31 May 2023

Old Hume and Hovell trek on track for new generation of explorers

| Sally Hopman
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Old sign on walking track

One of the early signposts marking the Hume and Hovell Track – all 426km of it from Yass to Albury. Photo: Hume and Hovell Walking Track.

It’s one of the most famous walking tracks in the country, with history around every bend – and it will soon be more accessible for everyone.

The Hume and Hovell Track, which stretches from Yass in the Southern Tablelands of NSW down to Albury on the border with Victoria, is about to undergo a $337,000 facelift, with plans underway to not only improve the track for walkers but to also invest in infrastructure to attract more people to do the walk and stay in the regional communities along its route.

Totalling 426 kilometres, the track can take from 18 to 26 days to complete, depending on how you travel it. It goes directly through Yass, Wee Jasper and Albury and other towns and villages such as Tumut, Talbingo and Tumbarumba via a short detour.

It starts at Cooma Cottage, on the outskirts of Yass, which was the home of Hamilton Hume, and ends at the Hovell Tree on the banks of the Murray River in Albury.

READ ALSO Cooma Cottage driven to keep history alive – and kicking

The track follows the expedition route of explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell in 1824 to Port Phillip (Melbourne). They were commissioned to find new grazing land in the young colony and to follow the western rivers to see where they led.

The Hume and Hovell Track was funded as a government bicentennial project back in 1988. After it was determined that the Hume and Hovell route flowed mostly through Crown land, state forests, national parks, reserves and land owned by the Department of Water Resources, government funding was allocated to link all the existing tracks.

Care was taken to ensure that the new sections of the track stayed within 5km of Hume and Hovell’s original route.

Crown Lands executive director with the NSW Government, Greg Sullivan, said the new strategic plan for the historic track was designed to encourage more people to walk it – and support local regional communities by visiting them en route.

Old tree

The Hovell Tree at Albury marks the end of the walk – and of the journey by Hume and Hovell on 17 November, 1824. Photo: Hume and Hovell Walking Track.

He said the plan was also to help it gain international recognition as one of the Great Walks of Australia.

“The Hume and Hovell Track is already one of the best walks in this nation and this $337,900 plan will guide its growing success and future investment in infrastructure along its 426 kilometres to make it even better for bushwalkers and families,” Mr Sullivan said.

READ ALSO Photographer captures memories of last drinks at Yass’s old Commercial pub

“The plan will assess current and potential tourism markets and identify economic opportunities so that regional communities from Yass to Albury can attract more visitors to support local businesses and jobs in their towns.”

Mr Sullivan said the plan also included opportunities to partner with local Aboriginal communities to deliver cultural projects and experiences on the track.

Interest in Hume and Hovell and their expeditions is expected to peak next year when the 200th anniversary of their 1824 expedition is celebrated.

More information about the Hume and Hovell Track is available on the website.

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It is a good walk and good to hear it’s going to get some love, but I get nervous when developers want to ‘invest in infrastructure’ — it’s a bushwalk, not a theme park.

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