The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Mt Baw Baw is snow, but most of us don't realise that it is a fabulous destination even during the summer months. A three-hour drive from Melbourne, Mount Baw Baw is surrounded by the Baw Baw National Park. It is ideal for people seeking thrill and also great for those who just wish to recumb in the beauty and tranquility of nature.
If you're wishing to pump up some adrenaline, hop on your bike and follow one of the many biking trails in the region. There are various trails designed to suit people of different fitness levels, each offering stunning views of the natural beauty around. The Beech (800m) and Latrobe (500m) Trails are the easiest of all, while the Summit (2.3km), Village (3.5km) and McMillan (3.5km) Trails are ideal for people with intermediary experience.
Mueller's Trail (500km) is the most adventurous of all hence suitable for experienced bikers. The tracks are steep, bumpy and scattered with impediments. To find out more information about the biking trails and maps, visit the Resort Administration Office or Village Central.
If you wish to explore the region at a more relaxed pace, try bushwalking. There are plenty of walking tracks for people from diverse fitness levels. All the trails are dotted with lookouts, and picnic and rest areas.
Beech Walking Trail is a comfortable walk covering a stretch of 2km. Admire Myrtle Beech trees – native to Victoria and Tasmania – apart from many other varieties of flowering plants and trees. Beautiful bright pink grass trigger plant and stunning white alpine orites skirt the entire trail. Surrounded by Australian snow gums, the Saxton's Picnic Area is a nice place to unwind and take in the scenery.
La Trobe Trail is a short walk (750m) and fit for people from all fitness levels. During summer, the trail is awash with stunning alpine flowers. You would also spot a few native Baw Baw Berry plants. McMillan's Flats, a subalpine wet heathland along the way, bears many varieties of herbs, shrubs and trees and is a protected region for the indigenous Baw Baw Frog. The trail begins and ends at Skiosk.
Summit Walking Trail is 2.5km long and graded as moderately-difficult. Your first stop would be the Mueller's Lookout and picnic area that offers breathtaking views of Mt St Phillack, St Phillack saddle and Mt St Gwinear. The trail leads to the heritage-listed area around the Summit Cairn. Now converted to a picnic spot, the area offers spectacular views of the Latrobe Valley and the Strzelecki Ranges. On your way back to the valley, you'll find the Downey's Picnic Area, which is surrounded by snow gum trees. The signs of the horrific Black Friday Bushfire of 1939 are still evident in the burnt-out tree stumps that now form home to the Sooty Owl. If you're lucky, you may spot a few of these rare species. Striking varieties of daisies border most part of the trail.
Village/McMillan Trails are graded as intermediate/advanced walks. The trail is roughly 4.5km and offers breathtaking views across subalpine heathlands. McMillan's and Baragwanath Flats, along the walk, bear excellent varieties of orchids, wildflowers and other flowering plants. The Antill Lookout provides beautiful views across the Tyers River, Talbot Peak and Mt Erica.
You can even book a guided tour for as little as $7.50 for an adult (minimum of four people per group) and $5 per person (minimum of 10 or more).
For a more adventurous hike, join the Great Walhalla Alpine Trail. It is a two-day guided trek that shares the first 40km of the track with one of the world's most popular treks - the Australian Alps Walking Trail. You can embark on the former trail anytime between October to April with a minimum of two people per group.
During summers, the entire region reeks of comfort and natural splendour. Enjoy it while it lasts and organise a picnic in one of the numerous parks and recreation areas in the region. The Village Central Restaurant sells gourmet picnic hampers from $45 onwards.
If you're interested in vinos, you can join the Winery Tour that runs on the second Saturday of each month from November to April. It costs $85 per person (for a group of minimum four people) and includes a delectable lunch.