What a great surprise this walk was, just over 11 k’s through some amazing Australian Bush and views across to Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay.
The walk starts at the old Doongalla Homestead. Unfortunately the only thing that is left of the original Homestead is the stone steps that would have lead you up to the magnificent gardens with splendid European Trees and Flowers and then onto the Homestead itself. The homestead with 32 rooms, was built-in 1892, then sold to a Miss Helen Simson in 1908. I just wonder what would have made a single women buy such a homestead in that era. She added horse stables , built gardens and re named the Homestead to Doongalla, which means “Place of Peace” . The Homestead unfortunately was destroyed by fire in 1932.
It is a slightly challenge walk and starts on the Channel 10 Track behind the Homestead. This leads you around a zig zag section that gets your heart pumping. You then turn onto the Kyeema Track that leads all the way up to the summit of Mt. Dandenong. Nearly up to the top there is Burke’s lookout where on a clear day views across Melbourne and out to Port Phillip Bay are amazing.
There is also a Hang Gliding ramp where it looks to be an amazing jump, off to the wild blue yonder . While I was standing looking at the view there was an amazing Eagle soaring in the air currents, its wings spread out to full width. It looked magnificent as its wings glided up then soaring down , gliding wherever the wind took it. Simply amazing to watch. It reminded me so much when I was on top of the Pyrenees walking the Camino Frances and I lay on my back and looked up to the sky to watch the magnificent Giffon Vultures soaring above me. After eating a packed lunch at the summit of Mt Dandenong, ( there is a Restaurant & Cafe here, where you can get food & drinks) I make my way back down the same track until I reach the Kyeema Memorial Cairn to the aircraft crash that happened there on October 25th in 1938. 18 people lost their lives here in a DC-2 plane which was coming from Adelaide, South Australia to Essendon Airport. On board was the crew, a Parliamentarian , 3 leading wine makers from Adelaide , several Barristers and a couple on their honeymoon. It is believed that there was a judgement error of location, also thick clouds and very dense fog contributed to the crash.
After leaving the Cairn if weather permits and it’s not wet underfoot there is a very challenging alternative way that you can walk back to the Homestead. Turn right just before the Regeneration sign and take the rough goat track down. Take care here on the Glasgow Track for about 500 metres as it is very rocky, slippery and the track a little hidden. The knees will be shaking once you arrive down at the Rankin Track.
The track widens and makes its way down gently through beautiful tall timbers and ferns back to the front of the Homestead. I absolutely loved this walk and in-courage you to have a look at Parks Victoria site to get more information and maps for this walks. There are several other trails which are shorter and longer in this area.