A few months ago we relocated our small family and accompanying menagerie of animals to a more northern aspect of Victoria, but with all the unpacking of boxes and constant re-arranging of furniture, by the time our weekends rolled around we had no urge to explore our new surroundings. A weekend visit from our more southern family members provided us with the motivation we had been lacking to go adventuring once more.
The destination we had in mind was the Melville Caves, located within the Kooyoora State Park, 30 minutes west of Inglewood Victoria. When we mentioned the word caves, it was met with some trepidation from one family member and on reflection most of us would instantly think deep, dark, damp caverns far beneath the earth's surface complete with their own colony of vampire bats. Melville Caves is a misnomer in that the caves are formed from many granite boulders resting against each other atop a rocky outcrop that is part of the Mount Kooyoora Ranges.
With an esky packed full of picnic food and drink, excited children and reservations from one member of our party we arrived at the Melville Caves Picnic Area. The children were champing at the bit to explore and with a few basic ground rules of staying within sight, watching out for snakes and sticking to the walking tracks we set off on the short track sign-posted as the Melville Caves Walking Track, opposite the picnic area.
Looking up at how far we still had to walk to reach the summit
We had only walked a few metres in when the terrain became very steep and as two of the members of our party had severe physical limitations they had to turn back to the picnic area and await our return. The track, although short at one kilometre, is all up hill, across sandy and at times slippery dirt patches and we had to literally clamber over some of the rock formations that were across the track. Due to the steepness of some parts of the track we had to stop and catch our breath and just as well as the views on the way up were awe inspiring.
The youngest child in our group was six years old and although he managed most of the climb on his own there were some areas that he needed assistance over the boulders, so I would not recommend this track for very young toddler children.
The track winding its way through natural granite formations
Fifty metres from the caves is a flat grassy area that has a bench seat, perfect for taking a quick rest and enjoying the magnificent view before proceeding onto the caves loop.
We descended the same way we came up and had our picnic lunch at the tables provided. The picnic area also has designated fire pits and toilet facilities available, but no rubbish bins so take a plastic bag with you so you can take your rubbish home.
Plenty of room for the kids to run around at the Melville Caves Picnic Area, Kooyoora State Park
After our lunch we drove up to the Melville Caves Lookout car park determined that everyone should enjoy the exhilarating views. If you have family or friends with limited mobility or even very young children within your group this is the best way for them to see the views, as it is only a 300 metre amble up to the lookout boulders.
Boulders at the lookout of Melville Caves Kooyoora State Park
As with any adventure into the Australian bush please remember a few of the following things to stay safe and enjoy your experience. Always be on the look out for snakes, wear the appropriate footwear for the adventure, take plenty of water with you and check the current weather conditions before you set off as most state parks will be closed in the event of an extreme weather day.
Kooyoora State Park can also be used for longer bush walking adventures, mountain biking, horse riding, motorbike riding, scenic four wheel driving and camping. If you require further information check out www.parks.vic.gov.au or call 131963.
This looks really interesting. It's good to know we can access the lookout by car as my husband has a gammy leg. I'm keen to do a weekend up that way, it sparked my interest lat time we were passing through.