Address: Box 400 / 33 Kiewa Valley Hwy, Mount Beauty 3699, Australia
Tel: +61 3 5754 1045
Fax: +61 3 5754 4475
First race: 1979, 21km, 80 participants, under the name of “Australian Birkebeiner”
Highest number of participants in main race: 1588 participants (1995)
Worldloppet membership: since 1991
In 1977 a group of cross country skiers in Mount Beauty, a small mountain valley town in north east Victoria, decided to form a cross country ski club. Some of them had skied in Norway and taken part in the Birkebeiner Ski Race and thought that Birkebeiner would be a good name for their club. Two years later, in 1979, the Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club decided to hold their own version of the famous Birkebeiner race and the 21km Australian Birkebeiner was held with some 80 participants, all carrying a 5kg pack. The course started and finished at the alpine ski village of Falls Creek, and took participants out into the wilderness area of the adjacent Bogong High Plains. Later, 42km became the main distance and after a few name changes, the name of Kangaroo Hoppet was installed in 1990.
Start/finish area in Falls Creek, coordinates 36°51’52.2″S 147°17’11.5″E
Race centre / Hoppet Shop in Mount Beauty next to Visitor Centre, coordinates 36°44’31.1″S 147°09’56.3″E
42 km course runs depending on snow conditions in one to two loops into wilderness area of Bogong High Plains which is part of Alpine National Park. The trademark of the course is 2km long Paralyzer climb with combination of 1700 m altitude air. Due to Rocky Walley water storage lake, the weather may change fast during the race from sunshine to fog. Despite the weather conditions it is always wise to wear sunscreen to avoid burns.
HOW TO GET TO KANGAROO HOPPET
The Kangaroo Hoppet is held at Falls Creek in north east Victoria The nearest international airport is Melbourne. There is a daily bus service in the ski season from Melbourne to Falls Creek, run by Falls Creek Coach Service. Tel: 03 5754 4024 Fax: 03 57 544 940. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Train is another option. There is a shuttle bus service into central Melbourne and a VLine train service to Mt Beauty from Southern Cross station leaving at 12 noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The train travels to Wangaratta where you catch the connecting VLine coach to Bright and a taxi service brings passengers the last 26km to Mount Beauty arriving about 5.30pm. The cost from Melbourne, Southern Cross to Mt Beauty is around $36 one way, and tickets can be booked online or purchased from the VLine counter at Southern Cross Station.
Car rental is another option. The drive is on good roads, and takes just under five hours from Melbourne to Falls Creek. There are some nice wineries to visit along the way.
We drive on the left side of the road in Australia – just to make life interesting for Europeans and North Americans. If you are going to be driving, why not reduce your environmental impact and save some money by ridesharing.
PLACES TO VISIT
There are many possibilities to visit vineryes, alpine ski slopes or wilderness areas on the way from Melbourne to Kangaroo Hoppet and back. Look for options at Victoria Tourism webpage http://www.visitvictoria.com/