I'm an avid hiker, forest therapy guide and organizer of the Happy When I'm Hiking meetup group. I hope to inspire others with my writing to explore the great outdoors and connect with nature. Subscribe to my page for updates.
Published September 25th 2016
Take a dose of nature & call me in the morning
Finally, spring is upon us. Just a two hour drive from Melbourne, Lake Mountain boasts an extensive network of walking trails to suit all ages and levels of fitness. From mid October through early summer, the plains in this sub-alpine environment turn into a riot of colour with a variety of wildflowers on display.
Featuring rocky outcrops and breath-taking views over the Australian Alps, this, is just what the doctor ordered to get over those winter blues.
From Melbourne, take the scenic drive through the stunning Yarra Valley and be mesmerized by the tall mountain ash and free ferns that line the Black Spur. If you have time, stop for ice-cream, milk shakes and delicious pies at the Beechworth Bakery in Healesville.
Quick fact: Lake Mountain was named after George Lake, who was the Surveyor-General of the area including the mountain. There is no lake at Lake Mountain Alpine Resort.
The air was fresh and cool as we headed off, but within a few minutes we were working up a mild sweat as the sun came out.
Here's a link to the many hiking trails to be explored. You can also get a printed version at the visitor center.
We headed north along the many walking tracks, including a stop at the Panorama Lookout for lunch. The wildflowers are still hiding but soon, these alpine fields will be a riot of colour. Along the way we met a few other walkers and a solo mountain biker, heading to camp at Keppel Hut. Camping is only permitted in certain areas at Lake Mountain. Resort management must be contacted for further information.
With time and good weather still on our side, we headed back to the village car park and decided to take on the summit. It is a steady climb for no more than 200 metres on a wide rocky track that levels out as you approach the peak of 1433 m above sea level. At the summit we headed off in the direction of the Alps Lookout and Summit Loop walk, that feature interesting rocky outcrops in midst snow gum woodland. There is a sense of magic here.
We really enjoyed the 4 km Summit Loop Trail, which is an ideal introduction to hiking, especially in sub-alpine terrain. The pleasant narrow walking trail takes you through snow gum woodland, alpine ash (also called Woollybutts) and mountain hickory wattle. We spotted a few birds including the colourful flame robin. Rarely frequented, these trails are ideal for reflective, mindful walking or even a meditative yoga pose, as shown here.
The Alps Lookout is a great stop for views across the Victorian Alps. As you walk along the snow grass plains further along, notice the alpine pepper growing around the small alpine bog. They will be flowering in November, boasting a beautiful mauve hue. Follow the orange markers on the trees to return to the summit and back to the resort.
To really enjoy a day walk, be prepared. Carry sufficient drinking water, food and snacks in your day pack. As the trails are wide and well maintained, you can wear runners or light hiking shoes; no need of any heavy hiking boots.
However, carry the map with you (print it out from the link above) and always have a warm jacket, beanie and even gloves and raincoat as the weather can turn without any notice. There's even a chance of snow in the middle of summer.
By 4 pm it was beginning to get chilly so we grabbed a cup of hot tea at the resort café and sat down for a chat in the comfy seats. It's a lovely place with some interesting activity blocks for the kids. In summer the resort café has limited opening hours from Friday through Monday, but please check the website for updates.
Complete a perfect day with a hearty meal in Marysville before heading back to Melbourne.
We will be back in October with our group of "Happy Hikers" to see the best of the nature's display of colourful splendor. I can hardly wait.
Summer alert: On days of forecast Code Red Fire Danger, the resort will be closed for public safety. Please check by calling 13 1963 or visit the website.
Disclaimer: The author of this article is not responsible any damage, personal injuries or death as a result of the use of any advice, gear or techniques discussed. All outdoor activities are carried out at your own risk.