Dandenong Ranges National Park: Mount Dandenong loop 16km

Mount Dandenong, of course, is a mountain. Although, at 633 meters maximum height, not exactly registering worldwide. Still, total climb around 640 meters and your legs feel it afterwards.

I underestimated this Mount Dandenong hike. Thought that it would run alongside the hill, from one side to the other, and back again.

Sure, the hike did just that. But not more or less horizontal. What goes up, must come down, and go up again, and… You get the picture.

Hmmm, my reference book graded it “Medium-Hard”…

Hike starts at Kalorama, some 47km east of central Melbourne. Started flattish, but soon it was up, up, flat, up…

Green and beautiful

After 1.9km, “my” trail to the right, but left trail diverts to top of Mount Dandenong. Gotta “conquer” that…

Junction – to top of mountain left, main track right

A cloudy day means limited views. On a clear day, you can see Melbourne’s skyline in the distance. Not today. Not happy…

Vista pic number 1 – with Mr Grumpy

See what I mean…

Vista pic number 2

At the top of Mount Dandenong, you find the SkyHigh restaurant and cafe (top). And “The Giant’s Chair”. My 135cm hiking poles for comparison.

The Giant’s Chair and SkyHigh Restaurant

Legend has it that Igor the giant lived here for hundreds of years. He liked nothing better than to sit at SkyHigh and enjoy the view. So they built a chair for him. Igor wouldn’t have seen much today, given the cloud cover.

I had an early break there and then backtracked to the main trail. Lots of tall trees…

Tall trees

After 3km, this sign…

“Kyeema” crash site sign

The memorial explained…

In 1938, a DC-2 “Kyeema” crashed here and all 18 people onboard perished. Cloud surrounding Dandenong Mountain. Naturally.

“Kyeema” crash site memorial cairn

Soon, a clearing below a television tower (a few here given the height).

Track and clearing

Vista point with some vistas… No more grumpy Hans The Hiker pics…

Vista pic number 3 – With no longer Mr Grumpy

Tracks zig-zag Mount Dandenong National Park everywhere. One track is even called so. You can probably identify ZigZag Track on the map above.

Signs for ZigZag Track

The hike follows this road for a short while. A kangaroo next to the right sign disappeared into the bush just before I took the photo.

On the “road” again…

Hopefully not my limbs… I need them all.

“Limbs may fall”

Explain this! Somebody dragged this rock to the gate. The gate opens inwards… Kids having fun…?

The Rock

Doongalla was a former country homestead here. Gone now, burnt down. Picnic area now providing tables meant I had my lunch there, but not much to see. Forgot to shoot a single photo around Doongalla…

Approaching Doongalla

Sudden bush movement next to the trail from… an echidna. There is a well hidden head there somewhere.

Fascinating animals. I briefly stopped and watched him. Not too close, of course.

Eric the Echidna ?

Flat appearance on photo, but this section was steep. Up, up, up… Continued up well beyond what you can see. “Too easy”…?

Up the hill

“Nearly there” somebody wrote on gate. Sure, only a few hundred meters left as we exit Dandenong Ranges National Park. “Civilisation” is on the other side.

“Nearly there” encouragement

Return to beginning and car at Kalorama. Red and sweaty. But satisfied with effort.

Hike completed

OK, I loved this hike. Yes, tougher than expected, but does that reveal something about my recent hikes? After 1 hour driving home, I was sore and stiff exiting the car. Where is a good masseuse when you need one?

Highly recommended.

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