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Mt Alexander Regional Park: Walking Trails Falling Into Disrepair

I was up at Mt Alexander Regional Park on Sunday checking out the main walking trail loop for our forthcoming guidebook, The Goldfields. I’ve done the Mt Alexander walk at least four times, the last time in 2005 for our Daywalks Around Melbourne guide. What really struck me on Saturday was just how run-down the walking trail infrastructure has become. Following our map in Daywalks Around Melbourne, we walked the Goldfields Track from McQuillans Road to Ballantinia Track via Dog Rocks and Langs Lookout. This walk has beenĀ  realigned up through the old Koala Park and now has the distinctive Goldfields Track ‘gold-tops’, walking trail marker posts painted yellow. The grass is currently very high and in places the trail is barely visible and the gold-tops really help.







Despite this the trail along this section of the walk is what I would classify as in average to poor condition. Signage could have been much better (no sign at the junction leading to Leanganook Picnic Area is especially confusing) and the trail is in need of urgent maintenance and erosion repair, particularly under Scorpion Rocks (the boulders midway between Dog Rocks and Langs Lookout). The trail leading up to Shepherds Flat Lookout is currently impossible to locate and the signage is either non existent or falling to bits. The walk up along Ballantinia Track was enjoyable and much better than I remembered it, most likely due to the fact that no vehicles have used it, probably since the January 2011 floods.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the day was the southern section of the West Ridge Walking Track which is links Dog Rocks carpark to a small carpark just west of Leanganook Picnic Area. This trail is marked by Parks Victoria on the Mt Alexander Regional Park Park Notes. Parks Victoria also have info boards in the park showing this walk in detail. Interestingly there is no signpost indicating the start of this walk in the Dog Rocks carpark and we could only find a single very old marker post 200m into the forest. After a long search in the undergrowth we finally gave up looking for this trail. It seems to have been reclaimed by the bush.

Mt Alexander Regional Park is a major recreational asset due to its close proximity to the growing regional centres of Bendigo and Castlemaine, and its now quick and easy access from Melbourne along the new Calder Freeway. Instead of developing and maintaining important walking trails to encourage people to use this beautiful reserve Parks Victoria it seems is just letting them slowly decay away. As I’ve said before, it’s all well and good to put in walking trails, but there must be a budget to make sure that these trails are regularly maintained. It’s such a shame that for one reason or another Parks Victoria don’t seem to be able to do this in Mt Alexander Regional Park.

4 thoughts on “Mt Alexander Regional Park: Walking Trails Falling Into Disrepair

  1. That really is disappointing – the whole issue of operational funding for maintenance seems to affect so many parts of government. I wonder if the Mt Alexander section of the GDT suffers particularly because it’s off limit to cyclists (who perhaps help keep the grass down on other bits)?

  2. Good point about the bikes Steve. Honestly though, the section under Scorpion Rocks is really rough and it would need a lot of work just to get it up to a decent walking grade. Over the years I’ve watched with despair as successive Governments cut back on funding to Parks Victoria. In real terms this means that most of our parks and reserves have been in steady decline from a bushwalking point of view.

  3. I am incredibly sad to hear the mount is in such a poor state.
    .I grew up at Harcourt, my father and a few of his friends established the Koala park, and I spent many weekends there collecting donations at the entrance,and also planting native trees right across the Mount. The small group arranged for around 20 bears to be brought from Phollip Island and settled in the park to breed, then released to the surrounds.
    In the mid 60’s about 80 acres of nearby bush was bulldozed to make way for pine plantation. My father Allen George Koochew who had a country mans show on 3BO radio & on the new BCV8 TV, fought successfully to have the bush reinstated.
    I spent many hours with my mates walking over and around the entire mount without any trails just a good sense of direction. If the signs etc can not be kept in a presentable condition, may be it would be better if they were removed altogether, and leave the mount in its original condition.

  4. I just found your post after looking for information about Mt Alexander Regional Park after visiting it for the first time one the weekend and thought I’d mention that it doesn’t seem that much has been improved since you visited it.

    Not having the Park notes on us we parked at what welater realised was the Dog’s Rocks but enitrely missed them and were completely confused by the sign indicating the koala park was somewehere where we’d parked the car but couldn’t find it. Later, after reading the information board that showed the walking track through the koala park and mentioned that koalas still live in the park we drove to the smaller carpark you mentioned and started the walk from that end. We noticed it was badly maintained and twice had to navigate around a large tree that had fallen across the track and which had obviously been there for some time with new shoots growing out from it. Eventually we lost the track and turned back, only to become totally lost for a while, apparently following a kangaroo or wallaby track until we came across the road and followed it back to the carpark. Very confusing and disappointing! And a bit dangerous if the track starts out in reasonable condition but only leads you to getting lost…

    It was lovely country with some lovely views so I hope Parks Victoria can do some work to make it a safe and enjoyable walk for park users.

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