MEDIOCRE VIEWS // Cathedral Ranges, Australia

This has taken far longer than anticipated, but here is the final post of our Grand Final long weekend getaway. Life has gotten in the way a bit lately, but for good reason – I submitted my honours thesis last Thursday! I still have another assignment due at the end of October, but I am still thoroughly enjoying the sense of sweet relief after submitting something I had spent the most part of a year working on. Finishing university also means we are one step closer to holidays (less than a month?!) – so watch this space.

On the Sunday we woke up rather sore, tired and cold due to our poor planning in terms of bedding. Turns out it is freezing cold overnight in the Cathedral Ranges, and we learnt the hard way. Not to be deterred, we set off relatively early for a morning hike. We were mildly concerned (and also excited at the prospect of goats) by the above sign, but once we double checked the dates we felt a bit better.

There are a number of tracks across the Cathedral Ranges, so one could easily spend a day or two exploring. Heading off from our campsite at Cooks Mill, we walked up to Jawbone Carpark, before taking the rather steep Jawbone Track up to the ranges. From there, we turned right and detoured up to North Jawbone.

As you can tell, the views were terrible.

If we had turned left at the top of the Jawbone Track we would have gone along the ridge to the right of the above photo, visiting South Jawbone and Sugarloaf Peak. Next time!

After returning down from North Jawbone, we continued along the ridge (I think!) to Cathedral Peak. This took a couple of hours, and the ‘track’ was really the rocky ridgeline of the Ranges. It involved carefully clambering and jumping over rocks, looking out for the odd orange arrow to guide you. Despite having a drop on either side of you, the views were absolutely amazing.

We eventually reached Cathedral Peak, and enjoyed sitting down and taking in the views.

The above photo is looking back along the ridge from where we had come. Quite the journey!

We took a different route back, passing by Ned’s Gully campsite and taking a track along Little River to return to Cook’s Mill. Just in case we hadn’t had enough fun with flooded tracks the day before, we were treated to more muddy and wet misadventures. It is safe to say I was covered in cuts, bruises and the like from detouring through the bush to avoid the waterlogged tracks by the end! All in good fun though.

All in all, the Cathedral Ranges was beautiful! Only being two hours from Melbourne it is a perfect weekend getaway, and with so many tracks to explore we will definitely be back to take on Sugarloak Peak.

– Reanna

“FRIENDS” NATURE WALK // Cathedral Ranges, Australia

Our luck with the weather only lasted so long, and we were hardly surprised when we woke up (mildly worse for wear) on Saturday morning to rain. We took it upon ourselves to have a slow morning, enjoying breakfast at a cute little Italian cafe and lounging around our Airbnb reading.

We had zero plans for Saturday, with the only goal of reaching our campsite at the Cathedral Ranges before the sun went down. But the rain kept on coming, and whilst we were eating lunch in Marysville we began seriously investigating our options of checking into a local pub to bunker down and watch the Grand Final. I was reluctant to give up on camping, given we had filled our car up with all our gear. By the time we had finished lunch, the rain had begun to let up and we decided to bite the bullet and try our chances camping!

The Maroondah Reservoir, just out of Healesville. In classic me fashion I pulled the car over when I saw the words ‘scenic look out’.

Given it was a long weekend, the Cooks Mill campsite was already quite busy when we arrived. Thankfully the rain held off whilst we pitched our tent and took in our peaceful – and wet – surroundings. The nearby river was roaring, as you can see below!

In need of a walk, we followed the signs for what appeared to be a small circuit called “Friends Nature Trail”. The start of the track bypassed the remains of Cooks Mill, in all its rusted glory.

We had only been walking for about five minutes when we discovered that parts of the track with slightly flooded. Given we were both wearing ‘waterproof’ boots (i.e. my 8 year old Dr Martins), we persevered.

We crossed rivers at various times, and the water was absolutely raging beneath us.

Annnnd then it got progressively worse. Through a combination of stubbornness and being too lazy to go back the way we had came, we continued on. Despite getting extremely wet feet we managed to navigate around a number of rather deep sections, and actually enjoy ourselves. Our methods included stepping on stones, jumping from side to side on the track, and bashing through the surrounding bush to join the trail later on. Towards to end we encountered a section so bad that we had to give up and wade through.

Screw you, “Friends” Nature Trail.

We had total camping envy for everyone else at the campsite, who had tents twice the size of ours and elaborate shelter set ups.

We currently lack a camping table, so I made good use of a giant tree stump and turned it into our camp kitchen. I then promptly destroyed our pot cooking Mexican beans for dinner. That’s what you get when you only paid $2.80 for it at Daiso!

 

Once we had warmed up again, we decided to try our luck at purchasing firewood from a nearby ‘town’ (i.e. a corner store). The local caravan park had plenty in supply, so we kept ourselves entertained (and warm) for the evening by tending to our little campfire.

Despite being incredibly wet, it was a lovely place to camp!

– Reanna

BEER, TERRIBLE SELFIES & PIZZA // Healesville & Yarra Glen, Australia

Here in Melbourne we love public holidays for the sake of sport. First it was for the Melbourne Cup (a horse race), and now it is for the AFL Grand Final. Whilst I don’t personally care much for either of these sporting events, I am more than happy to partake in the public holiday! Last Friday was a state holiday before the AFL Grand Final on Saturday, so Chris and I took advantage of a day off and packed up our to head out of the city.

After a slow (by our standards anyway!) morning at home, we drove out to Healesville, which is east of Melbourne, about an hours drive. We had been here together once before, and I lived the neighbouring area of Badgers Creek for a year when I was younger. We actually managed to find an Airbnb in the town! After checking in there and grabbing an early lunch, we navigated the local bus network to head to the Yarra Glen Racecourse for the Great Southern Beer & Cider Festival!

This was the inaugural year of the event, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. It ended up being a perfect afternoon, with the shed full of around 20 craft breweries and cideries from the area and surrounds. Armed with our tokens and plastic beer glasses we had a fabulous afternoon.

They had a competition where you took a selfie and used a #hastag to win beer. I entered with the above photo (which took far too many attempts to take, I am no selfie queen). Sadly, I did not win.

You wouldn’t know by looking at these photos, but it was actually forecast to being storming and pouring rain all afternoon! Chris and I had spent all week preparing ourselves for terrible weather, but we were so surprised with how the weather turned out. In between tastings were wondered around the racecourse and soaked up the sunshine. Plus, the views of the surrounding Yarra Ranges were spectacular.

Once the festival closed and we managed to catch a bus back to Healesville (country buses are very infrequent) we headed out for dinner at the Bodhi Tree. I had mentioned to Chris earlier in the day that one of the few memories I have of living in the area was of eating woodfired pizza at a dingy little cafe. It turns out that cafe is still up and running, and it was the perfect antidote for an afternoon of beer tastings! Plus, they had a tofu satay pizza (sorry to any original pizza lovers).

I’ll be back with the rest of our weekend adventures over the coming week!

– Reanna