A last minute inkling for a Sunday hike sent us driving up to Mt Baw Baw. Leaving quite late, we settled on the summit walk, the recommended time for completion being 2-3 hours including stops. The first documented ascent of the Mountain was in 1860 by Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller, a German-Austrian naturalist and the government botanist for the colony of Victoria. Von Mueller was a pretty influential guy in the field of botany, directing the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, starting up the National Herbarium of Victoria and naming many native plants. His exploration of the Alpine Ranges leant much knowledge to the field of botany. He also played a leading role in promoting Australian exploration, most notably the Burke and Wills expedition.
The aim for our less pioneering hike was to catch some views of the Victorian Alps on what started as a clear summer day. The weather gods would not have us fulfil this goal, as while making the final ascent up the mountain, heavy mist began to shroud our car.
Despite this setback, the fog provided a spooky ambience for the trip, and we were nonetheless greeted by a beautiful display of wildflowers and a blend of bare snow gums.
The track itself was listed as 2.5 km, being a moderate to difficult walk with some steep sections along the summit ridge. Setting off from the car park, the starting point for the trail was difficult to locate, even with the help of a complementary summer hike trails map. Thinking we had found the right spot, we began a steep climb. We quickly realised however that we were in fact making our way up one of the ski slopes. This was actually a more direct route to the summit, however being intended for skiing, the incline was much more challenging. The path however was decorated by thousands of sparkling geometric spider webs, which alongside the mist made for some very pretty scenery.
As expected, neither Muellers Lookout nor the summit itself provided much in the way of views, however the summit cairn provided a point of interest, for its historic value (it was erected in 1870 as a reference point for the Geodetic Coastal Survey of Victoria) and due to being covered in skinks, presumably warming themselves on its stones.
Having completed this section of the hike in under half an hour, we continued towards Mueller’s trail. It was listed as advanced, but really it just had a few more obstacles and was shared by both walkers and mountain bikers. We then continued down the easy Beech Trail then followed Currawong Rd back to the carpark.
Overall, the hike took us around an hour. Had the drive up not taken quite so long (or if we decide to head up the mountain again), a better option might have been to take the Village Trail, which seems from the map to take a longer loop around the summit. Alternatively this loop could be combined with our walk by taking a different path when you reach the ‘5 ways’ point). Even with the addition of fog, Mt Baw Baw is worth the trip in Summer, and in fact the adverse weather can provide some unexpected beauty.
Here is a pic of the map provided at the Baw Baw Village: