Monday, February 22, 2010

Mount Victoria Trail

On Sunday we walked up to the summit of Mount Donna Buang along the Mount Victoria Trail. The walk starts in Warburton township, right at the start, off Martyrs Road. Anyone can drive up to the summit of Donna Buang and experience the awesome views from the top of the lookout. There's picnic tables, toilets, BBQs, etc., so on a fine summer's day, it's popular.

The road to the top is called the Donna Buang Road (called Acheron Way at Warburton end) and there are as many cyclists as cars in the warmer months. It's a steep climb in a car, challenging on the bitumen road and an absolute slog along the narrow walking trail that we took on Sunday.

The forecast was for 32 and a cool change in the afternoon. The walk was signed as being 12kms return, a 7-hour walk. We had packed lunch and lots of water and started off at 10:10am, disappearing into the ferns and bush. After skirting around some private paddocks and blackberries, we started the hike proper. Uphill.

Lots of birds and bugs and huge tree ferns... The canopy blocked the sun and heat and it was difficult to know how high we were. A sharp noise rang out and puzzled us; it was like a shot but hoarse. We saw the first of two other walkers and asked his thoughts on the noise. He had thought of foghorn but realised that was absurd. We three concluded it was a deer, having seen lots of tracks and also 'no shooting' signs.

After nearly two hours of constant uphill trekking, feeling slow, we heard an occasional car overhead. We were nearing Donna Buang Road, well past our halfway point. A sudden increase in blackberries confirmed we must be near civilisation. Hot and elated, my feet and legs felt strange hitting the road. The next section was much less steep, and starts with a vehicle track that leads up to a whirring communications tower. This section I would recommend for someone wanting a good challenging walk (driving up and parking on the summit road), maybe a picnic, but not training for Kokoda...

At the summit, in the bright sunshine, we ate our lunch and bandaged my heels which had developed blisters. Ouch. In no time we were descending quickly, keeping our eyes on the sky for a forecast storm. It had taken us 2 hours and 20 minutes to walk up to the summit - it ended up taking us 1 hour and 55 minutes to get back down, including stopping for photos and me taking a massive fall near the very end. Not an easy walk but a very accessible and beautiful trip for Melbournians.

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