Evocative of a Japanese teahouse, with sliding doors and translucent polycarbonate walls, the hiker’s huts are as close to nature as one could hope for.
Filled with a couple of single beds and bunk beds above (each hut accommodates four people), one of the few added furnishings is a simple canvas blind, like a tent flap, that can be drawn across at night.
“The huts are not dissimilar to tents but you’re not carrying them on your back,” says architect Justin Noxon, director of Noxon Giffen.
Those who do come with tents have the opportunity to erect these on ‘tent pads’ that hover, like the cabins, lightly about the landscape, with a dozen or so pads thoughtfully placed within the two main sites along the trail.
Customised timber chaise lounges are also strategically placed along the Grampians trail, allowing hikers to take a moment’s rest and enjoy the views of Lake Wartook.
The seven different shelters are as finely conceived, allowing hikers to stop along the way, rest and share a meal with friends and family.
Loosely following a crucifix floorplan, these timber huts that accommodate up to 20 people and include a kitchenette, built-in timber seating and outdoor decks either side that further blur the division between indoors and out.
“Parks Victoria wanted a world-class experience, a sense of place rather than simply staying at a generic hotel that could really be in any city in the world,” says Noxon, who was as mindful of delivering low maintenance buildings, given the difficulty required in servicing them in such remote areas.
The team also delivered amenities that were low maintenance and as eloquently conceived.
Made from mild steel and mesh, these amenities, set a few metres away from the huts have hand basins and water tanks that recycle grey water.
With some parts of the trail being 800 metres above sea level, the disparity of climate is considerable – as is the terrain.
It’s not surprising, given the reaction so far, that the number of hikers using this trail is predicted to jump from 8,500 annually to over 35,000 by 2025.
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