The Cathedral Range rises up from the Acheron Valley about an hour and a half outside Melbourne and provides some excellent walks in rugged bushland. The range is encapsulated in the Cathedral Range State Park and can be reached from Melbourne by following the Maroondah Highway through Buxton. About 9km after passing through Buxton there is a turn-off on the right (east) along Cathedral Lane, a narrow bitumen road; a couple of kilometres further and another right turn (south) takes you into the park along a rather rough gravel road (accessible by 2WD vehicles with care).
This walk takes in the northern section of the park, including the North and South Jawbones and The Cathedral. The walk commences at Neds Gully car park, which is the first car park reached if approaching from Cathedral Lane. Cross the gravel road to a track (Little River Track) that continues south alongside the Little River. This track eventually reaches the extensive Cooks Mill camping area. From here the track continues east up to the Jawbones Carpark, where it descends briefly before climbing steeply to The Farmyard (passing a junction with a sign to the North Jawbone) a pleasant grassed area where camping is permitted. At the Farmyard follow a signed path westwards up to the South Jawbone for excellent views westwards.
From the South Jawbone, descend back to The Farmyard and then retrace your steps towards the Jawbones Carpark and the aforementioned path junction, taking the signed path north to the North Jawbone, shortly thereafter there is another sign pointing eastwards along the short track that leads to the North Jawbone summit – also with good views, but somewhat more obscured by trees and vegetation.
Descend back to the main track and continue northwards. After following the track for another kilometre or so a Y junction is reached and a decision needs to be made. To the right a well formed path descends to Neds Saddle, to the left a track climbs onto the ridge. The ridge trail traverses the rocky ridge and requires a fair bit of scrambling with steep drops to the east; in many places there is no clear path and in wet weather this way could be quite slippery and treacherous. It also provides a challenging walk and magnificent views. If the weather is good and you feel confident with some rock scrambling, take the ridge path, otherwise the path to Neds Saddle provides an easy route back to the start.
The ridge trail continues for about a kilometre or so north to The Cathedral. Once The Cathedral is reached, retrace steps south to a track junction with a path east that drops very steeply into Neds Saddle. From here follow the clear and well made Neds Gully Track back to Neds Gully.
Walk date: Nov 6, 2007
Time/level: 1 day moderate/hard (allow 5 hours or so)
Map: Cathedral Range Outdoor Leisure Map, Parks Victoria Parks Notes (nb: these seem to have disappeared from the Parks Victoria site)
My rating: A
UPDATE: Most of Marysville was destroyed by the devastating Black Saturday fires of 2009. It has since been partly re-built and can be visited again. The Marysville Tourism organisation has a website with up-to-date information.
Marysville is a lovely little town about an hour and a half North-East of Melbourne. It provides an excellent location for a day-trip out of Melbourne, especially if you take the drive out along the Maroondah Hwy and then over the Black Spur.
There are some enjoyable day walks in the area, centred on Marysville and the nearby Lake Mountain. A recommended walk, from Daywalks Around Melbourne, takes in Steavenson Falls and Keppel Lookout – “an energetic walk over the forested hilltops overlooking Marysville. There are sweeping views of nearby Mt Margaret and the Cathedral Range”.
The walk commences from the Visitor Information Centre, following the tree fern gully track to Steavenson Falls before steeply ascending to De La Rue lookout, then passing Oxley Lookout and reaching Keppel lookout. The track then descends back into Marysville.
Walk date: Oct 28, 2006
Time/level: 1 day easy/moderate (allow 4-5 hours), about 12km
Map: Marysville-Lake Mountain Outdoor Leisure Map (1:30,000)
My rating: B+, an interesting walk with variety and good views.
Victoria is having a bumper snow season this year, but last year was terrible. There was however a brief cold snap which dumped quite a bit of snow around the Marysville area (about an hour and a half from Melbourne) in November including a good deal at Lake Mountain, long after the ski season had closed. This is a very unusual event – Lake Mountain tends to be a marginal snow resort at the best of times – so I decided to take a day off work and head up for a walk and a look around. There were a few other people up there including some cross country skiers, this was probably the best couple of days that Lake Mountain had last year.
Good job I went up when I did, the cold snap finished as abruptly as it started and the weather on the day was warm, so the snow was melting fast (compare the first and fourth photos below). All in all though, a good days walking and recommended for a day trip out of Melbourne during the warmer months.
I parked at the Snowy Hill car park and took the summit track up the Lake Mountain summit (about 1.5km) and then down another km or so to Gerraty’s car park before taking the Echo flat ski trail to Triangle junction and then the Crossways lookout. At this point I turned around and headed back along another of the ski trails to Gerraty’s before taking the road back to Snowy Hill. There are a lot of ski trails in the area so make sure you have a map.
Walk date: November 2006
Time/level: 1 day easy/med (around 4 hours or so)
Map: Marysville-Lake Mountain Outdoor Leisure Map (VICMAP)
My rating: B. An enjoyable and interesting walk – snow at this time of year is rather unusual outside of the Victorian Alps area