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Picnic at Organ Pipes National Park

Home > Melbourne > Day Trips | Escape the City | National Parks | Parks | Picnic Spots
by Gabbyna (subscribe)
A coffee a day keeps my friends near, spontaneity keeps my heart clear. I lack sometimes the steam, to pursue the never-ending dream.
Published April 22nd 2017
Who else cracks pretty like this under tension?
Each year for the Easter weekend, we make an annual pilgrimage to one of the magnificent Victorian attractions to enjoy the rare and splendid long weekend. This year, after close successions of planning exciting weekends for relatives' visits, friends' birthdays and inter-state birthday trips; we ran out of creative ideas.

With no plans in sight, we went along with some friends who had a car, a plan and a picnic basket. This was how it was presented to us "Just 40 minutes, 20 km northwest from Melbourne CBD lays an oasis of grassland and volcanic rocks from an ancient time. The Organ Pipes National Park houses a spectacular striking rock formation so called the Organ Pipes…" When I first heard of the place, grotesques images of exposed raw tissues filled my vivid imagination and I thought, "wow, maybe not the best place to have a picnic… but they have a plan.." Thankfully, organ pipes also refers to a resemblance of the towering pipe organ you would see in Saint Patrick's Cathedral. Nothing like the repulsive twisted oesophagus I had imagined from The Walking Dead.

organ pipes national park
Organ Pipes


I am not a geographical expert so I won't try to explain the intricacies of the rock formation using big words. In my own words, the pipes formation was revealed when the water in Jacksons Creek cleaved off the outer covering of hard and dark rocks. The hexagonal basalt columns are arranged in uniform rows and it resembles, in my opinion, pushing potatoes through a potato ricer. This rare formation was created because cooling lava could not handle the tension of cooling and cracked horizontally. It cracked in an interesting hexagonal pattern just like a honeycomb. Nice. Who else cracks pretty like this under tension?

Rosette Rock
Rosette Rock


The park also houses other basalt rock formations like The Tessellated Pavement and the Rosette Rock. The walking tracks to the Jacksons Creek and the rock features are short but rather steep, guaranteed to get your heart pumping. There is also a picnic area next to the carpark, and I had one of the most fuss-free, lovely picnics there with some cheese, crackers, cabanas and strawberries. Sometimes the simplest things are the most memorable.

Keilor Plains
Of grassy plains and ancient volcanic rocks


I have to admit that I wasn't initially impressed when my friends suggested the place. It is just too near the city! Distance from the city seems to define and measure my high expectation of a place. It may appear to dim in comparison to the grandeur of the Hanging Rock in Macedon Ranges or the silent beauty of Mount Dandenongs. I was pleasingly surprised that the short walk and lovely picnic do rejuvenate the soul the same way a stroll along Sherbrooke Falls Trail at Mount Dandenongs would. Don't be a snob like me and judge it by its distance.

Organ Pipes National Park is open to vehicles daily from 8.30am to 4.30pm.
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Why? Don’t be a snob like me and judge it by its distance.
When: Any day
Where: Organ Pipes National Park
Cost: Free! If your kind friends bring the picnic basket
Your Comment
This place is definitely on my bucket list.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|6230) 790 days ago
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