Tag Archives: Victorian alpine walks

Three summits near Ballan and Ballarat (VK3/VC-032, Mt Buninyong, Mt Warrenheip)

There are three summits relatively close to the Western Highway from Melbourne to Ballarat.  At four points each these looked like a comfortable activation trip with little or no climbing.  So it proved to be.  VK3/VC -032 is an unnamed summit north of Ballan in the Wombat State Forest.  I exited the Western Highway at the Ballan exit and grabbed a coffee in a pleasant bakery in Ingliss Street.  Continuing on, Ingliss St intersects with the C141 Ballan-Baylesford Rd.  Just north  oh here the C141 over-passes the M8 (Western Highway).  Continuing north for 12.8km on the C141 (passing Bunding-Blakeville Rd on the right at 10.4km)  and I arrived at the intersection of Spargo-Blakeville Rd, which is on the right (east).  This road was unsigned, but it is easy to find — Spargo Creek Rd (which is signposted) is directly opposite on the left of the C141, and you also cannot miss the old Mineral Springs Hotel which has seen better days.  Known by locals as the Korweinguboora Pub (according to  this 500-word piece by the former owner’s daughter) this faded 1960s building is a shadow of its colorful history.  The 1960s brick veneer beer hall hides the original Victorian building, so the history of this site goes back 100 years.  More social commentary here.

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Federation Range VK3/VN-029

At 1490 meters Federation Range (VK3/VN-029) is the highest point in the Yarra Ranges and the only SOTA summit accessible from the Lake Mountain snow resort.  By resort I mean day visiting area for cross country skiers, tobogganists and snow-man makers.   From Marysville it is an easy drive to the resort car park, and out of season there is no park entrance fee and no traffic.

The summit approach is through the alpine area on ski trails.  Six years on from Black Saturday the eucalyptus forest is a sea of silver-grey weathered dead trees, burned and baked en masse in the inferno of that day.  Regrowth is thick in places but the predominant feeling is one of transition as the landscape regenerates, the silver-grey ghosts of the pre 2009 forest standing tall over the rampant undergrowth.  The dead upper story will be there for many years yet, perhaps decades.  I am not an ecologist but I assume the fire has created once in a century conditions for fauna and flora as the old trees are yet to fall and rot and the new forest is too young to support certain habitats needed in a balanced ecosystem.  On a different note the stark colors and textures bring out the (smartphone) photographer in you.  It is a black and white symphony.  With a touch of eucalyptus olive.

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