Walk a ridge line gathering enough elevation to see across grand scale landscapes. Return along a rock face of intriguing geological formation and small scale ecosystems.
Hughes Creek Hill Bushland Reserve is an intriguing location for able walkers and families. Drive into the reserve via Stray's Lane. There is also a formed track for walking or vehicle access to the peak (2WD is not recommended on this track).
Two main tracks run uphill from Stray's Lane to the ridge line. As outlined below, follow the ridge line itself or the parallel track to the peak. Walk down from the peak on the eastern slope to the base of the rock face. Follow the rock face either at its base (very rocky), or on the flatland just below it, to return to your starting position.
POI 1 The middle track continues to the peak and is shorter (2.5km), easy walking.
POI 2 The end track meets the lower ridge. Walking from here is easy to navigate, but is longer (3.3km). It has no track and is very rocky underfoot. However, it is also quite open with much better views of the surrounding countryside along the way. Sadly, this route is not recommended for anyone unsteady on their feet.
Topography and Geology
Hughes Creek Hill has a peculiar topography due to the significant feature of a modestly ascending ridge line above an unusual sedimentary rock face. The ridge line provides increasingly expansive views of the surrounding landscapes as you climb. Quarried in the past at each end, the rock face presents fascinating forms, colours, flora and fauna habitat during your return. These include geometric quartz seams, weathered wood, massed wildflowers, nooks, crannies and animal sized caves.
The site is an artist’s and photographer’s delight due to the glorious light, vistas, diverse textures, colours, flora and fauna.
The canopy is formed of Grey Box eucalypt. Lightwood Wattles and Casuarina make up the mid story. Shrubbery includes Cassinia and Bossaiea. The ground is often rocky and barren on the lower slope. Lichens and mosses increase as you go higher, with Flax Lily dominant amongst indigenous and introduced grasses. Seasonal wildflowers and fungi are key attractions.
It is usual to spot resident Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Echidna. Be alert for Goanna as well.
Hughes Creek Hill is an eBird hot spot, recording 83 species. The birdwatching is delightful. Sit in one spot for a while and you will be rewarded.
Some rubbish dumping is evident.
Foxes and cats threaten the wildlife populations.
Fire grate x 1
Picnic tables in disrepair
Limbs & rocks may fall
No potable water
Be equipped for safe hiking
Snakes may be active
Unauthorised tracks make vehicle access a bit confusing. Stick to the main track off Strays Lane so you won’t get stuck without a clear exit route.
Take rubbish with you
Native flora & fauna are protected
Fires only in places provided
Drivers/riders must: use formed roads only, be licensed, be registered
Dry woodland can be a harsh environment. It demands hardiness from occupants. The forest canopy is dominated by Grey Box eucalypts and the mid story by Lightwood Wattle.
For the best experience, park at the end of Stray's Lane and walk the ridge line all the way to the peak. Note: track conditions vary. Taking vehicles further is not recommended.
Michelton Winery is in the adjacent locality of Mitchelltown. The iconic Michelton Tower is a feature of the area.
There hasn't been much maintenance for a while. The only fire grate and picnic facilities leave much to be desired.
With northern exposure suppressing forest growth, this route offers a clear way ahead. However, it is strewn with loose rocks of all sizes. Uncertain walkers should use the parallel track.
Autumn fungi is still hanging around in early winter. Fungi walks are every bit as interesting and attractive as walks in the wildflower season.
Wildflowers begin to emerge in mid winter, such as these Early Nancies. Through spring the variety and colour is enough to satisfy any wildflower lover.
Quartz runs through rock across the site in fascinating geometric seams and laminates that stop you in your tracks to admire and wonder at.
There is plenty to like here. If you are an natural world artist or photographer it isn't just the subjects. The light is pure, transparent, clear, clean and giving.
At the end of the ridge line your efforts will be further rewarded. You have already had some great views along the way. The view across Strathbogie Tableland to Mt Buffalo is something special again.
Tabilk is the name of this locality. It should not to be confused with the nearby "Tahbilk" Winery. The Tabilk Bushland Reserve covers the next hill, accomodating the comms towers for the district.
The site has two quarries, one at each end of the rock face. Be careful to keep away from the cliff edges. there are many loose surfaces.
As you walk below the wall you will find cracks, nooks, crannies, crevices, small caves and seepage. A diversity of life takes advantage of every opportunity to survive in their own specialised way.
Here's a tip. Stop, sit, watch and wait somewhere along the way. You will almost certainly have visitor pass you by.
Clinging to every hold possible, vivid purple floral displays drape themselves over the rock face in delightful hangings of varying densities and forms. They colourfully partner mosses and isotomes.
This rock face has character in spades. All the way along there is something new about it to admire.
Home to 83 bird species, including this Flame Robin, Hughes Creek Hill is an outstanding place for bird watching and bird photography.
Don't forget the tree flowers. Bright yellow Hickory Wattle and Lightwood Wattle. The latter celebrated for its fine furniture making qualities also lights the forest in a blaze of bright yellow.