Monday, January 27, 2014

Mason Falls Circuit, Kinglake National Park, Victoria, Australia - Daywalk

Hello dear walking enthusiast. As mentioned in the last post I am still training up my fancy new hip joint by doing a bunch of shorter walks.  I enjoyed last week's visit to Kinglake National Park so much that I did another one today.  This time it was the Masons Falls Circuit.  

The walk starts at the car park at Mt Sugarloaf, about 10 mins drive out of Kinglake township. (Note: Readers should not confuse Mt Sugarloaf with Sugarloaf Reservoir, which is at Christmas Hills, about 20 kms OR with Sugarloaf Peak, which is part of the Cathedral Range, where I visited last year.).

As always the roads in the area were busy with cyclists, panting up the frequent steep hills, as well as a few chunkier gents on their hogs and even some hoons, getting irate at another car, that was taking their precious time in passing a cluster of riders.

 It was forecast to get to 35C today so I hoped an early-ish start would mean avoiding the worst of the heat. When I got started on the trail at 9am it was in the low 20s, with a cool wind blowing.  Very nice.

For those referring to the guidebook (see below) I did the trail in the anti-clockwise direction, which is the reverse to that described.  My reasoning was that the reverse direction would mean having to walk up rather than down the steepest section - I am trying to get fitter, after all!

The trail was very clean and clear throughout, making for easy "zone-out" walking.  It follows a ridgeline on a gentle decline for a couple of ks.  Despite the great potential for views, there wasn't much on offer due to the thick bush around the track.  Still, if you like being in native bush, it was very pleasant.









The ridgeline walk finishes at nice little picnic ground near the Parks Office, then follows a gravel road for 2kms to the Masons Falls Picnic Area.  I surprised a black wallaby on the way.  There were also some tiny birds - fantails, I think - and lots of Monarch butterflies.





Mason Falls Picnic Area

Mason Falls, Kinglake National Park

From Mason Falls the trail is the Running Creek 4WD track. It drops down to Running Creek, then sidles alongside the creek for about 4 kms, before rising steeply to join the ridgeline about 1km below Sugarloaf Peak.

Running Creek Track

Running Creek Track


Running Creek Track, near Hazel Glade.
The day was getting pretty hot by the time I got to the steep section.  Between the heat and the now-swarming flies the walk lost some of its thrill and I was happy enough to be back to the car, a tad after midday.

My new hip troubled me a bit on the flatter sections, but seemed ok on the climbs. I guess it'll be a while before it's close to 100%.  One thing I noticed is that my foot is turned in slightly.  Not a major problem, I guess, but I just have to make sure I don't walk in circles!

When my groovy new Barmah hat arrives at Ray's Outdoors
 in the city, I'll stop wearing silly hats
The key facts:

Distance: 12.5 km
Time: 3 hours
References: 
  -  "Daywalks Around Melbourne" Glenn Tempest. Walk #56. Avail. from Open Spaces Publishing;
  -   Parks Victoria page for Kinglake National Park.
Navigation: The trail is well maintained and with good signage
Challenge level:  Those with moderate fitness should knock this over in 3-3.5 hours. If you're a slow walker or you are taking younger children, you should allow 4-4.5 hours.
Phone reception: Good reception on most of the trail.
Water: Carry what you need.  There are taps in the toilet blocks at Mason Falls Picnic Area, but there are signs advising against drinking it.  There is access to Running Creek, but I would expect you should treat it before drinking it.

6 comments:

  1. Christina ArmstrongJanuary 28, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    Good to see you back out and about Andrew. Looking forward to more stories and pics. Mason Falls looks lovely!!

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  2. Thanks for the kind words, Christina. Mason Falls is certainly lovely and would be quite spectacular after rain. It also looks like a fun scramble, if someone were so inclined.

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  3. Good to see you back in the blogging saddle. Turned foot might cause outside knee pain on extended downhills. I've heard orthotics may be useful.

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  4. Gday, J. I don't know whether the turned foot is due to me not doing the right post-op exercises correctly or the surgeon forgetting to take his level to the theatre, but it is a little weird. Thanks for the suggestions.

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  5. Hi I'm wondering if there are walking group that I could join in the Kinglake national park? I'm a reasonably fit mum and I have 2 sons that I'd like to bring 18 and 15 yo.
    Do you have any contacts for me?
    Sharon

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  6. G'day, Sharon. I'm not aware of any groups specifically for Kinglake. My hiking group does walks all around Vic (http://www.meetup.com/Melbourne-hard-core-hikers/). Or you could try my friend Susan's group, which does lots of day hikes (http://www.meetup.com/Keep-calm-and-hike/). Cheers, Andrew

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