Hanging Rock

You may or may not have heard the mysterious story of Miranda, Edith, Irma, Marion and Miss McCraw and want to explore the haunted scenes from the novel and movie for yourself…

Or, perhaps, you want to explore Ngannelong, a place of Indigenous spiritual significance as a border territory and meeting place between different tribes for their Corrobborees, Initiation Ceremonies, Songline Ceremonies, trade, relationship building, and a place where laws were passed…

Or, even, to just admire the beautiful landscape and the unique mamelon volcanic rocks formed by about six million years ago by a stiff magma pouring from a geologic vent and congealing in its place, creating that jutty appearance the rocks are famous for…

Whatever your reason, Hanging Rock is one of the most beautiful landscapes Australia has to offer and, conveniently located only an hour away from Melbourne, it is a must-see in Victoria!

Because we arrived at about 4:15pm, with the park closing at 5pm, our walk felt incredibly rushed. I would definitely recommend leaving a few hours to garner the full experience from Hanging Rock! The return walk to the summit takes about an hour, but there is also the Base Walk, a small museum, and a cafe.

The view of rural Victoria and the Macedon ranges from the summit of Hanging Rock is truly breathtaking, while the Base Walk offers an easier but no-less-enjoyable circuit around the mountain. What’s more is that certain points of interest on the track are marked for full enjoyment. There is a brochure with a detailed map available to pick up from the Visitor’s Centre.

Summit Walk

The maximum elevation at hanging rock is 718m, to be explored in a 1.8km return trip that, as aforementioned, takes about 50 minutes to complete. The path forks as you near the top and there are two options for how you complete the track: a more gradual climb up to the summit (if you veer left) or stairs (to the right). The Hanging Rock itself is located on the track with the stairs, so if you are keen to see this but unsure how you will cope with the slope, take the stairs on your way back.

There are 10 points of interest, starting with 1. The Visitor’s Centre, a small museum (so to speak) explaining the rock formation and depicting the fictitious history of Hanging Rock.

2. The Forest. Admire the natural beauty of the national park along your walk.

3. Edge of the Rock. The track splits here and, if you are on the summit walk, this is where you begin to walk along the edge of the cliff face.

4. Hanging Rock. The ‘hanging rock’ itself, for which the park is named, as well as the title of the original novel Picnic at Hanging Rock.

5. Natural Amphitheatre. Here, I sat on one of the rocks as if I were in back row of an amphitheatre watching nature as a play. This spot is imaginatively named.

6. Check Out the Views. This is the point where you think you’re finally at the top, but you’re not… There’s some room to explore (sort of off-track) if you take a right here. The path to the summit continues on the left.

(I love how I look semi-aesthetic in this image when in reality I was dying from running up the mountain!)

7. The Top! You’ve finally reached the top. Take in a deep breath- you’ve earned it!

8. Views of Mount Macedon. Hanging Rock is located on one of the mountains of the Mount Macedon ranges, which were (re)named by explorer Major Thomas Michell after Phillip of Macedon since he was able to see Port Phillip from the summit of Mt Macedon. At the 8th point of interest, you are able to view Mt Macedon, which rises to an impressive 1010 meters above sea-level.

9. Rock Pillar. Pillars of rock overhang the cliffs. They look like they have faces making it easy to see how the site may be sacred.

10. Wildlife. Glimpse popular wildlife like grey kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and hundreds of species of birds.

Base Walk

The Base Walking Track takes you in a clockwise direction around the base of the formation.  It is a wide, easy path, with some undulations, that enables you to experience to beauty of the park with ease.  The 2km track is clearly signposted with arrows. This track is perfect for the eldery, those with children, and those who want an easier walk.

Post-scriptum

The summit walk isn’t appropriate for young kids as there are no barriers on the cliffs. The base walk is, however, just as beautiful as the summit walk and completely safe for children.

Dogs are permitted on leash in the picnic areas but not on the walking track due to the presence of native animals.

The entry fee is $10 per car or $4 for pedestrians. There is a ticket machine just outside the cafe. You produce the ticket when you exit the park.

The park strictly closes at 5pm. If you’re late, your car (and you) will be locked in! Beware that with the creepy history of this forest, you’re in for a haunted night should you be locked in!

The North Gate is closed. However, if you do drive over to the North Gate it is possible to see kangaroo’s up close (or are they wallabies? I can never tell the difference!…)

Looking for things to do near Hanging Rock? View Day 3 of my itinerary here for ideas!

Photo credit: Pictures taken by Synchronous Photography & Editing

Featured image credit: Scene from film Picnic at Hanging Rock with credit to BBC and Fremantle Media.

Central Coast to Melbourne and Back – 9 Day Itinerary

This is the basic itinerary of a road-trip from the Central Coast to Melbourne and back, recently completed by my partner Luke and I.

The trip ranges across 9 days, so we took advantage of all the must-see places and attractions in order to make the most of a short holiday! We would recommend taking this road-trip over a fortnight, if possible, in order to experience all these amazing places to their fullest. However, if taking more time off isn’t possible (like it wasn’t for me), we would suggest taking this trip in summer, as we found (since we went in winter) we were often chasing the sun, which rushed us along a bit.

Please click the hyperlinks to see more detail about specific aspects of our trip. ((These will be uploaded as they are ready)

Enjoy!

Day 1: Central Coast to Canberra

11am: Leave home

2.30pm: Arrive in Goulburn

The Big Merino

Rocky Hill Lookout and War Memorial

3.30pm: Leave for Canberra

4.30pm: Arrive at Canberra/ Check in to accommodation

Dinner at Grease Monkey

Accomodation: Airbnb in Canberra (host wished to stay anonymous).

Notes:

  1. We travelled on a very overcast, winter day, and as a result drove alongside some of the most beautiful scenery. We stopped at multiple rest stops between Goulburn and Canberra to take in the views. Imagine: Rolling, gray-green hills being grazed by nonchalant sheep; speckled by gray-green trees, dotted with rusty brown leaves; and, distant windmill farms shrouded by low, misty clouds.

Day 2: Canberra to Albury-Wodonga

10am: Leave Canberra

10:30am: Cockington Green Gardens

1pm: Arrive in Gundagai

Dog on the Tuckerbox

Old Gundagai Gaol

Gundagai Railway Station

Gundagai Historic Railway Bridges

3pm: Leave Gundagai

4pm: HMAS Otway Submarine at Holbrook

4:30 Leave Holbrook

5pm: Arrive in Albury-Wodonga

Dinner at Albury Brewhouse

Albury Monument Hill

Accommodation: David’s Airbnb in East Albury.

Day 3: Albury-Wodonga to Melbourne

10am: Hume Dam

10:30: Leave Hume Dam

11:30 Arrive Glenrowan

Glenrowan Bakehouse & Cafe

Billy Tea Rooms

Big Ned Kelly

12:30: Leave Glenrowan

Arrive Kyneton

Mineral Springs

3:45: Leave Kyneton

4:00: Arrive Woodend

Hanging Rock

Straws Lane

Holgate Brewhouse

7:30pm: Arrive Melbourne

9pm: Walk down St Kilda pier to view Little Penguin colony

Notes:

  1. We had intended on driving through Bendigo, Castlemaine, and Maldon, but unfortunately made a wrong-turn that led to use by-passing these. This ended up being a blessing in disguise as we later only just made it to the Hanging Rock with enough time to skim the beautiful reserve before they locked the park. I’ve included these on the map. Consider splitting this part of the trip into two days.

Day 4: Melbourne

10am: Shopping at Melbourne Central

2pm: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, pt. 1

5:00: Drinks and dinner at Lazerpig

7:30pm: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, pt. 2

Notes:

  1. We didn’t do this ourselves, however, after the Cursed Child would’ve been an opportune time to have a night out bar-hopping.

Day 5: Melbourne to Bass

12pm: Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs

5pm: Penguin Night Parade at Phillip Island

7:30pm: Dinner at Inline 4 Cafe

Accommodation: Airbnb in Bass, Ross & Tracey

Day 6: Phillip Island to Darnum

11:30 Nobbies Head and other various lookouts along the way including Pyramid Rock

1pm Lunch at Inline 4 Cafe

2pm Vietnam War Museum

4:30 Phillip Island Chocolate Factory (Panny’s)

5:30 Leave Phillip Island, stopping at bridge to view sunset

6:30 Arrive Darnum

Accommodation: Airbnb in Darnum, Sue’s Bella Cottage

Day 7: Darnum to Lakes Entrance

10am: Leave Darnum for Thomson Station

11:40: Historic train from Thomson Station to Walhalla Station

12: Lunch at Wally’s Pub, Walhalla

12:45: Walk through historic town; stopping in at the historic Post Office, Sweet Shop, feeding some wild King Parrots outside the Sweet Shop, and viewing historic buildings in the town such as the old Bank of Victoria.

1:30: Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine Tour

2:45: Walk back to Thomson Station, via Tramline Path- Australian Alps Walking Track- Mormontown Track

3:45: Leave for Lakes Entrance via The Honeysuckles (1hr 40 mins) – Golden Beach (20 mins) – Lakes Entrance (2hrs)

8:15: Arrive at Alan’s Airbnb, Lake Bunga.

Notes:

  1. We were travelling on a Sunday so our Airbnb host warned us that there may not be anywhere to eat in the vicinity of Lakes Entrance. We also didn’t see any food places along the 90 Mile Beach. Consequently, we stopped at a McDonalds on the way… so if McDonalds isn’t to your taste, we recommend taking your own dinner along.
  2. If you choose to skip The 90 Mile Beach, the drive from Thomson Station to Lakes Entrance is only about 2.5 hours.

Day 8: Lakes Entrance to Jervis Bay

9.30am: Leave Lakes Entrance for Jervis Bay (7 hour drive)

12:30pm: Eden Lookout and Rotary Park

1:30pm: Lunch at Longstocking Brewery, Pambula

Dessert at Bodalla Dairy Shed

6:30: Arrive at Balan Village Motel (a Best Western), Bomaderry

Dinner at Chef Tony’s Modern Chinese Restaurant (attached to motel)

Notes:

  1. We chose to stay in Bomaderry due to the prices of accommodation around Jervis Bay, which meant we had to back-track about 35 minutes to spend the following day in Jervis Bay. We liked the motel, but not the area; so, with this in mind alongside the back-tracking, if we were to redo our choice of accommodation, we would’ve spent the extra money to stay in Jervis Bay.

Day 9: Jervis Bay to home

10am: Check out of motel

11am: Hyams Beach

12:00: Blenheim Beach

12:30 Huskinsson Beach and Moona Moona Creek

2:00 Abraham’s Bosom Reserve Walking Track

4:15: Leave for home via Grand Pacific Drive and Seacliff Bridge in Wollongong

  • Sunset at Kingsford-Smith Memorial Lookout

Notes:

  1. We only stayed on the Grand Pacific Drive until sunset, which for us was as we were driving past Kingsford-Smith Memorial Lookout. We then joined the fastest route home, via the Princes Highway. However, we plan on doing the full Grand Pacific Drive between Wollongong and home another time as it definitely looks like a must-do!