being burnt down, its a very welcoming place.
Originally built around 1956, it was destroyed in the early 2000’s by a terrible bush fire. You can walk into the hut, and even use it in emergencies, but its just there for day trippers to enjoy.
About Lovicks Hut
Lovicks Hut is well known, and can be quite busy. There are horse riding tours run from here, and you can expect to see a number of people camping here (not in the hut) at any time.
Although its no longer used for alpine grazing by the Lovicks family, its got a long and interesting history including a rebuild in the early 2000’s.
Lovicks Hut Camping
I was quite taken aback to pull up to Lovicks Hut and see at least 10 4WD’s parked up, with around 20 tents scattered all over the place. Granted, a number of the 4WD’s were just pulled up for a look on a day trip and quickly dispersed, and there was a horse riding tour going on, but it’s a really popular place to camp.
We passed a number of others on the way out who were heading in with all the gear, and there’s a lot of room for people to camp.
Can you tow trailers in?
I think we’d fairly easily get our Reconn R2 in, but I’m not sure I’d want to. The track is narrow enough, and if you met someone coming the other way you’d have lots of fun. That said, the commercial operators frequently tow trailers in, and we did see a Patriot Camper Trailer being towed in by a 200 Series, so people obviously do it.
You’d be mad towing anything big or heavy in though.
Knowing that the corrugations would be enough to make me want lower tyre pressures, we dropped down to 22 PSI on the front of the Dmax, and 27 on the rear, which should have warmed up to around 26 and 32 (but it was awfully cold).
These tyre pressures (roughly a 30% drop from highway tyre pressures is a good start) give you peace of mind that your vehicle is being looked after, the tracks aren’t getting chopped up and you get a much nicer ride. It also aids in traction hugely, and if you do hit a slippery section you have far more control.
How long does it take?
We left Frys Flat Campground at 10AM, and were back at camp at just before 2PM. That included a stop at Bluff and Lovicks Hut, taking the same Bluff Link Road onto Bluff Track there and back. You could come back via Cairn Creek Road, Brocks Road and Then the optional Refrigerator Gap Track, but with two young kids in the car wanting to get back to camp we decided against it, and looking at the app it would take longer anyway.
It gets seriously cold
There’s something about the crisp mountain air that takes your breath away, and stepping out of the car for more than 10 minutes with just a shirt, jumper and a basic pair of pants made you feel pretty chilly. Our Ultragauge got down as low as 6 degrees, but that’s factoring in a considerable amount of engine temperature, and the local weather forecast (you have reception up there with Telstra) was showing 1 degree.
If you had engine issues, or got stuck without any way of keeping warm, you’d be in trouble pretty quickly, so go prepared.
You should know that both Bluff and Lovicks Hut are subject to seasonal road closures, and that means from June to November the tracks are shut, and you can’t (and shouldn’t) get there. These dates can change, depending on track conditions and weather.
Was it worth the drive?
I looked for quite a while to find a decent loop from Frys Flats, that would incorporate some nice scenery, fun for the kids and 4WD tracks that were difficult, but not panel damage extreme, and when this was suggested, we were happy to take it on board.
The huts were pretty awesome, as they most often are, and the drive was fantastic. Some of the scenery in the Alpine National Park is out of this world, and although we couldn’t see much at the top with the clouds hanging around we did occasionally get glimpses of the other mountains in the distance, and it was breath-taking.
We really enjoyed this, and would highly recommend it.