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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Mt Disappointment, Hume Range

Mt Disappointment, at 794m, is the highest point in the Hume Range, part of the Mt Disappointment State Forest, about 60 km north of Melbourne.

In 1824, the explorers Hume and Hovell named the peak because the dense tree growth prevented them from seeing Port Phillip Bay from the summit.

European impact on the forest began in the 1860s with goldmining, and several townships were established. The forest was cut for poles, posts, pit props and firewood.

By 1880, when the gold had run out, sawmilling began and continued until 1939 when the forest had been cleared of most usable timber. At its peak, the Mt Disappointment timber industry employed 420 men.

Controlled logging continues until the present, with a balance struck between conservation, recreation and catchment protection.

I visited the Forest on July 5, 2008. Like Hume and Hobell, I was disappointed at the view from the summit, which was obscured by tall timber, mainly regrowth. A narrow viewing corridor down a firebreak allows limited views towards Melbourne, across the town of Whittlesea and the Yan Yean Reservoir.

The area to the south of the viewpoint is part of Melbourne Water's catchment area, lying within the Kinglake National Park, and public access is prohibited.

The viewpoint is reached by foot along a 1 km (return) rutted muddy jeep track from the end of the Mt Disappointment Rd, at the junction of Board Rd. This track starts about 1 km from Blair's Hut Picnic Ground, which has interesting information displays about Hume and Hovell's expedition, and the history of the forest.

I entered the Forest via the settlement of Wandong, just past the town of Wallan East, along South Mountain Rd, then along Mt Disappointment Rd.

The return journey back to Melbourne was along the Main Mountain Rd, which led into Spur Rd, eventually coming out on the Hume Freeway 16 km north of Wallan.

Unsealed Main Mountain Rd passes through tall forest and lush ferns. Care is needed, as the road is narrow, winding and steep in parts, and is very slippery after or during wet weather. Best with 4WD.

The Forest is popular with trail bike riders, walkers, horse-riderss, and 4WD enthusiasts.

Special care is needed to avoid children driving four-wheeled miniature powered scooters.

Spur Rd provides superb views to all directions, with the volcanic conical peak of Mt Piper prominent to the north.

Other attractions in the Forest include the Strath Creek Falls, and the Sunday Creek Reservoir, reached by short walks, which I will visit at some future time!

A detailed map of the Forest, and general notes, may be downloaded from (search for "Mt Disappointment")

See the full set of

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