Walk of the Month: Mt Cobbler, Alpine National Park

Summit of Mt Cobbler

An excellent and not particularly difficult walk to the summit of Mt Cobbler starting at the attractive Lake Cobbler.

From Lake Cobbler follow the sign-posted track to Mt Cobbler as it follows an old vehicular track initially, before leaving to drop down and cross a small creek. Some of the track markers in this area have been burned, so are hard to see.

From the other side of the creek the path climbs steadily through forest until it reaches a track junction. From here turn right (north) and follow the path as it breaks through the treeline onto the Cobbler Plateau. Walk up the rock slabs (a path is marked by occasional cairns but in good weather you won’t need them) as you walk up this section you’ll probably wonder how the summit will be reached as it is cut off from the main ridge. Fortunately there is a small land bridge that connects the two; some simple scrambling is required, although it’s steep on all sides so a head for heights would be useful.

After exploring the summit area and taking in the superb views, return to Lake Cobbler via the same path.

Walk date: Jan 3, 2009
Distance/time: Around 8kms, 1 day easy (3 hours or so)
Map: Vicmap Howitt-Selwyn (1:50,000)
My rating: A+

Access: Lake Cobbler is about 50km south of Whitfield, along a forestry road that is unsealed for the most part. My car is an all-wheel drive Subaru Forester which had no problems negotiating the track, access by 2WD should be possible with care in dry weather – note that there is a steep climb up from the upper Dangdongadale River valley and a short ford just before Lake Cobbler is reached.

Update: See comments for an update on current conditions (Mar 2011)

Mt Howitt and Mt Cobbler

View from Mt Howitt with Mt Buller and Mt Stirling in the far distance

Just returned from a couple of great days walking in the Wonnangatta-Moroka area of the Alpine National Park. Walk descriptions to follow shortly; a photo gallery is available here (nb. requires modern browser and broadband connection).

Walk of the Month: Blowhard Circuit, Lake Eildon National Park

Lake Eildon from Blowhard Summit

This enjoyable circular walk takes in Blowhard Summit in the Lake Eildon National Park, providing superb 360 degree views, and finishes with a pleasant walk alongside Lake Eildon.

The trail starts at the Wallaby Bay carpark. Follow the dirt road back up to Merlo Lookout. After admiring the view across the lake from this point, cross the road to access the signposted foot track up to Blowhard Summit. This section is fairly short but steep in places.

The views from Blowhard Summit are excellent, including a fine prospect down Blowhard Spur to Lake Eildon and a good view of Mt Buller to the East.  From here, ignore the track down Blowhard Spur and instead continue north-east along an obvious old vehicular track. The track dips steeply into a saddle (take care on this section as the loose gravel makes it a bit ‘slippery’) and then climbs again to a high point and track junction.

Take the sign-posted Devass Gully Track which descends north-east along the spur by the side of Devass Gully before reaching a track t-junction. Turn right (east) here towards School point along a vehicular track. After School point is reached the trail becomes a footpath (Wallaby Bay Track) which follows the forested shore of Lake Eildon – or at least what was the shore – the extended drought means the waterline has receded dramatically. After crossing a footbridge at Lightwood Inlet the path becomes a little indistinct – follow the orange triangle trail markers – before again becoming clear and continuing for another 4km or so past Italian Bay and Cook Point back to Wallaby Bay carpark.

Walk date: Oct 17, 2008
Time/level: 1 day moderate (around 3 – 4 hours excluding breaks)
Maps: Parks Victoria Park notes, VICMAP Lake Eildon Outdoor Leisure Map (1:50,000)
My rating: B+

Access: Goulburn Valley Highway to Alexandra – this road can be accessed from the Hume Fwy, Melba Hwy or Maroondah Hwy. A turn-off to the park is reached a few kilometres after passing through Alexandra. Follow this road to a roundabout, turning left downhill towards the park entrance. At Fraser store continue straight on (ignoring the right hand turn) past the Fraser area campsites to reach Wallaby Bay carpark.

Bushwalking – Mt Roland and Mt Vandyke (Tasmania)

Mt Roland

“South of Devonport, the rolling farmlands and towns are dominated by the towering cliffs of Mt Roland.”

Day Walks Tasmania

We chose this walk primarily because it was on the way to our ultimate destination (we had flown in to Devonport and were travelling to Cradle Mountain). As a result, we were very pleased when it turned out to be a very enjoyable walk in its own right.

The nearest town is Sheffield; the start of the walk is accessed from the C136 road which turns off the B14 just outside Sheffield. We used the detailed route description in “Day Walks Tasmania” (a guide book that I can recommend).

Walk date: December 10, 2005
Time level: 1 day moderate/hard (allow around 7 hours), about 18km
Map: TASMAP Cethana (1:25,000), map in the guidebook
My rating: B+. Well worth a visit, especially if you are travelling down from Devonport to Cradle Mountain

Approaching Mt Roland View from Mt Roland View from Mt Roland 2 Heathlands near Mt Roland

Walk of the Month: Werribee Gorge Circuit Walk

Pyramid Hill

A surprisingly rugged walk less than 70km from the Melbourne CBD, this circuit of Werribee Gorge provides an excellent day’s outing.

Werribee Gorge State Park is reached via the Western Freeway from Melbourne. To access the park, take the Pentland Hills Road exit, turning right under the freeway and then immediately left to follow the old alignment of the Western Highway (with the Western Freeway to your left). The road soon dips back under the freeway, turn left immediately thereafter onto Myers Road which leads to the park entrance. The walk can be commenced at either the Quarry Picnic area or down a rather steep gravel road (accessible by 2wd vehicles with care) to the Meikles Point Picnic Area (which is where I started).

I’d recommend travelling anti-clockwise to get the climb over with first. From Meikles Point Picnic Area, the track ascends a few steps to a toilet block and then follows an old vehicle track before dropping left and reaching Myers Road and then the Quarry Picnic Area. From here a signposted old vehicular track ascends through scrub to a junction with the short circuit walk, then passes a side track to Eastern viewpoint (worth a visit), passes Picnic Point before descending to Western viewpoint and then steeply descending to the bottom of the Gorge at Blackwood Pool. At this point the track turns sharply to the South following the edge of the Werribee River (note that the track always stays at the north side of the river, the line on the Parks Victoria parks notes that the track appears to cross is the old viaduct).

This section requires some rock scrambling; one rather tricky section of rocky bluff now has a wire rope attached to assist. On this part of the walk you will pass the attractive NeedlesBeach (a nice place for a break), Lions Head Beach (if you look at the rock opposite – see photo below – you can sort of make out a lion’s face) and Pyramid Rock (aptly named). Eventually, the track reaches the route of the old viaduct and becomes a well formed trail back to Meikles Point.

Note: Care needs to be taken on this walk as some rock scrambling is required. This walk is not one to do in the wet, rain will make the rocks slippery and the river could rise rapidly, leaving you stranded.

Walk date: Sept 16, 2007
Time/level: 1 day moderate (allow 3-4 hours), about 9km
Map: Parks Victoria Park Notes
My rating: B, a good day walk out of Melbourne

Eastern viewpoint Western viewpoint towards picnic point Lions Head