Having lived in Hamilton for 40 years, former teacher and now visitor information volunteer, Cecily has incredible insight into our great region, especially when it comes to walks. With a passion for exploring our remarkable natural environment on foot, Cecily has wandered among the wildflowers, explored extraordinary sections of the Grampians Peaks Trail, hiked the base of Wurgarri (Mount Sturgeon), and so much more.
Taking a well-earned rest from her wanders, Cecily popped pen to paper to tell us all about her favourite Greater Hamilton walks…
One of the great benefits of retirement has been the opportunity to have the time to do all the things that I couldn’t find time for in the past. And with the Southern Grampians (Gariwerd ) at my backdoor, I have so much to explore!
I’m always keen for my visitors to enjoy the Grampians (Gariwerd) while they are here. If they are wanting a leisurely pace, I begin with two walks in Dunkeld. The walk along the track beside Salt Creek is so beautiful, winding under the eucalypts, past kangaroos and wallabies grazing, and continues to the Arboretum with its wonderful collection of international trees, as well as native flowers and grasses. Within the Arboretum is the Old Sawmill, where local timber is still sawed. The massive slabs of wood are amazing to see, and I am sure they are the envy of many a carpenter.
A second great leisurely walk is located at the edge of Dunkeld and is the end of the Grampians Peaks Trail. Following the base of Wurgarri (Mount Sturgeon), the walk can be completed as a circuit track, or you can also walk to the Wurgarri (Mount Sturgeon) car park and return the same way. Either walk will afford you a stroll under magnificent gums tress, across charming bridges and quite possibly a sighting of kangaroos and/or emus.
FABULOUS FLORA WANDERS…
A definite favourite walk of mine is from the Bainggug (Piccaninny) carpark, heading towards Mud-Dadjug (Mount Abrupt) along the Grampians Peaks Trail. Progress is often slowed as I stop to soak up the wonderful flora. Everchanging, the flora is subject to the seasons. At different times of the year, you may see Heath, Correa, Grevilleas, Wattles, and so much more. Throughout this area there are also so many wonderful orchids… Waxlips, Spiders, Greenhoods, Helmets, Mosquitos, Duck Orchids and Sun Orchids.
A huge, recent, and local highlight for hikers has been watching the development and building of the Grampians Peak Trail, and now with its completion, discovering and exploring its picturesque pathways.
With numerous treks to choose from, the Grampians Peaks Trail certainly spoils us for choice… Wurgarri/Mt Sturgeon return walk… Up and over Bainggug (Piccaninny) and onto Wurgarri (Mt Sturgeon) and down the other side… Return walk on Mud-Dadjug/Mt Abrupt… Up and over Mud-Dadjug (Mt Abrupt) and down to Bainggug (Piccaninny) carpark… Mud-Dadjug (Mt Abrupt) carpark over Signal Peak and onto Cassidy Gap Road.
Each section of the trail offers different (but always amazing) landscapes. And it never ceases to amaze me the skill that those wonderful people who built the track must have. The steps alone are a huge feat and always make for a magnificent photograph.
And let’s not forget about the wildflowers of this area. Amazing! They are like a magnet to me. At the height of Spring, I find myself returning each week, watching, and waiting for those pops of colour to spring from the ground.
A WORD OF ADVICE…
Always wear great walking boots and pack water bottles, warm jacket and a first-aid kit. A picnic lunch is optional but highly recommended.
And now I’m twitchy just wondering what I’m missing out there.
Happy walking all! – Cecily