I did the Major Mitchell Plateau three day circuit walk in the Grampians National Park recently.
A three hour drive west of Melbourne, The Grampians have been a destination I’ve been wanting to visit for a while.
An unexpected week off from work gave me the opportunity to throw on the backpack and see somewhere new. After more than a year since my last overnight hike (a new baby don’t give you much opportunity for camping) I wondered whether I still knew what to do.
I started out at Sheep Hills Carpark and quickly fell into the steady rhythm of putting one foot in front of the other.
The track was obvious and rose steadily to Mt William. Unfortunately the day I set out was grey and rainy and the views of bush and surrounding mountain ranges were intermittent.
The final climb along the road to the top of Mt William was steep and hard on the feet. There was no reward at the summit as it was completely clouded in. It was cold and windy so I didn’t bother spending much time up there and set out for the First Wannon campsite.
The track got rougher but was still easy to follow. It descended steeply into Boundary Gap and then climbed just as steeply again up and onto the plateau. There was a bit of careful rock scrambling near the top which I wasn’t ready for. After about five hours of hiking up and down through the rain I was feeling pretty shagged and keen to set up camp and get dry and warm.
It was a nice campsite with a drop toilet and a small creek running through it.
Day two for the walk across the plateau dawned much nicer, with puffy white clouds and plenty of blue sky. This was the day I got all the views across the Grampians and the surrounding farmland below.
It made enduring the weather of the day before worthwhile.
The walk off the plateau is steep, followed by a long steady descent to Jimmy Creek Campground.
Again, I was pretty happy to get to the campsite so I could relax, even though it meant leaving behind the feeling of being remote and away from everything.
The third day back to the car was pretty boring – an undulating fire trail with little in the way of views.
Back at the car I headed to Halls Gap, the tourist town in the middle of the Grampians, where I stayed at one of the caravan parks for the night before heading home. I liked Halls Gap; a pleasant spot where you could base yourself for day walks around the area.