Escape to the Beeripmo Walk

Ben Spencer is our guest blogger for this week.

The First Day, Up, Up and Up!

The luxury of a long weekend presented the ideal opportunity to undertake the Beeripmo Walk – a 21km, two-day hike. Located about an hour’s drive west of Ballarat in the Mt Buangor State Park and Mt Cole State Forest, the walk promised to be a great introduction to what is one of Victoria’s lesser known bushwalking destinations. A major enticement was the walk-in campsite which could only be accessed by foot and which we hoped would provide us with a tranquil overnight setting.


My partner Aislin and I arrived at Richards Campground, the beginning of the walk, at about midday after a 2.5 hour drive from Melbourne. Surprisingly there were only two other cars in the carpark. We began our hike in the heat of the day – the sun beat down mercilessly as the track climbed steadily up through the forest. The going would have been challenging enough on a normal day but the heat combined with the weight of our backpacks meant that it turned into a slog. After about 30 minutes walking we managed to make it to the first point of interest, Raglan Falls. At the top of the falls we took the opportunity to throw off our packs and rest. There was little more than a trickle of water but the sound was soothing.

We couldn’t put it off any longer and eventually we shouldered our packs and continued the climb. The trail notes had listed this walk as for a moderate fitness level, which perhaps it would be without our heavy packs. As we approached Cave Hill the steepness of the trail abated for a time but still continued gradually upwards. Glimpses through the trees allowed us to gauge our altitude and a short time later Grevillea Lookout provided us with uninterrupted views of Mt Cole in the south and of the Western plains below. A higher mountain rose to the right of us which could only be the Sugarloaf, which was to form the next goal on our walk.

The rationale behind the naming of the Sugarloaf quickly became apparent as the track rose sharply – it was akin to a sugar cube bobbing in a cup of tea. After our earlier exertions, the climb was now even more challenging and our pace slowed considerably. The track wound back and forth up the cube – no doubt because heading straight up it would have required climbing gear! The path had definitely not been used that day because webs guarded by large spiders continuously blocked our path. A baby brown snake sunning itself on a tree stump was surprised by our appearance and hastily slithered back into the undergrowth. Eventually we struggled to the top of the Sugarloaf and rested for a while as we took in the vista.

It had been a very tiring day, the heat of the sun had thankfully diminished and we were looking forward to making camp. A little while later we reached the secluded Beeripmo Campground. It was everything we had hoped for. The site featured 10 quaint camp pads nestled between the tightly packed gums. There was not a soul to be seen, although a startled kangaroo noisily bounded away upon our arrival. We selected the best spot for our tent and set about establishing our home away from home. After a satisfying meal and with darkness now upon us, we took a short walk to a clearing and craned our necks skywards – millions of awe inspiring twinkles filled the black expanse above.

The Second Day, Mt Buangor, Then Down, Down and Down!

The alarm clock went off at 5:50am – the kookaburras were laughing to each other because the sun had started to rise. The trail notes suggested a similar walking duration as the previous day so we were keen to make tracks before the sun got too hot. We breakfasted and left within the hour, careful to adhere to the ‘leave no trace’ principle. There was still more climbing to do, this time to the top of Mt Buangor. The increasing warmth of the day was only slightly offset by a lovely cool breeze. After a short walk, the trail arrived at an intersection with one way heading to Mt Buangor and the other continuing along the Beeripmo walk.

As the top of Mt Buangor was a side-trip we concealed our packs in the scrub and began the climb, buoyed by the freedom of not having to carry a heavy load. The ascent was no where near as strenuous as that of the previous day, so were pleased when we soon found ourselves at the top. A lonely campervan greeted us on the peak, which was the first time we had seen other people since the start of the walk. The occupants were seemingly still asleep so we tip-toed past them to the lookout and were greeted by the most spectacular view of the walk. The outlook across the Western Plains was vast and we could see all the way to the Grampians National Park, towering in the distance. We soaked up the view then made our way back to the intersection, missing a turnoff on the way but thankfully adding only 10 minutes to the journey.

Pleased with our progress and with renewed energy and high spirits, we continued on. At Mugwamp camp we stopped briefly to apply sunscreen. There were no other campers. Back on the trail we continued gradually downhill, which was the only way left to go after having just ascended to highest mountain in the park. Every now and then the trail crossed quiet vehicle tracks but always plowed straight back into the bush again. As we descended the mountain the terrain began to change. At one point we headed through a dense patch of ferns that were trying to reclaim the trail as their own.

Eventually the trail cut into the side of a steep hill providing a route across what would have otherwise been impassable. With the sun still rising, we arrived at a sign indicating that Richards camp was only 700m away. Our descent from Beeripmo Campground had been much quicker than expected, no doubt due to the downhill gradient and much cooler conditions. Definitely a welcome change to the physical and mental challenges of the previous day. The walk had been an overwhelming success and I strongly recommend it to those looking for an easily accessible two-day walk.

 

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8 Responses to “Escape to the Beeripmo Walk”

  1. roger spencer September 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Great report ben ! Thankyou

  2. Anthony Meehan September 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Ben/Aislin, appreciate the blog very much. Got a real sense of adventure and story telling from your prose. Mind you the two day camping thing sounds like a bit of a challenge for us ‘older people’. Would you recommend a one dayer in the same area because the views look great and it’s pretty much around the corner from my own ‘backyard’? I could see myself getting there on a one day trip…Cheers!

  3. Ben Spencer September 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    G’day Anthony,

    If you’re after a short day trip you could park at Mugwamp Camp for a 30 minute hike (one way) to the top of Mt Buangor which offers great views. Alternatively, if you’re up for a ‘big’ day you can complete the circuit outlined in my blog – without packs and in cool conditions it would quite possible in a day. For detailed track info, see: http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/101914/Beeripmo_Walk.pdf

    Enjoy!

    Ben

  4. LC Chizzle September 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Lovely article. I really want to go for a hike now. I’ll get Lyra on to it! Good work Ben 🙂

  5. Annie September 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Gosh, the hike sounds great and the photos glorious. Thanks for sharing – it’s now on my bucket list!

  6. Gill September 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    Hi Ben,
    Great read!
    I’m very keen to do this one with my two dogs (the State Forest parts only), however, one of my dogs is a little older now so won’t be able to make it the whole way himself. I have a three-wheeler pram he rides in when he gets tired. This will sound like a strange question, but do you think a pram would fit on the paths? It’s a 3-wheeler running pram designed specifically for rough terrain, but if the trails are tiny and there are heaps of steps, I might have to consider leaving him at home this time.
    Thanks heaps,
    Gill

  7. Grey cats x2 September 10, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    Hi there Ben,
    Sounds like you had a great hike with your partner. I really liked the view from Mt Buangor, it looks like you hiked quite high!
    Great writing >^..^<

  8. Ben September 10, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Hi Gill,

    That’s great that you’re keen on doing the walk. The track is quite narrow and overgrown in some parts so would be quite a challenge with your three wheeler. I’d recommend giving your older dog a rest for this one.

    Enjoy!

    Ben

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