Brisbane Ranges National Park
In Brisbane Ranges National Park low mountains are dissected by rugged gorges and hidden gullies with basalt grasslands and woodlands. An extraordinary variety of wildﬂowers, a wealth of birdlife and the greatest population density of koalas in the state make this an ideal destination for nature lovers, and a lovely park for picnics and family bushwalks.
The Wathaurong tribe traditionally lived in and around the Brisbane Ranges and their descendants, based in Geelong, are responsible for the preservation of the Aboriginal heritage of the area. Squatters took up properties near the ranges from the 1830s but gold, discovered in the Anakie Hills in 1851, created the most dramatic change, with the destruction of forests and the building of the town of Steiglitz (now a ghost town in the adjacent historic park). The Upper and Lower Stony Creek dams, built in the 1870s, supply Geelong with water; a water pipeline passes through Anakie Gorge.
The park has over 600 species of native ﬂora, including rare and vulnerable plants. The endemic Brisbane Ranges grevillea, golden grevillea, velvet daisy bush and, in particular, the yellow and red bush peas are notable. Along with koalas, you might also spot swamp wallabies and eastern grey kangaroos. Around 170 species of native bird have been identiﬁed. Watch for peregrine falcons during the day and powerful owls at night.
There are lovely picnic spots – Stony Creek and Anakie Gorge have wood barbecues (bring your own ﬁrewood). Walks include Anakie Gorge trail (6 km return, 2 hours, easy) from Anakie Gorge picnic ground to Stony Creek, with interpretive signs along the way. The combined Anakie Gorge–Nelsons Track walk (11.5 km return, 3–4 hours, easy–medium difﬁculty) climbs to a lookout for impressive views of the ranges. For more serious hikers, the Burchell Trail (40 km one way, 3 days) offers two overnight bush camps, at Old Mill and Little River, and explores Brisbane Ranges and Steiglitz Historic Park (permit required; PV 13 1963).
Bookings recommended in holiday periods; fuel stove only
Location and access
80 km west of Melbourne via Princes Fwy then exit to Lara or Anakie; or via Western Fwy to Bacchus Marsh then Staughton Vale Rd
PV 13 1963
Bacchus Marsh (03) 5367 7488
Geelong (03) 5275 5797
- Brisbane Ranges National Park, Eco-friendly activity
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