Enter Victoria's largest remaining box-ironbark forest. Marvel at the diverse population of fascinating grass trees. Your destination is bushranger Captain Melville's Lookout. 10.5km return.
Named after notorious gold rush bushranger Francis Melville, the Lookout offers sweeping views of the surrounding valleys.
Melville was transported to Port Arthur at age 15 for housebreaking. He escaped to live with aborigines for a year. He came to Victoria in 1851. Melville formed the Mt Macedon Gang to rob travellers heading to and from the gold fields.
Getting to the Lookout and back also has local and natural history tales to tell. Before you ascend to the Lookout you will come to the historic Mt Black Quarry. This site was mined in the 1890s for the granite blocks used in the Goulburn Weir wall. The scattered tumbles of cut stone and remnant pits have created a landscape that demands exploring. Kids just love it. The tracks here make for great mountain biking.
The site is within Mt Black Flora Reserve. The flora is specific to this ecosystem. The box-ironbark forest is an open woodland consisting of ironbark, grey and yellow box and stringy bark. The understory consists of blackwood, gold dust wattle, silver wattle and drooping cassinia. Grass trees are numerous.
The ground layer displays of green rock fern and wildflowers can be a delight, particularly in the milder months. The area is also home to orchids such as the nodding greenhood. Rare spider orchids may also be found.
This is a great location for multi recreational use such as bushwalking, mountain biking, orienteering and rogaining. Horse riding, motor cycles and vehicles are only allowed on formed roads.
The route largely comprises the dirt track of Mt Black Quarry Rd. There is space for car parking at the start point, the corner with Heathcote-Nagambie Rd. It is a return trip of approximately 10.5km.
For a shorter walk, you can comfortably 2WD along Mt Black Quarry Rd to the base of Melville's Lookout and take the fairly steep walking track up. Alternatively, walk or take a 4WD to the top via the rough vehicle track that turns off Mt Black Quarry Rd at the directional sign 100m further on.
The Lookout has 2 picnic tables and 2 fire places.
There is only one directional sign to Melville's Lookout on Mt Black Quarry Rd.
There are multiple unauthorised branching tracks. Getting lost is a risk if you move too far from the formed road.
Loose stones or mud can make the track slippery.
No drinking water is available.
Pets are not permitted, firearms are not permitted.
The nearest camping is at Dargile Camping Ground.
NOTE: Grass trees are vulnerable to phytophera infection. It is important visitors stay on formed tracks to prevent transmission.
Entry to the Flora Reserve. Bear left along Mt Black Quarry Rd.
Wet or dry, the track surface can be slippery due to the presence of loose, often rounded, ironstone gravel.
Discovering a native orchid is always a special treat. Keep a lookout for greenhoods like this and, if you are really lucky, a rare spider orchid.
Every season has its population of wildflowers. Keep your eyes open for beautiful species that will brighten your day.
There are several extraction pits in this area that create a fascinating landscape. You can't help but want to explore.
For a less difficult walk or 4WD to the Lookout, follow the direction of this sign along the dirt vehicle track.
For the fitter walker, this is the most direct route to the Lookout. As a reward, you not only get to enjoy the views, but the lesser gradient of the walk down from the other side.
From this side the view is of a pretty patchwork agricultural landscape.
Plan ahead to enjoy a reenergising break for the return journey.
This view is includes a photogenic stand of grass trees.
A contrasting view across tree clad bushland slopes.
One of the beautiful features of this lovely walk are the extensive stands of grass trees. This stand has a very high concentration of all shapes, sizes and vintages.