We have decided that we don’t see enough of our own country, so for the rest of 2018 our goal is to go and “do” something every weekend, whether it be a walk around the local river or something further afield. This means we will be creating a whole lot more content on Australia which can only be a good thing for our readers!
Our first weekend of “doing” something was a lot of fun! We decided to stay close to home and head over to the You Yangs Regional Park. The You Yangs could be labelled a small mountain range however they are more like large hills than mountains, in fact Wikipedia refers to them as “granite ridges” as they only rise to 319m! There’s a lot of nice drives, walks and mountain biking tracks around and it’s a really popular spot for a weekend family or dog walk.
The You Yangs are a half hour drive from our home in Geelong or a 1 hour drive West of Melbourne, give or take depending on what area your coming from. It’s free entry and the park is open from 7am until 6pm during daylight savings, or until 5pm the rest of the year.
What to do
There are tonnes of different activities to do at the You Yangs however the most popular for the general public are definitely walking, picnicking and scenic drives. We did the Flinders Peak walk to the summit (see below) but there are other walks that range from 100m to 5km for all different levels of fitness. There are heaps of different picnic areas kitted out with barbecues and toilets and the scenic drives around the park are very easy – one is dirt and one is sealed but both are suitable for all cars.
Mountain Biking is super popular and the You Yangs Mountain Bike Club have designed over 50kms worth of track within 2 separate trails. There are also two separate horse riding trails within the park, and quite a few rock climbing and abseiling sites. Apparently there is an orienteering course set up somewhere that you pay to use, no idea what it’s like though!
The summit walk
So onto our adventure! We headed up to Big Rock to have our mini picnic then got back in the car and drove up to the main Flinders Peak car park. The start of the walk is signposted with a big information sign about the area and some large arrow signs pointing walkers in the right direction. Any intersection once we were on the track itself was clearly signposted as well so we really couldn’t get lost! The walk involves a lot of stairs and inclined paths that wind slowly up the “granite ridges”, with plenty of stopping areas and even a few seats for the elderly, injured or less fit. It was a reasonably easy walk for us although we did work up a bit of a sweat in the warm weather!
About two-thirds of the way up the scenery changed dramatically. A few weeks ago there was a bush fire in this area and although it was controlled fairly quickly, it still managed to burn a fair amount of the track. The remains were very clear with blackened trees everywhere and a very distinct smoky smell. It was quite interesting seeing the distinct line of the fire and we could tell a lot about it’s strength and heat from what remained. Definitely something different to what we’ve seen on past walks in the area!
Once we reached the top of the summit we had a quick look around from the artificial lookout then went on the hunt for a nice rock to sit on. Walkers are supposed to stay on the track but James and I couldn’t help jumping onto one of the big rocks slightly off to the edge. It’s such a beautiful view from the top – you can see Geelong, the Melbourne CBD, Avalon Airport and almost across to Ballarat!
The way down was much easier than up. We hardly broke a sweat walking down and both of our knees and ankles held up which is a serious improvement on other walks we’ve done! The only downside to the whole day was forgetting to put on sunscreen until we had already started walking. “It’s not that hot and we’re under the trees most of the way!”. Let’s just say that phrase definitely came back to haunt me and I’ve had a very uncomfortable couple of nights trying to sleep… my pajama top actually stuck to my skin this morning and I had to pull it off 🙁 Ouch!
Overall we managed to have a successful weekend adventure for our first weekend of “doing” something! Next weekend we are heading to the Gold Coast so stay tuned for what we get up to there!
If you want to read more of our Australian adventures make sure you subscribe below, and leave us a comment with ideas for weekend trips from our home in Geelong!
Happy travels 🙂