Monday, April 15, 2013

Sugarloaf Peak and the Razorback - Cathedral Range, Vic, Australia

December 2012

Facing a quiet weekend at home, my interest was easily piqued by an offer to join some friends for an overnighter at the Cathedral Ranges.  The plan was to meet at the Farmyard campsite for the night.

I decided to do a loop from Cooks Mill to Sugarloaf Peak, then along the Razorback - about 13 km in total. This route is part of the Cathedral Range Circuit, described in Weekend Walks Around Melbourne.

I parked at Cooks Mill, donned the pack and headed off around 4:20pm.  

It was typical Melbourne stinker, with the temperature in the low 30s C.  A short walk got me to the Jawbone car park, followed by a long haul up the Cerebus Road, passing along the eastern side of the range.  

The tall gums along the road gave scant shelter from the sun and I glad to arrive at the shelter at Sugarloaf Shelter at 6pm.

The next section of the trail, called the Razorback (a popular name for ridge lines in Victoria), follows a ridge that spans from Mt Sugarloaf in the southern end to Little Cathedral at the northern end.  Firstly, though, your intrepid hiker is required to get up onto the ridge line using one of two paths - one has a mix of cut steps and tricky scrambling over rocks. The other route is more challenging.   Feeling a little lame, I took the lesser of the the two.  In fact, it was still a little challenging for me, though anyone with an ounce of rock climbing experience would find it a piece of cake.

Mt Sugarloaf has been a popular location for rock climbers in the past

Once on top the views in the clear, late afternoon light, were fantastic as I made my way first up to Mt Sugarloaf for a brief stop, then along the Razorback.

Terrific views from the Razorback

Much of the route along the Razorback involves scrambling over rocks and boulders.  It is not particularly challenging - actually, I found it fun for the most part -  just slow going.

The one annoyance was that the trail runs along the western side of the ridge line and is quite exposed, meaning that I got to bear the full brunt of surprising heat in the setting sun.    It was a relief when the sun finally dropped below the horizon.  Later, as darkness fell, I made my way using my head torch.

Apparently this area was originally seabed and there are occasional signs of this past in the rocks along the route

There's lots of fun scrambling along the Razorback
I arrived at the Farmyard campsite in darkness at 9:30pm.   My friends, Brett, Fiona and family, had all retired into their tents, but Brett popped out for a quick chat.

With everyone having an early night I elected to follow suit, so I pitched my pyramid, then settled down for the night.

We all woke to a beautiful Sunday morning. We shared a leisurely breakfast before heading off at around 8:30am (in 20C) for the short walk down the hill to Jawbone car park, then onto Cooks Mill.

The Farmyard - a lovely place to camp. 

Keen campers - Amy & Fraser

Cooling off at Little River (Brett, Amy, Fraser, Fiona and David)

The author taking things too far
This is a really nice walk, with easy access from Melbourne and I would highly recommend it for anyone with a least average fitness.   If you're not confident about the rock scrambling you can still get a lot of value from the walks at the northern end of the range.

Tanglefoot Walking Track, Toolangi State Forest, Vic, Australia

Walk #58 from Day Walks Around Melbourne

7km 2.5 hours
July 2012

Zoe & Tania
This post has been sitting in my drafts tray for months. There's no particular reason for the delay, except perhaps that my attention has been off day  walks while I have been doing lots of overnight trips.  Anyway, I finally got some time to finish it tonight.

It's actually a great little walk and given that the Toolangi State Forest is only 30 minutes from my home in Melbourne's north eastern fringe, it's really handy too - certainly a nice change from the 3-4 hours drive I've become accustomed to to access the big alpine walks.

We started at the Wirrawilla Carpark entrance.  The trail then follows a boardwalk circuit for the first 500 metres. 

We continued to head north on a well established trail, with lots of informative signs.  

The scenery was stunning, with massive ferns, tall moss and the frequent sounds of lyre birds.

Zoe and Fergie (the short, bedraggled one)

About an hour into the walk, as we stopped for a lunch break, we got hit by heavy rain, then (literally hit) by hail.  We decided to postpone eating and continue along the now muddy circuit

Further along we came to a great little shelter where we were about to brew some tea, while escaping the heavy rain.  

After the break we took a path from Lauders Rest back to Wirrawilla Carpark, walking past some truly enormous gum trees.

Tania & Zoe enjoy a welcome respite from the rain

Tania and one of the stunning, massive gums.

Old mother 'Fergie'