I was a little worried as I headed off for this hike in the Dandenong Ranges, leaving home to find the ground wet from overnight rain. But the weather held off and the hike began out of Olinda (about an hour east of Melbourne).
Distance – 15.6km (excluding the accidental detours)
Time – approx 5 hours
We started in town (me with two jumpers on – it’s still cold here) and quickly headed into some green open spaces with some amazing scenery – apologies for the poor photography.
Aside from an initial short climb, the general trend from the beginning was downhill, making our way to Olinda Falls. Here we were surprised by the finding of a leach on one hikers neck. Regardless, with hilly terrain coming up, and the day getting warmer, the jumpers were coming off!
Following our short break at the waterfall, we started heading through some overgrown tracks – those beautiful ones where you have ferns surrounding you as far as you can see. As we walked I heard the kookaburras, and thought to myself that they’re laughing at us as we make our way along this slippery, muddy track.
We continued upwards with plans to break for lunch at the top of Mount Dandenong. An easy climb led us away from the ferns and on to this view towards the city.
Following a final steep ascent, we made it to the top of Mount Dandenong – Hooray!
After a quick stop for lunch, and FINALLY having a moment to work out why I was struggling with my water bladder (note to self: ensure the tube is connected…), it was time to head back downhill (unfortunately we went much further than our initial starting point!).
This next section of the track was different again in how it looked – we now had enormous trees going up on all side and for as far as the eye could see. It was quite spectacular to see.
As we neared the end of the hike, it was time for our final ascent back to Olinda.
We’d been warned, but I don’t know if any of us were well prepared, for the uphill slog we faced. We all slowed down, some stopping a handful of times to get their breath back. But eventually the entire group made it to the top of the steep road that took us back to our beginning altitude. Unfortunately I was so inspired to continue my continuous pace up that I never stopped to take a shot. You’ll have to take my word on it being the steepest climb I’ve ever done on a hike…
Or your could just check out the details one hiking companion recorded here…