MacKenzie Falls & The Balconies, Grampians NP Victoria

There are short walks to MacKenzie Falls and the Balconies that are easily accessed off a major road through the Grampians (C222). Both areas are popular with tourists so don’t expect serenity. They are justifiably popular, and not just because they are easy to get to.

There are a few short walks you can do accessed on the road that runs through the middle of Grampians National Park (C222). We did a couple at the popular MacKenzie Falls, and also a short walk to the Balconies. It was hazy when we got to the Balconies and so this rather impressive area did not look its best in my photos, so I’ve included just the one. MacKenzie Falls is an impressive waterfall that is somewhat a victim of its own success. Worth the visit nevertheless, (but don’t swim too close to the waterfall because people have drowned there). The tracks are constructed and obvious. Continue reading “MacKenzie Falls & The Balconies, Grampians NP Victoria”

Mt Zero Track, Grampians NP Victoria

This short walk provides good views back to nearby Mt Stapylton, and the pleasingly shaped Flat Rock on it slower slopes. It also sits on the edge of the Wimmera Plains, and feels rather like being on a cliff edge, with an ocean of farmland stretching to the horizon.

This walk starts nearby from the same spot as the Mt Stapylton walk, and you can easily do them both in one day. Only it was about 35 degrees on the day we did them, and I probably shouldn’t have dragged Sophia up at the hottest part of the day, as she’s susceptible to extremes of temperature – there’s very little shade. The views are worth the one hour return walk, as it sits on the very northern edge of the Grampians, with miles of entirely flat farmland to the north, and the very rocky Mt Stapylton to the south. The track is obvious; details on the Parks Victoria websiteContinue reading “Mt Zero Track, Grampians NP Victoria”

Mt Stapylton Track, Grampians NP Victoria

Mt Stapylton in the Grampians has an otherworldly feel to it, with huge cliffs and weathered rocks sticking out from the otherwise featureless Wimmera Plains. It makes for a very Australian scene.

Our first time in the Grampians, and Mount Stapylton was a good introduction to this rugged national park in Central West Victoria. The scenery had a more remote feeling than the reality, and in this section of the park it looked quite arid, with plenty of weathered rock and impressive cliffs. The surrounding Wimmera Plains are flat as a pancake farmland that stretch as far as the eye can see. It’s a fairly short track but well worth it. You can also do the Mt Zero walk on the same day.  Continue reading “Mt Stapylton Track, Grampians NP Victoria”

Chalwell Galleries Track, Mt Buffalo NP Victoria

The short Chalwell Galleries Track winds around and between massive boulders high up in Mt Buffalo National Park.

This was our third short walk on the Mt Buffalo plateau, this one a short side trip off the main road, and a bit different than the other two (The Horn and The Hump). It wound around and between massive boulders, and required just a bit of scrambling. More info on the Parks Victoria website. Continue reading “Chalwell Galleries Track, Mt Buffalo NP Victoria”

The Hump and Cathedral Track, Mt Buffalo NP Victoria

Another good short walk high up on the Mt Buffalo Plateau, The Hump (1695m) provides great views over to the Horn, and you pass a large triangular shaped hunk of rock called the Cathedral.

The second of three short walks we did after the Big Walk, climbing the Hump from a small car park on the road up the mountain offers excellent views of the the slightly higher Horn (1723m), a nicely shaped lump of rock called the Cathedral, and the surrounding alpine plateau. More info on the Parks Victoria website. (We also did two other short walks nearby – The Horn and Chalwell Galleries tracks). Continue reading “The Hump and Cathedral Track, Mt Buffalo NP Victoria”

The Horn, Mt Buffalo NP Victoria

The Horn is an easy walk (with a bit of climbing) to the highest point of Mt Buffalo (at 1723m) for great views in all directions.

A short walk to the highest point of Mt Buffalo, The Horn (1723m) provides excellent views of the plateau to the west, and various mountains  in other directions. It’s situated at the end of the road up the mountain and so is easy to find. More information on the Parks Victoria website. (We also did two other nearby short walks: The Hump-Cathedral and Chalwell Galleries Tracks). Continue reading “The Horn, Mt Buffalo NP Victoria”

The Big Walk, Mt Buffalo NP Victoria

Mt Buffalo National Park in Victoria is a really excellent place, and the biggest walk in the park is called, appropriately, The Big Walk. You ascend about 1000m to spectacular views of the Gorge (a gorge), and of the distant Victorian Alps.

When we climbed Victoria’s second highest mountain, Mt Feathertop, I saw a big hunk of a mountain in the distance and thought “we should really go there this holiday”. Well, we did, and it was grouse (as the Victorians say). The mountain is called Mt Buffalo, after its shape, and the pictures below are of the longest walk in the park, the so called Big Walk, but we also did three short walks higher up on the plateau after we finished – The Horn (which looks like a horn), The Hump, (which looks like a hump), and the Chalwell Galleries. All offered excellent views (especially the first two). This walk starts at the bottom of the mountain and rises about 1000m to 1350m of elevation. At the end of the walk are spectacular views of the Gorge (which is a gorge), particularly the very sheer and massive North Wall (which is the wall on the north side of the Gorge). Clearly very little mental effort was expended when naming the parts of this national park. Continue reading “The Big Walk, Mt Buffalo NP Victoria”

Mount Tabletop Track, Alpine NP Victoria

The moderate walk to Mount Tabletop passes through a variety of alpine vegetation, and there are good views from the summit plateau. Lots of wildflowers at the end of December when we went. A nice atmospheric walk.

The Mount Tabletop track is good way to experience Victorian High Country scenery for only moderate effort. There’s grassy plains, forests of snow gums, wildflowers in summer, views from the summit plateau, and even attractive flies. In fact quite a few flies in general (in summer). The walk is accessed on the Great Alpine Way past Mt Hotham village on the way to Dinner Plain. Continue reading “Mount Tabletop Track, Alpine NP Victoria”

Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur Track, Alpine NP Victoria

Climbing Mt Feathertop along the Bungalow Spur Track involves a steady 1440m ascent over 11km to the summit at 1920m of elevation; the second highest point in Victoria. You climb from lush forest through mountain ash and snow gums, then into alpine meadow up to the summit, where there are extensive views over the Victorian high country.

I find climbing steeply up 1000+ vertical metres to the top of a pointy mountain very satisfying. So when I read that climbing Victoria’s second highest mountain involved a 1440m vertical climb over 11km I thought it justified our first bushwalking trip to Victoria. And the reports I read about Mt Feathertop promised a pointy summit; now, it is by mainland Australian standards, but if you’ve hiked in NZ or Tasmania, (or almost anywhere else in the world), then you won’t find it particularly pointy. You steadily climb up through lush forest at first, into mountain ash woodland, then snow gums, and finish in alpine meadows. The views extend over the Victorian high country, and inspired me to visit Mt Buffalo a couple of days later, which  I could see from the summit, and looked great. (I had to work out where this was on the map.)  Continue reading “Mt Feathertop via Bungalow Spur Track, Alpine NP Victoria”