Recently I realised that there were a number of local parks and conservation areas that I'd never set foot in. One in particular, Quarry Hills Bushland Park, I drive within view of almost every day, and yet I hadn't managed to explore there at all. Well, yesterday I remedied that.
In spite of iffy-looking weather, I headed off to explore.
|Is there rain in those clouds? Yes, no, maybe?|
I picked a medium-length route - they range from 1km to 9km - that included the "Eagle lookout". I thought that sounded promising and set off from the car park.
|Nice wide, well-maintained tracks to follow|
|And all signposted as well|
|A couple of locals, lurking in the long grass|
It was a pretty steep climb up to my first viewpoint, the "Soaring Shelter".
|There are at least three shelters at strategic points, with views|
|Love the descriptive signage with landmarks all labelled|
|That's the city way over there. It's only 25km or thereabouts; looks further.|
From the saddle in between the two main hills, you get a view of nearby suburbia and across to the Dandenongs and Yarra Ranges.
|Close to civilisation, and yet so peaceful up here.|
I read the sign below and thought "fat chance of spotting a kestrel..." Actually, I was more concerned about avoiding snakes, so had my eyes fixed on the ground most of the way.
...I spotted this:
|A bit of wildlife information|
Then as I was mucking around getting some pics of the dramatic sky (and a passing Qantas jet)....
|The airport's that-a-way|
|Wish I'd brought my telezoom lens|
There were actually two giant birds, but I couldn't get both in shot together. I have no idea if they were Nankeen Kestrels, Black-shouldered Kites or Brown Falcons, but they were impressive to watch.
|Heading up to the next lookout - this one has cantilevered viewing decks|
|Nice to see where our rates go...|
|Looking across Mernda towards the Kinglake Ranges|
I could have gone a lot further - the track continues on for several kms to the Granite Hills. Which, one assumes, contain granite. But I turned around and headed back towards the car. Mostly downhill, thankfully.
|There are huge areas of exposed basalt all through these hills|
Anyway, it was a really enjoyable walk, and I'll be heading up there again to check out the bits I didn't get to see this time.
For any locals who might be interested in visiting, I'll give you a few tips:
- Access is good - you can drive right into the car park from Gravlier Way and the tracks lead off from there.
- Tracks are wide and well-kept, but the top surface is loose gravel, which can be a bit hazardous on the uphill/downhill sections, so watch your step and wear decent shoes.
- The weather on top of the hills can be quite different to down below. If it's windy, it's likely to be quite chilly. If the sun comes out, you'll be hot. Wear light layers that can be added or removed easily.
- Carry water. You may not want to drink too much though - there are no public toilets.
- Don't forget your camera.