Lanjanuc – Mount Alexander Regional Park

With respect to Elders past and present we acknowledge that we walk on Jaara Jaara Country

IMG_3669Only a 1.5 hours drive from Melbourne – Walking Lanjanuc (Mount Alexander) has been a highlight of our winter. In Dja Dja Wurrung Language the mountain is Lanjanuc named by the Jaara Jaara people. Lanjanuc has many recreational walking tracks, ranging in degree of difficulty from easy to challenging. It took us 3 hours to walk the track from Leanganook Picnic Ground to Harcourt-Sutton Grange Road, and the walk was not as steep as we expected but the path is rocky. There are spectacular views along the trail, but the highlight for us by far was ‘Dogs Rocks’. IMG_3776Early Europeans named the area in homage to the dingoes that used it as their lair. IMG_3673Lanjanuc is sacred ceremonial ground, which is food for thought and feeling when walking the trail. We certainly felt a sense of spirit in the ancient granite rocks. Some history of the Jaara Jaara people can be found here. An interview with a Jaara Elder can be found here.IMG_3775Ballantine antipoda (southern shepherd’s purse), is a unique tiny plant that grows in patches of moss and decorates the rocks of Lanjanuc. It is only found in this part of Victoria.IMG_3774Walking in winter is invigorating and certainly helps to beat off any seasonal blues, but it is chilly! If you head out this way we recommend wearing layers; pack your gloves, wooly hats, and a thermos of soup! IMG_3660We made a one way walk of it by having our friends park their car at Harcourt-Sutton Grange Road; we then car pooled back to Leanganook Picnic Ground along Joseph Young Drive. The map below is available from the  Castlemaine Visitor Centre – 44 Mostyn St. We always recommend a visit to the local information centre before any walk – It’s a great way to check on the conditions of tracks and call on local knowledge for other adventures. For more information from Parks Vic press here.IMG_3779For intrepid adventurers wanting a longer trail, it is possible to bike ride or walk the Goldfields Track (formally known as The Great Diving Trail) from Ballarat to Bendigo. Mount Alexander is part of the Leanganook leg of the trail. The Leanganook track stretches 60kms from Castlemaine to Bendigo. Find more information on the Goldfields Track here.IMG_3651After the Leanganook track passes over Joseph Young Drive, be sure to check out the views at Langs Lookout. On the way down, watch out for big Leaping creatures on the path.IMG_3761 (2)For those interested in a shorter walk or picnic outing with the kids, try the loop walk from Leanganook Picnic Ground which includes veiws from the South Lookout. We suggest diverging from the loop to include Dogs Rocks on the walking menu, or driving down the road after the loop and parking to picnic at the rocks. IMG_3655To get to Lanjanuc from Melbourne, take the Calder Freeway towards Caslemaine. For a yummy breakkie and a decent coffee by an open fire, try Toggs Place Cafe on Lyttleton Street, Castlemaine. Happy Adventuring!

 

Lake Elizabeth and the Californian Redwoods

With respect to Elders past and present, we acknowledge that we walk on Gadubanud Country.

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2.5 hours from Melbourne find Awesome forest, lakes fit for the Loch ness, towering redwoods, plus a sweet township that makes a coffee to rival the best of Lygon Street. This stretch of the Great Otway National park should not go missed. Pack a picnic and head out early on the Princess Hwy (M1) towards Geelong. Stay on the Princess Hwy then after Mount Moriac turn left onto Cape Otway Rd. Stop when you get to the town of Forrest. For a great Coffee go to the Forrest Brewing Company (they serve a pretty decent brekky too). After coffee/brekky, follows the signs to Lake Elizabeth 

 

Lake Elizabeth is a great place to camp or visit for the day. It’s about a 1-1.5 hour walk around the lake and it’s worth it! it feels like a playground fit for prehistoric dinosaurs. To book a campsite or for more information on Lake Elizabeth press here

After your visit to Lake Liz head back to Forrest and take the Forrest-Apollo Bay rd. Drive for about 30 minutes then turn left at Beech-Forest-Mount Sabine Rd. When you hit the next fork stay left onto Seaview Ridge Rd. Along this track you will find the

Californian Redwoods

This is truly a picnic spot fit for little red riding hood.

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Grab your blanket and your goodies lie down and enjoy the view.

img_5013If time permits head back to Beech-Forest-Mount Sabine Rd and continue south to hit the Great Ocean Road.(it takes about 3.5 hours to get back to Melbourne this way). Enjoy the magnificent views as you wind along the road. Maybe even book ahead and find somewhere great to stay on this awesome Ocean Road. Or at least stop for a great dinner at the Wye River Hotel

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For more adventures in the Otway National Park press here

The Dandenong Ranges

With respect to Elders past and present we acknowledge that we walk on Boonwurrung Country 

IMG_3225I Hour Drive from Melbourne’s CBD Find the Dandenong Ranges. A great walk starts deep in the Ranges at Eagle Nest Picnic Ground.

National Rhododendron Gardens is also great place to take the kids for a picnic. Paved paths also make it a excellent place if you have a to pram to push around or require wheel chair access. Located near Mount Dandenong and  just east of the Olinda township.

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After your adventure in the gardens, head back into Olinda, (maybe grab a coffee or some Devonshire tea if that’s your thing) then keep going along the Mount Dandenong Tourist road to find

William Ricketts Sanctuary  – Situated among the mountain ash, this is a place that is both beautiful and tranquil. In this natural setting, beautiful sculptures can be found half hidden among the ferns. William Ricketts’vision was one of a modern Australia that embraces Aboriginal spirituality and respects the natural world. A peaceful place for the whole family to meander.Find more adventures in The Dandenong Ranges here

To find one of our Free Grace Day retreats in the Dandenongs click here

To read an adventure story set in the Dandenong Ranges click here