A fantastic way to work up a sweat and experience breathtaking views is to climb the Mount Cannibal Track in the Bunyip State Park. There are two entrances to the Reserve; the first is the horse unloading car park which can be mistaken for the public entrance. The second is the main entrance and is further along Garfield North Road. Take the Garfield North Road exit off the Princes Freeway and the main entrance is about 2.5 kilometres along the road.
The track is rough and quite steep in places, which need to be taken into consideration when planning to complete the track. When deciding to climb the track loop, the left path rises more gently and contains a number of stairs or rough steps. The right side is steeper coming down and can be a bit slippery in wet weather.
Leave about an hour to complete the walk, including admiring the views over the reserve and farmland. The reserve is home to a number of plants and animals which you might spot on your walk; including spiny spiders, butterflies or even an echidna or grey kangaroo. When I visited the air was filled with ladybugs. Look out for plants such as the Kangaroo grass, wildflowers like the Dusty Miller and orchids.
As you travel up the mountain you will notice how the vegetation changes from the heath woodland at the base to the lowland forest as you climb the hill. At the southern lookout you may observe landmarks such as Western Port Bay, French Island, Phillip Island and Mornington Peninsula. You can use the directional dial as a guide to help you spot the landmarks.
Volunteers and Friends of Mount Cannibal Reserve work to remove the threat of introduced plant species and replace them with indigenous plants. The large rocks scattered throughout the reserve are also another reason to visit Mount Cannibal. The boulders are made from granite which is over 350 million years old.
If you want to get some exercise away from the crowds of other popular challenging climbs like 1000 steps, Mount Cannibal Reserve is the perfect place to visit. However remember to respect the environment and be careful of the native plants and animals which reside on the reserve.