Brisbane Ranges National Park
Little more than an hour's drive from Melbourne takes you to the state's richest wildflower habitat. Set in a low range of mountains dissected by rocky gullies, the unusual geology of Brisbane Ranges National Park has preserved plants that have long since vanished from the region, together with a correspondingly diverse bird population and the greatest density of koalas in Victoria.
Things to Do
The 3 km Anakie Gorge Walk leads through the gorge between the picnic areas at Anakie Gorge and Stony Creek. Nelsons Track climbs to the ridge top to Nelsons Lookout with views over the gorge and Lower Stony Creek Reservoir. This is a high standard walking track which uses small foot bridges to traverse several creek crossings.
Panoramic views over much of the Stony Creek catchment can be had from the Outlook. An easy 2.5 km return track, the Kurung Walk, climbs steadily from Stony Creek Picnic Area north to join Switch Road from where there are good views over the You Yangs and Anakie Gorge.
A three-day walk through the park has been developed, and notes and a map on this walk can be obtained from the park office.
The camping area at Boar Gully is equipped with basic facilities and advance booking should be made, particularly during holiday periods.
Collecting firewood is not allowed, and campers should bring a fuel stove.
Accommodation and supplies are available at Bacchus Marsh.
Picnic grounds at Stony Creek and Anakie Gorge have wood barbecues (BYO wood), toilets, tables and seats.
Anakie Gorge has one gas barbecue.
Access roads are unsealed but well maintained.
The ranges were formed about a million years ago when a line of weakness, or fault, developed in the earth's crust, uplifting the land lying to its west.
Squatters arrived in the 1830s, concentrating their farming activities on the fertile land to the east and south along the Moorabool River. The goldrush began in 1851; gold was discovered in the Anakie Hills and the town of Steiglitz was born. Goldmining flourished periodically until the early 1900s.
In the 1870s, the ranges played a new and vital role - supplying water to Geelong. 3000 ha of the Brisbane Ranges were reserved as a catchment area. In 1973, 1132 ha were set aside as a national park and enlarged to its present size of 7718 ha in 1995.
There are more than 180 bird species, which include the Peregrine Falcon, migratory Rainbow Bird and Powerful Owl. Mallee Fowl were found here but disappeared probably because they were hunted for food by gold-miners. Koalas are particularly abundant around Anakie Gorge. Other mammals include Swamp Wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos and the nocturnal Brush-tailed and Ring-tailed Possum, Sugar Gliders and Tuans.
The diverse plant life is the park's outstanding feature. Its sandy soils support 619 plant species representing nearly a quarter of Victoria's native flora. The ranges are special for their wildflowers. Many of the plants are rare, or remote from their normal localities in East Gippsland and the drier west of the state. The locally common Brisbane Ranges grevillea is found nowhere else in the world.
Looking After the Park
No dogs, cats or firearms.
Light fires in fireplaces provided.
No rockclimbing during the peregrine falcon nesting period (1 August - 30 November).
How to Get There
The park is 80 km west of Melbourne via the Princes Highway. Turn onto the Ballan Road from Geelong or take the Western Freeway to Bacchus Marsh and follow the Geelong Road, turning off to Boar Gully.
Anakie Gorge Picnic Area
The Brisbane Ranges area is steep and rocky, but facilities at Anakie Gorge have been designed for accessibility. Anakie Gorge walk is a selfguided trail along Stony Creek. The surface of the track has been recently upgraded, and is reasonably accessible. Toilets are near the picnic area, and include a designated accessible toilet. There is a picnic shelter and a gas barbecue.
Boar Gully Camping Area
The tree trunks that have been placed along the ground to mark the edge of the car park are an obstacle at Boar Gully. The picnic facilities are good. The designated toilet facility does not fully satisfy access criteria.
Fridays Picnic Area
Friday’s Picnic Area offers only very basic facilities. There are no formal paths around the site, but the car park and picnic area are clear of major obstacles. The designated toilet facility does not meet current access criteria.
Stony Creek Picnic Area
Stony Creek Picnic Area is moderately accessible, and links to Anakie Gorge picnic area. The track is unsealed and often sloping, but has a recently upgraded surface. The toilet facility does not meet all access criteria. There are a number of ground-level obstacles.
2. Bicycle Touring
5. Canoeing / Kayaking
7. Coach/Bus Tours
8. Four Wheel Drive Tours
9. Mountain Bike Riding
11. Rock Climbing
12. Ski Touring