Despite its close proximity to Melbourne (just over an hours drive), Brisbane Ranges National Park has managed to creep further down my to do list for far too long. So when a friend and I managed to find some corresponding time off and a nearby hike fitted the bill for a good day’s activities, I decided to bump it up the list.
The Park’s unusual geology is said to have preserved the existence of a number of plant species that have otherwise vanished from the region. A fifth of Victorian plant species can be found within its relatively small boundaries. Spring is therefore the best time to visit the park, as wildflowers are in full bloom.
Grass Trees are another prominent feature, despite the threat of the root rot disease Phytophthora cinnamomi (Cinnamon Fungus).
Evidence of bushfires from 2006 are still visible and the regeneration that has occurred since brings further colour to the landscape.
The agenda for the day was to complete the Ted Errey Nature Circuit, starting at Anakie Gorge Picnic Ground. The walk begins by following Stony Creek through Anakie Gorge, which sounded as though it had a healthy frog population. This section takes you past some old ruins and over a series of rock crossings along the creek. Next the climb up the ranges begins. The rocks underfoot are quite loose, so caution would be advised in wet conditions or where walking without sturdy shoes. The rocky landscape did seem to attract a number of wallabies, who spied on us throughout the climb, but generally managed to jump off before we could do the same to them! There is plenty of birdlife to be spotted too. Unfortunately what I believe was a Yellow Tufted Honeyeater managed to escape my camera.
The lookouts at Nelson and Outlook add only a few minutes extra to your walk and should be mandatory, as both provide sweeping views across the gorge and towards extinct volcanoes and distant canola fields. It is great how remote you feel in the park after only a short drive from Melbourne and a stroll up a hill!
Parks Victoria lists the walk at 8.3km, with some extra side trips that can be added to bring the distance up if you choose . It is recommended you leave 3-4 hours to complete it, but we comfortable finished in three despite some extended photoshoots at the lookouts! The description of the walk was pretty spot on, as it was for the most part pretty flat (or close to flat), aside from the early climb towards Nelsons Lookout. Blue markers direct you through the walk, but can be unreliable at stages (forks with little direction), so it is probably best to carry some from of map.
Overall a great trip you could probably sneak into a morning with an early start, or combine with some other walks or nearby parks such as the You Yangs.
This weekend we head off on a 3 day jaunt at Wilsons Prom, so another post is sure to come next week!