This may sound biased, because I live in the area, however that doesn’t bother me. I truely believe that the North East of Victoria, here in Australia, is an absolutely amazing, stunning and beautiful place to not only live in, but also to get out and explore. With Waterfalls aplenty, lookouts on almost every hill and mountain top, natural native bushland, bushwalking, four wheel driving, well you name it the North East has it all. I recently had the opportunity to go exploring Mt. Samaria with my family and check out some of those draw cards I have just mentioned.
Starting our day trip, we stopped by the Swanpool General Store, for a few lunch supplies, before heading for the hills of Mt. Samaria. Nature was on our side on this particular late August winters day, with clear skies and reasonably mild temperatures. From there we strapped the kids, and ourselves, into the trusty Triton and made our way towards the Mt. Samaria State Park via Samaria Rd and then onto Mt. Samaria Rd.
I can’t explain why, but it has only been the last year 18 months, or so, that I have ventured into the hills of Mt. Samaria and explore what it has to offer, made even more perplexing by the fact that I can just about see the mountain from my back door.
Early winter last year saw my wife and I tackle the walk up to the Summit of Mt. Samaria via one of the three noted walking trails, and now we returned with plans to check out some of the other sites that Mt. Samaria has to offer. This time around we chose to do something slightly different, we planned ahead and filmed our adventure, for my new YouTube channel, as we explored the beauty that is, Mt. Samaria.
Our first stop for the day was the Samaria Well, situated right as we entered the Mt. Samaria State Park from the northern end of the State Park. The Samaria Well is an old dried up well that is fenced off with wooden rails for safety. Not far from here is the Samaria Well camping ground that would require you to have your own supply of water as water sources near the camp grounds are scarce. Looking back through the photos and videos our 2 and a half year old son Daniel sees the well and points and says, “No Water There”, it shows the kids pay attention to what they see.
From there we made our way deeper into the Mt. Samaria State Park past the Summit walking trails via the Mt. Samaria Rd, a dirt road that is in fairly good condition that in dry conditions can easily be driven by any vehicle, definately no need for a four wheel drive to get in here. In saying that it does look like in the wet the road could become slippery and may be a bit too much for a two wheel drive vehicle, so take caution.
The next stop on our agenda was to explore the Wild Dog Falls, which was to require a bit of a bush walk, but not until we stopped for a spot of lunch. The Wild Dog Falls walking trail is a 3.0km return trip, with options to continue on further to Back Creek Falls, with young kids in tow, a 3.0km return walk was most likely going to be sufficient for them and hopefully would mean we would avoid having to piggy back them too far because thier little legs had had enough.
The walk from the carpark to the falls was a very tranquil walk, even with two excited little adventurers leading the way. Starting off as a very easy walk with gentle undulations through some stunning native bushland, we made our way past the Wild Dog Falls campground, set next to a pristine little creek, the campground is only accessible by either walking in or via Parks Management Vehicles.
It is after the campground that the degree of difficulty gets turned on its head. The trail starts to traverse though some much steeper terrain, so much so that Parks Victoria have installed steps through the steeper sections, to make the walk safer and easier. Young kids, may find the height of the steps difficult to walk up, like ours did, and if they are as creative as our two trail munchers, then they will find a way to turn you helping them into a game, just so they can get some help.
On reaching the top of the Wild Dog Falls, you get to stand on the lookout platform and take in not only the waterfalls but the gorgeous valley beyond as well. Having been a reasonably drier winter than what is possible, the waterfalls were flowing, however I get the impression they would be an awesome sight in full flight, with the water cascading down into the valley below.
From the waterfalls we then returned to the carpark to continue further into the Mt. Samaria State Park, with the next stop being the Spring Creek Sawmill and Kiln ruins. The sawmill and kilns were used during the 1920’s when logging was a popular source of income for many a hard worker. The site of the ruins is also a great little picnic area with plenty of room for the kids to let their hair down and play, whilst you take in the history that stands before you. The best thing about the ruins is they are right next to the road, so even if your fitness levels are zero you can still get out and feel like your own version of Indiana Jones. There is also a number of bushwalk trails that begin here, although we chose to leave them for another time as the kids were already starting to slow down after giving it their all on the Wild Dog Falls walk.
After stopping for a play, rest and explore we continued on, choosing to bypass the Back Creek Falls walk, that we had originally planned on doing, as the kids were already worn out and battling to stay awake, and then aiming to finish our day at the Rocky Point Lookout.
Managing to keep the kids awake for long enough we arrived at the carpark to the Rocky Point Lookout. I did have a little chuckle to myself at the info on the sign stating it a 400m walk that is estimated to be 30 minutes to complete, all I can say is that 30 minutes must involve some very slow walking and a lengthy stop at the lookout.
The walk to Rocky Point Lookout is again an easy walk finishing at a rocky outcrop that provides exceptional views across the magnificent bushland and farmland that covers the valley below.
This truely was an amazing way to finish off what was a great day out exploring Mt. Samaria with the family. The kids were able to learn so much by looking, touching, listening and playing, they came across inch ants, lady bugs, tree sap, singing lyre birds in the distance, investigating rocks covered with different colored moss, you name it there was literally millions of things out there for them to learn.
Until next time keep making tracks on every road.